The following could seems ods, but I used to forget and loose time on this, so here is another article for myself ;-).
I you built an installaiton package using Visual Studio Setup Project, and that you want to include files and/or folders that aren’t compiled sources, you must include them as “content".
There is 2 ways to achieve the task. You can do it using the context menu “View -> File system” and work from there.
The second one, the one I prefer, is to add the folder in the project. “include” the folder I should say.
From there, you put the files you need to include in the package in the folder. I do not say to try to add the files in the Setup project, but in the “startup” project.
Every files must be identified as “content” form the file propertie of the project explorer.
Notes that when you run the project using F5, you wont use those files, but the one that are in the Debug or release folder. So they won’t get modified.
This is better that way. Because modifications of data that may occur during your tests are not reflected in your installation package. (It won’t be “Garbage in Garbage Out").