Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Uninstalling previous betas to prepare for VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 RTM

Uninstalling previous betas to prepare for VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 RTM

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Now that the .NET Framework 2.0 and VS 2005 are officially released, those of you who have been running beta and CTP builds will need to prepare your machines to install the final release.  As I'm sure many of you are aware of if you've had a beta installed in the past, beta uninstall and migration to newer builds has been a very painful subject dating all the way back to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta 1.  Fortunately there is a lot more awareness that uninstalling the various pieces of VS 2005 is not trivial, and there are some automated uninstall tools and much better documentation.

For those of you who will need to uninstall a previous beta in order to install the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0, you should make sure to review the official uninstall instructions before starting to uninstall anything.  In case you read nothing else, please make sure that you leave the .NET Framework 2.0 beta uninstall until the very end.  Most of the other pieces of VS 2005 will not uninstall fully if you remove the .NET Framework 2.0 beta first, and that can cause problems in some scenarios after installing the final release.

In order to make the uninstall process easier, there are a couple of automated uninstall tools available for various scenarios:

  1. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 - this tool should be run on a machine that still has the beta or CTP build installed to uninstall all pieces of the beta or CTP to prepare a machine to install the final release
  2. Troubleshooting tool - this tool should be run to find and fix problems while running the final release of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 if you previously uninstalled in the incorrect order; this tool also has the automatic uninstall functionality built-in, but you should use the first tool if you only need to uninstall
  3. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of WinFX - this is similar to the first tool, but is specifically designed to remove WinFX beta/CTP builds in addition to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta/CTP builds
  4. "The Hammer" - this tool is designed for scenarios where you have installed the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0 and it does not work and the troubleshooting tool does not fix it; this tool will fully uninstall the final release of VS 2005 (in addition to any beta versions you might have installed) so make sure you only run it if you want to uninstall the final build; this tool is intended to be used to remove VS 2005 and get a machine back into a known state to try to install it again to clean up any problems that other troubleshooting steps are not able to resolve

The uninstall tools (#1, #3 and #4 above) are designed to run Windows Installer APIs and command lines to discover whether or not a known, fixed set of products are installed and then remove them.  As we discover additional issues that these tools do not cover, I will be updating the troubleshooting tool.  The main goal of the troubleshooting tool is to fix up a machine that already has the final release installed without needing to have the user resort to uninstalling everything and starting from scratch.  It tries to perform more "surgical" fixes for specific issues related to incomplete/incorrect beta uninstalls.

As always, let me know if you run into any issues or have any feedback on any of the above tools and I'll try my best to help.


  • So how about the RC release of VS 2005 Team System? Any tool to uninstall that? Or will the #1 tool above do the job?
  • Hi Jon - the tool in #1 above will remove the RC build of Visual Studio Team System (the build that was given out at PDC in Los Angeles last month). It will not remove any of the server-side pieces of VSTS however.

  • Aaron, the links for the first, third, and fourth tools are all redirecting to the same URL (http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/a/a/0aacd9c1-a0c5-43ab-a428-0ee440d4472c/vs_uninst.exe)...
  • I had Package load errors with RTM, i have used the 4th tool and did a clean install of VS2005 later. But then also i ran into same error. I have run the tool2 to fix the problems and everything works fine now
  • Hi Kevin - thank you for the heads up about these links pointing to the same location. The 3rd and 4th links will be updated in the next week or so to point to the versions of the tool that I describe above, but for now they are all pointing to the VS 2005 beta/CTP removal tool.
  • Is it possible to invoke the hammer in an unattended fashion?
  • Looks like the cleanup tools don't detect the presence of the VS2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow (for beta 2). I had install errors with VS2005RTM as I hadn't uninstalled the workflow extensions first. More details here: http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=123826
  • This is a time saver! Thanks!
  • After uninstalling the SQL 2005 CTP, and running the uninstall tool, .NET compact framework 1.0 sp3 and .NET compact framework 2.0 were still installed. I ran the uninstall of both of them from add/remove programs. I don't see the compact framework mentioned in the list of manual uninstall steps.
  • Aaron

    I am having trouble installing SQLServer 2005.
    All of the tools / installers say I still have
    a remnant of a previous beta / CTP. I have tried all of the tools referenced in the WebLog but they all give 2 error messages while trying to uninstall the SQL Server 2005
    Express Edition CTP. Both error messages say an unexpected error is encountered in the datastore and unable to write to the cache.
    Any ideas?


  • Hi Ron - The final build of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 and 2.0 were included in the beta versions of VS 2005, so the removal tool does not need to uninstall those because those are not betas even though they are installed by the setup of a beta product.

    Hi Terry - It sounds like you are running into the issue that I described in a separate blog post at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/13/465401.aspx. Can you please try the steps listed there and see if they help you resolve this?
  • Aaron,

    Thanks for the information on the separate blog post. It was just what I needed. I was able to delete the 6 references to the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition CTP.

    Unfortunately, after the SQL Server 2005 Standard installation program continues, it
    hangs during the System Configuration Check.
    I have to kill the install from the Task Manager.

    Is there another blog that addresses this problem? Do you think it is tied to my earlier problem of being out of sequence on the uninstall?


  • Hi Terry - Debugging SQL setup failures can be a bit tricky. Could you please zip and send me the log files located in %Program Files%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\LOG\Files on your system so I can try to take a look and see if I can figure anything out here? You can send them to aaronste@microsoft.com.

  • I'm having mega-problems removing the VS 2005 beta. Part of the problem might be that I did not use the proper order (didn't know about it at the time). When I run the various uninstall tools, I'm told that C:\DOCUME~1\UserName\LOCALS~1\Temp\IXP000.TMP\netfx.msi is not present, and the uninstall fails. This might all have sprung from an initial installation via "Run As..." administrator since I usually try to run without admin priveleges. I've tried the uninstall tool by: (A) Run As, (B) while logged in as admin, and (C) by giving myself admin priveleges and logging in as me. Each time I get the same error.
    I need a bigger hammer. Any suggestions? I'd rather not have to reinstall windows and start over.
  • Hi Brad - Can you please try the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove the .NET Framework 2.0 in order to get around this issue?
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