What’s new in Visual Studio 2013 and InstallShield Limited Edition

What’s new in Visual Studio 2013 and InstallShield Limited Edition

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UPDATE: We’re happy to announce the availability of the Visual Studio Installer Projects Extension. This extension provides support for Visual Studio Installer projects in Visual Studio 2013. You can download the extension from the Visual Studio Gallery. To learn more check out this blog post on Visual Studio Installer Projects extension.


We believe it is important to provide Visual Studio developers a no-cost setup tooling solution to deploy applications to the various platforms you target. In Visual Studio 2010 we partnered with Flexera Software to included InstallShield Limited Edition, a free version of Flexera’s installation development solution, with Visual Studio. InstallShield Limited Edition added capabilities not found in Visual Studio Setup Projects, such as TFS and MSBuild integration, support for creating new web sites and ISO 19770-2 Tagging support.

When we deprecated the Visual Studio Setup Project in Visual Studio 2012, many customers shared feedback through the UserVoice site regarding additional features they’d like to see added to InstallShield Limited Edition based on their previous experiences with Visual Studio Setup Projects. These scenarios tended to coalesce around these areas:

  • Installing x64 applications and services
  • Installing Windows Services
  • Distributing the VSTO runtime
  • Using Relative Paths within project files
  • Improvements when migrating installation projects and custom actions to InstallShield Limited Edition

While designing Visual Studio 2013 we reviewed the feedback developers shared with the Flexera Software team and looked for ways to improve the InstallShield Limited Edition extension for Visual Studio to align with the needs you have expressed. For this new release, Flexera Software will add several new features in InstallShield Limited Edition including:

  • Support for installing x64 applications and services
  • Support for installing Windows Services
  • Support for distributing the VSTO runtime
  • Support for relative paths in project files

Migrating installation projects and custom actions

Some customers have reported issues during project conversion particularly when converting setup projects that included custom actions. Our joint goal is to ensure that all Visual Studio Setup Projects migrate seamlessly to InstallShield Limited Edition so your work and investment can move forward. This includes projects with custom actions and they should migrate appropriately. We are working closely with Flexera Software to understand why projects and custom actions fail to migrate so we’d like those of you who have migration failures to submit a detailed bug on the failure using the Visual Studio Connect site. Look for updates on this issue as we learn more.

Beta available for Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013 Preview

The changes above will be available not only for Visual Studio 2013 users but also for existing Visual Studio 2012 customers. You can get the Beta release for InstallShield Limited Edition by going to:


Please try out this new version and tell us what you think!


Tony Goodhew Small

Tony Goodhew – Program Manager, Visual Studio IDE Services

After the better part of 19 years spent in Visual Studio (and precursor tools) Marketing, Tony decided that he should either make a career of it or try something new. He joined the IDE Services team as a Program Manager in early 2012 and has been working on Visual Studio extensibility and the Visual Studio Industry Partner Program since then. While not known for enjoying pina coladas and getting caught in the rain, his version of paradise would include a cheeseburger.

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  • Please add 1 and 6 and type the answer here:
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  • Please remove the picture. I can comment this way.

  • InstallSheild??? who asked this crap?? LISTEN TO YOUR USERS FIRST STUPID MICROSOFT!

  • WOW! Folks really hate install shield limited.

    This post has the distinction of being the only post on the Visual Studio Blog to ever get only 1 star.

    (Yes, this post is voted lower than the post previewing the visual studio 2012 UI fiasco!)

    I doubt it has much to do with the quality of the writing in the post though.  More likely it is due to Microsoft ignoring cries from the (formerly favored) desktop developers to give them back the more functional setup project.

  • @Stephen:

    I think what you are seeing, at least in my case for sure, is the frustration of developers receiving one slap in the face after another as Microsoft keeps making decisions that make our lives more difficult.

    In the end they are messing with our livelihood and are totally ignoring... well maybe not ignoring as much as not caring one bit... if we like it or not. They have a new agenda with an end game that leaves us paying them monthly fees for the privilege of using their cloud based development tools to create cloud/store apps so that they can skim 30% of our sales as an additional tithe. Unfortunately for them Windows 8 is a mess and the store apps are a joke so they cannot get us to agree to the new direction willingly, which has resulted in them deciding to push ahead in the mistaken belief that they are still the only game in town.

