Windows Vista – ClickOnce and MSI

Windows Vista – ClickOnce Windows Vista Click once

When ever you install software on Vista, investigate the capabilities of ClickOnce.  Incidentally, ‘Click Once’ also provides a intriguing case study of how systems evolve and integrate.

Firstly a confession: I originally thought that ClickOnce was a successor to the MSI installer – wrong.  ClickOnce is a web based alternative to MSI.  ClickOnce evolved from the ‘no touch’ concept developed in Visual Studio.  Perhaps the phrase, web based application helps to classify ClickOnce.  I am sure when (if) you next install internet packages, those Authenticode certificate messages ring a bell.  ClickOnce can deliver such applications for your network users.

MSI Installer Packages

What’s new is integration between MSI and User Account Protection.  The result is that you don’t have to logon as administrator to install MSI packages.  If you need administrator’s rights, then Vista displays a dialog box to enter your password and so temporarily elevate your rights.  A new trend is for the default behaviour to only install the package for the current user, not All Users.  You can still give everyone access, but as an option not as the default.  I imagine that these strategies are for peer-to-peer networks, because if I were in charge I would deploy all software via Group Policies.

Integration Summary

  • ClickOnce applications are created or published by Visual Studio 2005.
  • Authenticode certificates give users extra confidence.
  • BITS can perform trickle installations of large applications in the background.
  • User Account Protection allows you to install as an ordinary user, and just supply administrator credentials as needed.
  • Restart Manager reduces the need for a reboot.  Instead it just restarts the relevant services.


Vista Developers

ClickOnce and MSI are a developers heaven.  No new software can be installed without Visual Studio 2005 or Windows Installer (MSI) technology.

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Configuring Windows Vista Topics:


     Vista Tools and Extras


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