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Creating a .NET Windows Installer Part 1

In this article, Matthew MacDonald considers how to use VS.NET to build a simple setup program for a .NET desktop application.

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By: Wrox Team
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March 06, 2003
  1. · Creating a .NET Windows Installer Part 1
  2. · Article
  3. · Introducing the Windows Installer Service
  4. · The Sample Project
  5. · Creating the Windows Installer Project
  6. · The Setup Designers
  7. · Adding Files, Project Outputs, and Shortcuts
  8. · Support Files and Project Outputs
  9. · Shortcuts
  10. · Customizing the User Interface
  11. · Abstract
  12. · Article
  13. · Introducing the Windows Installer Service
  14. · The Sample Project

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Creating a .NET Windows Installer Part 1 - Introducing the Windows Installer Service
(Page 13 of 14 )

The last feature we will add to the FontView setup is an automatic registry entry. The Registry designer is modeled after the familiar regedit.exe program. You can browse to a node in the registry, and add keys or values by right-clicking and choosing the relevant option. These settings will be committed to the registry of the target computer. Note that you cannot remove existing entries, which prevents you from making potentially damaging changes.

For our registry setting, we use special variables recognized by the installer. These variables are identified by square brackets. At runtime, the setup swaps the appropriate values for the [Manufacturer] and [Product] (which are set in the Properties Window for the setup project) and the [CUSTOMERNAME] (which the user specifies in the registration window) to create the registry setting HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ProseTech\FontViewer\Customer. Setup variables are described in more detail in the second part of this series.

To incorporate this change, the FontViewer application is modified slightly. It now displays the user name of the user who installed it in the title bar.

Here's the required code in the FontViewer application:

private void main_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)

    // (Original code omitted for space.)

    RegistryKey rk;
    rk = Registry.LocalMachine.OpenSubKey(
    if (rk != null) this.Text += " - " + rk.GetValue("Customer");

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