Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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with no warranties, and confer no rights. Additionally, views expressed
herein are my own and not those of my employer, Microsoft.
I heard from a customer and a Microsoft employee asking how to register new assemblies so that they will be listed in the Add References dialog in Visual Studio 2005. I have always done this in the past by using the Browse button and finding a copy of the assembly on my local drive, so I did a bit of research to try to figure out how to pre-populate assemblies in the list for the Add References dialog.
Unfortunately, installing the assembly to the GAC does not automatically populate it into the Add References dialog, even in Visual Studio 2005 (and this despite the fact that this MSDN document claims that assemblies in the GAC will be listed in VS 2005).
Here are some options I found that worked for me when I tried them on my machine:
I am not an expert in populating the Add References dialog, and this list is mostly intended to be a list of options that I discovered that worked correctly when I tried them out in my limited scenarios. If you need to add assemblies to the Add References dialog, it appears based on my research that the options I listed above are in the order of preference.
In other words, you should use the AssemblyFoldersEx registry value if it is feasible for your scenario. If that is not possible because you are running VS 2002 or 2003 or want to add your assembly to the Add References dialog in all versions of Visual Studio instead of just a specific version, then you should use the AssemblyFolders registry value. If there is some reason you cannot use either of those registry values, copying your files to the PublicAssemblies folder will also work, though that is not the recommended approach.
<update date="11/29/2005"> Adding more detailed information about recommendations for which option to choose </update>
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