Deployment with IExpress: How to turn your MSI file into an EXE

Katy's Code

I have no problem with MSI file downloads. They are as simple as running an EXE. However, for reasons unknown, a lot of people don’t seem to like or understand downloading and running an MSI file; they feel more comfortable with EXEs. Visual Studio Setup projects turn your application into an MSI and a setup.exe file, which is inconvenient for distribution as generally online we want to provide the user with a single file download. Luckily there is a simple and free solution at hand in the guise of a quirky and little-known application included even as late as the Windows 7 base distribution called IExpress. This tool was originally created to enable branded deployments of Internet Explorer 6 (shocking, I know), but we can subvert it quite easily to our needs.

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