Jed Jed - 28 days ago 19
C# Question

How to give Read/Write permissions to a Folder during installation using .NET

I have a Setup project that I have build using Visual Studio 2010.

The installer works fine in terms of installing the application and all its dependencies into their proper sub directories and Program Data directories.

However, I noticed that each directory (the root folder and all of its sub directories) that the installer created does not give "Write" permissions. The only permissions that are added to the directories for the "Users" group are:


  • Read & Execute

  • List folder contents

  • Read



This, apparent default permissions setting, will happen regardless if the user installs the application as "Administrator" or not.

It seems odd to me that the installer doesn't give "Write" permissions to a folder that is being used by the application that is getting installed - It's even more confusing that the folder that the installer creates in the
ProgramData
folder for the application's database doesn't get "Write" permissions.

My question is, is there a way to configure the Setup project so that if and when it creates a folder, we can tell it what type of permissions to give it and to whom. In my case, I need give the root directory (of the application) and all of its sub directories, and the folder that is placed in the
ProgramData
folder "Read/Write" permissions for the "Users Group". Technically, I'm cool with giving the dirs "Full Control" to the "Users Group".

Answer

By default Users group doesn't have write access in per-machine locations like Program Files. This is a Windows standard which is not related to installations. However, during install you can set any permissions you want.

Windows Installer does support custom permissions, but Visual Studio doesn't offer a way for setting them. So the only solution in Visual Studio is a custom action.

Unfortunately Visual Studio doesn't support attached custom actions. So using XCACLS.EXE to set permissions would work only if you include it in your package (it will be installed on the target machine along with your files).

A cleaner, but more complex solution is to write a custom action yourself (using custom code) to set the permissions you want.

The fastest and cleanest solution would be to use a different setup authoring tool which offers more control over permissions.