Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

The Truth About Visual Studio Support on Windows Vista

I was briefed earlier today on Visual Studio support on Windows Vista, and I wanted to clear the air... because there seems to be some confusion.

  • Visual Studio 6.0 - Supported on Windows Vista
  • Visual Studio 2002 - Not supported on Windows Vista
  • Visual Studio 2003 - Not supported on Windows Vista
  • Visual Studio 2005 SP1- Supported on Windows Vista, currently has UAC-related compatibility issues that may get in your way. This issues will be fixed after Vista RTMs. (I suspect if you shut UAC off you won't have these issues... but of course I don;t recommend that)

What does this mean for developers? Well, it's important to remember that the .NET 1.1 runtime will still be compatible with Vista, so your apps themselves will continue to run fine. But for the tools, it would take a lot of work to bring those apps up to speed, and Microsoft has to make hard choices on how it allocates its resources.

If you're in a large organization, and you still have to support .NET 1.1 code, chances are pretty good you're on Software Assurance, and you'll have a copy of Windows Vista Enterprise. Time to utilize one of your 4 VPC image license and fire up your development environment in Virtual PC. If you're not in a large organization, Virtual PC / Virtual Server is still free. Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 2 (say that 5x fast) has a new utility called VHDMount that lets you mount a VHD as a physical hard drive on the host. You can store all of your source code in a separate VHD and access it from both the host and the guest.

UPDATE: Don't forget about MSBee, which lets you compile to .NET 1.1 on VS2005.

The other solution is to migrate most of the organization to Vista and keep the developers on XP/2003. You can still develop for .NET 3.0 on those platforms, so most apps shouldn't have a problem (unless you're hooking into something like dwmapi.dll)

Anyways, is Microsoft trying to purpously force people to upgrade to .NET 2.0/3.0? Absolutely not. But you have to ask youself a question: Would rather Visual Studio "Orcas" be delayed until the end of 2007 to get 2003 running on Vista? I know my answer is "hell no", and yours probably is too.

It's a bad deal, but in the end, it's the right call to keep other products on track. I wish Microsoft baked VPC into Vista like virtualization was built into OSX for OS9 compatibility... but I'm just a crazy man.

Anyways, HTH.



  • According to Soma Somasegar's last post, the following is/isn't supported on Windows Vista, Microsoft's
    September 27, 2006 4:49 AM
  • AsbjornM said:
    I must say I really hope that people around doesn't push for all this backward compabiltiy all the time, it would be better if we are pushing for an better integration of some soft of virtualization software, like VPC or something to run legazy applications.

    If we keep backward compability all the time, where is the progress?
    September 27, 2006 7:37 AM
  • sillyputty said:

    IMHO - the home page would have a lot more impact if comments were publicly viewable. I didn't figure out until today that there were even any comments on the blog posts, after doing the registration thing.

    Mr. McLaws would you consider making follow-up comments generally viewable to non registered readers of the site?
    September 27, 2006 8:58 AM
  • some1 said:
    MS should AT LEAST ship .NET 1.1 SP1 with Vista. Many apps that still require 1.1 dont run properly on 2.0/3.0. And for heaven's sake, make the .NET 3.0 installer on XP faster or use MSI, not VSI.

    And regarding comments, yes I second that, at least how many comments or whether there are any comments should be shown on the main page. It's hard to come across a blog these days which doesn't show that.
    September 27, 2006 10:36 AM
  • You are aware that VPC doesn't run on Vista, right?
    Virtual Server will run on Vista, but when you try to install VPC you've given some lame warning that it has known compatablity issues.... (though maybe i'm using an older version)....
    September 27, 2006 11:35 AM
  • Virtual PC 2007 will run on Vista. Virtual Server 2005 R2 also runs without issue.

    And the comments are publicly viewable. You just have to click on the post to read the comments. But that doesn't matter, because the site is changing in a few days anyways...
    September 27, 2006 12:13 PM
  • Last night I posted about Visual Studio Support on Windows Vista. Scott Guthrie, GPM from the Developer...
    September 27, 2006 12:38 PM
  • Last night I posted about Visual Studio Support on Windows Vista . Scott Guthrie , GPM from the Developer
    September 27, 2006 12:48 PM
  • Found on LonghornBlog this interesting postfrom Robert McLaws
    Last night I posted about Visual Studio...
    September 28, 2006 7:22 AM
  • I decided to install the first release candidate of the new operating system from Microsoft called - as I'm sure most people know - Windows Vista. Like all users, I'm not a big fan of change so it took me a while...
    September 30, 2006 9:37 AM
  • Anyway you look at it this is a classis screw-up on Microsoft's part.  Vista has been in the works for a long time.  Visual Studio .NET has been around for a long time.  Then at the very last minute before Vista is due to come out they release a Beta version of a Service Pack which is supposed to allow to Visual Studio 2005 work on vista.  Do these teams not talk to each other?  And just what exactly is a "Beta"  Service Pack (it doesn't exactly build alot of confidence in the product).  But the icing on the cake is the announcement that they have decided to throw out support for Visual Studio 2002 and Visual Studio 2003.  Apparently it's too complicated to fix.  But it shouldn't cause anyone any grief.  After all it's 2006 and 2003 was along time ago (i.e. in dog years).  And remember, we musn't hold up the next release of Visual Studio which is sure to put it's predecessors to shame.  

    You suggest that we run everything on a Virtual PC.  Is that some kind of a joke or what?  You just know that at some point the answer is going to be "well Visual Studio 2003 is not supported in a virtual environment, blah, blah, blah..."

    The bottom line is that Microsoft is up against stiff competition from the Open Source community and the only way they are going to stay in the game is if they provide good SUPPORT for the products they deliver.  I personally feel, as I'm sure alot of other developers do, that Microsoft has abandoned us in order to push something out the door that is not ready to do the job.  If Vista can't cut it then fix it!!!

    October 3, 2006 12:08 PM
  • Accel said:

    I totally agree with Dennis. I am a Windows developer. I live and die by Visual Studio and I am (and will always be) forever grateful to Microsoft guys for making such a wonderful product. It is a *huge* disappointment to see Visual Studio not being supported on Windows Vista.

    I am using Visual Studio 2005.

    How can I develop programs for Windows Vista if I can not run it on my dev box? Even if turning off UAC would automatically solve all problems, it would not have been an option, since the point of doing the development on the platform you are targeting is to let your application live within the constraints that would be imposed upon it on user's machines. That's why I am not an admin on any of my machines and that's why turning off UAC is trading off one set of problems for another.

    How can I trust the beta version of SP1 if I am experiencing regular problems with the release version of Visual Studio 2005? We have a large project written in C++ and C#, over a million lines of unmanaged code and a slightly smaller amount of C# code. Every once in a while the C++ compiler misoptimizes a chunk of the C++ code and botches the release build. This only happens three or four times a year, but identifying the misoptimized location takes a long time since the behavior is typically changed only slightly. Now, we all have learned to accept that as part of life and I am not complaining, but how can we trust the beta code not to exhibit these or similar problems?

    I am sad and deeply disappointed. It looks like I will have to resort to using remote debugging or perhaps will have to abandon Visual Studio in favor of command-line tools that are part of the Windows SDK. Our customers are asking whether or not our application will support Windows Vista, and man, we do not know what to answer. With all due respect... you guys are really screwing this up. I find it harder and harder to buy into your "developers, developers, developers" line as days go by. Perhaps if you weren't spending so much time being "excited" about this and that you would have noticed that you are doing a huge disservice for the developers who are targeting your platform. We are fighting on your side but you are not making it easy... Gasp! Back to development.

    November 15, 2006 12:58 AM
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