About InstallAware Studio Admin

A setup authoring tool for ISVs and enterprises deploying products, patches and web updates.

InstallAware is a software installation solution for Windows Installer that enables MSIcode scripting for rapid setup development without the high cost and steep learning curve of other setup solutions. With InstallAware you can build sophisticated installations in record time without any programming or scripting skills. InstallAware provides you with the latest features and technology support, with the advantages of true rapid-Windows Installer development productivity.

InstallAware Features

Lower Setup Development Costs    

  • Simplified Windows Installer Development - InstallAware’s powerful MSI code simplifies setup development by transparently managing all of your Windows Installer conditions, installation sequences and parameters using a concise and human-readable setup language. Drop-in setup actions are configured using dialogs, without requiring programming skills. MSIcode builds a standard Windows Installer database package that fully supports advertising, install-on-demand, elevated privilege installation, and resiliency.
  • Set up 64 Bit and 32 Bit Systems with the Same Installer - Detect and support ia64 and x64 systems including Itanium, AMD64, and EM64T. InstallAware allows you to ship a single hybrid MSI for both your 32 bit and 64 bit customers.
  • Detect and Manage Setups on Virtual Machines - Now InstallAware can check your target system and detect whether the operating system is running on a virtual machine. A simple checkbox lets you limit distributions to physical machines.
  • Mirrored Code and Visual Development - InstallAware's advanced development tools include wizards, templates, drag-and-drop editing, and refined task views—with the added benefit of immediate MSIcode generation. Start a project in seconds in with visual tools, then switch to the Code View to add branching logic, variables, and advanced configuration options. Unlike InstallShield's isolated script and visual environments, when you modify settings in one view, the other view changes instantly.
  • Import .MSI and .MSM Files - Directly import MSI databases and Merge Modules created by other packaging applications, and edit them within InstallAware.
  • Dialog Designer - InstallAware's powerful dialog editor lets you customize the 15 pre-built setup themes, or design your own themes. A full range of visual controls are available, including Explorer-style browse functionality, and HTML/Flash containers.
  • One-Click Technology Preinstalls - Deploy technology modules and runtimes, such as Microsoft SQL Express 2005 and Crystal Reports, from your setup in a single step. Any related preinstalls are added to your project automatically. Plus, the preinstall sequence branches by platform.
  • Customization without Complexity - InstallAware setups launch without having to install dependencies or script engines. Still, you can completely customize your setup even if you don't have a computer science degree, or advanced Windows Installer knowledge.
  • Exclusive! 1-Click Patching - Select your old and new setups, click Build Patch, and InstallAware automatically generates a native MSP-file that is packaged using advanced compression.
  • Extend Setups with DLLs - Run any DLL as part of your setup, without requiring a particular function format or Windows Installer sequencing. MSIcode allows you to pass parameters from your setup to a DLL and integrate the return values.
  • Extend Setups with Plug-Ins - Build your own setup plug-ins that natively interact with InstallAware MSIcode. Use your favorite programming language to perform complex setup tasks, without being encumbered by MSI constraints or a foreign development environment.
  • Automation Interface - Programmatically create, modify, and compile setups. Available in a standard Win32 DLL that can be called from any Windows application, and as a COM object for use in ASP scripts on a web server.
  • Integrated Product Configuration Management - All the code necessary to build different configurations of your product is included in your project, plus compiler variables allow you to specify different output media, product names, compression settings, even different feature sets from the same source.
  • Reusable Scripts - Reference separate blocks of MSIcode using the Include Scripts command, which allows you to build a collection of setup functions that can be used in many different setup projects.
  • Integrated Debugging - Debug your setups visually with the integrated debugger. Set variable watches, step through code line by line, override variable values.
  • Dynamic Scanning Tool - Automatically add the file dependencies for your application to any selected directory or feature in your project.
  • Simplified Translation Tools - Use InstallAware's visual localization tool to translate your user interface and MSIcode text, or send the freely-redistributable localization tool to an off-site service so they can perform the localization for you. Switch languages at compile time or runtime. Existing translations are preserved when making changes to your MSIcode and user interface.
  • Legacy Project Converters - Automatically import or convert project files from Wise, Inno Setup, or NSIS. Import compiled InstallShield Express or InstallShield Basic MSI projects as .MSI files.
  • Import .REG Files - Directly import Registry Keys and Values stored in .REG files or COM servers. Simply click Import from the Registry View, then browse to the file.
  • Auto-Correcting Fields - Now with the auto-correcting IDE, you are spared from common authoring mistakes and pitfalls. Dismissible help hints have also been added to guide you through certain processes.

