Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects - Add

Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects - Add
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Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects
Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects
Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects
Revised on 5-Apr-16
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Add-in Express, ADX Extensions, ADX Toolbar Controls, Afalina, AfalinaSoft and Afalina Software are trademarks or registered trademarks of Add-in Express
Ltd. in the United States and/or other countries.
THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" AND ADD-IN EXPRESS LTD. MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. BY
WAY OF EXAMPLE, BUT NOT LIMITATION, ADD-IN EXPRESS LTD. MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR
FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR THAT THE USE OF THE LICENSED SOFTWARE, DATABASE OR DOCUMENTATION WILL NOT
INFRINGE ANY THIRD PARTY PATENTS, COPYRIGHTS, TRADEMARKS OR OTHER RIGHTS
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Designer for Visual Studio WiX Setup Projects .................................. 2
Introduction ......................................................................................... 5
Why WiX Designer? ........................................................................................................................................ 6
System Requirements .................................................................................................................................... 6
Technical Support ........................................................................................................................................... 6
Installing and Activating................................................................................................................................. 6
Activation Basics ......................................................................................................................................................... 6
Setup Package Contents............................................................................................................................................. 7
Solving Installation Problems ...................................................................................................................................... 8
Add-in Express Products ............................................................................................................................... 8
Getting Started .................................................................................... 9
Your First Standard Setup Project .............................................................................................................. 10
Step #1 – Adding a WiX Setup Project ...................................................................................................................... 10
Step #2 – Setup Project File...................................................................................................................................... 11
Step #3 – Specifying the Target Folder ..................................................................................................................... 12
Step #4 – Application Project Outputs ....................................................................................................................... 13
Step #5 – Creating a Folder Hierarchy and Deploying Files...................................................................................... 14
Step #6 – Creating Registry Entries .......................................................................................................................... 15
Step #7 – Creating the Installer UI ............................................................................................................................ 16
Step #8 – Specifying Custom Actions ....................................................................................................................... 18
Your First Web Setup Project ...................................................................................................................... 20
Step #1 – Adding a WiX Setup Project ...................................................................................................................... 20
Step #2 – Setup Project file ....................................................................................................................................... 21
Step #3 – Specifying the Target Folder ..................................................................................................................... 22
Step #4 – Web Application Project Outputs .............................................................................................................. 24
Step #5 – Creating a Folder Hierarchy and Deploying Files...................................................................................... 24
Step #6 – Creating Registry Entries .......................................................................................................................... 25
Step #7 – Creating the Installer UI ............................................................................................................................ 26
Step #8 – Specifying Custom Actions ....................................................................................................................... 28
How To ............................................................................................. 30
How to add merge module reference to merge module project............................................................... 30
How to add merge module to setup project ............................................................................................... 33
How to make the setup project localizable? .............................................................................................. 35
Localizing the setup project: quick start..................................................................................................................... 35
Behind the scenes ..................................................................................................................................................... 37
Supported and non-supported languages ................................................................................................................. 38
Editing language-specific files ................................................................................................................................... 38
Testing multiple-language installer ............................................................................................................................ 39
Language-specific prerequisites ................................................................................................................................ 40
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Table of Contents
How to prevent running Install and Uninstall custom actions during upgrade ..................................... 41
Tips and Notes .................................................................................. 42
Web Setup ...................................................................................................................................................... 42
Configuring IIS .......................................................................................................................................................... 42
Prerequisites ................................................................................................................................................. 42
Custom Prerequisites ................................................................................................................................... 45
Bootstrapper folders .................................................................................................................................................. 45
My Prerequisites Dialog ............................................................................................................................................ 45
Bootstrapper package ............................................................................................................................................... 46
Install File .................................................................................................................................................................. 48
System checks .......................................................................................................................................................... 51
Related packages ..................................................................................................................................................... 56
Custom schedules ..................................................................................................................................................... 57
Install Conditions ....................................................................................................................................................... 58
Exit Codes ................................................................................................................................................................. 59
Security ..................................................................................................................................................................... 60
Additional Files .......................................................................................................................................................... 61
Merge Modules .............................................................................................................................................. 62
Finally ............................................................................................... 63
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Introduction
Introduction
WiX Designer is a development tool designed to simplify and speed up the creation of
WiX setup projects in Visual Studio. It provides the UI familiar for developers who created
setup projects using Visual Studio Installer.
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Installing and Activating
Why WiX Designer?
Microsoft introduced Visual Studio Installer many years ago. In Visual Studio 2012, they discontinued it in favor
of WiX – Windows Installer XML, a free software toolset that builds Windows Installer packages from XML code.
WiX is a flexible tool that provides an XML interface to features provided by Windows Installer (previously known
as Microsoft Installer). Still the Windows Installer concepts create difficulties for developers. Even with the XML
interface of WiX. This becomes evident in the typical case of "creating a simple installer". Although the concrete
meaning of the term "simple" varies, most developers agree that "seeing the picture" is often more productive
than "reading the text file".
"Seeing the picture" is what Visual Studio Installer provided for developers. With slightly more than a couple of
dialogs, Visual Studio Installer allowed the developers create the "simple" installer they craved for. Now with
Visual Studio Installer withdrawn, WiX Designer fills the gap.
System Requirements
WiX Designer supports creating WiX projects in Visual Studio 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
WiX 3.6 or above must be installed.
Express editions of Visual Studio are not supported.
Technical Support
WiX Designer is developed and supported by the Add-in Express Team, a branch of Add-in Express Ltd. The
Add-in Express web site at www.add-in-express.com provides a wealth of information and software downloads.
In particular, see our technical blog it provides the recent information for WiX Designer developers.
For technical support use our forums or email us at support@add-in-express.com. Urgent problems can be
reported by email or using the Escalate To buttons on the forums.
Installing and Activating
There are two main points in the WiX Designer installation. First off, you have to specify the development
environments in which you are going to use WiX Designer (see System Requirements). Second, you need to
activate the product.
Activation Basics
During the activation process, the activation wizard prompts you to enter your license key. The key is a 30character alphanumeric code shown in six groups of five characters each (for example, AXN4M-GBFTK-3UN78-
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Installing and Activating
MKF8G-T8GTY-NQS8R). Keep the license key in a safe location and do not share it with others. This license key
forms the basis for your ability to use the software.
For purposes of product activation only, a non-unique hardware identifier is created from general information that
is included in the system components. At no time are files on the hard drive scanned, nor is personally identifiable
information of any kind used to create the hardware identifier. Product activation is completely anonymous. To
ensure your privacy, the hardware identifier is created by what is known as a "one-way hash". To produce a oneway hash, information is processed through an algorithm to create a new alphanumeric string. It is impossible to
calculate the original information from the resulting string.
Your license key and a hardware identifier are the only pieces of information required to activate the
product. No other information is collected from your PC or sent to the activation server.
If you choose the Automatic Activation option of the activation wizard, the wizard attempts to establish an
online connection to the activation server, www.activatenow.com . If the connection is established, the wizard
sends both the license key and the hardware identifier over the Internet. The activation service generates an
activation code using this information and sends it back to the activation wizard. The wizard saves the activation
code to the registry.
If an online connection cannot be established (or you choose the Manual Activation option), you can activate
the software using your web browser. In this case, you will be prompted to enter the license key and a hardware
identifier on a web page, and you will get an activation code. This process finishes with saving the activation code
to the registry.
Activation is completely anonymous; no personally identifiable information is required. The activation code can
be used to activate the product on that computer an unlimited number of times. However, if you need to install
the product on several computers, you will need to perform the activation process again on every PC. Please
refer to your end-user license agreement for information about the number of computers you can install the
software on.
Setup Package Contents
The WiX Designer setup program installs the following folders on your PC:

