Visual Studio 2008 Install Problems

As part of my day job, I get a (extremely valuable, it must be said, for which I’m very grateful) MSDN subscription. Recently, I’ve had trouble with Visual Studio.  It used to be 2005 and is now 2008.  They use the Team Foundation Server Developer Edition.  So I decided to re-install….  oh, dear.

After a lengthy download of the ISO image which is nearly 4Gb, it burned apparently okay, but informed me a cab file was corrupt on the install.  So I downloaded at home, which was a lot faster.

Now, on the home PC, I’ve tried 4 installs and it kicks out each time early on in the install process.  The first time I ended up with a weird install that disabled the windows firewall and made the taskbar look odd.

So I rolled back and started manually uninstalling things I thought would conflict…  Each install kicked out soon into the process.

After some time and heavy head scratching, I decided to google for something.    WOW!   I’m not alone.  There are literally trainloads of disgruntled Microsoft developers all fiddling around and getting more and more irate with M$.

Eventually I came upon my solution, and I think it’s the one that will work, which comes from the MSDN website, but not from the help!!!   Granted, a google search puts it top of the list, but if you are a developer and you know you’ve done something wrong and thus thinking as a developer, type “clean up prior to installing visual studio 2008”  into Google gives all the wrong answers.  😕

The key, is to think like Microsoft help staff and uninstall previous installations in a specific order.  Only people with Asperger syndrome are going to remember this, so here’s are some links.

Uninstalling Previous Versions of Visual Studio 2008 – this is for pre-release versions of VS2008

Uninstalling Visual Studio 2008 – this is for full versions of VS2008.  This page also has a handy tool, a bit like the Symantech Tool for removing Norton, inspiringly called UninstallTool.exe I won’t supply the link, it’s on the page.

There are also links from the above for getting rid of VS2005 properly as well.  And for those with Asperger syndrome, here’s the list:

Manual uninstall instructions

  1. Go to the Control Panel and launch Add/Remove Programs
  2. Remove all instances of Visual Studio 2008/Codename Orcas products
  3. Remove any remaining supporting products in the specified order.
    1. Remove “MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008”
    2. Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5”
    3. Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 Design Tools”
    4. Remove “Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.5 for Devices”
    5. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Performance Collection Tools”
    6. Remove “Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2 for Pocket PC”
    7. Remove “Windows Mobile 5.0 SDK R2 for Smartphone”
    8. Remove “Crystal Reports 2007”
    9. Remove “Visual Studio Asset System”
    10. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component / Microsoft Web Designer Tools”
    11. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the 2007 Microsoft Office System Runtime”
    12. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the 2007 Microsoft Office System Runtime Language Pack” (non-English editions only)
    13. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office Runtime 3.0”
    14. Remove “Microsoft Document Explorer”
    15. Remove “Microsoft Document Explorer 2005 Language Pack” (non-English editions only)
    16. Remove “Microsoft Device Emulator 3.0”
    17. Remove “Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 3.5”
    18. Remove “Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0 SP1”
    19. Remove “.NET Framework 2.0 SDK”
    20. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio Codename Orcas Remote Debugger”
    21. Remove “Microsoft Visual Studio 64bit Prerequisites Beta” (64-bit platforms only)
    22. Remove “Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5”

Good Luck!

Addendum @ 18:30

No.  All the above wasn’t enough.  I’m not sure but it looks like I’ve got two corrupted ISO downloads of the Team thingy.  So…

  • I decided to just install the “Professional” edition which has all I need for now.
  • Before doing so I…
    • removed ALL DotNet i.e. 1 to 3.5 using the M$ tool
    • removed all traces of VS using the above tools – again!
    • removed all the bits for Nero Burning software(v6 for me)
    • checked windows update for .. er .. updates, in case any were part of the cleaning process
    • disabled the anti-virus (NOD32)
    • Installed dotNet 3.5

This seems to have worked.  It’s just finishing off the MSDN Library as I type.  next step is another reboot and to install the VS2008 sp1…

By Strangely

Founding member of the gifted & talented band, "The Crawling Chaos" from the North-East of England.


  1. It would be VERY nice if they had an uninstall routine that did what it said on the tin. Unfortunately, there is an uninstall list of sorts, buried as little memos in all the separate install packages – something like “install SQLServer before dot net 2” or whatever…

    The thing is, that M$ know the order to (un/)install the packages because they list them(see article above) AND they are in the tool that they provide – so why not make them part of the whole?

    I’ve recently done a VS studio course. There is lots the same vis-a-vis 2005-8. A whole area of ASP has moved on and is better, as is ADO. The way that connections are made and hooked into with the GUI is markedly better as well.
    Some bits (I can’t remember which, but they are part of some package setups for distros) are a bit more fiddly to do according to the old hands. What was a two-click job is now a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between different screens. However, since I’d never done any previously, I didn’t pay attention, hence my lack of remembrance. If I went through the books I could find it in 30mins or so. Basically, I just want to know how it works for me now, not in the old version which I’ll never use again…)

    Minor things like that don’t count when the whole package is so much slicker. It helps when someone else pays for it, too!! If I’d bought 2005, I’d stick with it and learn it inside out. The next VS version is out soon with (hopefully) lots of the bugs sorted. I’d wait for that, because if you can make 2005 work for you, then that’s all that counts, really. If you are using the latest framework, it’ll pick up the newest runtimes from that. The rest is just little eases for the designer and doesn’t affect any products you make visually. A database connection is a database connection. Once you know how it works, you can do it time and again. 2008 just takes away a few clicks, IMHO, on that score.

  2. It would be nice if MS included the tool in their install/uninstall package or gave a warning about the uninstall order. I had this trouble transitioning to VS 2005, so it’s dissappointing to see that MS haven’t fixed a bug they knew they had.

    is the tool I used to clean it up.
    How does VS2008 compare with VS2005? Is it worth an upgrade?

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