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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  • Hi Tony

    Are you reading these comments? I'm trying to create a Windows Service and have been unable to make any progress with InstallShield - are you sure this product was reviewed before you subscribed to it? Oh, it builds an install file OK, but when you run it on the host, nothing appears to happen  - no sign of an installation and no errors. I've now re-installed VS2010, but find I've taken advantage of some V2013 facilities, so now have to decide whether I want to undo some code to become VS2010 compatible or have an application I can't deploy! The only solution appears to be to install VS2013 on the proposed host, simply deploy using installUtil and then uninstall VS2013. This is surely not what I'm supposed to do!

    Do you have a proper solution that would actually work as the develop community would expect?


  • A follow-up of my message from 26th March. I've found a solution and that is the WiX Toolset from http://wixtoolset.org. This is an Open Source, free application that integrates with VS2013 and provides all I need.

    Let battle end - no more InstallShield misery.


  • I want back Visual Studio's Setup !

  • Wow. First asking for user voices, than saying "we don't give a s**t what you are saying".

    If your done with ruining Visual Studio, you'll probably find yourself flipping cheeseburgers.

  • Desktop apps are dead you think? Then why did Microsoft bend over and do a 180 with Windows 8.1 "Update" to be more desktop friendly. They brought back the close button and booting to desktop. If the world were so much Store and Web, then we'd all be perfectly happy with Windows RT.

    This lack of setup has been the sole reason I have not allowed my company to migrate beyond Visual Studio 2010. We're gonna be on that for at least a couple of more years unless we find a non-install-shield solution that works seamlessly with our builds and handle dependencies in the solution files. I will be looking into WiX based on the comments in this forum.

    I'm predicting you will be releasing Visual Studio 2013.1 "Update" next year after you figure out what the rest of the Microsoft OS division has figured out already - Desktop apps are here to stay for a few more years whether you like them or not!

  • It has all been said, and summarized in too little to late. Ms clearly wants developers to abandon their platforms and look for a new place to live. This landlord wants to evict and rebuild and get new tenants. Good luck...

    The cost for development and supporting the installation and distribution in win 7 is unsustainable.

    Missing redistributions and complicated licensing ill suited for the applications and Web services.

    We are all out searching for something better, flexera ISLE is not it, nor is WIX. Flexera has no credibility left, WIX send us back to the stoneware.

    If Ms had integrated WIX it could possibly work. There's nothing wrong with the language, it's just primitive.

    If the IDE supported it, but its simply not cost effective.

    I want to focus on creating sweet not installing it, it's just sad that Ms doesn't share that vision...

  • Are you kidding me?  Really are you serious?  I have to pay $4000 for InstallShield and the features I need?  That prices the little guy completely out.

  • Setup project is back in VS 2013:


  • If you come here for the same reason than me, look at this link

    official VS 2013 setup project template


  • Good job you brought back the VS Setup and Deployment in VS2013 - as InstallShield is still as cr@p as ever ;)

  • Oh Microsoft...you just love to disappoint. How are you ok with this? Do you have any idea how bad of a company Flexera is? User questions about it's confusing badly documented "Installscript" language plague the internet, and quite a lot of them have no answer. I work in the software packaging department, and my boss is sorely disappointing with the customer support we have been getting regarding questions on the "community forums", despite the large sum of money we paid for their terrible product... Do yourselves a HUGE favor and move AWAY from Flexera...they are RUINING your reputation... Only recently we just found out about the new Installer Project extension for VS2013 following the user backlash on Installshield... but it's too late for me, and many other thousands that only had Installshield to begin with... So please...for VS2014, GET RID OF INSTALLSHIELD

  • InstallShield is TERRIBLE

  • PLEASE... could you modify the text in this blog, to say that, actually, you *can* download the "setup and deployment project types" via the extension here:


    It's ridiculous that I had to stumble across your blog, and only find out that, actually, you CAN still use these project types, after scrolling through half of a very long pages of comments by (understandably) furious developers.

    As everyone else has said, removing this project type in VS2013 is arguably one of Microsoft's dumbest moves with Visual Studio, and I'm baffled as to the "real" reason behind this decision.  Certainly, your blog doesn't slightly justify the move.

    (However, after recently being forced to learn XCode for writing iPad apps, I can forgive Microsoft for almost anything.  In retrospect, MS's continued work on VS highlights how hopelessly out-of-date Apple's development environment is.)

  • Quite simply put there is nothing useful about Install Shield LE. It will waste your time to even try to make it work, it wont create setup files for your applications in the end it will just copy the solution files like you could have done with a network, usb stick, dropbox etc. Never buy this worthless program.

  • ISLE worthless and simply does not fit into VS product line.   If I want one, I go buy one on my own.  For now, please take it out of 2013, 2014, and 20 forever.

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