Guide on Creating MSI Installer

Microsoft Installer, or MSI, is a file format and technology designed for Windows operating systems that lets you install, maintain, and remove software. They provide an installation method that’s reliable and consistent for customers.

But how do you create one? 

By the end of this guide, you’ll learn how to create MSI installer and gain the skills required to distribute your software programs effectively.

1. Create a Project

The steps listed below will assist you in starting a new project:

  1. Choose an Installer Creation Tool

Select a software installation tool that works well for you. NSIS, WiX Toolset, InstallShield, and Advanced Installer are popular options. We’ll focus on using Advanced Installer in this manual.

  1.  Install the Installer Creation Tool

Download the tool on your computer and follow the installation instructions in the documentation or website.

  1. Launch the Installer Creation Tool

Launch the program (Advanced Installer) and start creating your project. The steps may vary depending on the tool you’re using.

  1. Choose the Project Type and Options

When you start Advanced Installer, a dialog will appear where you can pick the kind of project you wish to create. You can choose the right project type by following the steps: 

  1. Choose the “Simple” project type. This option offers a user-friendly interface and is appropriate for many basic installations.
  2. Select “Use wizard…” and uncheck it. This gives you more control over the project creation procedure and lets you adjust settings however you want. 
  3. Select “Create Project” to move on to the following step.
  4. Save the Project

Click the “Save” toolbar button to save the project. Pick a suitable name and destination folder. The final MSI package location will also be created in this folder. For example, you can name your project file “story.aip.”

2. Add Files and Folders

You can include all the parts and resources required to install your application by adding files and folders. Follow these steps to get started: 

  1. Locate the files on your local disk or in a designated folder.
  2. Open your installer construction tool and navigate to the “Files and Folders” section.
  3. Look for a menu option such as “Add Files” or a toolbar button with a similar name.
  4. Click the button, then navigate to the folder where your files are kept.
  5. Click “OK” after selecting the files you want to include in the installation.

3. Build and Install the MSI Package

All settings and components are assembled into a distributable format during package-building. You can follow the steps below to complete the procedure:

  1. Use your installation creation tool to find the build option represented by a toolbar button or menu item.
  2. When you select the build option, a “Build Project” dialog will show up.
  3. Wait for the build process to complete. The dialog shows the build’s status and any detected faults or warnings.
  4. Check to see if the MSI package was successfully generated after the build is finished. 
  5. Run the installer package from the toolbar.
  6. Follow the installation steps shown on the screen.
  7. Complete and verify the installation. 

4. Create Shortcuts to the MSI Installer

Thanks to shortcuts, users can instantly launch your program from the Start menu or desktop. 

Follow these steps to create your shortcuts: 

  1. Go to the “Files and Folders” section of your installer creation tool. 
  2. Locate the application shortcut folder and choose the file or component for which you want to create a shortcut.
  3. Modify the shortcut name and save your changes. 

Congratulations, you’ve just finished building an MSI Installer. But that’s only the beginning. As you roll out new program versions, keep your installer updated and maintained. I hope your applications are successful to new heights!