Find Your Way Back to the GAC

Have you ever wondered where your assemblies go when you put them into the GAC ?  If you’ve ever tried to find the file location of one of your GAC’d assemblies, you probably know that there is no way to look it up from the <WINDOWS>\assembly directory. 

There’s actually a hidden folder that isn’t seen even if you “show hidden folders” where Windows stores GAC’d assemblies.  To get to it, you’ll need to create a shortcut to 

%systemroot%\Assembly\GAC_MSIL.

When you try to create a shortcut through the normal means, the shortcut creation wizard won’t allow you to use this as a target.  The work-around is to create a shortcut that points to another folder and then paste the above into the Target under the properties for the shortcut.

Double-click your new shortcut and Voila!  The file locations for every version of every assembly in the GAC.

Thanks to Scott Yokiel for showing me this.  You can find his blog at http://blogs.yokiel.com

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About Ed Jones

Ed is a .NET and Integration architect for Avanade in the Twin Cities. Contact Ed

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