Fully Support Installation Standards

  • Complete MSI Support - All InstallAware setups fully support industry-standard Windows Installer technology, and Group Policy management features. No proprietary runtime packages or dependencies are ever required. All packages are built to comply with Microsoft's Designed for Windows Logo certification specifications for application setup.
  • Self Healing Applications - Create self-healing applications by choosing the Advertised File Types option in the InstallAware IDE. No changes to your own program files are required.
  • Installation on Demand - The Advertised Shortcuts option in the InstallAware IDE activates installation on demand for your application. The source files can be placed in a Web Media Block — which accepts any URL or network file path — for remote download and installation.
  • Elevated Privilege Installations - InstallAware setups fully support installation onto secured or locked-down systems with the proper Group Policy settings.
  • Windows Driver Install Frameworks (DIFx) Support - Install drivers on x86, x64, and ia64 platforms. Optionally check for presence of the device, manage signature warnings and Add/Remove Program entries. Complete sample project included.

Improved Download Success Rates

  • Completely Scriptable Web Updates - Make it easy for your users to update their software, by automating the notification, download, and setup process. Deliver unlimited updates without additional usage fees. Plus the update client source code is provided within your project for complete customizability.
  • WebAware Installation™ Technology - Reduce download size by removing technology dependencies (such as the .NET Framework) or rarely used features from your main setup file. The main setup will download them seamlessly from the web as needed. Files required by the minimum configuration are included in the main package, which installs without a web connection.
  • Superior Compression - Reduce the size of your setups and download packages by up to 5x with the LZMA compression algorithm and BCJ2 compression pre-processors. InstallAware provides advanced compression for Windows Installer setups.

InstallAware Leading Installation Technology

  • Run Nested MSI Setups and Capture Progress - Deploy any MSI setup seamlessly within your InstallAware Wizard — even capture progress from the nested MSI. Install any feature set that the MSI offers, fully customizing the setup from the command line.
  • Multi-Instance Support on All Windows Platforms - Allow users to install multiple copies of your application on the same system, without requiring instance transforms or adding an MSI 3.0 dependency. Supports Windows 95 through Windows 7.
  • IIS Support - InstallAware makes it easy to start, stop, and install IIS websites. Set up virtual folders and application servers. Configure permissions, logging, default pages, and MIME types.
  • Dependency Decompressor - Unpack third-party MSIs and Merge Modules you wish to include with your project and leverage InstallAware's superior compression on your application's dependencies during the build process to further reduce the size of your installation package.
  • .NET Support - Create .NET installations and distribute the .NET Framework. Advanced compression reduces the size of the .NET Framework by up to 67%, simply by deploying the Framework with InstallAware.
  • Universal Database Support - Run SQL scripts on Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, and My SQL platforms. Absolutely no client software is required on the target system to connect to the databases. SQL Server instances are now detected automatically on the network.
  • Java Installation Support - Build Java application installations, with support for preinstalling Java Virtual Machines and runtime environments on Windows systems. Complete project sample included.
  • Serial Number Generation - A new sample project provides MSIcode to build a unique 25 digit serial number generator and perform serial number validation in your wizard based on variables such as username, company, and/or other criteria. Serial numbers are not restricted to a simple range of numbers.
  • Multi-Core Compression - Dual core, hyperthreaded processors, and multi core systems are automatically detected, allowing compression tasks to be spread across multiple (logical) CPUs to linearly reduce build times.
  • Dynamic Feature Lists - Use MSIcode and variables to define product features based on target conditions or user entitlements. Only InstallAware provides feature-level customizations at runtime.
  • System Tray Minimized Setups - The new System Tray MSIcode command allows you to minimize your setup as an icon in the system tray. Use the MessageBalloon command to prompt users when a process needs their attention.
  • Schedule Windows Tasks - The new Schedule Task MSIcode command lets you set up jobs to run on a local machine. Check for internet connections, launch programs, and pass command line parameters.

