Each computer where the common language runtime is installed has a machine-wide code cache called the global assembly cache. The global assembly cache stores assemblies that are to be shared by several applications on the computer. This area is typically the folder under windows or winnt in the machine.
All the assemblies that need to be shared across applications need to be done through the Global assembly Cache only. However it is not necessary to install assemblies into the global assembly cache to make them accessible to COM interop or unmanaged code.
There are several ways to deploy an assembly into the global assembly cache:
. Use an installer designed to work with the global assembly cache. This is the preferred option for installing assemblies into the global assembly cache.
. Use a developer tool called the Global Assembly Cache tool (Gacutil.exe), provided by the .NET Framework SDK.
. Use Windows Explorer to drag assemblies into the cache.
GAC solves the problem of DLL Hell and DLL versioning. Unlike earlier situations, GAC can hold two assemblies of the same name but different version. This ensures that the applications which access a particular assembly continue to access the same assembly even if another version of that assembly is installed on that machine.