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WPF Partial Trust Security
partial trust security [WPF]
detecting permissions [WPF]
security settings for Internet Explorer [WPF]
partial trust applications [WPF], debugging
permissions [WPF], managing
debugging partial trust applications [WPF]
permissions [WPF], detecting
feature security requirements [WPF]
managing permissions [WPF]

WPF Partial Trust Security

In general, Internet applications should be restricted from having direct access to critical system resources, to prevent malicious damage. By default, [!INCLUDETLA#tla_html] and client-side scripting languages are not able to access critical system resources. Because Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) browser-hosted applications can be launched from the browser, they should conform to a similar set of restrictions. To enforce these restrictions, [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf] relies on both [!INCLUDETLA#tla_cas] and [!INCLUDETLA#tla_clickonce] (see WPF Security Strategy - Platform Security). By default, browser-hosted applications request the Internet zone [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_cas] set of permissions, irrespective of whether they are launched from the Internet, the local intranet, or the local computer. Applications that run with anything less than the full set of permissions are said to be running with partial trust.

[!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf] provides a wide variety of support to ensure that as much functionality as possible can be used safely in partial trust, and along with [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_cas], provides additional support for partial trust programming.

This topic contains the following sections:

WPF Feature Partial Trust Support

The following table lists the high-level features of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) that are safe to use within the limits of the Internet zone permission set.

Table 1: WPF Features that are Safe in Partial Trust

Feature Area Feature
General Browser Window

Site of Origin Access

IsolatedStorage (512KB Limit)

UIAutomation Providers


Input Method Editors (IMEs)

Tablet Stylus and Ink

Simulated Drag/Drop using Mouse Capture and Move Events


XAML Deserialization (via XamlReader.Load)
Web Integration Browser Download Dialog

Top-Level User-Initiated Navigation


Uniform Resource Identifier Parameters


WPF Content Hosted in an IFRAME

Hosting of Same-Site HTML Pages using Frame

Hosting of Same Site HTML Pages using WebBrowser

Web Services (ASMX)

Web Services (using Windows Communication Foundation)


Document Object Model
Visuals 2D and 3D


Media (Site Of Origin and Cross-Domain)

Reading FlowDocuments

XPS Documents

Embedded & System Fonts

CFF & TrueType Fonts
Editing Spell Checking


Plaintext and Ink Clipboard Support

User-Initiated Paste

Copying Selected Content
Controls General Controls

This table covers the [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf] features at a high level. For more detailed information, the [!INCLUDETLA#tla_lhsdk] documents the permissions that are required by each member in [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf]. Additionally, the following features have more detailed information regarding partial trust execution, including special considerations.

  • [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xaml] (see XAML Overview (WPF)).

  • Popups (see xref:System.Windows.Controls.Primitives.Popup?displayProperty=nameWithType).

  • Drag and Drop (see Drag and Drop Overview).

  • Clipboard (see xref:System.Windows.Clipboard?displayProperty=nameWithType).

  • Imaging (see xref:System.Windows.Controls.Image?displayProperty=nameWithType).

  • Serialization (see xref:System.Windows.Markup.XamlReader.Load%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType, xref:System.Windows.Markup.XamlWriter.Save%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType).

  • Open File Dialog Box (see xref:Microsoft.Win32.OpenFileDialog?displayProperty=nameWithType).

The following table outlines the [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf] features that are not safe to run within the limits of the Internet zone permission set.

Table 2: WPF Features that are Not Safe in Partial Trust

Feature Area Feature
General Window (Application Defined Windows and Dialog Boxes)


File System

Registry Access

Drag and Drop

XAML Serialization (via XamlWriter.Save)

UIAutomation Clients

Source Window Access (HwndHost)

Full Speech Support

Windows Forms Interoperability
Visuals Bitmap Effects

Image Encoding
Editing Rich Text Format Clipboard

Full XAML support

Partial Trust Programming

For [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap] applications, code that exceeds the default permission set will have different behavior depending on the security zone. In some cases, the user will receive a warning when they attempt to install it. The user can choose to continue or cancel the installation. The following table describes the behavior of the application for each security zone and what you have to do for the application to receive full trust.

Security Zone Behavior Getting Full Trust
Local computer Automatic full trust No action is needed.
Intranet and trusted sites Prompt for full trust Sign the XBAP with a certificate so that the user sees the source in the prompt.
Internet Fails with "Trust Not Granted" Sign the XBAP with a certificate.

[!NOTE] The behavior described in the previous table is for full trust XBAPs that do not follow the ClickOnce Trusted Deployment model.

In general, code that may exceed the allowed permissions is likely to be common code that is shared between both standalone and browser-hosted applications. [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_cas] and [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_wpf] offer several techniques for managing this scenario.

