How to Create EXE Program Files in Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition

Written by kevin walker
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How to Create EXE Program Files in Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition
(Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Visual Studio 2008 is the development environment published by Microsoft to provide programmers with a tool for creating applications for Windows XP or later. It includes three main languages: Visual Basic, Visual C++ and Visual C#. The express edition is a limited free version of Visual Studio available for students and others who wish to learn programming. However, the free version can still produce EXE files for distributing to other computers. Here we will use Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition
  • Windows XP or later

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  1. 1

    Open your application in Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition.

  2. 2

    Click Build. You have two choices now: You can choose to simply build an EXE file and its libraries or you can choose to publish a set-up application that will install the program on a client's computer. This will automatically build "Start" menu shortcuts and an uninstallation program for your application.

    If you just want to build an EXE file, go to step three. If you want to publish a set-up program, go to step four.

  3. 3

    Click "build (your project name)."

    If there are no errors in your project, then the status bar at the bottom of the window will soon read "Build succeeded."

    Navigate to the location of your project using Windows Explorer. By default, it will be in the folder "My Documents" under Windows XP.

    To get there, click "Start," "My Documents," "Visual Studio 2008," "Projects," and then the folder with the name of your project. Again, there will be another folder with the same name as your project.

    Go into the "bin" directory. There will be either a "Debug" folder or a "Release" folder here (or both.) Choose "Release" if you have it.

    Your .EXE file will be in that folder.

  4. 4

    Click "Publish (your project name)."

    Click "Browse" and select the location where you wish to publish your application. For the moment, a folder on the desktop would be a good choice.

    In the next window, you'll be asked how the users will install the application. Choose "from a CD-ROM."

    Next, you'll be asked how the application should check for updates to itself. For the moment, choose "This application will not check for updates."

    Click "Finish."

    Three files will be placed in the folder on your Desktop: the set-up application, an autorun.ini file to allow your set-up program to be autorun from a CD and a manifest file that is needed by the set-up application.

Tips and warnings

  • Visual C++ and C# 2008 work the same way, except they provide you with a wider variety of options for building your application into an EXE file. However, they do not give you an option to publish your application to a set-up program as Visual Basic does.

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