IExpress is a hidden tool, bundled with Windows, that permits creating self-extracting/self-installing packages with just a few clicks. In this tutorial I will show, how to create a self-extracting package for my application.
Special Tutorial Requirements:
- Windows XP / Vista
So, let's begin.
1. Launch the 'Run' dialog, through 'Start -> Run...' (if you are using Windows XP), 'Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Run' (if you are using Windows Vista) or by just using the keyboard shortcut - 'Win + R':
2. To launch IExpress, type 'iexpress' in the 'Open' field and press Enter:
The IExpress wizard launches:
As I am creating a new self-extracting package, I will leave the selection at 'Create new Self Extraction Directive file'.
3. Now I have to select the package purpose. I will select 'Extract files only', as my application is very small and doesn't require any additional libraries (so, I don't need an installer). If you want to distribute your installation package by bundling it in a self-extracting package, you must select the 'Extract files and run an installation command' option. If you want to create a CAB file, you must select the 'Create compressed files only (ActiveX Installs)' option.
4. Now I have to enter the package title. You can enter here the name of the application:
5. If I want, I can specify a confirmation prompt. This prompts the user, if he wants to install the package. I will select the 'Prompt user with' option and will enter here a sample text:
6. If I want to show a license agreement, you can specify it in the next step. You just have to select the 'Display a license' option and specify the license file, if you have one. Otherwise, use the 'Do not display a license' option:
7. Now I have to select the package files. I will use the 'Add' button to add the files:
8. When I've selected all files, I have to specify how my installation program's window will be displayed. I have these options: 'Default', 'Hidden', 'Minimized', 'Maximized'. I will select the 'Default' option:
9. If I want, I can specify the finish message. This message will be displayed at the end of the extraction process.
10. Now I have to specify the package file name. I also must specify some additional options. I will leave the default options, but I have the opportunity to hide the file extracting progress animation from user.
11. In the next step, I can specify if I want to save the Self Extraction Directive file. If I save it, I can re-use it again to create a new package, without entering the same information. I will save it:
Now I'm ready to create the package:
If my package was successfully created, I will see this message:
There I can see the compression rate, the time it took to process the package and the throughput.
In the specified folder I can see the new package:
This tutorial showed the basics of deploying an application using the IExpress tool. You can also use this tool to create self-extracting/self-installing packages for any files you want to distribute.