Bin – WiX Designer binary files

Docs – WiX Designer documentation including class reference
WiX Designer setup program installs the following text files on your PC:
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
licence.txt – EULA

readme.txt – short description of the product, support addresses and such

whatsnew.txt – this file contains the latest information on the product features added and bugs fixed.
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Solving Installation Problems
Make sure you are an administrator on the PC.
On Vista, Windows 7 - 8 and Windows 2008 Server, set UAC to its default level.
In Control Panel | System | Advanced | Performance | Settings | Data Execution
Prevention, set the "... for essential Windows programs and services only" flag.
Remove the following registry key, if it exists:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Add-in Express\{product identifier} {version}
{package}
Run setup.exe, not .MSI. If this is applicable, run setup.exe by right clicking it and choosing “Run as administrator”
in the context menu.
Finally, use the Automatic Activation option in the installer windows.
Add-in Express Products
Add-in Express provides a number of products for developers on its web site.

Add-in Express for Microsoft Office and .NET
It allows creating version-neutral managed COM add-ins, smart tags, Excel Automation add-ins, XLL add-ins and
RTD servers in Visual Studio. See http://www.add-in-express.com/add-in-net/ .

Add-in Express for Microsoft Office and CodeGear VCL
It allows creating fast version-neutral native-code COM add-ins, smart tags, Excel automation add-ins, and RTD
servers in Delphi. See http://www.add-in-express.com/add-in-delphi/ .

Add-in Express for Internet Explorer and .NET
It allows developing add-ons for IE in Visual Studio. Custom toolbars, sidebars and BHOs are on board. See
http://www.add-in-express.com/programming-internet-explorer/ .

Security Manager for Microsoft Outlook
This is a product designed for Outlook solution developers. It allows controlling the Outlook e-mail security guard
by turning it off and on in order to suppress unwanted Outlook security warnings. See http://www.add-inexpress.com/outlook-security/ .
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Getting Started
Here we guide you through developing of a WiX setup project using WiX Designer:
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
Your First Standard Setup Project

