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From Java to C#: A Developer's Guide by Heng Ngee Mok

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F.2. Shared assemblies and the GAC

.NET assemblies can be categorized into two groups:

  • shared – common libraries which are used by more than one .NET application;

  • stand-alone – assemblies used by only one particular .NET application.

The global assembly cache (GAC) is where global shared assemblies are placed. Treat it like a normal folder (or directory) in a shared server from which client machines can retrieve shared assemblies in a distributed environment. You can view the contents of your local machine's GAC using Windows Explorer (go to c:\winnt\assembly – if c:\winnt is where your Windows operating system is installed).

The assembly cache viewer [1] is installed together with the .NET framework. When you view your GAC using Windows Explorer, ...

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