How to create an MSI installer using Inno Setup

Alright, guys, that’s the 3rd and last part of our Distributing Python Apps for Windows Desktops series. In this post, I’ll show how to create an MSI installer using Inno Setup and add MSVCR’s DLLs to make Python work on any Windows computer.

The other two parts are:

In the first part, we’ve learned how to create an MSI with cx_freeze and use the MSVCR from your own OS with the include_msvcr parameter. After that, we have updated our program to include an Auto-Update service.

OK, but now we can’t use the cx_freeze to make an installer anymore. It happens because Esky modifies your program creating an executable that verifies your program updates on FTP if it has some update available, esky downloads it, checks if everything is ok and remove the old files. No problem, let’s solve this with Inno Setup

1st thing, download and install Inno Setup.

Inno Setup generates a script file (.iss) for you to make your own installer. You can write your own script or use the Script Wizard.


First, we’ll use the wizard and the file that we have generated on the previous post (Part II). Unzip this file.



Back to Inno Setup click File >> New. The wizard is pretty straight forward. Fill the blanks as you like.


In the next screen, you can choose the folder to install your App. The default is Program Files, but if your code is not signed (using a Code Signing tool) you may have problems with Windows UAC. It will not recognize the authenticity of your code and you can struggle with antivirus, Windows security and it can stop your program from doing the auto-updates. So, at first, you better use another folder. You can type a path or use a Directory Constant.


On the next screen, you’ll add the programs, folders, and files that will be installed. In this case, boneca.exe and python27.dll at the root level and the boneca-1.0.1.win32 folder with its content.

Don’t forget to add boneca.exe as Application main executable file.


Now, go ahead with the standard procedure to windows programs (next, next, next…). At the end, it creates a .iss file. You can compile and it will generate a .msi Installer. But, hold on! We still need to add the MSVCR’s DLLs. So download it according to your python version:

Now update your .iss file, so it can install those DLLs too. I used a solution I’ve found on StackOverFlow and it works fine.

At Files section insert the vc_redist’s path that you’ve just downloaded:

Source: "vcredist_x86.exe"; DestDir: {tmp}; Flags: deleteafterinstall

At the end of the Run section, paste it as it is:

; add the Parameters, WorkingDir and StatusMsg as you wish, just keep here
; the conditional installation Check
Filename: "{tmp}\vcredist_x86.exe"; Check: VCRedistNeedsInstall

 INSTALLSTATE_INVALIDARG = -2; // An invalid parameter was passed to the function.
 INSTALLSTATE_UNKNOWN = -1; // The product is neither advertised or installed.
 INSTALLSTATE_ADVERTISED = 1; // The product is advertised but not installed.
 INSTALLSTATE_ABSENT = 2; // The product is installed for a different user.
 INSTALLSTATE_DEFAULT = 5; // The product is installed for the current user.

 VC_2005_REDIST_X86 = '{A49F249F-0C91-497F-86DF-B2585E8E76B7}';
 VC_2005_REDIST_X64 = '{6E8E85E8-CE4B-4FF5-91F7-04999C9FAE6A}';
 VC_2005_REDIST_IA64 = '{03ED71EA-F531-4927-AABD-1C31BCE8E187}';
 VC_2005_SP1_REDIST_X86 = '{7299052B-02A4-4627-81F2-1818DA5D550D}';
 VC_2005_SP1_REDIST_X64 = '{071C9B48-7C32-4621-A0AC-3F809523288F}';
 VC_2005_SP1_REDIST_IA64 = '{0F8FB34E-675E-42ED-850B-29D98C2ECE08}';
 VC_2005_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X86 = '{837B34E3-7C30-493C-8F6A-2B0F04E2912C}';
 VC_2005_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X64 = '{6CE5BAE9-D3CA-4B99-891A-1DC6C118A5FC}';
 VC_2005_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_IA64 = '{85025851-A784-46D8-950D-05CB3CA43A13}';

