About Windows Installer, the .NET Framework, and Visual Studio.
A reader who happened across my post on
Installer on 64-bit Platforms
mentioned a problem with running 64-bit managed custom actions using the
Visual Studio 2005 Windows Installer project. This also recently cropped up in
an internal discussion alias.
The issue is that if you build a managed class library project targeting a 64-bit platform
using /platform:x64 or /platform:Itanium and install a
Windows Installer package built in Visual Studio 2005 on a
64-bit machine a
System.BadImageFormatException is thrown. The reason is because
the native shim packaged with the .msi file is a 32-bit executable.
Let's step back a minute, though, to how to build a Windows Installer setup
project with managed custom actions. I won't go into
details, but basically you
create a new Class Library project that contains one or more derivatives from
System.Configuration.Install.Installer class. In the Custom
Actions editor for your Windows Installer project you can right-click on a
specific phase (Install, Commit, Rollback, or Uninstall) or, preferably, the root node
(which adds the custom action to all phases with the appropriate custom action
types) and add whatever you want from
project output to a specific file in your file system. If your class library is
in the same solution I recommend clicking "Add Output" in the custom action
You should also click on the Windows Installer project and change the
TargetPlatform property to either x64 or Itanium, depending on what you're
targeting. This makes sure that 64-bit components are installed to the 64-bit
folders like [ProgramFiles64Folder]. If you don't set this according to what
binaries you're installing (which can be a mix of both 32- and 64-bit) 64-bit
files will be installed into [ProgramFilesFolder] which, on 64-bit platforms,
is, for example, C:\Program Files (x86).
Back to the problem. When you build the Windows Installer project in Visual
Studio 2005 it embeds the 32-bit version of InstallUtilLib.dll into the
Binary table as InstallUtil. When Windows Installer executes your managed
custom action it actually is calling the ManagedInstall entry point function
from InstallUtilLib.dll as a
type 1 deferred custom action (1025) which creates
an instance of the CCW
and runs your Installer classes. Since the native
InstallUtilLib.dll is 32-bit it loads the 32-bit Framework which will throw
the BadImageFormatException since your managed class library is 64-bit.
To workaround this issue you either need to import the appropriate bitness of
InstallUtilLib.dll into the Binary table for the InstallUtil record or -
if you do have or will have 32-bit managed custom actions add it as a new record
in the Binary table and adjust the
CustomAction table to use the 64-bit Binary table record for 64-bit managed
To replace the 32-bit InstallUtilLib.dll with the 64-bit bitness,
Note that the Framework64 directory is only installed on 64-bit platforms and
that it corresponds to the 64-bit processor type. That is, you won't find the
x64 flavor of InstallUtilLib.dll on an IA64 machine.
If you already have or anticipate having 32-bit custom actions in future
patches - and I recommend this approach because the future is difficult to
predict - you should add a new record.
This only affects DLLs build with /target:library. Managed EXEs will run
correctly according to what platform they target.
Building an MSI in Visual Studio 2005/2008 to work on a SharePoint 64 bit installation with a Custom Action!
If you create custom action through Visual studio 2005 which targets x64, You would see the Error During
Introduction IIS 7 provides a rich extensibility model, whether extending the server or the user interface,
64-bit Managed Custom DLL Actions with Visual Studio do not work properly
please help, Upon trying the above I am receving 'Error 1001, InstalUtilLib.dll Unknown error' VS 2010 using managed custom actions
@Matthew, make sure you're using the correct bitness of InstallUtilLib.dll. .NET installs both 32- and 64-bit flavors on a 64-bit machine, and the right bitness must be used for the managed class to be installed correctly.
@Matthew, may be you need to use correct InstallUtilLib.dll. I was getting the same error, then i selected the InstallUtilLib.dll on "%WINDIR%\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319" in above mentioned step because my application was built with .net framework 4.0 . Now my problem is resolved and its working fine.
Where/How to find this "1.Open the resulting .msi in Orca from the Windows Installer SDK" in VS2010
@.Net, You need to install the Windows SDK from the Download Center (newest Windows SDK is best). Then in the "bin" folder of the installation directory (ex: %ProgramFiles%\Microosft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\bin) there is Orca.msi. Double-click to install that. After installing, you can right-click on your MSI and select Edit with Orca.
Thank you for writing this - it has been very helpful to me. Is there any way that this could be automated in visual studio? Perhaps with a "PostBuildEvent" or something? If so, could you provide any guidance on how to approach it?
@Jon, take a look at blogs.msdn.com/.../696833.aspx. The basic pricinpal is there but you'll need to write your own script.
But really this isn't the right way. Managed CAs are best to avoid, but if you choose to use them use DTF in WiX @ http://wix.sourceforge.net. This creates an isolated remoting service that avoids the pitfalls of managed code.
I am creating a setup file or .msi to register SOAP DLL.But i want register 32 bit and 64bit dll in ine setup.
Please help me fast.
@Santhosh K.L, sorry, but that is not supported. 64-bit content must be registered using a 64-bit MSI. That's not to say you couldn't have a custom action run to register 64-bit content, but 1) it must itself be 64-bit (AnyCPU for managed code runs native to the OS), 2) needs to be properly conditions to only run on 64-bit machines (VersionNT64), and 3) should really avoid managed code (i.e., harvest/reauthor the registration into MSI; but this would require unsupported authoring of 64-bit components in a 32-bit MSI).
It's best to have separate installers for 32- and 64-bit code to avoid all the troubles that can occur. See blogs.msdn.com/.../different-packages-are-required-for-different-processor-architectures.aspx for more information.