From MSI to WiX, Part 2 – ARP support

The main page for the series is here.


Adding Add/Remove Program (ARP) support

Subset of properties stored in the Property table defines the information operating system will show in Add/Remove Program Control Panel applet for the installed application.   

Here is the list of ARP-related properties:

Some ARP properties will change the way how application can be updated:

Setting the ARPSYSTEMCOMPONENT property to 1 (actually, just having it in the Property table with any value) will hide the application from Add/Remove Programs.

Setting the ARPNOREMOVE property to 1 will hide or disable (on Windows 2000 and Windows XP) the Remove button in Add/Remove Programs.

Setting the ARPNOMODIFY property to 1 will disable the Modify (Change on Windows 2000) button in Add/Remove Programs.

Setting the ARPNOREPAIR property to 1 will disable the Repair button in Add/Remove Programs.

Because I don't want to clutter my main project file, I decided to put all ARP-related information in the separate include file (ControlPanel.wxi).  Here is the content of this file:

Property Id="ARPCOMMENTS" Value="Acme Corporation Comments" />
Property Id="ARPCONTACT" Value="Put your name in here" />
Property Id="ARPPRODUCTICON" Value="MainIcon.ico" />
Property Id="ARPHELPLINK" Value="Your help link" />
Property Id="ARPREADME" Value="Your README link" />
Property Id="ARPURLINFOABOUT" Value="Your &apos;About&apos; information" />
Property Id="ARPURLUPDATEINFO" Value="Your &apos;Update&apos; URL" />
Property Id="ARPHELPTELEPHONE" Value="URL where users can find your support phone number" />
Property Id="ARPAUTHORIZEDCDFPREFIX" Value="URL of the update channel for the application" />
Property Id="ARPSIZE" Value="3" />

  <Property Id="ARPNOMODIFY" Value="0" />
  <Property Id="ARPNOREPAIR" Value="0" />
  <Property Id="ARPNOREMOVE" Value="0" />
  <Property Id="ARPSYSTEMCOMPONENT" Value="0" />

  <Icon Id="MainIcon.ico" SourceFile="MainIcon.ico" />

  <!-- Set up ARPINSTALLLOCATION property -->

  <!-- Sequences -->
Custom Action="SetARPINSTALLLOCATION" After="InstallValidate"></Custom>

As you can see, in many cases, setting the value of the property is just simple declaration of the <Property> element, where Id attribute is set to the name of the property in the Property table and the Value attribute defines its value.

Situation is slightly more complicated when we set the product icon.  We need to add the <Icon> element and make sure that Id attribute of the <Icon> element has the same value as the Value attribute of the <Property> element with the Id attribute of ARPPRODUCTICON.  SourceFile attribute of the <Icon> element points to an actual icon file.

Even more complicated is setting the value of ARPINSTALLLOCATION property.  Because installation directory can be changed by the user either through user interface or command line, we can be sure about it only after installation path will be validated by the installer (more details about this process when we will talk about standard and custom actions).  To set the value of ARPINSTALLLOCATION property we need to create a record in the CustomAction table with the custom action which will set the value of ARPINSTALLLOCATION property to the value of INSTALLDIR property.  We also need to schedule this custom action to run after the standard InstallValidate action.

Here is the updated Minimal.wxs file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
Wix xmlns="">

  <Product Id="{1EFFDCD2-4B4B-439E-8296-651795EE02D9}"
                Name="Minimal Windows Installer Sample"
                Manufacturer="Acme Corporation"

    <Package Id="{909A6CE7-2739-4522-92C2-03AD7D7EE4CD}"
                    Description="Minimal Windows Installer Sample"
                    Comments="This installer database contains the logic and data required to install Minimal Windows Installer Sample."
                    ShortNames ="no"
                    Manufacturer="Acme Corporation" />

    <?include ControlPanel.wxi ?>

    <Media Id="1" />

    <Directory Id="TARGETDIR" Name="SourceDir">
Directory Id="ProgramFilesFolder">
Directory Id="INSTALLDIR" Name="Minimal" LongName="MinimalInstallation">

          <Component Id="Component1" Guid="{A77C5B06-132D-4884-8E17-EA10A83C812D}">
CreateFolder />


    <Feature Id="Feature1"
                  Title="Feature1 title"
                  Description="Feature1 description"
                  ConfigurableDirectory="INSTALLDIR" >

      <ComponentRef Id="Component1" />


Install it and take a look at the ARP properties for our package.

Whats next

Next time we'll take a look at the application search and launch conditions.

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