VB 2005 ClickOnce install - setup.exe gets an empty / blank error message...

I've search online for this and many people have the issue, but Microsoft does not acknowledge it and there is no real single solution.  Turning here in hopes someone has any idea.

System:  Windows 7 64-bit, VB 2005 with SP1 and SP1 for Vista installed.  Also tried a repair on VB 2005.

When I created a setup on my old PC it worked fine (32-bit XP and 64-bit Win 7).  I am on a new PC now.  When I run the ClickOnce setup.exe on client PCs I get 2 error boxes, one on top of the other and neither one of them contain any text on them.  (See attached screen shot).  All you can do is click "OK".

My setup.exe is 320KB in size.  From what I read, if it is that size, then it is corrupted.  It is supposed to be 422KB in size.  As a work around, what I have to do is go to a previous version of the install and copy it's 422KB sized setup.exe over the top of my most recent version 322KB setup.exe.  Then it will install.

So the question is, why is my VB 2005 creating corrupt setup.exes and how can I fix it?

FYI - Here is an old discussion on it: "https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/734253ef-30f8-4cb8-8f3e-5544398f79cb/clickonce-empty-error-message?forum=winformssetup"

Error boxes
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Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger)PresidentCommented:
The size is irrelevant. I just checked and I have 3 ClickOnce installations that I generated at a few minutes interval when I switched to Windows 10. Their Setup.exe all have different sizes.

I have encountered that problem once a few years back, and it had to do with the installation of the framework on the destination computers. The application was in French, but I forgot to change the Publish language from the default English that I get on my development computer.

In the company where we were deploying, they had installed the French version of the framework on some computers. Microsoft recommends to install the standard English version and then add modules for the other languages that you want to support. The application installed properly on computers that when only English and those that had the recommended installation, but gave something similar to what you are experiencing when only the French edition of the framework was available.

Usually, when you specify a language that is not installed on the computer, it falls back to the default, and usually, the default is English. It seemed that French was not recognized as a default. We suspected that the second dialog, that looks like an error message, was something to the effect that it could not find the language pack for the English specified as a default.

Changing the Publish language or reinstalling the framework the recommended way made the installation works everywhere.

If this is not your problem and nobody comes with a solution, you might consider moving everything to a newer version of Visual Studio and/or the framework. The Community Edition has all the features of the Pro Edition and is free to use if you have 5 developers or less in your organization.

And if you do not want to change the framework, you can set the options to compile for any framework you want except 1.0 and 1.1.
sqdperuAuthor Commented:
I tried changing the Project > Application tab > Assembly Information... > Neutral Language: to "English (United States), but that did not work.  It is defintely an issue on the developer/publisher PC and not the client's PC.

I was able to get the workaround offered by "PT Bob" in the link I provided to work.
It is "It seems the real answer lies within the IDE's machinations,  but closing the IDE, deleting the .suo, and reopening the IDE before publishing appears to be a simple enough workaround."
That resulted in a correctly sized (and error free) setup.exe of 422KB.  So this is what I will be doing.

The other workaround I was able to get to work was this.  Since Windows 7 already installs .NET Framework 2.0 by default as part of the OS, you can go in Project > Publish tab > Prerequisities... > and UNcheck the "Create setup program to install prerequisite components".   Since .NET Framework 2.0 is the only prereq' I needed and target PC is on Windows 7, I could get away with that.  But if you had other prereq's, this would not work for you.  Also, it will not create a setup.exe.  Instead it creates a publish.htm file that will open in a browser and then you click the "install" button in it to execute the installation.

Hopefully this will be a help to someone else that has a lot of VB 2005 programs that still need to be migrated to newer versions of VS.


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sqdperuAuthor Commented:
I did not come up with this resolution myself.  I just used the resolution I found in a forum.  I noted the forum and the person that came up with the workaround.  I thought this might help others in the same situation.
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