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Winforms SideBySide Error on installation

Posted by Clayton James on July 24, 2006


UPDATE: 01/Aug/2006

I came across another SideBySide error the other day on a friends PC. Their error was a little different to the post described below.
Event Type:     Error
Event Source:   SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID:       9
Date:           26/07/2006
Time:           9:21:13 AM
User:           N/A
Computer:       XXXX9
Syntax error in manifest or policy file “XXXX\XXXXX.exe.Config” on line
2. The manifest file root element must be assembly.
FIX: Remove the xmlns element in the app.config file and all worked perfectly.
<configuration xmlns=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/.NetConfiguration/v2.0“>


I came across a very unusual error a couple of days ago when trying to install a Winform 2.0 application (previously written in 1.1) on a XP OS (W2K was fine). The error didn’t give me any real information except to check the event log (which also didn’t give me any real information).

Two event logs were written:
Event Type: Error
Event Source: SideBySide
Event Category: None
Event ID: 59
Generate Activation Context failed
Syntax error in manifest or policy file
After a fair bit of googling (sifting through crap) it was a very simple fix.

The Winform app.config file had a setting <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”Windows-1252″?>. I changed this to <?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8”?> and wholla everything installed and ran.

I am not sure on the encoding differences here or why it didn’t work under the initial encoding setting.

  • Initail app Winfom .NET 1.1
  • Everything installed and ran fine
  • Upgraded Windform app to .NET 2.0
  • On installation on XP SP2 machines I was receiving a SideBySide error
  • Change encoding setting in app.config from Windows-1252 to utf-8
  • Built setup files
  • Installed fine on XP client machines

If anyone wants to eleborate in the differences between encoding’s or why there was a problem with XP encoding Windows-1252 then please do so.


52 Responses to “Winforms SideBySide Error on installation”

  1. fg said

    Sweet dude – thanks for the info. I got the same error installing a WinForms App on XP SP2. Followed your directions and it installed!

    Thanks again for publishing the info!

  2. CJ said

    Glad it helped you out. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. AW said

    Thanks CJ, that fixed it

  4. MK said

    Could you explain to my how the change? I have the same problem. How do i get to app.config?
    thanks in advance

  5. CJ said

    Hi MK

    The app.config is a file that you can add/view using the Visual Studio IDE. It allows the developer to put application specific information into that file that gets injected into the application when it is complied. If a change is detected in the file at run-time the application is recomplied with the new updates.

    However, cnce an application is deployed this file’s name gets changed to myapplication.exe.config

    You may need to get a developer to change the app.config file as described above and redeploy the application.

    Note: myapplication is whatever your application name is.

    Hope this helps.

  6. Iván said

    A couple of hours you saved of my time… thanks!!

  7. Scott said

    I’m receiving an SideBySide error under the Service Control Manager error in the Windows Event Viewer Log. I’m not sure how I proceed to make the changes in this recommended fix. Can anyone help me?

    This is my business computer, I need it fixed ASAP if I can.


  8. Help! said

    It could be Adware
    Check this out:

  9. Jake said

    I am recieving an sidebyside error, event 33. Here are the details. Can anyone help?
    Microsoft.VC80.CRT,processorArchitecture=”x86″,publicKeyToken=”1fc8b3b9a1e18e3b”,type=”win32″,version=”8.0.50727.762″ Could not be found.Please us sxstrace.exe for complete diagnosis.

    Thank you

  10. Brian said

    I had the exact same problem that Jake reported…after searching FOREVER on the ‘net…i finally found the suggestion to install the following:


    After this was installed, the error went away and the app now works :_)

  11. Floroskop said

    I think this try.

  12. NSM said

    Whoa! Worked like a charm. Saw the same SxS error messages in the system log (#59), as well as #58, indicating a “Syntax error in manifest or policy file”. Changed to utf-8, everything works!

    Still a noob when it comes to this stuff. The only thing I could think of is that there may be a setting I missed either in VS it’s self, or in the code. 200K lines to go sift through.


  13. Mr.x said

    I recently had to reinstall my parent’s computer, after a fresh install and reformat, I get a “Side-By-Side” Error with a code 33, I’ve been doing a lot of configuration, modifications, heck… I even updated the computer and I am currently going to update the bloody-drivers… SO far the entire system is up tp daue, except a few driver, but I will try what you said, along with doing a few anti-virus\spy scans… Hopefully this works, great bit of info too.

  14. Pogo said

    Thanks Brian!
    That link to Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86) solves my problem also.

  15. Ervin Ter said

    Thanks a lot. I have being struggling around this error for half day.

  16. Alan said

    Hi folks

    This is mostly Swahili to me but thanks Brian for the link to the Microsoft C++ patch


    I needed to install the Office Live Meeting client and got this side-by-side error too, never seen it before. I’m running Vista Home Premium.

    FYI if anyone has the same problem, you may need to install the patch and then reboot before you can install Office Live Meeting, I had to.


  17. Mikebruce said

    very well written..cheers

  18. Hoody said

    OK don’t know if this blog is still active but here goes

    Been trying to install/run any version past pf this Picasa program from google, NO version past the one I have will install, ie bld’s 71.28, 71.32, 71.36, and now 71.40

    I already have this vcredist file installed, it doesn’t help.

    What the hell is this mess that keeps programs from installing even on Vista Home Premium?

    Log Name: Application
    Source: SideBySide
    Date: 4/30/2009 12:08:30 PM
    Event ID: 59
    Task Category: None
    Level: Error
    Keywords: Classic
    User: N/A
    Computer: HOODY-PC
    Activation context generation failed for “C:\Users\HOODY\AppData\Local\Temp\PicasaUpdater_326e.exe”.Error in manifest or policy file “C:\Users\HOODY\AppData\Local\Temp\PicasaUpdater_326e.exe” on line 0. Invalid Xml syntax.
    Event Xml:




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