View Full Version : Security on HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT keys?

06-20-2007, 11:50 AM
Ok, this is really odd.

We just upgraded our install to use InstallShield 2008, and just rebuilt.

When our application gets installed on Vista, everything that the installer writes to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (which is mostly a LOT of COM dll registration) appears to be completely locked down in the registry. As an administrator on the machine, I can see all the keys, but when I click on one and it tries to get values, I get an Access Denied error. All previously existing keys in the registry are fine. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE is also fine.

In fact, as an administrator, I cannot even change the permissions on the keys that it installed.

When our install was on a previous version of installshield, this never occurred.

Any ideas what is going on here? I'm stumped.

Christopher Painter
06-20-2007, 12:01 PM
What method did you use to populate the registry? ( MSI SelfReg, ISSeflReg, COM tables, Registry table, Custom Actions? )

06-20-2007, 12:12 PM
Most of the data is being extracted from the com components at build time by installshield, so it looks like its going into the registry table.

We also have a few registry keys that we manually added, also appearing in the registry table.

06-20-2007, 01:56 PM
well, after more research, I have discovered that something removed ALL permissions from HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT (but not from sub keys) on my machine that i'm testing with. Now the bigger question - what removed the permissions?

I'll continue testing and see if I can find out what did it.

Christopher Painter
06-20-2007, 02:02 PM
I hope you aren't using the LockPermissions table! :-)

Windows Installer's permissions pattern is so badly broken I don't know where to start. The two main problems is let's say some object ( directory or registry key ) as a bunch of permission assigments and you want to make a change. MSI will replace all of the assignments with your new assignment and not preserve any of the originals.

To make it worse, it doesn't understand permission propogation ( inheritance ).

I once received a CD from a software vendor that was labeled 7.5A with insturctions "DESTROY THE 7.5 MEDIA".

Why? Because they put LockPermissions on HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT and it destroyed the system so badly that you had to be very smart in the registry to restore the state or otherwise just reimage the machine.

06-20-2007, 02:13 PM
thats good to know. fortunately, we are not using the LockPermissions table. There is one row in it, and it looks like its coming from a merge module, but it is referencing a folder.