Change UI language in Visual Studio

The Visual Studio Installer for VS2019 automatically pulls the language package that matches the current Operating System. My Windows 10 Operating System language is currently German – there is a thing that always keeps me wondering:

Why is the Tools menu translated to Extras in German Visual Studio?

This and some more pecularities (especially important when working in pairs with non-German speakers) may be a good reasons to switch to old good English UI. Here is how to do it for an already installed Visual Studio 2019 instances (you can obviously apply this for any currently used language).

If target language pack has been already downloaded…

The only thing you have to do is to locate the correct settings. Go to Extras -> Optionen -> Umgebung -> Internationale Einstellungen and select the language from the list.

If target language pack has not been yet downloaded…

  1. Close all Visual Studio windows
  2. Run the Visual Studio installer. You can do this by going to Add/Remove Programs (Programme und Features) and selecting the right item. Press Ändern to bring the setup window.
  3. Go to the second tab and enable English language. You can disable German one if you do not plan to switch to it in future. Leaving just only new language enabled will automatically switch VS to that language. Press Ändern to apply the changes.
  4. In case you didn’t uninstall previous languages first, then after restarting you may need to go to Settings to change to the newly downloaded language pack. Simply go to Extras -> Optionen -> Umgebung -> Internationale Einstellungen and select the language from the list.

Installing language packs from command line

It is possible to automate installing language packs, by using the following command line (executed in directory where the installer resides, usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\Installer):

vs_installer.exe modify --addProductLang En-us --path install="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Community" --quiet --wait 

Note: The full installation path is required for this to work. I am using VS 2019 community installed in the default location, but you may update the path accordingly.

Instead of En-us for American English, any valid identifier from this list works too.

Posted by Marcin Otorowski in Programming, 0 comments

Displaying installed MSI products with a PowerShell module

Based on my previous post, I created a small project on my github and adjusted existing codebase to provide a simplistic PowerShell module. The code has been reorganized into proper units with exported functions. Here is a sample usage:

$Header = @"
TABLE {border: 1px solid gray collapse; }
TH { border: 1px solid gray; padding: 6px 4px; background-color: #eaeaea; }
TD { border: 1px solid gray; padding: 4px; }
Import-Module MsiClient
Get-MsiClientPackage | where { $_.Publisher -contains 'Microsoft Corporation' } | sort-object -Property ProductName | ConvertTo-Html -Property ProductCode,PackageName,ProductName,VersionString,Language,Publisher -Head $Header | Out-File c:\temp\test.html

The above snippet produces a HTML based report, showing all Microsoft products available on the current system.

There are still lots of TODOs, which I am going to cover soon, for example:

  • More methods supported (install, uninstall, repair etc.)
  • Better exception handling
  • Support for -WhatIf and -Confirm switches

In any case, my design goal is to keep the syntax similar to functions available in the AppVClient module, so that ideally for basic scenarios they have a 1-1 mapping in the MSI counterpart.

Link to my guthub (the project is licensed under MIT):

Posted by Marcin Otorowski in Programming, 0 comments

Enumerating installed MSI products with PowerShell and msi.dll

If you were ever wondering how to properly read the list of installed MSI software, then two popular choices are available:

  • Querying uninstall registry keys (HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall), filtering out-non MSI entries and outputting the rest
  • Using Win32_Product from WMI

They both have their pros and cons. Querying registry is straightforward on its own, but requires awkward manipulations and accessing the data which is actually backing the Add/Remove Applet, not necessarily the Windows Installer API which uses its own complex registration. Additionally it may not work correctly with different installation context (user/machine) and you may have to query two places to get both x86 and x64 installations on a x64 system.

On the other hand, while WMI query is also pretty straightforward (see, it has a really big drawback. Running it is painfully slow, because Windows Installer checks integrity of each entry and triggers appropriate action (for example repair) if necessary.

So to have a solution which is both fast, reliable and without any side-effects, you may go for a third solution which is more complex, but once setup can be reused not only for querying but for a whole management of MSI-based installations. And so this blog today will be about P/invoking native msi.dll to get results returned by the true Windows Installer API.

This post may be too technical if you have never programmed in C/C++ or C#. If you just want the results without understanding how to implement them on your own, scroll to the bottom, the full content of the PowerShell script is there.
Continue reading →

Posted by Marcin Otorowski, 2 comments