Most computer software is delivered in a compressed form for sale and distribution.  This “setup program” is typically an executable that unpacks the software and installs it correctly on the computer, taking into account variations between computers and customized user settings. 

The software that produces these setup programs is called an “installer.”  Installers are typically one of the most expensive tools a developer will buy, though of course there are free and open source installers available.

Following is a list of installers available today for .NET software and any online reviews.  Price is for one developer license unless otherwise noted.  A plus sign indicates the price is for the standard version, and advanced versions are available.  Please comment if any installers are missing, or if you would like to report any new reviews, updates, errors or broken links, as I will keep this list updated.

Installer Company Price Reviews
ActiSetup Dacris $249  
Advanced Installer Caphyon $249+ Soft
Desktop Authority MSI Studio ScriptLogic $410+ RM
Ghost Installer Ethalone $299+ RBD
GkSetup GkWare $102 for 10  
Inno Setup free AD, CS, LB
InstallAware InstallAware Software $899 AD, AD, IR
InstallConstruct FileStream $395  
Installer2GO SDS Software $49  
InstallMaker Bytessence free Neo
InstallShield Acresso $848+ AD, Build, HBP, IS, VSJ
InstallWizard DigitalWeb $89+  
MSIStudio Avatar Software $995  
NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) open source free FF, LB
Setup Factory IndigoRose $495 CS
Tarma Installer Tarma Software Research $149+  
Visual Studio Installer Microsoft free with Visual Studio IS
War Setup Konsulent Jarle Aase free  
Windows Installer XML (WiX) Microsoft open source free AD, Soft
WinINSTALL MSI Packager Attachmate $1,195  
Wise Installation Studio Symantec $1,199 AD, AD, IS



  • 29-Apr-08: Added WiX
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