Step-by-step instructions to create a Media Center application setup package in Visual Studio

Anthony Park has been working on a Windows Vista version of his MCEBrowser application.  As part of this process, he has posted a set of step-by-step instructions that can be used to create a setup package for a Windows Media Center hosted HTML application using Visual Studio.

The techniques described in this blog post are roughly the same to what we will be documenting in the Windows Media Center SDK for Windows Vista.  If you are working on a Windows Media Center application, I encourage you to take a look at these instructions if you plan on using Visual Studio to create your setup package.

One thing that Anthony does not mention is how to detect versions of the .NET Framework.  If you are planning to include .NET Framework version checking in your Visual Studio setup/deployment project, please take a look at this blog post for suggestions to make your setup package more flexible and support multiple versions of the .NET Framework.

If you are developing Windows Media Center applications, I would also like to encourage you to take a look at the article I previously published that describes how to create a setup package for a Windows Media Center application using the WiX toolset.  There is a bit steeper learning curve to get started with WiX when compared to the Visual Studio setup/deployment project, but I find WiX much more powerful and easier to work with, plus it builds cleaner setup packages that can be more reliably serviced after they have been shipped.


Comments (4)
  1. DarrenY says:

    will this technique of manually updating the registry instead using calling registermceapp work on MCE2005 update rollup 2 as well?

  2. Hi DarrenY – Yes, you can manually update the registry to create the settings that would otherwise be created by RegisterMceApp in Update Rollup 2 for MCE 2005 as well.  However, the scenario described in this blog post with custom strips and tiles only applies to Windows Media Center for Windows Vista.

  3. DarrenY says:

    thanks for the reply

    so i followed the steps in this post to update the registry (this post just registers an html app – not the custom strips, which is another post).  doesnt work on UpdateRollup2.  did a quick test and looks like RegisterMCEApp dumps quite a bit more in the registry.  Are the registry entries created for registered apps different btwn UpdateRollup2 and Vista?  Are these differences documented?  

    thanks for your help

  4. Hi DarrenY – In general, the registry entries created for the registered applications are the same between Update Rollup 2 and Windows Vista.  There are a couple of new items in Windows Vista, but for the purposes of an Update Rollup 2 app, you don’t need to worry about those because any unrecognized values will be silently ignored.

    RegisterMceApp and RegisterApplication both create values under HKLM (or HKCU) SoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionMedia CenterExtensibility in sub-keys named Applications, Categories, and Entry Points – just as shown in Anthony’s blog post.

    I would suggest running RegisterMceApp and then looking at the resultant registry values under those 3 sub-keys and put those into your MSI.

    If that does not work, please export the Extensibility sub-hive and send it to me at Aaron.Stebner (at) microsoft (dot) com and I will take a look and see if I can help.

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