Creating a Setup Launcher

InstallShield 2020

Project:This information applies to the following project types:

Basic MSI
InstallScript MSI

Note that InstallScript installations always include a setup launcher.

Advanced UI and Suite/Advanced UI installations also always creates a setup launcher; they run .msi, .msp, InstallScript, and .exe packages. To learn more, see Creating Advanced UI and Suite/Advanced UI Installations.

InstallShield lets you specify whether you want your installation to include a Setup.exe setup launcher. A Setup.exe setup launcher is required in the following cases:

You want to automatically update or install the Windows Installer engine on a target system, when necessary.
You are building a multilanguage installation project and you want the language selection dialog to be displayed.
Your project includes InstallShield prerequisites.
Your project includes the .NET Framework.
You are building a release for an InstallScript MSI project and it uses the traditional style for the user interface.
You are building a release whose product configuration includes support for installing multiple instances of a product and you want the instance selection dialog to be displayed when appropriate.
You are building a release for a Basic MSI project that includes billboards.

The Setup.exe setup launcher is a bootstrap application that manages the aforementioned scenarios.

The Setup.exe tab for a release in the Releases view is where you specify information such as whether you want to use a Setup.exe launcher. To learn more, see Setup.exe Tab for a Release.

Tip:You can also specify setup launcher requirements in the Setup Launcher panel of the Release Wizard.

Windows Installer and Setup.exe

If it is possible that Windows Installer is not present on a target system, or if your installation depends on certain functionality that is available in only a certain version of Windows Installer, InstallShield gives you the option of including with your installation a redistributable that installs Windows Installer. If you select this option, InstallShield creates a Setup.exe launcher that checks for the presence of Windows Installer on the target system. If Windows Installer is not installed, or a more recent version needs to be installed, Setup.exe launches the Windows Installer installation and then launches your installation package.

For more information, see Adding Windows Installer Redistributables to Projects.

Multilanguage Support and Setup.exe

Depending on your selections in the language-related settings on the Build tab for a release in the Releases view, Setup.exe also gives end users a choice of the language in which to run the installation.

If you plan to distribute your installation in more than one language, Setup.exe is required whenever you want to provide end users the option of selecting which language version of the installation they would like to run. To learn more about multilanguage support, see Creating Multilingual Installations.

InstallShield Prerequisites and Setup.exe

Projects that include InstallShield prerequisites require Setup.exe because Setup.exe checks to see if the target system meets the InstallShield prerequisite conditions. If the conditions are met, Setup.exe installs the InstallShield prerequisites. For more details, see Working with InstallShield Prerequisites that Are Included in Installation Projects.

.NET Framework and Setup.exe

Projects that include the .NET Framework require Setup.exe because Setup.exe checks the target system for the presence of the .NET Framework; if the appropriate version of the .NET Framework is not present, Setup.exe installs it.

To learn more about including the .NET Framework, see Adding .NET Framework Redistributables to Projects.

InstallScript MSI Projects and Setup.exe

The traditional-style InstallScript MSI installations require Setup.exe because Setup.exe initiates the InstallScript engine to display the user interface. For this traditional style, the InstallScript engine serves as an external UI handler.

Note that if you use the new style of UI for an InstallScript MSI installation, InstallShield embeds the InstallScript engine within the .msi package, and a setup launcher is not required.

For detailed information about these two styles, see Using the InstallScript Engine as an External vs. Embedded UI Handler for InstallScript MSI Installations.

Multiple-Instance Support and Setup.exe

If you are configuring your product to allow end users to install your product multiple times in each context on a target system, the Setup.exe setup launcher must be used if you want the instance selection dialog to be displayed when appropriate. The Setup.exe file displays the instance selection dialog.

To learn more about multiple-instance support, see Installing Multiple Instances of Products.

Billboards and Setup.exe

Basic MSI projects that include billboards require Setup.exe because Setup.exe displays the billboards at run time.

For more information about billboards, see Displaying Billboards in Basic MSI Installations.