Have a read through this page
Regarding installation, take a look at the FREE software called Inno Setup (google it)
Sorry, I forgot to mention.. If your looking at protection based on installing only, then most software installers including INNO allow you to require a registration code before its being installed.
The link I posted was related more so to protecting the solution after it has been installed, or for trial purposes.
P.S I assumed windows due to the .exe reference
Yes im on windows and the software would be for only windows for now. i downloaded the INNO and it seems awesome, i espicially enjoy the fact its free, as i have no cash to put into this database at the moment lol. have you tried INNO, just wondering if there is a way to set it up so that every user who downloads will have their own registration key to activate the software, it doesnt matter if its before or after install, i know that INNO has a option to set a password to continue the installation, but a single password for all users wouldnt work out to well once the password gets passed around all over the web.