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Often times I find a tool or utility on the internet such as SnippetCompiler that is very useful. However, many of these types of tools aren't packaged with an installer. I was wondering if there is any quick tool to generate an installer from a single EXE? I am a developer and know about WIX, InstallShield, and adding shortcuts to Program Files and start menu. I am just wondering if there are any quick tools to accomplish the same thing as simply as possible.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You want a program that will create, from a single program.exe a self-installing package that another person can use to install program.exe on their Windows computer and which will then show up in the control-panel remove-applications list with an uninstall optiion.

The simplest I have found is probably Inno Setup. Like several such programs, you write a small text file to tell it what is to be included. Heres an example from an online tutorial

AppName=My Program
AppVerName=My Program version 1.5
DefaultDirName={pf}\My Program
DefaultGroupName=My Program
OutputDir=userdocs:Inno Setup Examples Output

Source: “MyProg.exe”; DestDir: “{app}”

Name: “{group}\My Program”; Filename: “{app}\MyProg.exe”

So you write that file, run Inno Setup and it produces a file that others can download and run to install program.exe on their Windows computer.

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While it's designed for stuff packed into .zip files rather than standalone .exes, NirSoft's ZipInstaller would be right up your alley. It's designed to extract .zip files and install their contents, putting files in the Program Files folder, creating links in the Start Menu, and so on.

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