Visual Studio: Add Uninstall to Your Application

First let me send a shout out to my reference for this little tidbit of information:  How to add a Uninstall option in Visual Studio Setup project without writing code GoGoToTo created a very nice article on this.  I simply expanded it further to include getting your application “registered” so within BigFix it will show up as one of the registered apps.

First View your File System so we can add the special folder “System”

Uninstall and Register 1

If your application is x86, then we’ll want to add the msiexec.exe from the c:\windows\SysWow64 folder.

Uninstall and Register 2

Uninstall and Register 3

Left click to highlight the msiexec.exe file and in the properties window, adjust as indicated in the following image:

Uninstall and Register 4

Next we’ll need to add a shortcut to the “User’s Program Menu”.  In my example, I’ve created a sub-folder named after my application.  Click that folder and in the right window, right-click and create a shortcut.

Uninstall and Register 5

Navigate to the System Folder and select the msiexe.exe file.

Uninstall and Register 6

Uninstall and Register 7

Before we modify the shortcut’s properties, we’ll need to copy the ProductCode from the Setup Application Properties.

Uninstall and Register 8

Using that ProductCode, modify the shortcut’s properties as follows:

Uninstall 8a

Now we get to register our application… Open the Registry View.

Uninstall and Register 9

Under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE add the following sub-keys:

Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\[name of your exe]

Remember to specify the last key to “DeleteAtUninstall” = True

Add the following 2 string values with the values as shown.

Uninstall and Register 10


That’s it.  You now have an uninstall link that will be created upon installation of your app.  You will also have your application properly “registered” so BigFix can properly detect it.

Congressional District Polygons

Here I am again working on my House of Congress/Windows 8/Metro app contest when I’m wanting to show the individual districts each Congress person represents.  Using a Bing search I found myself back at the Census website.  This time looking at the congressional boundary files:

I don’t know anything about the e00 or shp files, so I’ll be working with the available ascii files.

Each state’s zip file contains two dat files.  One dat contains the Long/Lat coordinates for various map-polygons which represent districts that are defined in the other dat file.  What I wanted was a way to tie together the dat files with the Districts table I’d already defined at the start of my development.

I need this information to be in the most covenant format for my application, therefore, I’ll be importing the information for each state into my SQL database.  I created a new table defined as follows:image


Like many of my tables, I’ve setup an Id which auto increments and is the primary key for each row.  Next we have the linked DistrictID, the PolygonID identified within the dat file as well as the Latitude and Longitude values.

First thing was to download each individual ascii file, unblock (windows 7 “feature”), extract and rename each file… only took 20min.

Then using my import program, I follow the following sudo code to get into my database:

foreach DAT file
    read in dat and def files
    extract state name //will use this later to get district reference
    open database
    find state
    foreach dat file line
        parse Long/Lat and cur Polygon # if available
        if cur Polygon # found, then
            foreach def file line
                if cur polygon # then
                    district id = line
        if have district id and current polygon
            insert new coordinates into database

In the end we have a database called Boundaries that looks something like this:


If you have any questions or would like to see the source code for my importer mention it in the comments section below.

XML Deserialization

So, you have an XML document, your programming in Visual Studio 11 for your new Windows 8 Metro app, and you need to access the data within?  I’m here to help…

DE serializing your XML document is very simple.  First you’ll need to define a CLASS object the way your XML document is…

Here’s my example XML document:

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



              <Title>District 1</Title>
              <SubTitle>Larson, John B.</SubTitle>

This is an example of an XML document I’m currently using in my contest application.  As you can see there can be multiple Regions, States or Districts.  Each organized in sub objects… I am showing you only one of each since it would get pretty long otherwise…

Now, we’ll need a few classes organized just like this XML document:

public class clsCongress
    [XmlArrayItem("Region", typeof(clsRegion))]
    public clsRegion[] Region { get; set; }

public class clsRegion
    public string Title { get; set; }

    [XmlArrayItem("State", typeof(clsState))] 
    public clsState[] State { get; set; }

public class clsState
    public string Title { get; set; }
    [XmlArrayItem("District", typeof(clsDistrict))]
    public clsDistrict[] District { get; set; }

public class clsDistrict
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public string SubTitle { get; set; }

As you can see form my class objects, you’ll need to specify the XmlRoot for each class as well as each XmlElement so everything maps correctly.  In my example, the elements match, but they don’t have to so long as they’re mapped with the XmlElement tag.