Your First Web Setup Project
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Your First Standard Setup Project
Here we demonstrate creating a standard setup project on an example of an existing Windows Forms application.
Make sure WiX Toolset is installed on your machine and registered with your Visual Studio. If WiX is not
listed in the About dialog of Visual Studio, install the WiX version supporting the Visual Studio version
that you use.
Step #1 – Adding a WiX Setup Project
In Visual Studio, open your solution, and add a WiX project to it: go to the Visual Studio main menu and click
File -> Add -> New Project to open the Add New Project dialog.
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Choose the Setup Project item in the Windows Installer XML node, specify the project name and click
OK. Visual Studio will add the setup project to the solution and open the Product.wxs file.
Step #2 – Setup Project File
Product.wxs is the source file of your setup project. A newly created project contains the XML code shown
below.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Wix xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/wix/2006/wi">
<Product Id="*" Name="SetupProject1" Language="1033" Version="1.0.0.0"
Manufacturer="" UpgradeCode="aa918e08-bbdd-49fc-a9f2-fef05b153069">
<Package InstallerVersion="200" Compressed="yes" InstallScope="perMachine" />
<MajorUpgrade DowngradeErrorMessage="A newer version of [ProductName] is
already installed." />
<MediaTemplate />
<Feature Id="ProductFeature" Title="SetupProject1" Level="1">
<ComponentGroupRef Id="ProductComponents" />
</Feature>
</Product>
<Fragment>
<Directory Id="TARGETDIR" Name="SourceDir">
<Directory Id="ProgramFilesFolder">
<Directory Id="INSTALLFOLDER" Name="SetupProject1" />
</Directory>
</Directory>
</Fragment>
<Fragment>
<ComponentGroup Id="ProductComponents" Directory="INSTALLFOLDER">
<!-- TODO: Remove the comments around this Component element and the ComponentRef
below in order to add resources to this installer. -->
<!-- <Component Id="ProductComponent"> -->
<!-- TODO: Insert files, registry keys, and other resources here. -->
<!-- </Component> -->
</ComponentGroup>
</Fragment>
</Wix>
We suggest that you modify the file as described below.
As you can see in the code fragment above, the Manufacturer attribute is empty. Checking your project against
the WiX schema will generate an error message so you may want to set this attribute right now.
Pay attention to the MediaTemplate tag: by adding the EmbedCab="yes" attribute, you create a single .MSI file
as opposed to getting a CAB file along with the .MSI.
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Getting Started
Step #3 – Specifying the Target Folder
TARGETDIR is a special Windows Installer property (see here ) that specifies the root destination directory to
which the installer delivers the files on the target machine. In fact, TARGETDIR is the main entity of the Windows
Installer architecture. To specify it, you open the File System Editor.
Essential. The File System Editor reveals the fact that WiX pre-creates two folder entries: Application
Folder and Program Files Folder. You need to delete the Program Files Folder entry.
Now specify the DefaultLocation property:
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The DefaultLocation property accepts all Windows Installer properties listed in Windows Installer Property
Reference at MSDN. Here is a couple of examples:

[LocalAppDataFolder][Manufacturer]\[ProductName] - typical for installing per-user things

[ProgramFilesFolder][Manufacturer]\[ProductName] - typical for installing 32-bit per-machine
programs

[ProgramFiles64Folder][Manufacturer]\[ProductName] - typical for installing 64-bit permachine programs
Step #4 – Application Project Outputs
Add all required project outputs to the Application Folder. Adding the Primary Output is required for
delivering the binary form of your code to the target PC.
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In the current version of WiX designer, adding the Primary Output doesn't add dependency assemblies
required by the application. You need to add such assemblies manually. Adding an assembly belonging to the
.NET Framework version (edition) that you currently use is not required.
Step #5 – Creating a Folder Hierarchy and Deploying Files
You use the File System Editor to specify how and where to create folders and files required for your
program.
To refer to system folders such as User's Desktop or Global Assembly Cache Folder, right-click the
File System on Target Machine node and choose Add Special Folder on the context menu:
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Step #6 – Creating Registry Entries
You use the Registry Editor to create new and modify existing registry keys and values required for your
program.
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Step #7 – Creating the Installer UI
WiX Designer provides a number of pre-created dialogs that you use to create the UI of the installer. If you need
your installer to support multiple languages, see How to make the setup project .
Open the User Interface Editor and add required dialogs.
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Getting Started
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Step #8 – Specifying Custom Actions
Use the Custom Actions Editor to specify the custom actions for your setup project.
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Getting Started
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Your First Web Setup Project
Here we demonstrate creating a standard setup project on an example of an existing Web application.
Make sure WiX Toolset is installed on your machine and registered with your Visual Studio. If WiX is not
listed in the About dialog of Visual Studio, install the WiX version supporting the Visual Studio version
that you use.
Step #1 – Adding a WiX Setup Project
In Visual Studio, open your solution and add a WiX project to it: go to the Visual Studio main menu and click File
-> Add -> New Project to open the Add New Project dialog.
Choose the Setup Project item in the Windows Installer XML node, specify the project name and click
OK.
Visual Studio will add the setup project to the solution and open the Product.wxs file.
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Step #2 – Setup Project file
Product.wxs is the source file of your setup project. A newly created project contains the XML code shown
below.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Wix xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/wix/2006/wi">
<Product Id="*" Name="SetupProject1" Language="1033" Version="1.0.0.0"
Manufacturer="" UpgradeCode="aa918e08-bbdd-49fc-a9f2-fef05b153069">
<Package InstallerVersion="200" Compressed="yes" InstallScope="perMachine" />
<MajorUpgrade DowngradeErrorMessage="A newer version of [ProductName] is
already installed." />
<MediaTemplate />
<Feature Id="ProductFeature" Title="SetupProject1" Level="1">
<ComponentGroupRef Id="ProductComponents" />
</Feature>
</Product>
<Fragment>
<Directory Id="TARGETDIR" Name="SourceDir">
<Directory Id="ProgramFilesFolder">
<Directory Id="INSTALLFOLDER" Name="SetupProject1" />
</Directory>
</Directory>
</Fragment>
<Fragment>
<ComponentGroup Id="ProductComponents" Directory="INSTALLFOLDER">
<!-- TODO: Remove the comments around this Component element and the ComponentRef
below in order to add resources to this installer. -->
<!-- <Component Id="ProductComponent"> -->
<!-- TODO: Insert files, registry keys, and other resources here. -->
<!-- </Component> -->
</ComponentGroup>
</Fragment>
</Wix>
We suggest that you modify the file as described below.
As you can see in the code fragment above, the Manufacturer attribute is empty. When checking your project,
the WiX schema will generate an error message so you may want to set this attribute right now.
Pay attention to the MediaTemplate tag: by adding the EmbedCab="yes" attribute, you create a single .MSI file
as opposed to getting a CAB file along with the .MSI.
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Step #3 – Specifying the Target Folder
TARGETDIR is a special Windows Installer property (see here ) that specifies the root destination directory to
which the installer delivers the files on the target machine. In fact, TARGETDIR is the main entity of the Windows
Installer architecture. To specify it, you open the File System Editor.
Essential. The File System Editor reveals the fact that WiX pre-creates two folder entries: Application
Folder and Program Files Folder. You need to delete the Program Files Folder entry.
Now convert the Application Folder item to Web Application Folder:
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Now, you set the properties of the Web Application Folder as required.
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Step #4 – Web Application Project Outputs

