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  • Blog Post: Seeing colors with psake

    Psake (pronounced like Japanese “sake”) is a build automation tool similar to others out there like make, rake, etc., but built using PowerShell as the language of choice. So it should be no surprise that I use it for my Windows Installer PowerShell Module . It’s useful for automating...
  • Blog Post: How to relocate the Package Cache

    Visual Studio can require a lot of space on the system drive . Based on years of data collected from customers’ installations from the Customer Experience Improvement Program , we took advantage of this feature in Burn – the Windows Installer XML (WiX) chainer – to eliminate most errors...
  • Blog Post: Visual Studio 2013 shortcuts in Windows 8.1

    Windows 8.1 made a change for RTM – as some MSDN Subscribers might’ve noticed – where newly installed applications’ shortcuts are not immediately visible on the Start menu. They are still installed and indexed, but you need to either swipe down on your touch screen or click the down arrow as shown below...
  • Blog Post: Delete shadow copies to compact VHDs and AVHDs

    For a few years my primary development machine has actually been a VM with source located on a physical hard drive attached to the VM. This helps reduce latency compared to a differencing disk (AVHD) which may need to expand to accommodate additional data (common when building). It’s also easier to maintain...
  • Blog Post: Testing for components that install under TARGETDIR

    A while back I explained how Windows Installer sets the TARGETDIR property to the root of the fixed drive with the most free space available. The problem is that even an attached USB external drive can appear as a fixed drive, and these may be later detached. If components are installed to that drive...
  • Blog Post: How to install local help content after installing Visual Studio 2010 RC

    After the Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate (RC) is installed, there is a button to install the documentation locally. If you have overlooked this option or chose not to install documentation locally and wish to do so later, you can follow these instructions. Click on Start . Browse to All Programs...
  • Blog Post: Booting Windows to a Differencing Virtual Hard Disk

    Testing software can be fun and rewarding. You get to see new, upcoming features and provide valuable feedback to the developer. But as with most pre-release software, we recommend that you don’t install it on production machines. You could dedicate extra machines for testing, or even test in a virtual...
  • Blog Post: Enable BITS Logging

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 uses a new bootstrap application that chains several packages together for a seamless installation experience. Because VS2008 SP1 contains a lot of fixes and new features, it is also quite large - almost 3 times as large as VS2005 SP1 . To download all this...
  • Blog Post: Functional Testing of Cmdlets

    While developing unit and functional tests for Windows Installer PowerShell Extensions , I needed a way to invoke cmdlets without requiring elevation on Vista. That is, of course, because running elevated has always been a bad idea unless it is required. In order to load a PowerShell snap-in , however...
  • Blog Post: Group by Different Properties for Format-Table

    For my Windows Installer PowerShell Extensions , I've been simplifying some of the use cases and adding additional formats. One thing I wanted to do was display source list information in a table and group either by the attached ProductCode or PatchCode properties. The format-table cmdlet doesn't support...
  • Blog Post: Get Binder Variables for Assemblies without Installing into the GAC

    Binder variables in WiX are variables that are resolved, coincidentally, at bind time. This is when the linker, light.exe , collects file information, assigns auto-GUIDs, and generates the output packages among other things. There are binder variables for all versioned binaries, and binder variables...
  • Blog Post: How to Install TFC without PPE

    Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 , now available for MSDN subscribers and Express editions freely available to everyone , is a huge application. It takes a while to install and, in the case of Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 , a long time to patch. Installing or patching multiple copies of shared components...
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