    I have been a big fan of the pre Windows 8 OS's and enjoyed using the majority of the Visual Studio releases. But now they are replacing pieces of the IDE with sub-par components that are lacking features, harder to use and generally the entire IDE is filled with bugs and poorly redesigned. This makes me look bad as each patch seems to make the whole environment less stable and code that has worked for 3 years suddenly fails when simply recompiled, with no changes. This makes me unhappy.

    So yes, to quote Brian Harry, our feedback in the various blogs here have been a bit 'brutal'. But there is little doubt that Microsoft has earned it.

  • Instead of taking a paycheck from Flexera to advertise their product, you should officially support WiX and add some better Visual Studio tooling support for it.

  • Comments are are being censored. Fake comments to support the new sh*t are added. You are a joke.

    Bring back Setup and Deployment project.

    And remove that picture, which is disturbing to the eye.

  • Bring back Setup and Deployment project.

    See also here the orginal (aborted) poll with thousands comments: visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../3041773-bring-back-the-basic-setup-and-deployment-project-

    This one is censored and has fake comments. *** Everybody is and will be stiking to VS2010 ***. F wont make a dime. And will probably be hated forever by developers in the future for this bad move.

  • @Sharp Coder @William Gates - I have noticed over the past several years as I make comments on MSDN blogs that some of the time (~15%) my comment does not post.

    Because of that I always copy my comment before posting.  If, after hitting the post button, you are scrolled to the top of the blog page, then your comment did not post.  You need to scroll back down and paste it in again.  (After that it usually posts just fine.)

    I seriously doubt they are censoring comments on this blog post.  Mostly because they just don't care what you (or I) have to say about it.  It is clear that we are professional developers working for companies.  Microsoft has made it clear that they are no longer interested in working on that development story.  (They want people who make games and apps for RT and Phone.)

    Far more likely, you have experience this MSDN Blog bug (which they also seemingly can't be bothered to fix).  I have seen other post about this issue before, so it is not uncommon.  

    So to sum up, its a bug, not censoring.  I am fairly sure of this because censoring implies that they care/fear what you have to say.  They just don't.  They know that they have you on vendor lock in and that your company will keep paying the bills for at least a few years yet.  <Ctrk + A, Ctrl+C - Post>

  • How about you open source the InstallShield Limited Edition and let the community maintain it?

  • Guys you can always use:

    NSIS: sourceforge.net/.../nsis - Excellent open-source installer

    WISE: www.wise.com/.../Installations.aspx

    Inno Setup: www.jrsoftware.org/isinfo.php - Also Free

    WIX (open source) http://wix.sourceforge.net/

    More on: www.installsite.org/pages/en/tt_nonmsi.htm

  • @Jammie:

    Installshield is not owned by MS so they cannot open source it and, as it is just a crippled version of Flexara's flagship installation program, it would equate to giving away their primary source of income.

    Not likely to happen.

    The best thing we can do is not use the express edition and convince our companies to not buy the full product, informing Flexara your are doing so because of their cheap product included with VS, so that Flexara looks at the deal with MS as a mistake and backs out. This is probably our only hope as MS is too arrogant to change direction at this point and likely considers the limited edition as nothing more than a marketing bullet point.

    Either way Flexara is going to lose out on this, money and/or reputation, so the only question is how long it will be before they realize it and bail.

  • Bring back "basic setup and deployment project" was one of the most requested feature on user voice and it's just declined by MS!!! That's bad! Do you care of your customers?

    Deployment in the MS world is just a nightmare:

    1) Web deploy for web app,

    2) msi for desktop windows app

    3) XapDeploy.exe for windows phone

    4) nuget.exe to deploy libraries on a Visual studio project.

    They are so many package and deploy systems !

  • Another prime example of MS not listening to any one. Ridiculous!

  • I think Dave's comment at 15 Aug 2013 12:16 PM couldn't be put better

    They don't call this a Limited Edition for nothing.

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