Configuring COM Components for Registration-Free Activation
For a COM component to participate in registration-free activation, it must be deployed as a side-by-side assembly. Side-by-side assemblies are unmanaged assemblies. For more information, see "Using Side-by-side Assemblies" in the MSDN Library.
To use COM side-by-side assemblies, a .NET-based application developer must provide an application manifest, which contains the binding and activation information. Support for unmanaged side-by-side assemblies is built into the Windows XP operating system. The COM runtime, supported by the operating system, scans an application manifest for activation information when the component being activated is not in the registry.
Registration-free activation is optional for COM components installed on Windows XP. For detailed instructions on adding a side-by-side assembly to an application, search for "Using Side-by-side Assemblies" in the MSDN Library.
Side-by-side execution is a .NET Framework feature that enables multiple versions of the runtime, and multiple versions of applications and components that use a version of the runtime, to run on the same computer at the same time. Side-by-side execution and side-by-side assemblies are different mechanisms for providing side-by-side functionality.