Advanced Installer #1 alternative to the InstallShield

SIDE BY SIDE FEATURES COMPARISON

Those evaluating Advanced Installer as an alternative to other tools will be sure to size up the product against competing solutions.

Advanced Installer encourages this since we take enormous pride in our software and are confident that you will be impressed by our solution. There are many other differences between Advanced Installer and InstallShield (the price being an important one), and these are best explored by evaluating the products.

Advanced Installer and other software authoring solutions (like Inno Setup, WiX, Wise, InstallShield, InstallAware, etc) generally perform the same common packaging roles (authoring or generating installer package, converting a packaging type into another, updating the installer)

Also, both products have multiple editions, each including different functionalities. You can analyze Advanced Installer as an InstallShield alternative in a Side-by-Side Feature Comparison here.

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Advanced Installer
Free download

InstallShield
Functional Differentiators
User Interface
As a GUI provides visual representations of commands, which can sometimes become quite complex, the users do not need to waste time checking the correctness of all these commands. By simply selecting a button or an icon you can call the relevant function and use your time to focus on the installer you deliver to your clients/users.
A well-developed GUI based interface makes your interaction with the software product friendly and easy-to-use since it uses the visual representations of commands and processes.
*All according to industry best practices.
GUI Based PowerShell CLIGUI Based PowerShell CLI
MSI: Create Transforms and Patches
Advanced Installer offers a great and easy solution for both Patch and Transform.
SupportedSupported
Licensing Feature or Integrations
Advanced Installer offers multiple easy ways to add a license or trial to your package.
Integration IncludedSupported with an additional product
Installer Updater
Use the Updater from Advanced Installer to maintain your application up to date. There are multiple update options to build your updater: trigger either manually (directly from the application code or a shortcut) or through Task Scheduler to configure your auto-updates. Includes integration with GitHub.
Manual and Auto-updates SupportedSupported with additional product
Install updates with no elevation for Standard Users
SupportedNot Supported
Azure DevOps
Native IntegrationSupported
Installer Analytics
More details https://www.advancedinstaller.com/analytics/
1-click optionNot Supported
SQL Database predefined support
*Including
+ Browse SQL Servers (Local/Network/Domain)
+ Choose authentication method (Windows or SQL)
+ Browse Database on selected server
+ Test connection to the server
+ Schedule SQL queries and capture result in MSI property
Extended SQL Integration*Standard Support
MSIX Support
Advanced Installer is the first authoring tool to support MSIX technology. And since 2018 - when Advanced Installer has been the launching partner for MSIX - we are constantly adding unique, useful, practical MSIX related functionalities.
*for detailed comparison check the MSIX Support Level
Extended SQL Integration*Standard Support
macOS Support
Deploy your Java application on macOS X.
- All the Java products can be embedded in a package to be deployed on macOS X.
- This package will be a ZIP archive that contains for every Java Product a folder with a special structure.
- This folder is known as a bundle.
- The bundle groups related resources together in one place.

*Settings available for an MSI package that are Windows Installer related, like custom actions, registry entries, environment variables, etc. are not supported.
SupportedSupported
Digital Signature
The digital signature is used to help authenticate the identity of the creator of digital information.
SupportedSupported
Native integration with Device Guard and Azure Key Vault, Custom Signing.SupportedNot Supported
Automated Report Creation
Easily create a report that shows the elements in your project which are included in the build. The report formats are HTML, XML or PDF file.
SupportedNot Supported
One capture for all types of packaging formats - Create MSIX, APPX MSI, App-V, EXE - all from the same project
Starting with a simple capture using the Advanced Installer Repackager tool, you can easily build all types of popular packaging formats: MSI, MSIX, APPX, APP-V, EXE.
SupportedSupported
PowerShell Automation
Advanced Installer offers PowerShell cmdlets which can be used for repackaging, editing, and creating Windows Installer packages.
SupportedSupported
Predefined Custom Actions
Popular custom actions such as Terminate Process, Get Free Disk Space, Add Network Location, Install/Uninstall Certificates, and many more are available out of the box with Advanced Installer, minimizing time and work efforts for the end-user.
SupportedNot Supported
Additional PSF Fixups
Package Support Framework is a great open-source tool from Microsoft which allows “hacking” the application in order to perform fix-ups and make it work. Enjoy the simple GUI interface to use PSF in your MSIX and a collection of additional fixups to ease your work.
SupportedNot Supported
PSF Tracing
Fix compatibility issues for your legacy applications using our PSF integration.
SupportedNot Supported
Direct MSI to MSIX / App-V / ThinApp (no repackaging required)
Open the MSI and add your Build of choice (MSIX/ APP-v/ ThinApp) and Advanced Installer automatically creates the Build. No repackaging needed.
SupportedNot Supported
Virtual Machine Integrations
Choose between performing the capture either on your development machine or on a virtual machine.
VMware
HyperV
vSphere
VMware
HyperV
vSphere
Best Practices Validation Testing
Advanced Installer generates builds in accordance with ICE Validation Standard and industry best practices gathered in over 15 years of constant contact with our customers.
Supported in all editions
(including the free ones)
Supported in Premier edition
Publish Packages to popular deployment systems (rewording)
Intune and SCCM tools offered by Advanced Installer for fast publishing.
SupportedSupported
FTA (File Type Associations) Support
Dedicated GUI for creating and modifying File Type Associations, ProgIDs, Extensions, and Verbs.
Supported by GUIGUI Limited Support
Repository Management
It helps centralize and share project resources using the repository. Multiple projects, i.e. team members, can share the same resources by setting a common location for the repository, for example, a network shared drive.
SupportedSupported
Application virtualization
Choose to implement virtual applications because they offer fast and easy deployment, reduced security risks, and the possibility to run multiple versions of the same application.
Microsoft's App-V VMware ThinApp Microsoft's App-V

