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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>


  • Is there a workaround to install Windows Phone Developer Tools October 2010 Update with above setup ? Nothing happens when I try to install this update on windows server 2008 R2, I was able to successfully install the original Windows Phone Developer Tools.

  • Hi Tim - The October 2010 Update is just a patch that applies to one of the components installed by the Windows Phone Developer Tools.  I haven't tried it myself, but I'd expect it to install correctly as long as you were able to get the original version of the WPDT to install successfully.

    What exact error message do you see in this scenario?  Can you try to enable verbose logging and run the .msp file for the October 2010 Update again and post your log file so I can take a look?  You can use steps like the ones listed at blogs.msdn.com/.../help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.aspx to enable verbose logging on your computer.

  • The installation went through ok, but everytime I run the emulator i get the message "Windows Phone Emulator is doing a complete OS boot..." and my PC does a reboot!

  • Hi Ahmed - I'd suggest taking a look at the emulator troubleshooting guide on the forums at social.msdn.microsoft.com/.../c4754ebd-f688-4c33-972a-a578b9db12ff to see if any of the workarounds listed there helps in this scenario.

    Also, please keep in mind that Windows Server 2008 is not an officially supported OS, and this issue may be caused by some kind of incompatibility between this version of Windows and the emulator.

  • Thanks for this - much respect :)

  • Thanks once again Aaron for saving the day regarding installing the WP Developer Tools on WS2008! Dinner is on me when I am across the pond soon!

  • Great indeed, Aaron!

    Thanks for hte help

  • I was able to get the installer to run, and it reported to have successfully installed, but when I try to open a WP7 project from VisualStudio2010, I still get the same message:

    The project file <MyProjectPathNam>.csproj' cannot be opened.

    The project type is not supported by this installation.

  • Hi Stephen Hollingworth - First of all, please keep in mind that Windows Server 2008 is not officially supported.

    That being said, if install completed successfully, I would expect things to work inside of Visual Studio.  Is this project a Silverlight project or an XNA Game Studio project?  Also, is it a project you previously created and are trying to open on this computer, or are you trying to create a new project from the VS 2010 New Project dialog?

  • Thanks Aaron, I did get it to work -- what I had to do was to run the installer again, and select "Install Optional Components", and select "Windows Phone 7 Add-in for VisualStudio 2010".

  • Hi! Do you know how to uninstall from WS2k8? Now I want to install the update for Mango, and I have to uninstall first this version from my machine.. thank you!

  • Hi Javier Yague - I think uninstall should work correctly if you run setup.exe from the same location that you originally installed from, and make sure that the original install location has the necessary change to baseline.dat that is described in this blog post.  If that doesn't work, it might be necessary to modify the copy of baseline.dat that is installed with the tools.  It will be in a location like the following:

    For Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.0: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone  - ENU\baseline.dat

    For Windows Phone SDK 7.1: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone 7.1 (Beta2) - ENU\baseline.dat

    Note - the above paths assume that you are using a 32-bit version of Windows and that you installed VS to the default location.  If these assumptions are not true on your computer, then you will need to update the path appropriately in order to be able to find baseline.dat on your computer.

  • Excellent post. thank you

  • Thanks a lot for the post! This definately helped me in unblocking.

  • Just used your post to install Windows Phone SDK 7.1 on Windows Server 2008 R2.  Worked like a charm (only difference being vm_web.exe is now vm_web2.exe)!  Thank you SO much!!

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