Using InnoSetup on a Mac with Parallels Desktop


I have only ever worked on a Mac. However, to be able to test website with a variety of Windows browsers, some time ago I installed Parallels Desktop to be able to run Windows 7.

Now that I have started using Xojo I would be keen to use Parallels Desktop with InnoSetup to create an installation program. Would this work? If so, would I just create the Windows version of my program, put it in a folder I can share with Parallels Desktop, and go from there?

Yes; this has worked just fine for me.

I think Bob Keeney has even figured out how to use a post build script with one of the VM’s to be able to do all the packaging & everything from his Mac

This definitely works.

You can also use InnoSetup with CrossOver Office, which can be faster to start up than an entire VM with Windows.

Right. I ended up using vmClipboard from F.W. Roller ( and am able to use a command line to start the InnoSetup script. So with one click I run my app through AppWrapper and DMG Canvas on the Mac side and and InnoSetup on Windows. Really, the only manual setup I have now is making sure the build folder is shared between the Mac and the VM environment.

Thanks for all the replies. I will check out Cross Over Office because the Windows partition works so slowly on my Mac.

In view of my very limited knowledge of Windows, I am sure I will be back with more questions :slight_smile:

Remember, even if you use CrossOver to more easily create installers, you are still going to have to test those installers (and your app) on an actual version of Windows.

Hi Paul

I guess at that stage I can turn my Mac over to Parallels Desktop and test the installer on the installed Windows 7?

My biggest problem is going to be knowing what to do with the dll files that are produced by Xojo. Also, it is better to separately download the Microsoft C++ Library, or can the installer also download and install that if it is not present?

I’ve done just about all of my Windows installers using InnoSetup in Windows running in Parallels. I do my Windows debugging using Xojo in Parallels as well. I haven’t had any problems with either that were related to Parallels. My only recommendation is that if you’re going to use Xojo in Parallels on a Mac make sure you have at least 8 GB of RAM.

Hmm, I will have to check tomorrow whether my MacBook Pro can take more than 4GB of RAM (and of course how much). It wouldn’t hurt of upgrade if it is possible because as I said in a previous post, my Parallels setup with Windows 7 seems as if it is swimming in molasses.

You don’t do anything with the DLLs except leave them in the Libs folder and include them in the installer. There is a sample InnoSetup script here:

There is more information about Installers in User Guide Book 4: Development, Chapter 1: Deployment, Section 1: Windows.

I use VMware Fusion, so I don’t have specific Parallels advice, but here are some general VM tips:

  • Move the WIndows 7 VM file to an external drive (or get an SSD).
  • Consider setting the VM file to a fixed size rather than allow it to auto-expand.
  • Allocate enough RAM so that it doesn’t swap to disk. At least 1GB for Windows 7.

I have to think that you are right in looking at memory, Cliff.

I am running Windows 7 under Parallels (v9), and it is quite fast. I notice, though, that just between pro_vm_app, and kernel_task, my machine is using over 4 GB of memory. Your machine may be swapping a lot, leading to the slowdown of your VM.

I’ve been using Windows in Parallels on a variety of Macs for many years. If your Macbook Pro has 4 GB of RAM or less you’re definitely going to have performance issues. I think all of the Intel MBPs can take at least 8 GB.

Thanks Paul. That script makes life very easy!

I have just ordered 8GB of RAM memory, should arrive tomorrow. It’s all coming together nicely.

We use InnoScript Studio to create our Windows installer and kSign to sign it, both on Win 7 on a Parallels VM on my Mac. Works like a charm. If there’s anything I can help with on that front do drop me a note.

Apropo ksign and codesigning. I would use an VM in favour of cross over office (it doesn’t matter if parallels or vmware). When codesigning for windows you have to do this for your Build Files and your setup.exe aswell. You also need to install your certs and an valid internet connection and a webbrowser and much more… so better use a VM.

For myself I am using VMware Fusion 'cause the vms and virtual Disks are interexchangeable with my ESXi and Linux Hosts.

I can’t imagine that there should be much difference in speed between Parallels(7) and VMware Fusion(6), however I find it hard to tweak VMware Fusion to match the speed of Parallels.

In most day to day tasks, VMware Fusion is fine. Launching is relatively quick and most tasks perform to my satisfaction. However, I need to use Dragon Naturally Speaking (processor intensive) and Parallels doesn’t have the lag that VMware Fusion has.

I am using a very light install of XP on both to try to keep resources available.

Recently, I had to port my Xojo app to Windows and did a Windows 7 install on VMware Fusion. The install went smoothly and creating an Inno install script just worked the first time I used it.

To cut down a few steps, you could share your Xojo Windows build folder (on the Mac) with the VM, and then just rerun the Inno script after each new build. This would save you from having to keep copying the files to the VM to run the install script. If you want, you could even set the install file to be saved to a folder somewhere on your Mac.