Creating a simple multi-install package for your customers

If you've downloaded something like the "Google Pack" in the past and wanted something like that for your companies products. Something that, with a small footprint, lets users pick and choose a suite of components to install, downloads the requested components on request, and installs them all in one swoop.  Then I'd recommend you check out the "Power Toys Pack Installer" project on codeplex.

With the beta release of our Power Toys Pack Installer we've also released the source code!  This means that you can check out how we've done this and leverage our work to build something similar for your companies components.  We'd of course love, if you did this, to get some credit and perhaps some source code back. 🙂

Even if you aren't interested in using this tool for your own needs you might want to use it to download the additional development tools released by Microsoft.  We'll be constantly adding new releases to this list and I expect it to grow significantly over the next several months. 

We've already had one happy customer.

"Please add more to the download and setup list. This is great!!"

If you have an idea for a Microsoft tool we should include... please let us know.

Comments (6)
  1. Mike says:

    I don’t mean to be facetious, but isn’t having .NET Framework 2.0 as a prereq sort of incompatible with "small footprint"?

    I had a similar "huh?" moment a couple of weeks back when looking at the sync/backup powertoy – not only did it demand the .NET framework, but you couldn’t even download it without first installing a browser plugin (!) as part of some WGA enforcement kick.

    I worry that this direction is going to get you  feedback that’s positive (because only MS enthusiasts will meet the prereqs for trying things out) but not particularly representative.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Mike: In our case the tool is meant mainly to install additional components for folks that allready have VS 2005 development tools.  So the downloader itself is only useful in our scenario once you have the .NET 2.0 library anyway.

    For other folks: Consider it interesting sample code.  I wouldn’t of course, recomend this for distributing something like native windows XP apps when most users won’t have the runtime.  I’ts more of a design prototype.

  3. Rob Caron says:

    Visit CodePlex to find the Power Toys Pack Installer , which you can use to simplify your Visual Studio

  4. JHindman says:

    Eh.  I think having a framework requirement isn’t the end of the world, not even requiring 2.0.  Vista has gone gold and is being shipped to manufacturers and has .Net 2.0/3.0 baked in. Building tools/apps that require something released a year ago and will be available in the OS in the next rev is not what I would call restrictive.

    If you are going to build an app suite to run on Windows, doesn’t it stand to reason that you are likely an MS enthusiast of some kind anyway?  

    This is *exactly* the kind of tool I was looking for for a specific project, so the source is definitely being added to my warchest of code.  (with credit given responsibly)  With a ‘simple’ app that now has nearly a dozen seperate modules to manage and maintain, having a ‘meta’ installer will be the holy grail.  

  5. Phil Best says:


    We are just getting started with Installer.

    We have a basic msi package and want to expand that so that.

    Software version is upgraded

    Option install of the Database mdb

    Can you tell us how we can get really basic and slightly advanced installer usage instructions.

  6. MSDNArchive says:

    Jhindman: Thanks for the feedback!

    Phil: I’m not sure I full understand your question. It sounds like something you probably want to ask here:

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