InstallAware User Experience

  • Refined User Interface - Deliver setups that display the latest visual themes. 15 unique dialog themes, non-rectangular setup windows, plus Flash and HTML billboards, make your setups more interesting and more interactive.
  • Collect User Feedback and Product Registrations - An easily edited sample project demonstrates how to perform online user registration as part of the installation process. When uninstalling, the project asks the user for product feedback and submits it to your website.
  • Dynamic User Validation - Use the included Authentication sample project to pass parameters or credentials to your website and save the results in a local file, which you search for the required authentication. Open access to certain features or to the entire setup.
  • Automatic Removal of Prior Versions - When a previous version is detected, InstallAware will provide the option to uninstall it before proceeding with the installation — automatically. Other Windows Installer tools simply allow the setup to fail and exit.
  • Autorun CD Browsers - Create a simple and completely customizable wizard that appears automatically when your product CD is inserted, enabling users to launch setups, view documentation, launch a web browser and view resources on your website. All MSIcode functions are available for use in the CD Browser.

InstallAware Enterprise Software Deployment Support

  • Setup Repackaging - Convert setups to Windows Installer format by capturing the system changes made during the installation process. Enhanced to reduce package clean-up tasks.
  • Active Directory and Corporate Deployment Support - InstallAware setups are easily distributed through Group Policy Objects, and other software distribution systems.
  • Set Access Permissions - Restrict or grant permission to system resources with a single script command. Manage groups and named account privileges.

InstallAware is available in 4 Editions
The features of each edition are shown below:

Features / Editions Express Edition Developer Edition Studio Edition  Studio Admin Edition 
Design Features        
Stand Alone IDE
Visual Wizards
Setup Capture (Repackaging)      
Automatic Vista Certification Compliancy
Dynamic File Linking
Dynamic Features  
Two-Way Integrated Editing (Visual/MSIcode)  
One-Click Patching
Service Support
Database Support
Compiler Directives    
Manual ICE Validation
Automation Interface      
Web Applications
Unlimited Web Updates
Web Update Client Source Code  
Import MSI/MSM Windows Installer Database      
Legacy Installer Conversion (Wise, InstallShield, Inno)
Technology Support        
LZMA/BCJ2 Compression
Multi-Core Compression
256 bit AES Encryption
Windows Installer
Merge Modules
Web Media Blocks (Partial Web Deployment/WebAware Installation)
Interactive Flash Billboards
Interactive HTML Billboards
Maintenance/Repair Installation
DIFx 2.01 Support
One Click 64-bit Support
Target 32 bit and 64 bit Windows with the same package  
Scriptable Uninstallation  
Genuine Scripting for Windows Installer (MSIcode Scripting)  
Call Any DLL Function  
Unified Scripting (Install/Maintain/Uninstall)  
International Support        
Supported Languages 35 35 35 35
Languages Included in Base Package 35 35 35 35
Edit Languages
Redistributable Translation Environment
Runtime Dialogs        
Pre-built Setup Themes 15 15 15 15
Pre-built Runtime Dialogs 265 265 265 265
Dialog Editor    
Create New Setup Themes    
Available Dialog Controls     38 38
Automatic Variable Passing to/from Script    
Alpha Blending and Transparency    
Build and Distribution Media        
CD / DVD Optical Media
Self Extracting EXE
Light Mode Setups (no setup runtime)
Differential Binary Patching
Partial Web Deploy with Web Media Blocks (WebAware Installation)
Custom Icons in Setup Executables
Release Management (multiple builds)
Command Line Build Tools  
Authenticode Code Signing
Redistributable Build Interface    
Web Based Automation Interface      
Automation Interface      
Target Platforms        
Windows 95/98/Me/NT4/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/8.1/10
.NET Framework
Internet Information Services (IIS)
Microsoft SQL Server
Oracle, Oracle Net
Pre-install MSI runtime
Pre-install .NET Framework