ClickOnce deployment "Activation failed" FileNotFoundException

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I just deployed an update to a clickonce application. I have deployed dozens of updates with no issue. Now all of a sudden, with this update, all my users are reporting this error:

ERROR SUMMARY

Below is a summary of the errors, details of these errors are listed later in the log.
    * Activation of C:\Users\XXX\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\XXX\XXX\XXX.appref-ms| resulted in exception. Following failure messages were detected:
        + Activation failed.
        + The system cannot find the file specified. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070002)

Following errors were detected during this operation.

* [3/15/2012 3:22:34 PM] System.Deployment.Application.DeploymentException (Activation)
        - Activation failed.
        - Source: System.Deployment
        - Stack trace:
            at System.Deployment.Application.ComponentStore.ActivateApplication(DefinitionAppId appId, String activationParameter, Boolean useActivationParameter)
            at System.Deployment.Application.SubscriptionStore.ActivateApplication(DefinitionAppId appId, String activationParameter, Boolean useActivationParameter)
            at System.Deployment.Application.ApplicationActivator.Activate(DefinitionAppId appId, AssemblyManifest appManifest, String activationParameter, Boolean useActivationParameter)
            at System.Deployment.Application.ApplicationActivator.ProcessOrFollowShortcut(String shortcutFile, String& errorPageUrl, TempFile& deployFile)
            at System.Deployment.Application.ApplicationActivator.PerformDeploymentActivation(Uri activationUri, Boolean isShortcut, String textualSubId, String deploymentProviderUrlFromExtension, BrowserSettings browserSettings, String& errorPageUrl)
            at System.Deployment.Application.ApplicationActivator.ActivateDeploymentWorker(Object state)
        --- Inner Exception ---
        System.IO.FileNotFoundException
        - The system cannot find the file specified. (Exception from HRESULT: 0x80070002)
        - Source: System.Deployment
        - Stack trace:
            at System.Deployment.Application.NativeMethods.CorLaunchApplication(UInt32 hostType, String applicationFullName, Int32 manifestPathsCount, String[] manifestPaths, Int32 activationDataCount, String[] activationData, PROCESS_INFORMATION processInformation)
            at System.Deployment.Application.ComponentStore.ActivateApplication(DefinitionAppId appId, String activationParameter, Boolean useActivationParameter)

Of course it doesn't tell me exactly what file it's looking for that fails. I'm stumped on this!

At least a few people have been able to solve this by clearing out all of the ClickOnce data and reinstalling, blaming it on corrupt file storage.

See this MSDN forum post for more info.

ClickOnce Deployment, Describes a ClickOnce feature that allows trusted applications to run with a higher level of permission on client computers. ClickOnce and  To enable this deployment strategy in Visual Studio, click From a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM on the How Installed page of the Publish Wizard. To enable this deployment strategy manually, change the deploymentProvider tag in the deployment manifest. (In Visual Studio, this property is exposed as Installation URL on the Publish page of the Project

Choosing a ClickOnce Deployment Strategy, There are three different strategies for deploying a ClickOnce application; the strategy that you choose depends primarily on the type of  Describes a ClickOnce feature that allows trusted applications to run with a higher level of permission on client computers. ClickOnce and Authenticode. Describes how Authenticode technology is used in trusted application deployment. Walkthrough: Manually Deploying a ClickOnce Application. Demonstrates using command-line and SDK tools to deploy

I just ran into this issue. Our company is in the middle of changing domains, where the user's computer was on domain B, but the click once app was still on a shared drive in domain A.

Copying the files to the computer and installing from there allowed the app to run.

ClickOnce, ClickOnce is a powerful and easy-to-use deployment technology that offers a relatively hassle-free experience for the end user when properly configured. To deploy an application with the Mage.exe command-line tool. Create a directory where you will store your ClickOnce deployment files. In the deployment directory you just created, create a version subdirectory. If this is the first time that you are deploying the application, name the version subdirectory 1.0.0.0.

Eight Evil Things Microsoft Never Showed You in the ClickOnce , In it I go through all the options available for customising your ClickOnce deployment, as well as how to handle updates, the capabilities of the  ClickOnce appends the .deploy extension to assemblies so that a secured installation of Internet Information Services (IIS) won't block the files because of an unsafe extension. When the user installs the solution, ClickOnce removes the .deploy extension.

ClickOnce Deployment Fundamentals, ClickOnce is simple to configure and use without leaving the Visual Studio environment. It is easy to deploy the windows based client application  ClickOnce is a component of Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and later, and supports deploying applications made with Windows Forms or Windows Presentation Foundation. It is similar to Java Web Start for the Java Platform or Zero Install for Linux . 5 Browser support. 8 External links. The core principle of ClickOnce is to ease the deployment of

How to create a ClickOnce application, You learned about this approach in Chapter 9. Deploy via the browser. WPF applications integrate closely with the ClickOnce setup feature, which allows users to  Easy Steps for IT and Deployment Team to setup and deploy Windows based application using Microsoft ClickOnce Deployment Tool which is part of Visual Studio 2005 Introduction This article presents quick and clear steps for the click once deployment techniques for the Infrastructure and Developer/Deployment Team.

Comments
  • I did try that while I was going through the issue. Even installed it on fresh machines with no ClickOnce apps installed. Nothing worked. Frantically messing with the publish settings and publishing over top of existing version number, then reinstalling seems to have worked. I wish I could know which combination of settings caused/fixed the problem