Skip to main content

How to Create an Installer for a Windows Software

Alessio has reported security vulnerabilities to Google and Apple. He also has a past as a web developer and web server administrator.

How to Create an Installer for Your Software

How to Create an Installer for Your Software

You may be the owner of a software development company or a simple hobbyist: in any case, finalizing the project of new software for Windows is an important milestone. After months of code writing and debugging, everything is ready to promote your new creation to the public. Still, there is only one last thing to never forget before officially releasing software to the public: creating an installer.

Why Do I Need an Installer for My Software?

Most of the software available on the market, except standalone applications, is distributed with a specific installer that automatically configures the program to work on the PC. It installs the components of your software and creates shortcuts and the uninstaller. Failing to provide a good and intuitive installer is the first step to a bad user experience with your software.

The Most Famous Installer Builders Are Usually Very Expensive

When choosing how to build an installer for our software, one typically refers to specific developer tools that serve this purpose. The most popular ones are generally expensive, with prices that start from around $400 and arrive at even $3000 and more. Moreover, some of these tools require advanced knowledge.

Those who develop software just as a hobby or owners of small businesses may feel discouraged even because of these high prices. It was exactly my case, as I had to release a free stopwatch software to attach to a scientific article published by my father and needed a simple and cheap installer builder for it.

Luckily I have discovered a not much expensive alternative to the most popular installer builders, appreciated especially by Italian developers for its richness of features and ease of use.

The Italian Alternative to the Most Famous and Expensive Installer Builders

CyberInstaller Suite is an installer builder created by the Italian software house SilverCyberTech. It is available in 4 kinds of licenses:

  • Free, with limited features and for freeware packages only;
  • Personal, with more features and for freeware packages only;
  • Professional, with all the options available for local packages deployment, also for commercial software;
  • Enterprise is the most advanced license that allows online updating of the distributed software.

The availability of a free edition and the price of an Enterprise license (less than $200) well show the big difference in prices between this software and other popular but not necessarily better solutions.

The home page of CyberInstaller Studio

The home page of CyberInstaller Studio

Get Familiar With CyberInstaller Suite

CyberInstaller Suite contains several applications: the one you need to build your installer, featuring an intuitive GUI, is the Studio module.

CyberInstaller Studio allows tweaking every aspect of the installer. The various sections in the left column group all the settings you can edit to customize your final project. In the first section, it is possible to set the name of the distributed software and to enable some features, including:

  • Read-only installation: Creates a faster installation experience in which the user cannot modify parameters;
  • Silent installation: It does not show any interface to the final user: as soon as they open the installer, it will automatically configure the software on the PC in the background, then will notify the user only when installation is complete;
  • Roll-back feature: It is an innovative feature that keeps track of every change in the system so that, during the removal of the software, it is possible to revert the original configuration;
  • Minimal interaction installation: It allows you to release an installer that skips various passages and asks for only the minimum information from the user.

The other sections of the Studio module allow to customize any other aspect of the installer: appearance, documentation to be shown to the user, languages, required external components, registry keys and values, links to be created and attributes to be set, minimum requirements, an online signature of the installer and more.

The Documentation section in CyberInstaller Studio

The Documentation section in CyberInstaller Studio

CyberInstaller Studio Allows To Customize GUI, Documents & Languages of Your Installer

One good aspect of CyberInstaller Studio is the availability of tweaking options to customize any aspect of the installer's interface. You can choose custom logos to be displayed, eventual backgrounds, then the welcome and the title bar images. After that, you can choose to upload documents, like the license agreement and eventual reminders to show before and after installation.

Finally, you can select the languages to include in your installer. CyberInstaller Studio includes Italian, English, and German as the default choices. The community of developers with translation skills can provide also support for other languages and make them available for free download.

The translator feature in CyberInstaller Studio

The translator feature in CyberInstaller Studio

Scroll to Continue

In case you need to create your custom language file, you can achieve it by also using the Translator feature (currently available only in the Professional and Enterprise license): with it, you can choose a source language file (like Italian, English, and German, those already implemented by default) and then translate all the strings. The tool does not provide automatic translation, so it is always advisable to get the help of a professional translator when using it.

The serial codes generation process

The serial codes generation process

Restrict Installation to Users With a Serial Key

CyberInstaller Studio allows the generation of a specific number of serial codes starting with a provided generation key. You can use this feature when you need to distribute software to a limited number of users.

An installer built with CyberInstaller Suite prompts a serial code to proceed with the installation.

An installer built with CyberInstaller Suite prompts a serial code to proceed with the installation.

Serial code generation can be helpful also when distributing a free and a commercial license of your software with two different installers. In this case, you can host the installer of the free edition of your software on your website to be always downloaded and used without a serial code. Then you can generate a new installer whenever someone purchases a paid license, each with their serial code.

By doing this, you can also track eventual keys illegally shared online and get back to who originally bought that license. Since CyberInstaller Studio allows you to save the work project and retain all its settings, it is easy to generate a new installer (with a specific serial code) every time someone purchases your program.

Configuration of online updates

Configuration of online updates

Release Online Updates for Your Software

CyberInstaller Suite doesn't just provide an installing solution: it also implements support for online updates of installed applications. The Enterprise license, the only one providing advanced networking features in addition to the standard ones of CyberInstaller Suite, integrates an online update module in every distributed application. Every software house owning a website can maintain an online versions definition file meant to provide the update module with all the details about possible new releases to allow the final user to keep their software updated.

Digital signature settings available in CyberInstaller Studio

Digital signature settings available in CyberInstaller Studio

Digital Signature Ensures Integrity of Your Installer

When you release software to the public, it is a good practice to apply a digital signature to the installer to ensure its integrity. A digital signature certifies that your installer is not corrupted and has not been altered. This is especially important to ensure your users will always get an authentic copy of your software in case they download it from an untrusted source that is not your website.

CyberInstaller Suite implements a feature that allows signing the installer and all the executables included in the package.

The script editor in CyberInstaller Studio

The script editor in CyberInstaller Studio

The Script Editor Is the Icing on the Cake

The conclusion one can come to after having tried this installer builder is that it is very intuitive to use. It does not matter what setting you will tweak in your package: CyberInstaller Studio allows you to do it without leaving a friendly and easy interface.

Despite this, if you love code editing, you can do it even when developing the installer for your application. CyberInstaller Studio, in addition to its fully-functional and friendly interface, includes a script editor.

Maybe most people would be already done with the potentialities offered by the GUI of the Studio module. Still, the script editor is an extra feature that well shows how CyberInstaller Suite is meant to be used by everyone, not only by people looking for a simple and intuitive way to distribute their applications but even by those highly skilled developers who prefer to do code editing even when it comes to building the installer for their applications.

Conclusions

If you need an intuitive tool to build an installer, CyberInstaller Suite is maybe one of the best choices. It is cheaper than most popular alternatives while offering a complete solution for creating fully-functional installers. It is one of the best installer builders out there. It outperforms the most expensive alternative builders for the impressive number of features and the pleasant and intuitive interface of Studio, which can be easily practiced both by hobbyists and professionals.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Alessio Ganci

Related Articles