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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.


  • hello aaron,

    i hoped that these tools would help out. but i really killed sql server beta 2... i did the uninstall in the wrong order. then it disappeared on the software list in the control panel. so i removed the dir manually and some registry keys... but now no tool can re-install a sql server.... and no tool can remove it... :S
  • Hi JP - there are a couple of blog posts I've written that might help you remove the beta version of SQL - http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx and http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/08/501885.aspx.

    Can you try those steps and then see if install will work for you? If it still fails, can you zip up the log files located at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup BootStrap\LOG\Files and send them to me at aaronste@microsoft.com so I can try to take a look?
  • By the time I reached this blog I was already quite frustrated. So I went straight for the Hammer. Unfortunately that didnt work for me. Then I tried the unistall tool mentioned in step 1, and when that also did not fix the problem, the troubleshooter mentioned in step 2. That finally solved my problem. I would have saved some time if I had followed the suggested sequence. Thanks for the help!
  • I fixed tthis problem for another computer. Ultimately, the troubleshooting tool is what worked for me both times.

    BTW, I ran the uninstall from step 1, the troubleshooter from step 2, and finally the hammer BEFORE the vs2k5 install. I still had the package load failure problem. However, running the troubleshooter after the install fixed the problem.
  • Hello,

    I've downloaded the uninstall tool for downloading the betas; However, when I run the tool nothing happens. I am presented with a blank window and the application hangs for ever.

    I've also tried uninstalling the betas manually by following the manual uninstall instructions on MS web site, but that doesn't seem to work either. My system just hangs. Is there any other way for me to uninstall the betas from my computer? Nothing seems to be working.

    Thank you,

  • THANKS AARON! Trouble shooting tool fixed my problem. I had bad assemblies from beta releases and they were messing with launch VS 2005 standard edition.

    I spent ALL weekend removing in order and reloading VS 2005 and was totally frustated! Same result... package load failures with the explorer and designer in VB. I ran the ttool (trouble shooting tool) and in about 20 seconds my problems were fixed. Words cannot express how pleased I am with the tool. Great job!
  • Hi,

    the tools are runnig but find nothing.
    All things are ok.
    I have nothing to removed (I see not old versions).
    But by start - programms I see SQL SERVER 2005 CTP and VS 2005 Beta2.

    I can the new VS 2005 install but SQL Server not (both express or developer)
    Please help
    E-Mail --> janos.horanyi@saz.at
  • Hi Janos - If a program is in the Start menu, that doesn't necessarily mean it is still installed on the computer.  It is possible that the Start menu shortcuts were left behind after a beta uninstall.  If you don't have any products listed to uninstall when you run the cleanup tool you are probably OK.

    For the SQL issue, can you please zip and send me the log files located at %ProgramFiles%\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Setup Bootstrap\Log\Files so I can try to take a look?
  • Like Scott Guthrie (our GM) I spend a bit of time every day reading blogs, and surfing forums. ...
  • I was a participant in the Avalon TAP program last year and therefore installed VS2005 beta 2/WinFx, etc. The uninstall methods mentioned above require access to the beta 2 dvd, of which my copy is not available. Is there somewhere I can download beta 2 (so that I can then completely uninstall it)? I'm desperately trying to get my RTM version installed, which kicks out an error that beta 2 is still installed. (I have already followed all the manual instructions). Thanks!
  • OK... downloading a copy of beta 2; hoping to re-install, uninstall, then install the RTM.
  • Hi Bob - The tools listed on this blog post should not require access to the source media for beta 2.  It is possible that there are bugs in the beta uninstall that might cause you to be prompted for source to be able to uninstall.  If that is the case and you don't have or can't find the source anymore, you can use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove the beta version that you still have installed.  Hope this helps...
  • Thanks Aaron! smartmsizap.exe did the trick... I can now launch VS 2005 (although I do get a couple of package load errors). I'll track those down next.

    Thanks again for your help,
  • Hi Bob - I'm glad to hear that smartmsizap helped you.  You can take a look at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx for some suggestions regarding the package load failures that you're seeing.  Hope this helps as well!
  • THANK YOU!   This has sorted out a whole pile of pain I was stuck in, after a botched deinstall of the beta 2005.    VS2005 final would install, but had simply dozens of package errors.  vs_uninst has sorted it out completely.
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