How can I create a link to an executable installed by the Visual Studio installation project


I am working on a visual studio setup project. I want the setup project to install the executable for a windows forms project, and then put a link to that executable in the Programs Menu on the target machine. In the Setup Project I clicked 'Add'-> Project Output... and selected the Primary Output from my WindowsForms App. So that should install the program right? Ok, so next I went to the File System on the Target Machine, right clicked on the Primary output from WindowsForms App and said Create Shortcut. I then moved that shortcut into the User's Programs Menu folder.

I tried running the installer and it works ok but for some reason whenever I click shortcut that is in the Programs Menu It actually installs the program before running it every time. Why does it do this? Did I add a shortcut to the wrong thing? If I navigate to the directory application directory and click the .exe file it just opens the program without doing any install. Does anyone know what is going on?

I read somewhere that I could actually make a shortcut in windows explorer that targets my output .exe and then add that file to the installer project but I can't see how that would work on every machine it gets installed on.

I think this is how I did it... been a while tho.

  1. Application Folder
  2. Primary Output From MyProjectName (Active)
  3. Right-Click => Create Shortcut


  1. Users Program Menu
  2. Right Click => Add Folder
  3. Go back to "Application Folder"
  4. Move the shortcut over to the program menu
  5. Rename it to whatever you need. The "Type" should say "shortcut"

Is that kinda what it looks like for you right now? Something in * User's Program Files * My App Folder * Start My Application (shortcut)

And need I say, MS's install projects are a nightmare :) Just open the .VDproj and look. I never thought i'd say I like the csproj xml format, but in comparison...