Add the Content Files project output to the Web Application Folder:

Add the Primary Output to the bin subfolder of the Web Application Folder:

In the current version of WiX designer, adding the Primary Output doesn't add dependency assemblies
required by the application. You need to add such assemblies manually. Adding an assembly belonging to
the .NET Framework version (edition) that you currently use is not required.
Step #5 – Creating a Folder Hierarchy and Deploying Files
You use the File System Editor to specify how and where to create folders and files required for your
application.
To refer to system folders such as User's Program Menu or Global Assembly Cache Folder, right-click
the File System on Target Machine node and choose Add Special Folder on the context menu:
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Step #6 – Creating Registry Entries
You use the Registry Editor to create new and modify existing registry keys and values required for your
program.
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Step #7 – Creating the Installer UI
WiX Designer provides a number of pre-created dialogs that you use to provide the UI of the installer. If you need
your installer to support multiple languages, see How to make the setup project .
Open the User Interface Editor and add required dialogs.
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Getting Started
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Step #8 – Specifying Custom Actions
Use the Custom Actions Editor to specify custom actions for your setup project.
In the screenshot below, the Primary Output of the CustomAction project is already added to the bin
subfolder:
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Getting Started
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How To
How To
How to add merge module reference to merge module project
In the Solution Explorer window, select a merge module project, choose View | View WiX Editors |
File System Editor on the main menu, right-click the root entry (File System on Target Machine)
and choose Add Merge Module Reference on the context menu:
This opens a FileOpen dialog. Select a merge module and add it to your project:
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How To
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Here's the merge module reference added:
The files and merge modules the referenced merge module provides are listed in the Files and
ModuleDependencies properties; see the screenshot above.
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How to add merge module to setup project
In the Solution Explorer window, select a merge module project, choose View | View WiX Editors |
File System Editor on the main menu, right-click the root entry (File System on Target Machine)
and choose Add Merge Module on the context menu:
This opens a FileOpen dialog. Select a merge module and add it to your project:
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Here's the merge module added:
Adding a module also adds all merge modules referenced by the merge module. The entry
policy_8_0_Microsoft_VC80_MFC_x86.msm is shown in the screenshot above because the
Microsoft_VC80_MFC_x86.msm merge module references it.
Note that a merge module cannot be moved into a custom folder. In all scenarios you always have it on the level
right below the root node. Should you need to deploy a .MSM file as a file (rather than a source of files and folders,
registry entries and custom actions), you add it to a folder by right-clicking the folder and choosing Add | File
on the context menu.
If however you need to specify the folder where you want the merge module to install its files, you use the Module
Retargetable Folder property of the merge module. Note that merge modules supplied by Microsoft are
mostly preconfigured so that modifications of the Module Retargetable Folder property do not apply and
the files that the merge module provides (see the Files property of the merge module) are delivered to
preconfigured system folders.
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How To
How to make the setup project localizable?
We suggest that you create a copy of your setup project before performing the steps below.
Localizing the setup project: quick start
The UI forms of your setup project use text strings that WiX Designer combines into language-specific sets of
strings. Localizing means specifying what language(s) to use in the UI forms of your setup project.
In the Solution Explorer, right-click the setup project and choose View WiX Editors | User Interface
Editor.
In the User Interface Editor, right-click the Install or Administrative Install entry and choose Make
project localizable on the context menu. Note, this command is disabled if any form is added to the UI
editor. To get it enabled, you must delete all forms.
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The most obvious result of selecting this command is the language files (.WXL) added to the setup project:
There are at least two .WXL files:

StandardUI_neutral.wxl – a set of language-independent text strings; it is used when the installer
supporting a given set of languages starts on a machine where none of the languages is supported.

StandardUI_{language identifier}-{country identifier}.wxl – a set of language-dependent
text strings; it is used when the installer supporting a given set of languages starts on a machine where the
language identified using the combination of {language identifier} and {country identifier} is
installed.
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When such a setup project is built, you see the following folder structure in the project's output folder:
The language-specific folders contain .MSI files built for the corresponding language. They are used to build the
resulting .MSI; it supports all of the specified languages.
Behind the scenes
Choosing the Make project localizable command and specifying the supported languages modifies the
WiX as follows:
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<!-- Before: -->
<Product Language="1033" > Other attributes skipped -->
<Package /> <!-- Attributes skipped -->
<!-- Other tags skipped -->
</Product>
<!-- After: -->
<Product Language="!(loc.ID)"> <!-- Other attributes skipped -->
<Package Languages="1029,1031,1033,1049,3072" /> <!-- Other attributes skipped -->
<!-- Other tags skipped -->
</Product>
This modification of the Language attribute also modifies the meaning of the setup project's Localization
property. Before the Make project localizable command is chosen, the Localizable property lets you
specify what language to use for the installer's UI and prerequisites. After choosing this command, the
Localizable property allows choosing the current language for the user interface at design time (while you
create the setup project); at the same time this property specifies the language used for the prerequisites at run
time (when the installer created using this setup project is run).
Supported and non-supported languages
We call a language supported if the WiX Designer provides
text strings specific to this language. The text strings are
bundled to a language-specific file (.WXL), which is then
added to the setup project. In the Languages property, we
mark supported languages with an asterisk. For example, the
screenshot shows that of all the Chinese languages listed,
only the following two are supported:

