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Setup and Deployment Projects

Visual Studio provides templates for four types of deployment projects: Merge Module Project, Setup Project, Web Setup Project, and Cab Project. In addition, a Setup wizard is provided to help step you through the process of creating deployment projects. You can see the templates and the wizard in the New Project dialog box under the Setup and Deployment Projects node.


The following are guidelines for choosing the right type of deployment project for your project.

Project Type


Merge Module Project

Packages components that might be shared by multiple applications.

Setup Project

Builds an installer for a Windows-based application.

Web Setup Project

Builds an installer for a Web application.

Cab Project

Creates a cabinet file for downloading to a legacy Web browser.

Smart Device Cab Project

Creates a Cab project to deploy device applications.

Merge Module projects allow you to package files or components into a single module to facilitate sharing. The resulting .Msm files can be included in any other deployment project.

Cab projects allow you to create a .Cab file to package ActiveX components that can be downloaded from a Web server to a Web browser. The distinction between Setup and Web Setup projects is where the installer will be deployed:

  • For a Setup project, the installer will install files into a Program Files directory on a target computer.

  • For a Web Setup project, the installer will install files into a Virtual Root directory on a Web server.


    Once created, the type of a project cannot be changed between Web and standard. If you have created a standard deployment project and later decide to deploy it to a Web, you will need to create a new project.

See Also


How to: Add Items to a Deployment Project

How to: Create or Add Deployment Projects


Merge Module Projects

Setup Projects

Cab File Projects

What's New in Deployment


General, Projects and Solutions, Options Dialog Box