Detecting Permissions Using CAS

In some situations, it is possible for shared code in library assemblies to be used by both standalone applications and [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap#plural]. In these cases, code may execute functionality that could require more permissions than the application's awarded permission set allows. Your application can detect whether or not it has a certain permission by using Microsoft .NET Framework security. Specifically, it can test whether it has a specific permission by calling the xref:System.Security.CodeAccessPermission.Demand%2A method on the instance of the desired permission. This is shown in the following example, which has code that queries for whether it has the ability to save a file to the local disk:

[!code-csharpPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsCODE1] [!code-vbPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsCODE1]
[!code-csharpPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsCODE2] [!code-vbPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsCODE2]

If an application does not have the desired permission, the call to xref:System.Security.CodeAccessPermission.Demand%2A will throw a security exception. Otherwise, the permission has been granted. IsPermissionGranted encapsulates this behavior and returns true or false as appropriate.

Graceful Degradation of Functionality

Being able to detect whether code has the permission to do what it needs to do is interesting for code that can be executed from different zones. While detecting the zone is one thing, it is far better to provide an alternative for the user, if possible. For example, a full trust application typically enables users to create files anywhere they want, while a partial trust application can only create files in isolated storage. If the code to create a file exists in an assembly that is shared by both full trust (standalone) applications and partial trust (browser-hosted) applications, and both applications want users to be able to create files, the shared code should detect whether it is running in partial or full trust before creating a file in the appropriate location. The following code demonstrates both.

[!code-csharpPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsGracefulCODE1] [!code-vbPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsGracefulCODE1]
[!code-csharpPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsGracefulCODE2] [!code-vbPartialTrustSecurityOverviewSnippets#DetectPermsGracefulCODE2]

In many cases, you should be able to find a partial trust alternative.

In a controlled environment, such as an intranet, custom managed frameworks can be installed across the client base into the [!INCLUDETLA#tla_gac]. These libraries can execute code that requires full trust, and be referenced from applications that are only allowed partial trust by using xref:System.Security.AllowPartiallyTrustedCallersAttribute (for more information, see Security and WPF Security Strategy - Platform Security).

Browser Host Detection

Using [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_cas] to check for permissions is a suitable technique when you need to check on a per-permission basis. Although, this technique depends on catching exceptions as a part of normal processing, which is not recommended in general and can have performance issues. Instead, if your [!INCLUDETLA#tla_xbap] only runs within the Internet zone sandbox, you can use the xref:System.Windows.Interop.BrowserInteropHelper.IsBrowserHosted%2A?displayProperty=nameWithType property, which returns true for [!INCLUDETLA#tla_xbap#plural].

[!NOTE] xref:System.Windows.Interop.BrowserInteropHelper.IsBrowserHosted%2A only distinguishes whether an application is running in a browser, not which set of permissions an application is running with.

Managing Permissions

By default, [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap#plural] run with partial trust (default Internet zone permission set). However, depending on the requirements of the application, it is possible to change the set of permissions from the default. For example, if an [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap#plural] is launched from a local intranet, it can take advantage of an increased permission set, which is shown in the following table.

Table 3: LocalIntranet and Internet Permissions

Permission Attribute LocalIntranet Internet
DNS Access DNS servers Yes No
Environment Variables Read Yes No
File Dialogs Open Yes Yes
File Dialogs Unrestricted Yes No
Isolated Storage Assembly isolation by user Yes No
Isolated Storage Unknown isolation Yes Yes
Isolated Storage Unlimited user quota Yes No
Media Safe audio, video, and images Yes Yes
Printing Default printing Yes No
Printing Safe printing Yes Yes
Reflection Emit Yes No
Security Managed code execution Yes Yes
Security Assert granted permissions Yes No
User Interface Unrestricted Yes No
User Interface Safe top level windows Yes Yes
User Interface Own Clipboard Yes Yes
Web Browser Safe frame navigation to HTML Yes Yes

[!NOTE] Cut and Paste is only allowed in partial trust when user initiated.

If you need to increase permissions, you need to change the project settings and the ClickOnce application manifest. For more information, see WPF XAML Browser Applications Overview. The following documents may also be helpful.

If your [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap] requires full trust, you can use the same tools to increase the requested permissions. Although an [!INCLUDETLA2#tla_xbap] will only receive full trust if it is installed on and launched from the local computer, the intranet, or from a URL that is listed in the browser's trusted or allowed sites. If the application is installed from the intranet or a trusted site, the user will receive the standard ClickOnce prompt notifying them of the elevated permissions. The user can choose to continue or cancel the installation.

Alternatively, you can use the ClickOnce Trusted Deployment model for full trust deployment from any security zone. For more information, see Trusted Application Deployment Overview and Security.

See also

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