Chinese (Simplified, PRC)

Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan)
All other languages shown in the screenshot aren't supported.
Choosing a non-supported language adds a file containing text strings from the language-neutral set of text
strings; see also Editing language-specific files.
Editing language-specific files
You can open a language-specific .WXL file in any text editor to edit it. Alternatively, you can edit the text strings
available for a given UI form in the Properties window: use the Localization property to choose a language
selected using the Languages property.
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Testing multiple-language installer
You can start your .MSI for a specific language using this command line:
Msiexec.exe /i MyInstaller.MSI TRANSFORMS=":{language identifier}"
You take a value for the {language identifier} above form the Languages attribute (see the Package tag
in Product.wxs), for example 1033.
Another way is to set the required language using the Format drop down on the Region and Language dialog
(see Control Panel) and then start the MSI.
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Language-specific prerequisites
The language that you specify using the Localization property is also used for the prerequisites if they are
specified in your project. If you need to have language-specific prerequisites, see (google for) section Building
Installation Package Bundles in the WiX manual.
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How To
How to prevent running Install and Uninstall custom actions during
upgrade
To prevent running an Install custom action when the product is being upgraded, you can specify the following
criteria in the Condition property of the custom action:
NOT (Installed OR OLDPRODUCTFOUND)
The Installed property is described here. As to the OLDPRODUCTFOUND property, you need to define it yourself.
Here's an example:
<Upgrade Id="{%YOURGUID%}">
<UpgradeVersion Minimum="1.12.0" Property="NEWPRODUCTFOUND" OnlyDetect="yes"
IncludeMinimum="no" Language="1033" />
<UpgradeVersion Maximum="1.12.0" Property="OLDPRODUCTFOUND" OnlyDetect="no"
IncludeMinimum="yes" IncludeMaximum="no" Language="1033" />
</Upgrade>
To prevent running an Uninstall custom action when the program is upgraded, you specify the following criteria
in the Condition property of the custom action:
NOT UPGRADINGPRODUCTCODE
The UPGRADINGPRODUCTCODE property is described here.
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Tips and Notes
Tips and Notes
Web Setup
Configuring IIS
Here's a citation from this
page on msdn.microsoft.com:
When you create a Web Setup deployment project in Visual Studio 2005 on Windows Vista, you have to
turn on the "Windows IIS Metabase and IIS 6 configuration compatibility" feature. You also have to be
logged on as an Administrator; otherwise you will be unable to run setup.exe to install the project.
Prerequisites
To ensure that your application will install and run successfully, you must first ensure that all components upon
which your application is dependent are installed on the target computer. An example of such a component is the
.NET Framework; the correct version of the common language runtime must be present on the destination
computer before the application is installed.
To install the .NET Framework and other redistributables as a part of your installation, you can select these
prerequisites in the Prerequisites dialog box; to open it, see the Prerequisites property of the setup
project.
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Tips and Notes
Create setup program to install
prerequisite components
Includes the prerequisite components in your application's Setup program
(Setup.exe) so that they will be installed before your application, in order
of dependency. By default, this option is selected. If it is not selected, no
Setup.exe is created.
Choose which prerequisites to
install
Specifies whether to install components. For example, by selecting the
check box next to Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (x86 and x64),
you specify that the Setup program verify whether this component is
installed on the target computer and install it if it is not already installed.
Download prerequisites from the
component vendor's web site
Specifies that the prerequisite components be installed from the vendor's
Web site. This is the default option.
Download prerequisites from the
same location as my application
Specifies that the prerequisite components be installed from the same
location as the application. This copies all the prerequisite packages to the
publish location. For this option to work, the prerequisite packages must be
on the development computer.
Download prerequisites from the
following location
Specifies that the prerequisite components be installed from the location
that you select. You can use the Browse button to select a location.
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Custom Prerequisites
Installing prerequisites as part of your program installation is known as bootstrapping. Next, Visual Studio
generates a Windows executable program named Setup.exe, also known as a bootstrapper. The bootstrapper
is responsible for installing these prerequisites before your application runs.
Each prerequisite is a bootstrapper package; each package resides in a package folder in the
{Bootstrapper Packages} directory; the directory location depends on the Visual Studio version used (see
Bootstrapper folders). A bootstrapper package is a group of directories and files which contain manifest files that
describe how the prerequisite should be installed. If your application prerequisites are not listed in the
Prerequisites dialog box (see Prerequisites), you can create custom bootstrapper packages and add them
to Visual Studio.
This section describes creating custom prerequisites using the My Prerequisites dialog window.
Bootstrapper folders
The {Bootstrapper} directory is located in this folder:

VS 2010 – Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0a\Bootstrapper

VS 2012 – Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.0a\Bootstrapper

VS 2013 – Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v8.1a\Bootstrapper

VS 2015 – Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\SDK\Bootstrapper
The {Bootstrapper Packages} directory is {Bootstrapper}\Packages.
The {Bootstrapper Schemas} directory is {Bootstrapper}\Schemas.
My Prerequisites Dialog
This dialog box allows you to perform the following steps that are required for creating a custom prerequisite:

Define a bootstrapper package (product) and specify system checks to perform before installing the
prerequisite, related products, and custom schedules.

Specify a file(s) that should be run to install the prerequisite as well as additional files, system checks, install
conditions, exit codes and security.

