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Essential .NET, Volume 1: The Common Language Runtime by Chris Sells, Don Box

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Resolving Names to Locations

After the assembly resolver decides which version of the assembly to load, it must locate a suitable file to pass to the underlying assembly loader. The CLR looks first in the directory specified by the DEVPATH operating system (OS) environment variable. This environment variable is typically not set on the deployment machine. Rather, it is intended for developer use only and exists to allow delay-signed assemblies to be loaded from a shared file-system directory. Moreover, the DEVPATH environment variable is considered only if the following XML configuration file element is present in the machine.config file:

 <configuration> <runtime> <developmentMode developerInstallation="true" /> </runtime> </configuration>  ...

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