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How to install the Windows Phone Developer Tools on Windows Server 2008

How to install the Windows Phone Developer Tools on Windows Server 2008

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The Windows Phone Developer Tools are not officially supported on operating systems other than Windows Vista or Windows 7.  In between the CTP and the CTP Refresh, a block was added to setup to prevent installing on Windows Server 2008 to help enforce this support limitation.  I’ve heard from some folks who were using the original CTP on Windows Server 2008 who cannot move forward to the CTP Refresh or the final release because of this block.

There is a way you can work around the Windows Server 2008 setup block if needed.  Please note that this is not officially supported, so if you try these steps, you are doing so at your own risk.

  1. Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools web bootstrapper and save it to your hard drive
  2. Extract the contents of the setup package by running vm_web.exe /x and choosing a path to extract to
  3. Go to the folder you extracted to in step 2 and open the file baseline.dat in notepad
  4. Look for the section named [gencomp7788]

    Note - you have to change this exact section - this is the one that controls the OS version blocking behavior in Windows Phone Developer Tools setup.
  5. Change the value InstallOnLHS from 1 to 0
  6. Change the value InstallOnWin7Server from 1 to 0
  7. Save and close baseline.dat
  8. Run setup.exe /web from the folder you extracted to in step 2

    Note - please make sure that you include the /web command line parameter in step 8.  If you don't, setup will not attempt to download the packages it needs to install, and it will fail to install correctly as a result.

<update date="9/17/2010"> Added an emphasis on steps 4 and 8 - setup will fail if you don't pass in the /web switch when using these steps.  Also updated the steps for the final RTW build of Windows Phone Developer Tools. </update>


  • Thanks for this post - just what we needed.

    Is there any work in progress to enable this? I would think it's very common to have your build server running on Windows Server (think TFS), so if we at least could have the msbuild integration available (no need for emulator, VS Express, XNA etc).

  • Hi SharpGIS - I definitely understand the need for this type of scenario, and I've let the team that creates the installer for the Windows Phone Developer Tools know.  It would also help if you can register your feedback by reporting a bug about this issue on the Connect site at http://connect.microsoft.com/visualstudio/.

  • Hey Aaron,

    Thanks for this. I guess most people at Microsoft don't realize how many developers use Windows 2008 (R2) as a workstation.

    Using a server product wouldn't be necessary if MS could introduce a developer SKU of Windows 7 that supports Hyper-V.


  • Here's the connect bug:


    If you need this, please go and vote.

  • On Windows Server 2008 R2 I also needed to set InstallOnWin7Server from 1 to 0

  • Doesnt work on Windows Server 2008 RC2! What do i wrong?

  • Hi Unknown - Are you saying that the WPDT installer doesn't work on Windows Server 2008 R2, or the workaround on this blog post doesn't work on Windows Server 2008 R2?  Windows Server 2008 is not an officially supported platform for WPDT.  The workaround is provided as-is and is not officially supported.  If you haven't yet, you'll need to try the steps in this blog post in order to be able to install WPDT.  If you already tried the steps and they don't work, please post a copy of %temp%\dd_install_vm_xcor_100.txt to a file server (such as http://skydrive.live.com) and reply here with a link I can use to download your log and I'll try to take a further look from there.

  • Hi astebner,

    Thanks a lots for the post. I followed your steps but still am getting an error which says installing Visual Studio Express has failed. I have Visual Studio Ultimate installed. Can you suggest me a solution. Thank you.

  • Hi ShareSilver - Can you please use the tool described at blogs.msdn.com/.../6458047.aspx to gather your Windows Phone Developer Tools setup log files, then post the file %temp%\vslogs.cab that is created by that tool to a file server (such as http://skydrive.live.com), then reply back here with a link I can use to download your log files and take a closer look?

  • Would be nice, if you would give a good reason why it isn't supported. VS2010 and Blend are working great on Win2008.

    Because of Zune?

  • Hi Eric Sch - I work on the XNA Game Studio team, and my team doesn't own this decision, so I'm not able to give any kind of official reasons.  One thing I know for sure is that the Zune software doesn't install on server OS's, so that would prevent users from connecting to and deploying apps/games to their Windows Phone devices.

    Also, XNA Game Studio doesn't block installation but it also doesn't officially support server OS's either.  The main reason there is that server computers and server OSs are typically not optimal for game development scenarios - they tend to have graphics capabilities disabled for security reasons and/or don't have graphics cards that support D3D because servers typically don't need that type of graphics power.

  • It works for RTW !!!!  

    Thanks for the treat

  • This was entirely my own fault and easy to fix, but:

    I skipped step 4, and changed the values for InstallOnLHS and InstallOnWin7Server in the wrong section.  So, when I ran setup.exe /web, it still gave the error that Win7 was required.  It was easy to catch my error and worked the next time around (now I need to get a new video card to run XNA Emulator though :-/).  But, you could emphasize step 4 more :-)

  • Awesome! Working for RTM today, Thank you!

  • Thank you for sharing the workaround for installing on Windows Server 2008! It worked great!

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