How to configure post-build events for setup/deployment projects in Visual Studio 2005

While researching a previous blog post, I discovered a way to configure post-build events for setup/deployment projects in Visual Studio 2005.  I had not realized that previous versions of Visual Studio did not support configurable post-build events for setup projects, but Visual Studio 2005 does.  In addition, the way to access the UI needed to configure this setting for a setup project is different than for other project types in the Visual Studio 2005 IDE.

The following steps can be used to add a post-build step to your setup/deployment project:

  1. Open or create a setup/deployment project in Visual Studio 2005

  2. Press F4 to display the Properties window

  3. Click on the name of your setup/deployment project in the Solution Explorer

  4. Click on the PostBuildEvent item in the Properties window to cause a button labeled “…” to appear

  5. Click on the “…” button to display the Post-build Event Command Line dialog

  6. Add a command line of your choice in the Post-build event command line text box

  7. Build your project in Visual Studio and verify that the post-build event is executed after the main MSI build

You can also configure a pre-build event in a similar manner – there is also an item in the Properties window named PreBuildEvent.

As I described in this previous blog post, it can be useful to run a script as a post-build event if you want to automatically modify the MSI that is built as a part of your project to include settings that are not available as part of the setup/deployment project options in the Visual Studio IDE UI.


Comments (7)

  1. How to configure post-build events for setup/deployment projects in Visual Studio 2005 Aaron Stebner’s

  2. says:

    Thank you so very much for pointing the way to something that seems so simple, but, since it deviates from the norm, is not intuitive at all. I don’t know how many times I have worked on the properties window and never saw these "special" properties. This blog is almost a year old, but still relevant!

  3. samjac says:


    We’ve just run into a very strange behavior associated with post-build events.  Everything was working fine.  However in the last couple days the post-build event started firing pre-build.  Has anyone else seen this behavior?

    We’re in the middle of investigation and one things we are looking at are recently applied security kb’s



  4. Hi Samjac – I’m sorry, but I’ve never heard of an issue like this.  I’d suggest searching for related bugs on the Visual Studio bug reporting site ( and reporting a new bug if you don’t find one.

    It might also help to search for help on the Setup and Deployment Projects forum at

    I’m sorry I’m not able to be more helpful in this scenario.

  5. Junaid says:

    Thanks! It helps me out!

  6. knockNrod says:

    Thank you! Something about the wording made it obvious that I could use multiple DOS commands, one per line, to copy multiple files. I would have spent hours and likely never hit upon something so blatantly obvious.