Customizing Shortcuts for Visual Studio

After installing the last several releases of Visual Studio, you’ll find shortcuts to command prompts that automatically set up the PATH, INCLUDE, LIB, and other environment variables. At least with Visual Studio 2010 these command prompts have larger buffers and enable quick edit mode, but some people like to customize these shortcuts to their liking…. Read more

Changes to Package Caching in Windows Installer 5.0

Windows Installer 5.0 is shipping in Windows 7 as part of the operating system. To address the issue where the User Account Control consent dialog is displayed with an “Unidentified Publisher”, the .msi package is cached in its entirety. Prior to Windows Installer 5.0, installation packages, or .msi files, were stripped of their embedded cabinets… Read more

AppCompat in Windows Installer

The Application Compatibility (AppCompat) platform in Windows is a powerful feature that allows for fixes on practically any program or package to be loaded on Windows. Windows Installer takes advantage of a protected database full of fixes in the form of transforms and custom action shims. While looking in a verbose Windows Installer log, you… Read more

Immediate Custom Actions Always Impersonate

Windows Installer is a client/server application. When you install a package using msiexec.exe – which is executed by default in response to shell verbs such as Install – or APIs like MsiInstallProduct the package is initially processed under the user’s credentials. This means, of course, that in over-the-shoulder elevation when administrative credentials are provided it’s… Read more

Windows Installer Errors 2738 and 2739 with Script Custom Actions

Windows Script custom actions should be avoided. They are difficult to debug, get blocked by virus scanners, and are far more susceptible to machine state than native custom actions. That is indicated by Windows Installer error messages 2738 and 2739, which read: 2738, Could not access VBScript run time for custom action [2]. 2739, Could… Read more

Custom Action Guidelines

Rob Mensching, father of Windows Installer XML (WiX), blogs about why managed custom actions are a bad idea. Aaron Stebner follows up by saying (and has said before): “Avoid custom actions entirely if at all possible. “Investigate the WiX build-in custom actions if you find a setup action that is not natively supported in Windows… Read more

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista Available

As Aaron notes, the Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Update for Windows Vista is available on the download center. This patch is available for all supported languages of Visual Studio 2005, unlike the beta which was available in English and Japanese. You should first uninstall the beta update for Vista. Note that you do… Read more

The Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Installation Experience

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 can take a long time to install and may apply to multiple products on your machine, appearing to install multiple times. This is a large service pack and installs a lot of files, fixing many issues and adding several new features to over 200 Visual Studio 2005 editions. What… Read more

Mitigating Custom Action Problems for Patches on Vista

Because some of the custom actions in Visual Studio 2005 are authored to impersonate the non-privileged token of the invoking user on Vista, a mitigation has been checked in for the patch wrapper that is used to add additional compression for the patch and to patch multiple products, if present, without rebooting in between. The… Read more

Impersonating the Right Token in Vista

In The NoImpersonate Bit Mistake, Robert Flaming of the Windows Installer team discusses how some custom actions may fail because they impersonate the non-privileged client token and won’t be able to perform some actions. Such a scenario is described in Custom Actions under UAC on Vista. For administrative users on Vista, a client token would… Read more