How can I add NSIS to a Windows build environment?

From NSIS Wiki

If you develop Windows software with the DDK or PSDK it might be a nice idea to generate the NSIS executable(s) directly after you have compiled your software. I'll show you a quick and dirty way. I presume that you have already setup your build environment.


  • Create a new directory on top of your development tree. I call it installer
  • Put your NSIS script(s) in this directory and make sure that the paths are setup correctly.
  • Copy makefile from your %DDK% or %PSDK% directory
  • Create a new source file. Let's say dummy.c. This file is required because the build environment expect at least one source (*.c or *.cpp) file:
int __cdecl main( void )
    return 0;
  • Create a new source file. For example with this content:

If you need more information about the source file go to MSDN. The important line in this file is: "NTTARGETFILE1=create-packages.h". The build environment will try to create create-packages.h before the compiler starts.

  • How the build environment can create create-packages.h is explained in So create a new
    C:\Program Files\NSIS\makensis.exe /V1 <your_software>.nsi

The build environment does not check if the create-packages.h exists after the command has been finished. :)

  • Go to the parent directory of installer and add installer as last entry of the dirs file:
	dir1 \
	dir2 \
	dir3 \
  • That's all... :)

What happens?

  • After the build environment has compiled the file(s) in dir1, dir2 and dir3 it change to the installer directory.
  • The build environment reads source and sees that it has to create create-packages.h before it can compile. It executes the command "C:\Program Files\NSIS\makensis.exe /V1 <your_software>.nsi"
  • Then it compiles dummy.c. Anyway, our NSIS installer package has been created and that is what we want. :)
  • The only disadvantage of this quick and dirty way is, that we have generated a useless executable. But I don't care... ;)
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