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.

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 7 and 4 and type the answer here:
  • Post
  • Bring back Setup and Deployment project

  • bring back integrated Installer (click once, no downloads, trial versions and so on).

  • Hi Tony,

    Have you actually tried using ISLE?  Please do so.  You may understand the frustration underlying all the comments in the uservoice poll (which you ignored).  If you really want to help, post some decent links to using WIX (especially (for me) involving the TFS build/deploy story).

  • I'm with all these other folks. It's very uncool to remove a most useful part of vs in order to give a leg up to a software supplier. Not only is it discriminatory, it makes the assumption that your current user base are happy to accede to what amounts to extortion. I've used InstallShield before and I have to say it was a pretty awful experience then and not one I wish to go through again. Please return what you took away and admit the decision was just a hoax...

  • I'm not sure anyone with the power to make a change actually reads this but just wanted to put my opinion out there.  I'm pretty sure that this has been going on for so long that it's pretty much "Flogging a dead horse" now

    ISLE is pretty much pointless bloated Adware with little to no active support  

    You wouldn't have all this discord if there there was a deployment solution that actually worked.  Weather it be something Microsoft, Flexera or someone else that developed it.  If it just plain worked and was simple to use a lot of people would be much happier

  • I came to this page just after searching why the InstallShield 2013 LE is installing my X64 project in the Program Files (x86) folder. It's very frustrating to me after read this blog saying that the ISLE 2013 should support X64 installations and in fact still not!

  • visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../3041773-bring-back-the-basic-setup-and-deployment-project-

    Bringback the damn deployment prj. Are u retarded or what ?  Do you need to be told in some special language ?

    Please tell us what is the language you understand. We re currently looking up in some communication mean for the retarded, just in case it may be more useful to convey once again the request

  • My feelings towards developing in the Microsoft ecosphere are so ambiguous -- they have the (by far) best compiler and IDE there is, with integrated debugging and IntelliSense and all that jazz, but what in the name of Christ happened with deployment? Did they just stop thinking after the link stage?

  • Ummm, Microsoft, you really f*cked up putting this InstallShield crap into VS2013 - what in the world were you thinking??? We can't use it; it's crap....

  • How do you add a relative path to your rtf "license file" in the "License Agreement" dialog section?

  • Answered my own question. But for anyone else looking


    This installshield software really is garbage. It doesn't build using devenv from command line. It doesn't support relative paths outside of a project.

    If anyone is interested you can workaround this last one this by creating a class library with links to all of your resources, and setting them to content  & copy always. You can then include this project content in the 'files' section. Hardly a clean/professional solution in otherwise such a good IDE.

  • Right, so been trying to use installsheild to make a deployment, when to their product forums for help.  (Which are shamefully complex to use might I add)

    The most helpful advise I got there was, don't use it.  This from a guy with over 4000 posts on their forums.

    Explain why when you've had such a large amount of feedback on this that you've chosen to ignore the problem.

  • Tony You shall be fired, trust me. You shall be fired IMMEDIATELY.

  • I don't mind learning something new, but InstallShield Limited Edition is really the pits. A simple thing like building an update doesn't work (the original install must be uninstalled) and there is absolutely zero support. With setup and deployment project, it was simple, just change the version and it worked. Microsoft wants nothing to do with it because it is not theirs and Flexera provides no support. Their forums are not only difficult to use, but there are no valid answers to problems.

  • Bring back Deployment Projects, they meet basic needs...

    ISLE most of features are locked down and requires license and ISLE is just an overload of features which many wont need and use.

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