MSIX Support Level

In the packaging industry, MSIX is the newest, most expected delivery format for a software product. It is predicted to be the future of packaging and even prepared to replace the current, ubiquitous MSI.

Advanced Installer is the first authoring tool to support MSIX technology. Since 2018 - when Advanced Installer has been the launching partner for MSIX - we are constantly adding unique, useful, practical MSIX related functionalities.

Advanced Installer
Free download

InstallShield
Create MSIX package
Generate MSIX applications from scratch using your own source files.
SupportedSupported
MSIX Conversion
Convert EXE, MSI, Script installations to MSIX.
SupportedSupported
MSIX Diff
Easily identify differences between two MSIX packages.
SupportedNot Supported
One capture for all types of packaging formats - Create MSIX, APPX MSI, App-V, EXE - all from the same project
From a single repackaging session, create all the package formats you need.
SupportedSupported in AdminStudio
Automatic MSIX Fix-ups
Microsoft offers a Package Support Framework to add fixes in your MSIX package. Advanced Installer integrates PSF, and adds predefined fix-ups. Check them out here.
SupportedSupported
Digital Signing
By digitally signing your installers and products, you will increase your user's confidence in you and your company, giving them peace of mind about your software.
SupportedSupported
Manifest Editor
Easily edit the AppxManifest.xml in your MSIX package.
SupportedNot Supported
Application Declarations
Declarations are a mechanism by which an app can add functionality in a manner defined by the operating system. Advanced Installer provides an extensive collection of out-of-the-box applications and package declarations (StartUp Task, App Execution Alias, App Service, File Type Association, and many more).
SupportedPartially Supported
Edit Capabilities
Enable or disable capabilities in your package to access certain API or resources in the system.
SupportedSupported
MSIX Dependencies
The Dependencies feature allows you to specify other packages or drivers that your app depends on.
SupportedNot Supported
Automatic .AppInstaller Generation
Generate .appinstaller file which provides automatic updates for your MSIX files.
SupportedNot Supported
MSIX Modification
The MSIX Modification Package is an MSIX package meant to store the customizations of the application. All about it here.
SupportedSupported
MSIX Bundle
Use MSIX bundle to wrap multiple MSIX packages in order to reduce the size of the app that users download or address specific usage scenarios.
SupportedSupported

Price & Licensing

Advanced Installer
Free download

InstallShield
Price
$$$$
Licensing flexibility
*With a licensed version of Advanced Installer, you can create an unlimited number of install packages and you can distribute them royalty-free to an unlimited number of users, to be installed on an unlimited number of computers.
All licenses are Royalty-Free*
Floating licenses openly available
Every single user and end-point needs to be licensed.
Concurrent licenses - available by demand.
Upgrade discounts available
YesYes
Volume discounts available
YesYes
Licensing
All commercial licenses include a 12-month Maintenance Service to ensure the proper onboarding for you and your team.
Perpetual
You can use the software indefinitely
3-Year Cycle Subscription
Access to the product stops when subscription expires

Just a little bit of extra

Advanced Installer
Free download

InstallShield
Good to Know
Learning Curve
Advanced Installer intuitive UI helps you make packages fast and save you precious time.
Intuitive, easy to use also by beginnersComplex, time-consuming, training needed
Trial
Get first-hand experience with Advanced Installer and get access to our excellent customer support during all the trial period.
30-day Fully-Featured Trial
Free
20-day
10-day extension Feature-Limited Trial
Free
Customer Support
All Advanced Installer trials benefit from free Customer Support, and all commercial licenses include Maintenance Service to ensure the proper onboarding for you and your team.
Exceptional Customer Service
First 12-months maintenance included with commercial license
Customer Service Available
First 12-month maintenance mandatory to buy
Market Responsiveness
With our agile approach, we can respond faster to the market and provide fresh features to cover the latest packaging and deployment needs.
Monthly UpdatesYearly Updates
Migration from other packaging tools
Projects Supported
Visual Studio, InstallShield, Wise, WiX, InnoSetup, Ensis, Desktop Bridge Package
*Included in all editions
Available in AdminStudio
Projects Supported Novel Zen Work Win Install WiX

Advanced Installer is a recognized leader in the packaging industry, helping developers, software developing companies, enterprises, managed service providers, and consulting companies to dramatically improve efficiency and reduce costs using state-of-the-art packaging technology.

Microsoft is proud to be working with 3rd parties like Advanced Installer to extend the current platform capabilities with innovative solutions for all Windows developers.

Andrew Clinick
Group Program Manager At Microsoft

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Advanced Installer Architect edition