Walkthrough: Deploying a Visual C++ Application By Using the Visual C++ Redistributable Package

This step-by-step article describes how to use the Visual C++ Redistributable Package to deploy a Visual C++ application.


You must have these components to complete this walkthrough:

  • A computer that has Visual Studio installed.

  • Another computer that doesn't have the Visual C++ libraries.

To use the Visual C++ Redistributable Package to deploy an application

  1. Create and build an MFC application by following the steps in Walkthrough: Deploying a Visual C++ Application By Using a Setup Project.

  2. Create a file, name it setup.bat, and add the following commands to it. Change MyMFCApplication to the name of your project.

    @echo off
    mkdir "C:\Program Files\MyMFCApplication"
    copy MyMFCApplication.exe "C:\Program Files\MyMFCApplication"
  3. Create a self-extracting setup file:

    1. At a command prompt or in the Run window, run iexpress.exe.

    2. Select Create new Self Extraction Directive file and then choose the Next button.

    3. Select Extract files and run an installation command and then choose Next.

    4. In the text box, enter the name of your MFC application and then choose Next.

    5. On the Confirmation prompt page, select No Prompt and then choose Next.

    6. On the License agreement page, select Do not display a license and then choose Next.

    7. On the Packaged files page, add the following files and then choose Next.

      • Your MFC application (.exe file).

      • vcredist_x86.exe. In Visual Studio 2015, this file is located in %VCINSTALLDIR%redist\1033\. In Visual Studio 2017 and later, this file is located in %VCToolsRedistDir%. You can also download the latest supported redist file from Microsoft.

      • The setup.bat file that you created in the earlier step.

    8. On the Install Program to Launch page, in the Install Program text box, enter the following command line, and then choose Next.

      cmd.exe /c "setup.bat"

    9. On the Show window page, select Default and then choose Next.

    10. On the Finished message page, select No message. Choose Next.

    11. On the Package Name and Options page, enter a name for your self-extracting setup file, select the Store files using Long File Name inside Package option, and then choose Next. The end of the file name must be Setup.exe—for example, MyMFCApplicationSetup.exe.

    12. On the Configure restart page, select No restart. Choose Next.

    13. On the Save Self Extraction Directive page, select Save Self Extraction Directive (SED) file. Choose Next.

    14. On the Create package page, choose Next. Choose Finish.

  4. Test the self-extracting setup file on the other computer, which doesn't have the Visual C++ libraries:

    1. On the other computer, download a copy of the setup file. Then, run the setup and follow the steps that it provides. Depending on the options selected, installation might require the Run as administrator command.

    2. Run the MFC application.

      The self-extracting setup file installs the MFC application that's in the folder you specified in step 2. The application runs successfully because the Visual C++ Redistributable Package installer is included in the self-extracting setup file.


      To determine which version of the runtime is installed, the installer checks the registry key \HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\<version>\VC\Runtimes\<platform>\Version. If the currently installed version is newer than the version that the installer is attempting to install, the installer returns success without installing the older version and leaves an additional entry on the installed programs page in the Control Panel.

See also

Deployment Examples