Wix bootstrapper setup.exe

As part of an effort to address several edgy installer and deployment requirements, I finally decided to wrap our installer .msi in a setup.exe. Previous deployments required our users to download a setup.exe which would download, and launch a second .msi. Being constrained by the wix toolset, and not having the luxury of install shield or another setup application made this a non-trivial task.

Our bootstrapper requirements were fairly straight forward and consistent with any other …

Extract the internal msi

Launch the external msi with maximum allowed privileges. If running as admin, install per / machine, else install per/user. This allows us to get around some of the Vista UAC nonsense in determining whether the installer is running as admin or not.

Launch upgrade path REINSTALLMODE=vomus if the application was previously installed and running setup.exe.

There’s several bootstrapper stubs out there and available on the internet, some even containing code, but none of them seemed to do the job. Our Rube Goldberg solution ….

Use the wix 3.0 setupbld.exe tool along with the wix default default setup.exe stub.

Setupbld.exe is a nice tool that is part of wix 3.0 that beautifully wraps an msi with any setup.exe stub. The setup.exe stub that is bundled with wix 3.0 fulfills the above installer requirements that we have, so there was no need to even write our own stub. The only problem a person may have with this approach is not functional, but rather cosmetic. The generated setup.exe bootstrapper contains the resource information from the stub. Ie. You’re stuck with the generic icon as well as version information contained in the stub. One work around for this (that’s tough to automate in a build system) is to manually crack open the stub.exe in visual studio (simply file open) and change the resource information to that which you prefer.

So … our process ….

1. Autobuild generates the binaries

2. Autobuild builds the installer msi wrapping these binaries

3. Autobuild wraps the msi into a setup.exe

a. setupbld -out Setup.exe –mpsu setup.msi -setup setup.exe -title “Product Setup”

If we had wanted to inject our own branding into the build, we could update the setup.exe bundled with wix 3.0 with our own branding / version information.

One thought on “Wix bootstrapper setup.exe

  1. Hi David,Any idea how to change the icon of the resulting executable? In exploring the stub setup.exe that comes with Wix 3.0 (via Visual studio 2005), I don’t see anything that resembles an icon…

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