 VC_2008_REDIST_X86 = '{FF66E9F6-83E7-3A3E-AF14-8DE9A809A6A4}';
 VC_2008_REDIST_X64 = '{350AA351-21FA-3270-8B7A-835434E766AD}';
 VC_2008_REDIST_IA64 = '{2B547B43-DB50-3139-9EBE-37D419E0F5FA}';
 VC_2008_SP1_REDIST_X86 = '{9A25302D-30C0-39D9-BD6F-21E6EC160475}';
 VC_2008_SP1_REDIST_X64 = '{8220EEFE-38CD-377E-8595-13398D740ACE}';
 VC_2008_SP1_REDIST_IA64 = '{5827ECE1-AEB0-328E-B813-6FC68622C1F9}';
 VC_2008_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X86 = '{1F1C2DFC-2D24-3E06-BCB8-725134ADF989}';
 VC_2008_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X64 = '{4B6C7001-C7D6-3710-913E-5BC23FCE91E6}';
 VC_2008_SP1_ATL_SEC_UPD_REDIST_IA64 = '{977AD349-C2A8-39DD-9273-285C08987C7B}';
 VC_2008_SP1_MFC_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X86 = '{9BE518E6-ECC6-35A9-88E4-87755C07200F}';
 VC_2008_SP1_MFC_SEC_UPD_REDIST_X64 = '{5FCE6D76-F5DC-37AB-B2B8-22AB8CEDB1D4}';
 VC_2008_SP1_MFC_SEC_UPD_REDIST_IA64 = '{515643D1-4E9E-342F-A75A-D1F16448DC04}';

 VC_2010_REDIST_X86 = '{196BB40D-1578-3D01-B289-BEFC77A11A1E}';
 VC_2010_REDIST_X64 = '{DA5E371C-6333-3D8A-93A4-6FD5B20BCC6E}';
 VC_2010_REDIST_IA64 = '{C1A35166-4301-38E9-BA67-02823AD72A1B}';
 VC_2010_SP1_REDIST_X86 = '{F0C3E5D1-1ADE-321E-8167-68EF0DE699A5}';
 VC_2010_SP1_REDIST_X64 = '{1D8E6291-B0D5-35EC-8441-6616F567A0F7}';
 VC_2010_SP1_REDIST_IA64 = '{88C73C1C-2DE5-3B01-AFB8-B46EF4AB41CD}';

 // Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 x86 Minimum Runtime - 11.0.61030.0 (Update 4) 
 VC_2012_REDIST_MIN_UPD4_X86 = '{BD95A8CD-1D9F-35AD-981A-3E7925026EBB}';
 VC_2012_REDIST_MIN_UPD4_X64 = '{CF2BEA3C-26EA-32F8-AA9B-331F7E34BA97}';
 // Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 x86 Additional Runtime - 11.0.61030.0 (Update 4) 
 VC_2012_REDIST_ADD_UPD4_X86 = '{B175520C-86A2-35A7-8619-86DC379688B9}';
 VC_2012_REDIST_ADD_UPD4_X64 = '{37B8F9C7-03FB-3253-8781-2517C99D7C00}';

function MsiQueryProductState(szProduct: string): INSTALLSTATE; 
 external 'MsiQueryProductState{#AW}@msi.dll stdcall';

function VCVersionInstalled(const ProductID: string): Boolean;
 Result := MsiQueryProductState(ProductID) = INSTALLSTATE_DEFAULT;

function VCRedistNeedsInstall: Boolean;
 // here the Result must be True when you need to install your VCRedist
 // or False when you don't need to, so now it's upon you how you build
 // this statement, the following won't install your VC redist only when
 // the Visual C++ 2010 Redist (x86) and Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redist(x86)
 // are installed for the current user
 Result := not (VCVersionInstalled(VC_2010_REDIST_X86) and 

And now compile your file. You have a setup.exe as the Output and this is able to install our boneca.exe and the necessary DLLs to run it on every goddamn Windows.


