[wix-users] logging from a custom action

Christopher Painter chrpai at iswix.com
Fri Mar 26 14:59:36 PDT 2021

I spent a year of my life (2005-2006) be forced to try to get InstallUtil to work and it totally sucks.   I don't remember all the reasons anymore but some are:

1) Custom actions can only be deferred

2) InstallUtilLib.dll tatoos the msiexec process with a .NET CLR version resulting in a BadImageFormatException if a CLR 1.0, 1.1 or 2.0 custom action runs first followed by a CLR 1.1, 2.0 or 4.0 custom action.

3) InstallUtil custom actions run out of process so it's impossible to access the MSI Handle to do anything useful such as  query table data or logging

4) InstallUtil fails with a modal ui error 1001 even when it's supposed to run silent (hanging the install in the process )

5) InstallUtil was shipped along with the equally hideous Visual Studio Deployment Projects.  These projects failed to expose many of the underlying Windows Installer capabilities (such as authoring services) and frequently encouraged setup developers to use InstallUtil custom actions to reinvent the wheel with a far more brittle solution. (See above)

I'm sure there are more reasons that I don't care to remember.   Much of this was covered in a series of blog articles I wrote long time ago.

Long Story short:  Use WiX DTF to author your .NET custom actions.

Also consider the services of an expert consultant who knows these waters and can save you tons of time and agony.

From: wix-users <wix-users-bounces at lists.wixtoolset.org> on behalf of Michael Biebl via wix-users <wix-users at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2021 3:06 PM
To: Rob Mensching <rob at firegiant.com>
Cc: Michael Biebl <mbiebl at gmail.com>; WiX Toolset Users Mailing List <wix-users at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Subject: Re: [wix-users] logging from a custom action

Hi Rob

Am Fr., 26. März 2021 um 19:28 Uhr schrieb Rob Mensching <rob at firegiant.com>:
> #1 don't use InstallUtil. :)

Just curious: Could you go into more detail why InstallUtil is a bad choice?
I'm fine with RTFM if you have existing documentation and I was just
too stupid to google it.

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