As mentioned in this blog post, the Start menu in Windows 10 has a limit of number of shortcuts and tiles that can be added to the menu. In the first release of Windows 10 the limit was 512 items. But in the latest update of Windows 10 (the “Threshold 2″ update) the limit has been increased to 2048 items.
If you use Visual Installer to install files and encounter problems with shortcuts that are not visible in the Start menu, a good first step is to count the number of shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu. This can be done by using Windows PowerShell and running the Get-StartApps | measure command there:
Windows Powershell will then display the number of items in the Start menu in the PowerShell window. For example:
If the build number of your Windows 10 is less than 10547 and the count is above 512 you have added / installed too many shortcuts and tiles to the Start menu. If you have a build number that is 10547 or above and the count is above 2048, you have added / installed too many shortcuts and tiles to the Start menu. In the latter case you need to remove some items before you can add new. In the first case you need to update your Windows 10 to the latest version of the operating system.
(To open Windows PowerShell you can enter “powershell” in Windows search box and press Enter; then Windows PowerShell is started. To see the build number you can enter “winver” in the same search box and choose the winver command in the list that is shown.)
As you probably know, the Start menu is back in Windows 10. But there has been a limit in the Start menu that sometimes have affected installations made by Visual Installer (and other setup tools). The Start menu could only contain up to 512 shortcuts and tiles. And you don’t need to install so many applications before you reach the 512 limit. Many applications can have sub levels with lots of shortcuts, so you can reach the limit faster than you may expect.
When the Start menu reach the 512 limit, no more shortcuts will be added to the menu. The shortcuts will be created in the hard disk in the correct place (by the setup program) but they are not shown in the Start menu.
But Microsoft has now fixed this problem
Microsoft has increased the limit from 512 to 2048 in the latest official update of Windows 10 (the “Threshold 2″ update). The distribution of the update will start this week, and soon all Windows 10 users will be able to have up to 2048 shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu.
If you participate in the Windows Insider Program, you may already have downloaded and installed a version of Windows 10 that handles up to 2048 items in the start menu. The problem with shortcuts and tiles were fixed in build 10547 that was released in September. But with the beginning of this week, all users will have access to an update that fixes this problem.
If you want to read more about the 512 limit, you can read the following article on the web:
> Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview
If you want to know how to count the number of items in the Start menu you can read this blog post on our blog:
> How to count the number of shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu in Windows 10
It is possible to use Windows environment variables in Visual Installer. The environment variables can be used in the Registry tab and in the INI files tab in Visual Installer. You can find a list of supported environment variables in this Wikipedia page (see the Windows section).
You use an environment variable in the same way as a Visual Installer variable. For example, to include the %ProgramFiles% environment variable in a file path you can include it like this:
And during the installation the %ProgramFiles% variable will be replaced with the current value that the system returns (usually C:\Program Files (x86)).
The picture below shows how to use the %COMPUTERNAME% environment variable in the Registry tab in Visual Installer:
During the installation the %COMPUTERNAME% variable will be replaced with the current computer name of the computer.
Support for environment variables is a new feature in Visual Installer 2015
The feature described above is new in Visual Installer 2015 (version 10.5.3 and later). If you have an older version of Visual Installer and need this function we recommend you to upgrade to the latest version of Visual Installer.
I guess that you sometimes are in the situation that you need to add more files from the same source folder as some of the files that already are included in your project. But to get there you need to browse through many folders on your hard disk which may take some time.
To simplify and speed up this process we have added a new menu item to the local (right-click) menu in the File list tab in Visual Installer. The name of menu item is Add more files from same source folder and the picture below shows where in the menu to find the new choice.
If you right-click on a file in Visual Installer’s file list and thereafter choose the Add more files from same source folder menu item, the Add files dialog box in Visual Installer will be opened with the files in the same source folder as the selected file listed.
For example, if you right-click on a file in Visual Installer’s file list which source folder is C:\My Pictures\My Second Project, this folder will automatically be chosen and the files in this folder will be automatically listed in the Add files dialog box (see the picture below). And you can easily add more files from the same folder to the file list.
New function in Visual Installer 2015
The feature described above is a new function in Visual Installer 2015 (version 10.5.3 and later). If you have an older version of Visual Installer and need this function we recommend you to upgrade to the latest version of Visual Installer.
There are many built-in setup dialog boxes in Visual Installer that allows you to create a professional setup wizard in just minutes. In some of the setup dialog boxes you can enter many lines with information text, and to make the text easier to read it can be wise to include line feeds and empty lines in some part of the text.
To include a line feed in a dialog box text that you write you need to press Shift + Enter on your keyboard. A line feed will then be inserted at the cursor’s position. To include a blank line you can press Shift + Enter twice. The screen dump below shows how the text looks like with a blank line between the first sentence and the second sentence:
The screen dump below shows the same text in the setup wizard:
> Setup dialog boxes: How to choose, add text & change image
> Tip: How to add a link to a setup dialog box
Today it is important to have a setup package code signed before distribution. This is for many reasons:
- You will avoid deterrent warning messages in Windows.
- You will avoid that your installation can not be started in some systems.
- You can be sure that nobody has manipulated your setup package since creation.
- You will protect your setup package against viruses and malware.
How to code sign in Visual Installer
In Visual Installer it is easy to code sign a setup package. In the following tip we explain step by step how to code sign an installation:
> Tip: How to code sign a setup package
Articles about code signing
If you want to read more about code signing we recommend you to read the following articles on our website:
> What is Code Signing / Digital Signature / Digital Certificate?
> Extended Validation (EV) Code Signing
We have improved Visual Installer’s ability to co-operate with Microsoft Visual Studio. Since many years Visual Installer has been able to import Visual Studio / Visual Basic project files (.vbproj), but starting with Visual Installer 2015 also solution files (.sln) can be imported.
This is very useful if you have a solution that contains many projects. If you choose to import a solution file, Visual Installer will analyze all projects in the solution and import the necessary files.
How to import a Visual Studio solution file
If you want to import a Visual Studio solution file to Visual Installer you can choose the Import Visual Basic project — Visual Basic .NET 2005-2015 project menu item in the File menu in Visual Installer’s editor:
Thereafter you click on the Select project file button in the dialog box that is shown:
As default, project files (.vbproj files) are filtered out in the Open dialog box that is shown, but to the right in the Open dialog box you can choose solution files (.sln files) instead:
Now you can choose a Visual Studio solution file to import.
We have published a step-by-step tip on our website that shows in detail how to import a Visual Basic project or solution to Visual Installer. There is also a tip video available.
> Tip: How to create an installation for a VB.NET application
We have now released a new version of our setup tool SamLogic Visual Installer. The name of the new version is SamLogic Visual Installer 2015 and the version number is 10.5. Some new features in the new version are:
• Support for Windows 10.
• Support for Office 2016 and Office 365.
• Support for Visual Studio 2015.
• Support for AutoCAD 2015 and AutoCAD 2016.
• You can now install both 32 bit and 64 bit files from the same installation.
• Clickable e-mail addresses and web addresses can be included in setup dialog boxes.
• Setup packages can now be built without user interaction from build servers and batch files.
• Visual Studio’s solution files (.sln files) are now supported.
• Improved code signing functions.
• Improved support for installation and uninstallation of Excel Add-Ins.
• Improved handling of license keys.
• Improved support for Twitter.
A detailed list with new features in Visual Installer 2015 is available on this web page. In the following blog posts we will describe some of the new features in Visual Installer 2015 in detail.