If you read the 3 posts you’ve learned how to create an executable using Python with auto-update feature and an MSI installer to distribute it for any Windows version.

Originally published in Portuguese!

How to create an application with auto-update using Python and Esky

This is the 2nd part of  Distributing Python Apps for Windows Desktops series. The 1st part is here: How to create a Python .exe with MSI Installer and CX_freeze

Every time a program has to be updated is a burden. Remember Java! It feels so uncomfortable, even if you’re an IT guy. You don’t like it, nor does your users. So be nice to them and make an auto-update on your program so they don’t have to download new versions.

To show how to create an application with auto-update using Python and Esky I’ll use the boneca app from part 1. The program was written and compiled but it doesn’t have an auto-update yet. You just generated an installer and the clients using that version will never have updates again. So, now we’re creating a new version using Esky:

pip install esky


Let’s modify the script to import esky and find for updates on the internet when they’re available.

# right after import win32con
import esky

if hasattr(sys,"frozen"):
    app = esky.Esky(sys.executable,"")

When the program initializes it will look up the given URL for some update to download. It does that based on version number. You just have to create a folder and enable it on Apache. I’m using one of my sites:

Now, instead of using the boneca.jpg I’ll use this image (chuck.jpg):


#replace boneca.jpg to chuck.jpg

Now, let’s update to use esky:
import esky.bdist_esky
from esky.bdist_esky import Executable as Executable_Esky
from cx_Freeze import setup, Executable

include_files = ['boneca.jpg','chuck.jpg']

    name = 'boneca',
    version = '1.0.1',
    options = {
        'build_exe': {
            'packages': ['os','sys','ctypes','win32con'],
            'excludes': ['tkinter','tcl','ttk'],
            'include_files': include_files,
            'include_msvcr': True,
        'bdist_esky': {
            'freezer_module': 'cx_freeze',
    data_files = include_files,
    scripts = [
            gui_only = True,
            #icon = XPTO  # Use an icon if you want.
    executables = [Executable('',base='Win32GUI')]

As you can see, I’ve changed the version number to 1.0.1 and from this version, our program will have an auto-update. This file is different from the previous one, so I’ll try to explain everything that is happening here.

1. Importing bdist_esky and an Executable Esky.

import esky.bdist_esky
from esky.bdist_esky import Executable as Executable_Esky

2. Defining options for the new argument bdist_esky:

        'bdist_esky': {
            'freezer_module': 'cx_freeze',

3. Adding  data_files cause Esky uses it to include files on the app’s folder.

      data_files = include_files,

4. Adding scripts so Esky will now which files will be the executables.

    scripts = [
            gui_only = True,
            #icon = XPTO  # Use an icon if you want,

Run the with bdist_esky version to generate the version.

python bdist_esky

On your dist folder:

Inside the zip file you will see this:


So what happened? Esky created a program boneca.exe that will be responsible for the update of your app, including itself. When it’s open it’ll look for new Zip Files with New versions on the URL that I’ve specified. If it’s a new version it will download and change the folder content cleaning the last version.

Esky handles issues such as internet connection problems, energy failure or any other problems while downloading the new version.

So from now on, our app has auto-update which is So Cool, isn’t it??? But unfortunately this version doesn’t have MSVCR support, so in the next and last part of this series, I’ll show how to create your own installer with Inno Setup.

To show how the update works I’ll create one more version (1.0.2) and I’ll change the image again from chuck.jpg to seu-boneco.jpg (it means Mr doll in Portuguese):


Don’t forget to add seu-boneco.jpg in the include_files of

include_files = ['boneca.jpg','chuck.jpg', 'seu-boneco.jpg']

Now, let’s generate the new Esky file:

python bdist_esky

New file on our dist folder We just have to put this on the URL that we provided and next time someone uses the boneca-1.0.1 it will be auto-updated.

If you want to test this app, download, unzip the file and open boneca.exe

When you press Print Screen it will show the Chuck Image, but, at this point, it will be looking for updates and the next time you open the program it will show “Seu Boneco” image.


Code on Github.

Wait for the 3rd Part!


Originally published in Portuguese!

How to create a Python .exe with MSI Installer and Cx_freeze

This is the first part of Distributing Python Apps for Windows Desktops. This is the most basic part and this matter was discussed in a lot of websites, but my idea here is to present how I’ve created the sample program and show how to generate a simple MSI installer with the necessary DLLs to run on Windows.
Every Python executable needs C++ Runtime DLLs to run on windows. You must have heard of it as Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable or you can find it as MSVCR. The version you will need depends on which Python version you are using.

So, what we’re going to do:

  1. Our program in python files
  2. Write a setup file for the executable
  3. Generate the MSI installer

Alright, I’m creating a stupid script that I’ve used to troll one of my friends. This will replace the function of Print Screen keys and every time the key is press a picture of a Doll appears. I called it Boneca (That’s Portuguese for doll).

baby-looking-like-his-doll (it's portuguese for doll)
import os
import sys
import ctypes
from ctypes import wintypes
import win32con

byref = ctypes.byref
user32 = ctypes.windll.user32

    1 : (win32con.VK_SNAPSHOT, 0), #  "PRINT SCREEN"
    2 : (win32con.VK_F4, win32con.MOD_WIN)

def handle_print_screen ():

def handle_win_f4 ():
    user32.PostQuitMessage (0)

    1 : handle_print_screen,
    2 : handle_win_f4

# Registering the keys without the print
for id, (vk, modifiers) in HOTKEYS.items ():
    #print "Registering id", id, "for key", vk
    if not user32.RegisterHotKey (None, id, modifiers, vk):
        #print "Unable to register id", id

# Calling the functions and removing from the register when quitting.
    msg = wintypes.MSG ()
    while user32.GetMessageA (byref (msg), None, 0, 0) != 0:
        if msg.message == win32con.WM_HOTKEY:
            action_to_take = HOTKEY_ACTIONS.get (msg.wParam)
            if action_to_take:
                action_to_take ()

        user32.TranslateMessage (byref (msg))
        user32.DispatchMessageA (byref (msg))

    for id in HOTKEYS.keys ():
        user32.UnregisterHotKey (None, id)

As a reference to this code, I’ve used Tim Golden’s post[1].

Basically, this code creates two shortcuts on Windows, one for Print Screen that when pressed it calls the handle_print_screen function which loads the boneca.jpg file. The other shortcut calls handle_win_f4 to quit the program. It doesn’t have a GUI so it makes sense.

So far, so good. It’s a very simple script but now we have to freeze our code which means we will compile the script and generate an executable containing the Python interpreter, the modules, and files, everything in the same place. To do that we’ll need a setup file and chose one tool to freeze our apps such as py2exe, py2app, cx_freeze or Pyinstaller. In this case, we’ll use the cx_freeze.
from cx_Freeze import setup, Executable

    name = "boneca",
    version = "1.0.0",
    options = {"build_exe": {
        'packages': ["os","sys","ctypes","win32con"],
        'include_files': ['boneca.jpg'],
        'include_msvcr': True,
    executables = [Executable("",base="Win32GUI")]

This is very straightforward and documented as disutils. But look, we’re using include_msvcr that will add the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable DLLs into your executable. It will copy the existing DLLs of your OS (if you’re using windows). That’s the only way your program will run on another Windows because it needs those DLLs. Also, you can download MSVCR installer and incorporate on your own installer using Inno Setup, for instance. We’ll do this in the 3rd post.

Now, we’ll generate an MSI using the command line:

python bdist_msi

Fine, now we have a dist folder with a boneca-1.0.0-win32.msi file inside or boneca-1.0.0-amd64.msi (for x64 OS) and now you can install and use the program.

Scripts on my GitHub:

It was originally published in Portuguese.