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October 3, 2009 10:56 AM   Subscribe

How can I (non-programmer), create a customized installer? (see details please!)

I have an application that I have to install on alot of workstations, but it requires to install some MS Office service packs before the ACTUAL .exe file is installed. AND THEN , we still need to copy some data files into different directories. Only after the 20 step installation READ ME is followed to the tee, does the application launch and work correctly. Sorry, I don't know what language it was written in and I don't have any programming experience. I was hoping to make one EXE that does all of the steps automatically in a wizard type format. Sorry for the long explanation!
posted by stevyb to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
AutoIt could do it. If the locations of the files are the same, it's easy. Grab Scite too, and it comes with Scriptwriter which will make the job much easier, by recording all the info you input and all the mouseclicks you make.

The language is very simple to learn too.
posted by Solomon at 11:12 AM on October 3, 2009

Correct Scriptwriter link.

Did someone say three minute edit window?
posted by Solomon at 11:13 AM on October 3, 2009

AutoIt and Script writer looks doable but still looks a little too complicated. Anything else that a little more user friendly?
posted by stevyb at 11:24 AM on October 3, 2009

Inno Setup



is what you are looking for.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 11:35 AM on October 3, 2009

Don't do this. It's not a good idea. You can easily create something that will execute the installation steps that you want. Making sure that your script fails gracefully, doesn't muck up that one computer that has that extra special configuration, and doesn't break when a random user turns the computer off halfway through the installation is the hard part. If you decide to go ahead and use your script, backup, backup, test, test, and test before deploying.
posted by rdr at 12:01 PM on October 3, 2009

If you have a windows domain past windows 2000, you should be able to do this with a group policy.
posted by rhizome at 12:39 PM on October 3, 2009

I will second the vote for NSIS. It is open source (free is a good price) and a very professional package. You do not need to be a programmer to use NSIS.
I was asked to create an installer for the demo of a package that we are creating.
Requirements were MS .NET Framework 3.5, a specific MS control, and the application.
I used NSIS and completed the installer in one day. (YMMV)

Protip: Get a copy of VMWare Workstation (less than $200, or use the 30 day free trial), Create a "typical" workstation that has what most of those machines have on them (OS, apps, etc.). Create a "linked clone" of that image. Test your install package on that. Recreate the linked clone as necessary to retest (it only takes a few seconds to create the linked clone). I had to repeat this process a number of times while getting the steps of the installer down to what I needed.
Feel free to contact me if you need a better explanation.
posted by Drasher at 12:47 PM on October 3, 2009

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