Now, I know you can find this code anywhere on the net… but what they don’t go into detail explaining is the array variables I have shown here. 

In my example, I have Congress which is made up of multiple Regions, which is made up of multiple States, and Districts.  In my example here, I demonstrate how to get multiple sub-objects pulled in easily and quickly.

Here is the code I use to load up the XML text, oh and I’m downloading this content using the new fancy async features from VS11 and Windows 8:

internal async Task PullRegionsAsync(Uri baseUri)
    string baseUrl = "";

    //download the data xml
    //says there is a 65k limit on the size of what this function will download...
    var client = new HttpClient();
    var response = await client.GetAsync(baseUrl + "Data.xml");
    //convert xml into an easily digestable object
    clsCongress congress = null;
    XmlSerializer des = new XmlSerializer(typeof(clsCongress));
    congress = (clsCongress)des.Deserialize(response.Content.ContentReadStream);

    foreach (clsRegion r in congress.Region)
        string RegionTitle = r.Title;

        foreach (clsState s in r.State)
            string StateTitle = s.Title;

            foreach (clsDistrict d in s.District)
                string DistrictTitle = d.Title;

There you have it… deserializing your XML document into an easily digestible object within C#.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below…

Windows 8 Metro Application–Bing Maps

I’ve entered myself into a new Windows 8 application contest.  I’ve come up with a wonderful idea which includes utilizing Bing Maps.  After an awful lot of research I’ve come up with something that works… Perfectly!!!

Since this is a Windows 8 application, I’m writing this in Visual Studio 11 express which utilizes an awesome multi-threading feature called async/await.  So I’ll be taking advantage of that here.

First thing I needed to do was acquire my Bing Map Developers key… Acquire yours free from:

Let’s start coding!!!

I followed the following MSDN article to setup my app for access to the Bing SOAP API’s.

Then added the following to the top of my code:

using HouseofRepresentatives.GeocodeService;
using HouseofRepresentatives.SearchService;
using HouseofRepresentatives.ImageryService;
using HouseofRepresentatives.RouteService;

private ImageSource _map = null;
public String Latitude = "";
public String Longitude = "";

public ImageSource Map
        if (this._map == null) UpdateMap();
        return this._map;

        if (this._map != value)
            this._map = value;

I had two situations for my locations… in one case I knew the exact Lat/Lon, and in others I only knew an address… in my case a state name.  First I needed to turn that address into a Lat/Lon for passing onto the get map function.

private async Task<string> getLocationPoint(string address)
    if (address != null && address != "")
        GeocodeRequest request = new GeocodeRequest();
        request.ExecutionOptions = new HouseofRepresentatives.GeocodeService.ExecutionOptions();
        request.ExecutionOptions.SuppressFaults = true;
        GeocodeServiceClient geocodeClient = 
            new GeocodeServiceClient(GeocodeServiceClient.EndpointConfiguration.BasicHttpBinding_IGeocodeService);
        HouseofRepresentatives.GeocodeService.Credentials t = 
            new HouseofRepresentatives.GeocodeService.Credentials();
        t.Token = "[[put your Bing Maps Key Here]]";

        request.Query = address;
        request.Credentials = t;

        GeocodeResponse response = await geocodeClient.GeocodeAsync(request);
        if (response.Results.Count() > 0)
            return response.Results[0].Locations[0].Latitude.ToString() + 
                "," + response.Results[0].Locations[0].Longitude.ToString();
    return "";

Next I needed to actually get the Image from Bing.  Now let’s do that using the following function:

private async Task<string> GetImagery(string locationString)
{  //
    string key = "[[insert your Bing Maps Key here]]";
    MapUriRequest mapUriRequest = new MapUriRequest();

