The Lounge is rated PG. If you're about to post something you wouldn't want your
kid sister to read then don't post it. No flame wars, no abusive conduct, no programming
questions and please don't post ads.
We publish all our desktop apps using ClickOnce, which is built into Visual Studio. It is so much easier than the installer. Easier for the developer to set up and publish new versions of the app. Easier for the user because we configure it so that apps always check for updates when the app starts and automatically applies the update if one is available. We use this for desktop apps distributed to people who work at our office and for an app we developed that is run by external people across the country.
I worked as an install developer for over four years for a large shop--yes,I actually spent 8+ hrs/day doing nothing but install dev. Because I now work for a small company w/many small projects, I made heavy use of the VS Setup template because it was quick and easy. When I ran into the sun-setting of Setup templates, I did a systematic search for a 3rd-party installer. While I did find several products that would have worked, the best value for me was Advanced Installer by Caphyon. The Pro version is just $299, it's easy to use, it works, and the vendor publishes frequent updates with fixes and enhancements. They also have bigger dollar versions in case I ever need it, and a free version. I was able to do things like consolidate 32- and 64-bit installs into a single installer, easily install two windows services (I wrote in VB.NET) in a single installer, specify pre- and post-build actions just like in VS build, and launch my install builds from the cmd line using VS post-build actions. It's not the Holy Grail, but worth every penny. And no, I don't work for Caphyon. Hope this helps.
I have only one copy of Visual Studio left on my computers. Once the things I have to finish up are done, this copy will also be going to East Hyperspace. They wanted to make certain that we all follow their great ideas, instead they assured that I forget about them as quickly as possible.
Even if they realize what went wrong at some point, I still don't trust them anymore. They will do it all over again at the next opportunity. Just stop giving your money to Mickeysoft and look for someone who does not treat you like a fool.