Incompatible Installer Projects

The one thing that frustrates me a bit is how often the Visual Studio installer projects change from version to version. In fact, as of this writing there is no project template for Visual Studio 2017. It just so happened that the project that I was working on, was originally developed in Visual Studio 2015. It included a setup project that was now no longer available in Visual Studio 2017. It simply displayed the setup project as (incompatible).

Some might argue that I should just go back to using Visual Studio 2015, but now where would be the fun in that? As it turns out, there is a solution. Head on over to Tools,  Extensions and Updates...

The Extensions and Updates form is displayed. Select the Online node tot he left and enter Visual Studio Installer Projects into the search menu. If your results are filtered by Relevance, the Microsoft Visual Studio 2017 Installer Projects extension should be the first result. Click on the Download button.

After the download has completed, a watch icon will be displayed next to the extension in the list and a message will be displayed at the bottom of the screen saying: Your changes will be scheduled. The selected installs, updates and uninstalls will begin when all Microsoft Visual Studio windows are closed. Close your solution and exit Visual Studio.

The installation process will begin and be completed in no time at all. When you open the solution again, the setup project will be displayed as available.

In the Add New Project window, you will also see the familiar Visual Studio Installer template under the Other Project Types templates.

It remains to be seen how well the extension works with larger projects, but for now it is definitely a solution. Note that you can also download the installer from the Visual Studio Marketplace. There is a Q & A section that you can browse if you are having any problems with the extension.

Error on Setup Project Build

If you receive an error when building the setup project similar to this:

Build started ...
Build Failure. Error: Invalid Configuration
Parameter name: configurationName
========== Build: 0 succeeded, 0 failed, 0 up-to-date, 0 skipped ==========

The problem lies with Lightweight Solution Load being enabled. Right-click the solution in Visual Studio and click on Disable Lightweight Solution Load which should be the second last menu item in the context menu. Then close the project and open it again. This will load all the projects in the solution and you should be able to build your setup project successfully.

Keep an eye on your Output window for any additional issues.