Build the bootstrapper package. This creates a package folder in the {Bootstrapper Packages}
directory and puts all prerequisite information into it.
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To open the My Prerequisites dialog box,
select the setup project, switch to the Properties
window, choose the MyPrerequisites
property and click the property editor button.
The dialog form stores the information about
packages and files in the file {setup project
name}.myprerequisites. Further on, this
information is used to generate a prerequisite
description complying with the schema located
in the {Bootstrapper Schemas} directory; the
prerequisite is created in a folder within the
{Bootstrapper Packages} directory.
Bootstrapper package
Click the Add
Package button (see the
screenshot below) to add a Package node to the Packages node.
Select the newly created package and specify the Product Name and Product Code properties.

Product name (ProductName) – Required. Is used to create the package folder in the {Bootstrapper
Packages} directory.

Product code (ProductCode) – Required. This is the unique identifier used by the bootstrapper system to
identify packages. The string should not include any spaces, and should include the version number to
distinguish newer versions of the package. For example, for the .NET Framework, the formal package name
is Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. So the ProductCode would be Microsoft.NET.Framework.2.0.
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At this stage you may choose to define system checks, which allow using the information about the machine to
determine whether to install the product, or whether the product can be installed; see System checks. Also, you
can define other products that this product either installs or depends on; see Related packages. Or, you can
create schedule items which define specific times at which commands that you specify in Install conditions should
be run; see Custom schedules.
When all settings are configured as required, you build the package by clicking the Build Package button:
Building the package creates a folder under the {Bootstrapper Packages} directory; the folder name is specified
in the Product name field. The folder contains all files describing the prerequisite.
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Install File
Every package must contain a file(s) which is run to install the product. Click the Add Install button (see the
screenshot below) to add an install file node to the package node.
This opens the Add File dialog:
Specifying the file adds a new Install File node to the Package node. The screenshot below shows the Install File
node selected and the Display name property of the selected install file set.
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If there are several variations of the install file that differ in language and / or install conditions, you can clone a
properly described install file using the Clone Install File button and then correct the description of the cloned file:
Below are the properties to set for an install file.
Display name (DisplayName) – Required. This is the package name displayed in the Visual Studio .NET Prerequisites dialog. It should be localized for the language of the package.
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File name (FileName) – Required. The full path to the file used to install the package. Can also be specified as
a path relative to the WiX project folder.
Language (Language) – Required. The language the install file (specified in the File Name property) supports.
If the install file is language neutral, i.e. doesn't install any specific language, or supports all languages with a
single installer, use (neutral). Otherwise, set it to the supported language.
Copy on build (CopyOnBuild) – Optional. Specifies whether the bootstrapper should copy the package file onto
the disk at build time. The default is true.
HomeSite URL (HomeSite) – Optional. The location of the package on the remote server, if it is not included
with the installer.
Arguments (Arguments) – Optional. Command Line arguments to be passed to the file in the FileName.
License file (LicenseFile) – Optional. The full path to a file that contains the License Agreement (often referred
to as the EULA). Can also be specified as a path relative to the WiX project folder. The file should be plain text
(*.txt) file or RTF (*.rtf) file.
Reboot (Reboot) – Optional. Describes how to handle the Success, Reboot Needed and Fail, Reboot
Needed results from an ExitCode. Possible values are:

Defer – Wait until all packages have been installed, or until a package requires an immediate reboot.

Immediate – Reboot immediately.

Force – Reboot after the installation of this package is completed, regardless of the ExitCode result.
Always reboot.

None – Don't reboot, regardless of the exit code result. Never reboot.
Install time (InstallTime) – Optional. The estimated time, in seconds, it will take to install the package. This
value determines the size of the progress bar the bootstrapper displays to the user. The default is 0, in which
case no time estimate is specified.
Installed size (InstallSize) – Optional. The estimated amount of disk space, in bytes, that the package will
occupy after the installation is finished. This value is used in hard disk space requirements that the bootstrapper
displays to the user. The default is 0, in which case the bootstrapper does not display any hard disk space
requirements.
Package size (PackageSize) – Optional. Disk space required to install the package. This is usually
InstallSize + any temporary drive space needed + the size of the installation file.
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System checks
System checks allow using the information about the machine to determine whether to install the product, or
whether the product can be installed. The results of a check are stored in a property whose name is specified in
the Property for check result (Property) field, and then are usable by an InstallCondition; see
Install Conditions.
System checks include:

File Check

Registry Check

Registry File Check

MSI Product Check

External Check

GAC Check
File Check
A FileCheck searches the directory structure, beginning with
the folder specified in SpecialFolder, to determine if a file is
installed. For each instance of a FileCheck, the bootstrapper
will determine whether the named file exists, and return the
version number of the file. If the file does not have a version
number, the bootstrapper sets the property named by the
Property for check result field to 0. If the file does not
exist, the property is not set to any value.
If you set the
Path to Common Files\SpeechEngines and the
Special Folder to ProgramFilesFolder,
then on most machines the search will start in c:\Program Files\Common Files\SpeechEngines.
If you set the FileName to spcommon.dll, which is in a sub directory of the SpeechEngines folder, the file
will be found successfully if the depth is 1 or greater, but will not be found if the Depth is set to 0.
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Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name of the property to store the result. This property
can be referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install Conditions.
File name to search for (FileName) – Required. The name of the file you want to find.
Path (SearchPath) – Required. The disk or folder in which to look for the file. This must be a relative path if
SpecialFolder is assigned; otherwise, it must be an absolute path.
Special folder (SpecialFolder)– Optional. A folder that has special significance to Windows. The default is to
interpret SearchPath as an absolute path. Valid values include the following:

AppDataFolder. The application data folder for this ClickOnce application; specific to the current user.

