Self-Registration

As component software continues to grow as a market, there will be more and more instances where a user obtains a new software component as a single DLL or EXE module, such as when downloading a new component from an on-line service or receiving one from a friend on a floppy disk. In these cases, it is not practical to require the user to go through a lengthy installation procedure or setup program. Besides the licensing issues, which are handled through IClassFactory2, an installation procedure typically creates the necessary registry entries for a component to run properly in the COM and OLE context.

Self-registration is the standard means through which a server module can package its own registry operations, both registration and unregistration, into the module itself. When used with licensing handled through IClassFactory2, a server can become an entirely self-contained module with no need for external installation programs or .reg files.

Any self-registering module, DLL or EXE, should first include an "OleSelfRegister" string in the StringFileInfo section of its version information resource, as shown here.

VS_VERSION_INFO VERSIONINFO 
 
 ... 
 
 BEGIN 
   BLOCK "StringFileInfo" 
    BEGIN 
    #ifdef UNICODE 
     BLOCK "040904B0" // Lang=US English, CharSet=Unicode 
    #else 
     BLOCK "040904E4" // Lang=US English, CharSet=Windows Multilingual 
    #endif 
      BEGIN 
       ... 
       VALUE "OLESelfRegister", "\0" 
      END 
 
   ... 
 
   END 
 
 ... 
 
 END 
 

The existence of this data allows any interested party, such as an application that wishes to integrate this new component, to determine whether the server supports self-registration without having to load the DLL or EXE first.

If the server is packaged in a DLL module, the DLL must export the functions DllRegisterServer and DllUnregisterServer. Any application that wishes to instruct the server to register itself (that is, all its CLSIDs and type library IDs) can obtain a pointer to DllRegisterServer through the GetProcAddress function. Within DllRegisterServer, the DLL creates all its necessary registry entries, storing the correct path to the DLL for all InprocServer32 or InprocHandler32 entries.

When an application wishes to remove the component from the system, it should unregister that component by calling DllUnregisterServer. Within this call, the server removes exactly those entries it previously created in DllRegisterServer. The server should not blindly remove all entries for its classes because other software may have stored additional entries, such as a TreatAs key.

If the server is packaged in an EXE module, the application wishing to register the server launches the EXE server with the command-line argument /RegServer or -RegServer (case-insensitive). If the application wishes to unregister the server, it launches the EXE with the command-line argument /UnregServer or -UnregServer. The self-registering EXE detects these command-line arguments and invokes the same operations as a DLL would within DllRegisterServerand DllUnregisterServer, respectively, registering its module path under LocalServer32 instead of InprocServer32 or InprocHandler32.

The server must register the full path to the installation location of the DLL or EXE module for their respective InprocServer32, InprocHandler32, and LocalServer32 keys in the registry. The module path is easily obtained through the GetModuleFileName function.

Related topics

Installing as a Service Application
Registering a Class at Installation
Registering a Running EXE Server
Registering Objects in the ROT

 

 

Show: