Specifying an Assembly's Location

There are two ways to specify an assembly's location:

You can also use the .NET Framework Configuration Tool (Mscorcfg.msc) to specify assembly locations or specify locations for the common language runtime to probe for assemblies.

Using the <codeBase> Element

You can use the <codeBase> element only in machine configuration or publisher policy files that also redirect the assembly version. When the runtime determines which assembly version to use, it applies the code base setting from the file that determines the version. If no code base is indicated, the runtime probes for the assembly in the normal way. For details, see How the Runtime Locates Assemblies.

The following example shows how to specify an assembly's location.

      <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
         <assemblyIdentity name="myAssembly"
                           culture="en-us" />
         <codeBase version=""

The version attribute is required for all strong-named assemblies but should be omitted for assemblies that are not strong-named. The <codeBase> element requires the href attribute. You cannot specify version ranges in the <codeBase> element.


If you are supplying a code base hint for an assembly that is not strong-named, the hint must point to the application base or a subdirectory of the application base directory.

Using the <probing> Element

The runtime locates assemblies that do not have a code base by probing. For more information about probing, see How the Runtime Locates Assemblies.

You can use the <probing> element in the application configuration file to specify subdirectories the runtime should search when locating an assembly. The following example shows how to specify directories the runtime should search.

      <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">
         <probing privatePath="bin;bin2\subbin;bin3"/>

The privatePath attribute contains the directories that the runtime should search for assemblies. If the application is located at C:\Program Files\MyApp, the runtime will look for assemblies that do not specify a code base in C:\Program Files\MyApp\Bin, C:\Program Files\MyApp\Bin2\Subbin, and C:\Program Files\MyApp\Bin3. The directories specified in privatePath must be subdirectories of the application base directory.

See Also


How the Runtime Locates Assemblies

Other Resources

Assemblies in the Common Language Runtime

Programming with Assemblies

Configuring Applications