Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Link to information about a new WiX custom action to create Internet shortcuts

Link to information about a new WiX custom action to create Internet shortcuts

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Bob Arnson has posted some information on his blog about a new feature he has added to WiX 3.0 that I wanted to link to here.  In his post at http://www.joyofsetup.com/2008/03/18/new-wix-feature-internet-shortcuts/, Bob describes the Internet shortcut creation feature that he added to WixUtilExtension.  The new InternetShortcut element allows you to create a shortcut to a web site or to a locally installed file referenced via the file:// protocol.

For example, the following authoring will create an http:// shortcut:

<util:InternetShortcut
    Id="MyBlog"
    Directory="DesktopFolder"
    Name="My Blog"
    Target="http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/"
/>

After adding the InternetShortcut element to your WiX authoring, you need to make sure to add a reference to the WixUtilExtension when compiling your MSI.  To do that, you must use the /ext parameter for the WiX compiler (candle.exe) like the following:

candle.exe yoursetup.wxs -ext 'c:\Program Files\Windows Installer XML v3\bin\WixUtilExtension.dll'

This feature will be available in the next weekly WiX 3.0 release (it is not in the 3.0.3907.0 build but will be in the next build after that).

As a side note, as Bob mentioned in his post, it is technically possible to use the IniFile table in Windows Installer to create a .url file that will accomplish the same thing as an Internet shortcut, but the format of .url files is not officially documented and therefore is not guaranteed to work in the future.  This is how the XNA Game Studio 2.0 setup creates a start menu shortcut for the Creators Club Web site:

<IniFile
  Id="CreatorsClubLink"
  Action="createLine"
  Name="XNA Creators Club Online.url"
  Directory="XnaProgramMenuDir"
  Section="InternetShortcut"
  Key="URL"
  Value="http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=101279&amp;clcid=0x409"
/>

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