One of the questions I received in the lounge area at Tech Ed 2007 in Orlando pertained to Windows Vista Software Explorer display of applications. Specifically it centered on the ARP* property mappings to the Software Explorer information display. Before I get to that, many thanks to those of you that saw me present in a breakout session at Tech Ed (and understand my love of Chick-fil-A® and how much I miss it while living in the Pacific Northwest). Here’s a “shout out” to those of you that were there! Thanks for coming!
Software Explorer is the new name of what was formerly called Add/Remove Programs (ARP) on prior Windows operating systems. There have been a few modifications to the information displayed and how you navigate around the user interface, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to identify what values correspond to MSI properties and installation. Many of you may already be familiar with the information as some of the basics are provided in the MSDN topic: Configuring Add/Remove Programs with Windows Installer. The MSI properties haven’t changed, but here’s how they map to the Software Explorer UI. Note: If you specify the ARPSYSTEMCOMPONENT property in your installation with a value of 1, then your application is only displayed in Software Explorer if you provide your own additional HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall key specification.
First, the default Software Explorer view hides some of the information from you. The default view does not include all of the possible display information. The initial set is Name, Published, Installed On, and Size.
The view is configurable, so you can specify additional information that you’d like to include by simply right-clicking on the column header and then choosing “More…”:
Which then presents you with the column list to choose the detail information:
And given the column list, here’s the mapping of column list identities to MSI properties (much of this maps to existing Add/Remove Programs mapping info that’s already documented on MSDN in the topic: Uninstall Registry Key):
Column Identity (Detail)
Determined and set by MSI
Update Info Link
Last Used On
Determined and set by Software Explorer
ProductID property available via MsiGetProductInfo[Ex] API
COMPANYNAME property available via MsiGetProductinfo[Ex] API
USERNAME property available via MsiGetProductInfo[Ex] API
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how your MSI package authoring impacts the Software Explorer display.
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