CommonAppDataFolder. The application data folder used by all users.

CommonFilesFolder. The Common Files folder for the current user.

LocalDataAppFolder. The data folder for non-roaming applications.

ProgramFilesFolder. The standard Program Files folder for 32-bit applications.

StartUpFolder. The folder that contains all applications launched at system startup.

SystemFolder. The folder that contains 32-bit system DLLs.

WindowsFolder. The folder that contains the Windows system installation.

WindowsVolume. The drive or partition that contains the Windows system installation.
Search depth (SearchDepth) – Optional. The depth at which to search sub-folders for the specified file. The
search is depth-first. The default is 0, which limits the search to the top-level folder specified by SpecialFolder
and Path.
Registry Check
A RegistryCheck is used to read a registry value and store it
in the indicated property. For each instance of
RegistryCheck, the bootstrapper checks whether the
specified registry key exists, or whether it has the indicated
value.
Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name
of the property to store the result. This property can be
referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install
Conditions.
Key (Key) – Required. The registry key to read. Use shortcut values for the hive: HKCR stands for
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKCU for HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and HKLM for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
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Value (Value) – Optional. The name of the registry value to retrieve. The default is to return the text of the default
value. Value must be either a String or a DWORD. This is the data that is actually put into the Property.
Registry File Check
A RegistryFileCheck reads a registry value to determine a
directory to start searching for a file specified by File Name. For
each instance of RegistryFileCheck, the bootstrapper
retrieves the version of the specified file, first attempting to
retrieve the path to the file from the specified registry key. This
is particularly useful if you want to look up a file in a directory
defined by a value in the registry.
Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name
of the property to store the result. This property can be
referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install
Conditions.
Key (Key) – Required. The name of the registry key. Its value is interpreted as the path to a file. If this key does
not exist, Property is not set. Use shortcut values for the hive: HKCR stands for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, HKCU for
HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and HKLM for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE.
Value (Value) – Optional. The name of the registry value to retrieve. This is the data that is actually put into the
Property. The default is to return the text of the default value. Value must be a String.
File name (FileName) – Optional. The name of a file. If specified, the value obtained from the registry key is
assumed to be a directory path, and this name is appended to it. If not specified, the value returned from the
registry is assumed to be the full path to a file. The file version is stored in the Property.
Search depth (SearchDepth) – Optional. The depth at which to search sub-folders for the specified file. The
search is depth-first. The default is 0, which limits the search to the top-level folder specified by the registry key's
value.
MSI Product Check
A MSIProductCheck queries the Windows Installer system to determine if the product identified by the Product
Code is installed. For each instance of MSIProductCheck, the bootstrapper checks whether the specified
Microsoft Windows Installer installation has run until it is completed. The property value is set depending on the
state of that installed product. A positive value indicates that the product is installed, 0 or -1 indicates it is not
installed. (Please see the Windows Installer SDK function MsiQueryFeatureState for more information.) If
Windows Installer is not installed on the computer, Property is not set.
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To get the ProductCode, you use either the From File
button or the From Installed Apps button (see the
screenshot). Alternatively, you can open a Visual Studio
Installer project in the IDE, select the project in the Solution
Explorer, open the Properties and copy the ProductCode
property.
The resulting value is as follows.
Value
Return
Code
Description
INSTALLSTATE_NOTUSED
-7
component disabled
INSTALLSTATE_BADCONFIG
-6
configuration data corrupt
INSTALLSTATE_INCOMPLETE
-5
installation suspended or in progress
INSTALLSTATE_SOURCEABSENT
-4
run from source, source is unavailable
INSTALLSTATE_MOREDATA
-3
return buffer overflow
INSTALLSTATE_INVALIDARG
-2
invalid function argument
INSTALLSTATE_UNKNOWN
-1
unrecognized product or feature
INSTALLSTATE_BROKEN
0
broken
INSTALLSTATE_ADVERTISED
1
advertised feature
INSTALLSTATE_REMOVED
1
component being removed (action state, not settable)
INSTALLSTATE_ABSENT
2
uninstalled (or action state absent but clients remain)
INSTALLSTATE_LOCAL
3
installed on local drive
INSTALLSTATE_SOURCE
4
run from source, CD or net
INSTALLSTATE_DEFAULT
5
use default, local or source
Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name of the property to store the result. This property
can be referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install Conditions.
Product code (ProductCode) – Required. The GUID for the installed product.
Feature (Feature) – Optional. The GUID for a specific feature of the installed application.
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External Check
An external check runs an external executable file and stores
the exit code in the Property.
For each instance of ExternalCheck, the bootstrapper will
execute the named external program in a separate process, and
store its exit code in the property identified by Property.
ExternalCheck is useful for implementing complex
dependency checks, or when the only way to check for the
existence of a component is to instantiate it.
When the bootstrapper is built, the external check executable is
embedded into the setup.exe file so that it doesn't have to be
downloaded in order to perform installation checks. The
external check file can be written in any language, as long as it returns an exit code. It is not recommended to
write the external check in managed code (VB.NET, C#, etc...) however, since the .NET Framework may not be
installed on the computer yet, and so the external check will fail.
Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name of the property to store the result. This property
can be referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install Conditions.
File to run (PackageFile) – Required. The external program to execute. The program must be part of the setup
distribution package.
Arguments (Arguments) – Optional. Supplies command-line arguments to the executable named by
PackageFile.
GAC Check
A GAC Check checks if the specified assembly is installed into the Global Assembly Cache. The file version is
returned in the property.
The fastest and easiest way to get the assembly information is
to use either the File button or the GAC button (see the
screenshot). These buttons will allow you to select an assembly
and the Assembly Info will be loaded automatically for you.
Wildcards are not accepted.
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Property for check result (Property) – Required. The name of the property to store the result. This property
can be referenced from an InstallCondition; see Install Conditions.
Assembly name (Name) – Required. The name of the assembly to check.
Version (Version) – Required. The version of the assembly. The version number has the format <major
version>.<minor version>.<build version>.<revision version>.
Public key token (PublicKeyToken) – Required. The abbreviated form of the public key associated with this
strongly named assembly. All assemblies stored in the GAC must have a name, version number, and public key.
Culture (Language) – Optional. The culture of a localized assembly. Default is neutral.
Platform (ProcessorArchitecture) – Optional. The computer processor targeted by this installation. Default
is MSIL.
Related packages
The Related Packages tab defines other products that either depend upon or are included in the current product.
Depends on (DependsOnProduct) – Specifying this flag signifies that the current product depends upon the
selected product, and that the selected product should be installed before the current one.
Includes (IncludesProduct) – Specifying this flag signifies that the selected product is included with the
current install, and does not require a separate installation.
Product code (Code) – Required. The code name of the included product.
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Custom schedules
A Schedule defines a specific time at which an InstallCondition should be run; see Install Conditions.
Name (Name) – Required. The name of the schedule item. This corresponds to the ScheduleName property of
an InstallCondition; see Install Conditions. When an InstallCondition references the named schedule,
it will only be executed at the time indicated by that Schedule. Schedules may also be associated with the
FailIf and BypassIf properties, which restrict these conditional tests to being executed on the specified
schedule. For more information, see Install Conditions.
Build list (BuildList) – instructs the installer to execute an install condition command immediately after the
bootstrapping application is started.
Before package (BeforePackage) – instructs the installer to execute an install condition before the specified
package is installed.
After Package (AfterPackage) – instructs the installer to execute an install condition after the specified
package is installed.
See also Install Conditions.
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Install Conditions
Each InstallCondition implements a test described by the corresponding row in the Install Conditions
grid.
Type – Required. A condition type. There are two condition types:

