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How to resolve invalid license data errors after upgrading to the final release of Visual Studio 2005

How to resolve invalid license data errors after upgrading to the final release of Visual Studio 2005

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I have heard from a couple of customers who have uninstalled beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 and then installed the final release.  After installation finished, they saw a small error dialog that looks like the following when trying to launch the Visual Studio 2005 IDE:

Visual Studio 2005 invalid license data error

Pressing OK on this dialog dismisses the IDE and VS 2005 is not usable.

There are a couple of cases where registry data can be orphaned on the machine that causes this type of error.  Unfortunately, because this data is written by a custom action and there are some "interesting" conditions on that cusotm action in the VS MSI, running a repair of VS 2005 will not correctly fix the registry values that control this functionality.

The following steps can be used to resolve this Invalid license data error message:

  1. Uninstall the Visual Studio 2005 product that you have installed.  You only have to uninstall the main Visual Studio product entry in Add or Remove Programs, and you can leave the other pieces installed by Visual Studio setup (such as the .NET Framework 2.0, MSDN, SQL Express, etc) alone.  The product name in Add or Remove Programs that you want to uninstall is dependent on the VS 2005 edition you have installed.  For example, for the English Professional edition, the product name will be "Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional - ENU"
  2. Click on Start, choose Run and type cmd
  3. Copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry: 
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f
  4. If you are installing on a 64-bit OS, copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry:
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f
  5. Re-install the Visual Studio 2005 product that you uninstalled in step 1 above

After doing this, the license data should be recreated and correct and allow you to launch the VS 2005 IDE.

<update date="10/25/2006"> Added some more licensing registry values and a new section for 64-bit registry values that need to be removed </update>

<update date="8/27/2009"> Fixed broken link to image. </update>


  • I think MS released VS2005 much too early with much too little testing. This version is a piece of $&#%@ starting with th install. I personally have installed shareware with better success. My guess that offshored the testing of this as well.
  • A mi me a ocurrido y corregi el problema habilitando servicios de windows que habian sido desabilitados por el antivirus, comprobas los servicios deshabilitados y ponerlos de forma manual, así corregí yo el problema
  • Hi,

    I am using Visual studio 2005 team edition-ENU for software developer. After an acident power off (not me, the electrcity accident :-( ) with IDE open, once i restart the PC and startup IDE, i got this invalide license data error exactly as you described here.
    I tried the workaround as Steps 1-3 described, with step 3, i got a message: "Error: The system was unable to find the specified registry key or value" from cmd window for each of the four 'reg delete' commands.
    I suppose reinstall the product as in 4 won't help as step 3 seems did not do anything...right??

    What should I do then? BTW, i am using windows XP Professional with SP2. On my machine, I have VS2002 and VS2003 installed previously, they seems still working.

    Thanks for any tips,

  • Hi Catherine - I would suggest using regedit to double-check that the 4 registry values listed in step 3 are removed. You can do that with the following steps:

    1. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type regedit

    2. Navigate to the following location:


    3. Look for subkeys with the names that I listed above and delete them if they exist

    After doing this, you should be able to repair/reinstall VS and things will hopefully work for you.
  • Hi,

    I've got the same problem as Catherine, I also have the same system, but double-checking the registry, deleting the entries and then reinstalling VS haven't solved the problem, it's still not working. Any idea please?


  • Hi Eszter - I haven't heard yet of a case where these repair steps did not work.  You might need to fully uninstall and reinstall VS 2005 to try to resolve this.  You could use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx to manually remove VS 2005.

    Also, if you would prefer, you are entitled to a free technical support call for VS 2005 setup-related issues, so you may want to pursue that route instead.
  • Hi,

    I'm using Visual studio 2005 team edition-ENU, It was working fine for the pass few months until last week when I launch the IDE a pop-up windows appear with the message:
    "The Beta period is over.
    Thank you for your participation.

    You can remove Microsoft Visual Studio from your computer."

    I have tried uninstall completely and re-install. But it wasn't helping.

    I've search through the web and I can't find any article about this issue, I think this must be pretty new coz the beta period is over last week?

    You have any idea how to solve this issue?


  • Hi Gavin - In many cases, a complete uninstall and reinstall is not sufficient to clean out the registry information that controls the beta license and timebomb.  Can you please try the steps listed above in this blog post and see if they help.  In particular, please make sure you remove the registry keys/values listed in step 3 after you uninstall but before you reinstall.
  • Hi,
    I am using Windows XP Pro edition with SP2. I had installed .Net framework 1.1 and IIS 5.1. I then installed vs2005 Professional edition.  I never had vs beta version installed on the machine. After I installed vs 2005 professional software my IIS started giving me error - www services did not start and was giving "Object already exist" error. I tried to open vs2005 ide and started getting this error of Invalid licence data. I tried to fix this by following listed steps but no success. I tried to install and uninstall probably 3-4 times.I am so frustated with vs2005 installation. Strange thing is that it seems like working after I go through the steps and next day it gives me the same error. I guess it only lets me work for a day and then I end up uninstalling and deleting registry keys and all that all over again. I am not sure what is the problem but even though Microsoft tells that it is good tool for faster development but time it takes to set up is more than usual software set up. I hope some body can throw some light on this problem and help me with this.
  • Hi Manisha - I have not yet heard of a problem like the one you describe.  I would suggest contacting Microsoft technical support because you are entitled to a free support case for setup-related problems with Visual Studio 2005.  You may also want to search on the MSDN Forums (http://forums.microsoft.com) to see if any other people have run into similar issues and might have suggestions.  I'm sorry I'm not able to be more helpful here.
  • Hi,

    I tried removed the registry it give me errors when I run the command saying registry key does not exist. I then proceed to install VS but after installation it is still not working.

    Same problem:
    "The Beta period is over.
    Thank you for your participation.

    You can remove Microsoft Visual Studio from your computer."

    Any other recommendation?


  • Hi Gavin - it sounds like you are installing a beta version of VS 2005 - the beta versions were set to expire on May 1, 2006.  Can you double-check to see if you are installing a beta version or the final release version?  The steps in this blog post will not help if you are trying to install a beta version.
  • I'm not installing beta version. It is a final version.
  • Hi Gavin - The final release version does not have these error strings at all, so it isn't possible to receive these error messages when installing or using the final release version.  I am not sure why you would be getting these errors and I don't have any additional ideas for workarounds, so I think your best bet is to contact Microsoft technical support for further assistance.  You are entitled to a free support case for setup-related problems with Visual Studio 2005.  I'm sorry I'm not able to be more helpful here.
  • PingBack from http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/articles/492809.aspx
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