Nullsoft Scriptable Install System

NSIS or Nullsoft Scriptable Install System is a program to create Windows installers. It was originally developed by Nullsoft, which uses the installer and Others for their media player Winamp. Today NSIS is free software and is licensed under the zlib / libpng license. The source code of NSIS and the downloads are available via SourceForge, where NSIS was chosen in January 2006 on the project of the month.

The NSIS itself has only a command-line compiler and a graphical user interface for them, something which helps when compiling and facilitates some settings. However, several free IDEs for NSIS are available. The most comprehensive is probably EclipseNSIS, a plug-in for the cross-platform, also free Eclipse IDE.

When using NSIS in software products, it is not possible for Microsoft to be certified as "Designed for Windows Vista " to obtain because NSIS is not able to generate the necessary Windows Installer files.

Characteristics (selection)

  • Very small overhead of approximately 34 KB
  • Compatible with all major Windows operating systems (Windows 95, 98, 2000, 2003, 2008, ME, NT, XP, Vista, 7, 8)
  • Three different compression algorithms ( zlib, bzip2 and LZMA ), optionally with solid compression
  • 49 languages, including languages ​​that are written from right to left
  • Plug-in system for almost any extension of the already rich functionality ( eg, there are plug-ins for array operations, advanced mathematical functions or the control of Windows services and processes)
  • Compilation of the installer on Windows or a POSIX compatible system such as Linux or FreeBSD (currently only support x86 platforms )
  • In addition to a "Classic Design" is also a modern design that is very similar proprietary installers.

The scripting language as well as the plugin interface almost unlimited functions can be implemented in self-written installers. This includes managing system services, web-based installations, dynamic updates, repair and rollback capabilities.


An installer is based on a script, each line is a statement. The script file is compiled by the command-line compiler " makensis.exe " to an executable file that contains all files (compressed) and the installation program ( script commands ) and thus can be easily disseminated. As a graphical interface for makensis is MakeNSISW available.

; Example script   Name " My Example "   OutFile " installer.exe "   SetCompressor lzma   InstallDir "$ PROGRAMFILES \ example "   InstallDirRegKey HKLM "SOFTWARE \ example " " installdir "   Load Language File "$ { NSISDIR } \ Contrib \ Language files \ German.nlf "   Page directory   Page instfiles   Section     SetOutPath $ INSTDIR     File " meinbeispiel.exe "     WriteRegStr HKLM "SOFTWARE \ example " " installdir " "$ INSTDIR "     Createshortcut "$ DESKTOP \ beispiel.lnk " "$ OUTDIR \ meinbeispiel.exe "   SectionEnd Specify the destination directory completed installation Opposite, you can see the result of the script above. By using extensions, such as the " Modern UI" ( German: "modern user interface " ) or special plug-ins can also be very visually appealing installation wizard creates.

Thanks to strong compression algorithms and low overhead very small installer are possible, thus NSIS is ideal for the distribution of programs via the Internet.