Looking for Setup Projects in Visual Studio 2012?

There aren’t any. Microsoft quietly removed all Visual Studio Installer project types from Visual Studio 2012, instead pushing the use of InstallShield Limited Edition:


Windows Installer Deployment: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/2kt85ked.aspx

Visual Studio 2012 New Features: Compatibility: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/zainnab/archive/2012/06/05/visual-studio-2012-compatibility-aka-project-round-tripping.aspx


There is surprisingly little information about this online. I got a chance to ask about it at TechEd 2012, and was told that WiX Toolset is the “future” of setup projects in Visual Studio, but they didn’t want to bake it in because WiX is so frequently updated.

Problem #1: None of the existing Project templates that included setup projects were updated to use either of the two options. (In fact the Shared Add-in project was removed altogether).

Problem #2: InstallShield LE is not a reasonable option (3rd party, requires registration and I hear projects expire), and WiX required learning yet another dialect.

Problem #3: A LOT of people have significant investments in Setup Projects.


Why did Microsoft remove them? Possibly for the same reason the word “legacy” is used when referring to desktop applications – Microsoft would love to take 30% of all your earnings through the Windows Marketplace, so they are certainly not going to help you deploy “traditional” apps if they can help it. It’s a really bad decision based on a painfully flawed strategic direction… and I doubt there is much we can do about it.

Unless somebody figures out how to put the functionality back in…