ShareWare and FreeWare programs for domain administrators and Windows users


Tested on:

Windows 7 Enterprise 32 bit

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Windows XP SP2 32 bit

Page updated April 2015

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Syntax description of install and uninstall silent deploy switches.

Active Setup InnoSetup  InstallShield  Msi Windows Installer  NullSoft (NSIS)   Wise

The "shortcut" to each of these installers is located in my menu version of the PsPad Editors "Help/Online Help/vbScript" menu.

Microsoft Active Setup:

When running your ComputerJob script to start an installation, some vendors need to apply User Settings in C:\Users or in HKCU registry.

If your end users isn't member of the local administrators group (recommended by Microsoft), you are probably using a Management System running with local system account, so you can't write to the end users User Settings.

In order to solve that, you can use Microsoft's Active Setup, that probably isn't supported by your Management System functions, but is "managed" by the Windows operating system.

InnoSetup: Freeware - Open Source - Creates EXE files.

  • Supports Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP (including x64 editions)
  • Extensive support for installation of 64-bit applications on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Both the x64 and IA-64 architectures are supported.
  • Multiple platforms (IA-32, x64 and IA-64) in a single binary
  • Prior versions supported Windows NT 3.51 (Before v3.0) and Windows 3.X (Before v1.3)
  • Supports creation of a single EXE to install programs for easy online distribution.
  • Supports disk spanning.
  • Customizable setup types, e.g. Full, Minimal, Custom.
  • Complete uninstall capabilities.
  • Integrated support for “deflate”, bzip2, and 7-Zip LZMA file compression. The installer has the ability to compare file version info, replace in-use files, use shared file counting, register DLL/OCXs and type libraries, and install fonts.
  • Creation of shortcuts, including in the Start Menu and on the desktop.
  • Creation of registry and INI file entries.
  • Integrated Pascal scripting engine.
  • Support for multilingual installs.
  • Support for passworded and encrypted installs.
  • Silent install and uninstall.
  • Full source code is available (Borland Delphi 2.0-5.0).
  • Supports Unicode and right-to-left languages.

InstallShield: Subscription - Not Open Source - Creates EXE or MSI

  • InstallShield is primarily used for installing software for Microsoft Windows desktop and server platforms, but it can also be used to manage software applications and packages on a variety of handheld and mobile devices.
  • InstallShield generates an .exe file which can be used on the destination computer in order to install the payloads from the source computer where it was created.
  • It is possible to specify questions, set prerequistes and registry settings that the user will be able to choose at the installation time.

Msi Windows Installer: Freeware - Not Open Source, but Free SDK - Creates MSI

A package describes the installation of one or more full products (Windows Installer does not handle dependencies between products) and is universally identified by a GUID (the PackageCode property). A product is made up of components, grouped into features, and


  • The package author defines the product features. A word-processing program, for example, might provide features for the main program executable, the program's help files, and optional spelling checker and stationery modules.
  • A feature is a hierarchical group of components
  • A feature can contain any number of components and other features (a feature contained in another feature is called a "subfeature").
  • Many software packages only involve one feature.
  • More complex installation programs usually display a "custom setup" dialog box at run time, from which the end user can select which features to install or remove.


  • A component is the basic unit of a product
  • Each component is treated by Windows Installer as a unit: the install developer cannot, for example, use a condition to specify to install just part of a component.
  • Components can contain files, directories, COM components, registry keys, shortcuts, and other data.
  • The end user does not directly interact with components.
  • Components are identified globally by GUIDs, thus the same component can be shared among several features of the same package or multiple packages, ideally through the use of Merge Modules (although, for this to work correctly, different components should not share any sub-components).

NullSoft (NSIS): Freeware - Open Source zLib license - Creates EXE

  • Script-driven installation system for Microsoft Windows
  • The NSIS compiler program makensis compiles scripts into executable installation programs.
  • Features a streamlined graphical user interface
  • Supports LZMA compression, multiple languages, and an easy to use plugin system.

Wise: Earlier Freeware, now Subscription - Not Open Source - Creates EXE

  • How to find the Wise Solutions website, it's showing a 404 error?
  • Is the vendor Symantec or Altiris?
  • Do you need a list of the old Wise install and uninstall deploy switches

;o) Your brain is also like a parachute. It works best when it's open

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