BypassIf (BypassIf) – describes a positive condition under which the install file should not be
executed.

FailIf (FailIf) – describes a positive condition under which the installation should stop.
Property (Property) – Required. The name of the property to test. The property must previously have been
defined by a system check (see System checks).
Comparison (Compare) – Required. The type of comparison to perform.
Value (Value) – Required. The value to compare with the property.
Message (String) – Optional. The text to display to the user upon failure. Is used with FailIf conditions only.
Schedule (Schedule) – Optional. The schedule that defines when this rule should be evaluated. The schedule
must previously have been defined, see Custom schedules.
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Exit Codes
Exit Codes determine what the installation should do in response to an exit code from a package.
Exit Code (Value) – Required. The exit code value.
Result (Result) – Required. Specifies how the installation should react to this exit code. The valid values are:

Success. Flags the package as successfully installed.

SuccessReboot. Flags the package as successfully installed, and instructs the system to restart.

Fail. Flags the package as failed.

FailReboot. Flags the package as failed, and instructs the system to restart.
Message (String) – Optional. The value to display to the user in response to this exit code.
Use default exit code – Optional. Specifies whether to handle other exit codes in the specified way.
Format message from system (FormatMessageFromSystem) – Optional. Determines whether to use the
system-provided error message corresponding to the exit code, or use the value provided in String. If this
property is false, but String is not set, the system-provided error will be used.
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Security
On this tab, you define a public key of the install file’s certificate signer and a hash of the install file.
Public key (ProductKey) – The encrypted public key of the package's certificate signer. Required if HomeSite
(see Install File) is used; otherwise optional.
Hash (Hash) – Optional. An SHA1 hash of the install file. It is used to verify the integrity of the file at install time.
If the identical hash cannot be computed from the package file, the package will not be installed.
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Additional Files
This tab allows specifying extra files (e.g. configuration files) required for the install file.
Each row of the grid shown in the screenshot above describes a single file. The following file attributes are
applicable:
File (Name) - Required. The name of the file.
Home site url (HomeSite) - Optional. The location of the file on the remote server, if it is not included with the
installer.
Public key (ProductKey) – The encrypted public key of the package's certificate signer. Required if HomeSite
is used; otherwise optional.
Hash (Hash) – Optional. An SHA1 hash of the install file. It is used to verify the integrity of the file at install time.
If the identical hash cannot be computed from the package file, the package will not be installed.
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Merge Modules
Merge modules are used when creating a modular structure of a setup project. A merge module can deploy files
and folders to the target machine, create registry entries, specify file types, and deliver/run custom action
executables.
When using WiX, you create a merge module project by choosing the project template called Merge Module
Project under the Windows Installer XML node in the New Project dialog window of Visual Studio.
A merge module may depend on other merge modules. To create a dependency, see How to add merge module
reference to merge module project. To utilize a merge module in a setup project, see How to add merge module
to setup project.
Note that your setup project may produce warnings after you add a merge module. Some of the warnings are
expected; please refer to this page on wixtoolset.org.
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Finally
Finally
WiX Resources:

Web site: http://wixtoolset.org/

Documentation: http://wixtoolset.org/documentation/

Downloads: http://wixtoolset.org/releases/
Add-in Express resources:
63

Forums: http://www.add-in-express.com/forum/

Blog: http://www.add-in-express.com/creating-addins-blog/

Support email address: support@add-in-express.com
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