Patch Applicability Browser

Patch Applicability Browser

  • Comments 7

Windows Installer patches can target multiple products, and Developer Division makes a practice of shipping patches that take advantage of this capability. This typically helps avoid confusion among users about which patch to download. However, because Visual Studio ships as many editions and even the Integrated Development Environment, or IDE, is used by other divisions such as SQL Server, it's not always clear to which products a patch applies and if you have that product installed.

To help eliminate confusion in this case, I have created the Patch Applicability Browser. It's a simple application with a simple purpose: display what products a Developer Division patch targets, and identify which of those products are installed on the machine. You can see a screenshot below, and download the tool from the Download Center.

I will update the internal data set from time to time and may improve upon this application based on user feedback. Please provide such feedback here on this article.

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  • Today I'm pleased to announce that Sara has helped me post a useful tool I wrote to help eliminate confusion

  • You know, for 5 grand/year, I'd expect a less painful patching/upgrading process that didn't require following some (pardon the expression) obscure blog just to make patch installations tolerably painful.
  • Grim, we could make a single patch that patched every possible SKU we service but that would have to be measured in GBs - not MBs. Not only is that a burden on both your and our bandwidth, but it can prevent the patch from installing to any target product. See for more information about the problems large patches can cause. The SQL Server 2005 patch also ran into this problem, thus prompting the KB article I helped author at

  • Some customers are reporting that Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Beta tries to install multiple times.

  • I would recommend that some sort of information is presented in the dialog concerning the possiblity of installing multiple product patches. This way we at least know what is going on. I also saw the same thing with several hotfixes. I suspect it was for the same reason.
  • Some more feedback concerning what is going on in the installation process would help. I noticed similar behavior in some hotfixes and assumed something like this was going on but was not certain because of lack of feedback.
  • As most of you know Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005 is a bit of a beast. I personally think...

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