    // Set credentials using a valid Bing Maps key
    mapUriRequest.Credentials = 
        new HouseofRepresentatives.ImageryService.Credentials();
    mapUriRequest.Credentials.ApplicationId = key;

    // Set the location of the requested image
    mapUriRequest.Center = new HouseofRepresentatives.ImageryService.Location();
    string[] digits = locationString.Split(',');
    mapUriRequest.Center.Latitude = double.Parse(digits[0].Trim());
    mapUriRequest.Center.Longitude = double.Parse(digits[1].Trim());

    // Set the map style and zoom level
    MapUriOptions mapUriOptions = new MapUriOptions();
    mapUriOptions.Style = MapStyle.AerialWithLabels;
    mapUriOptions.ZoomLevel = 17;

    // Set the size of the requested image in pixels
    mapUriOptions.ImageSize = new HouseofRepresentatives.ImageryService.SizeOfint();
    mapUriOptions.ImageSize.Height = 240;
    mapUriOptions.ImageSize.Width = 480;

    mapUriRequest.Options = mapUriOptions;

    //Make the request and return the URI
    ImageryServiceClient imageryService = 
        new ImageryServiceClient(ImageryServiceClient.EndpointConfiguration.BasicHttpBinding_IImageryService);
        MapUriResponse mapUriResponse = await imageryService.GetMapUriAsync(mapUriRequest);

        if (mapUriResponse.Uri != null)
            return mapUriResponse.Uri;
        else { return ""; }
    catch (Exception ex)
        return "";

Ok… now that I have my image Uri, it’s time to use it to load a picture:

public async Task<bool> UpdateMap(string address = "")
    if (address != "")
        //then user is specifying an address instead of a specific long/lat.  
        //We need to get that info in order to proceed...
        string point = await getLocationPoint(address);
        if (point != "")
            string[] p = point.Split(',');
            Latitude = p[0];
            Longitude = p[1];

    if (Longitude != "" && Latitude != "")
        string uripath = await GetImagery(Longitude + "," + Latitude);
        if (uripath != "")
            this.Map = new BitmapImage(new Uri(uripath));
            return true;
            this.Map = new BitmapImage(new Uri(imageBaseUri, "Data/blank.png"));
            return false;
        this.Map = new BitmapImage(new Uri(imageBaseUri, "Data/blank.png"));
        return false;

If you’ve stuck with me this far… you are a programmer… LOL.

In each of my functions I utilized the new async/await features.  This means when I call either of the two functions as below, it will load the image once the OS has downloaded and cached it.  The image will automatically appear when ready…

//calling the get-map function with an address

UpdateMap("1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington");

//or i can configure my lat/lon then update
Latitude = "39.450000762939453";
Longitude = "-98.907997131347656";

If you guys have any questions or comments, be sure to post them below!

Compiling an Application to require UAC Rights Elevation

Recently I was developing an application that played around with my services.  I kept running into the access denied message.  After some research I found out it was related to UAC.

After compiling the application and right-clicking to run as administrator, I wanted something that would force my app to be run as administrator automatically…. thus my search began:

The solution came from Judah Himango on the following post:

To implement what he’s talking about do the following:

1. Download and install the Windows SDK from

This SDK contains the MT command referenced in Judah’s response.


2. Add a program manifest to your application:



3. Modify the manifest to reflect the new “requireAdministrator” status as below:



2. Paste in the following line in your projects post-build step under Visual Studio:

(for 64-bit systems)

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\mt.exe" -manifest "$(ProjectDir)$(TargetName).exe.manifest" -updateresource:"$(TargetDir)$(TargetName).exe;#1"


(for 32-bit systems)

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\Bin\mt.exe" -manifest "$(ProjectDir)$(TargetName).exe.manifest" -updateresource:"$(TargetDir)$(TargetName).exe;#1"




Compile and you’re done.  On Windows 7, vista and 2008 (r2), you should see a little shield next to your icon indicating that administrator privileges are required to run your app.



Hope this helps others out there!   Let me know by posting your comment below.