No love installing Visual Studio SP1

I decided I'd give the SP1 install a shot Friday night, before leaving for Christmas activities. Boy was that a waste of time. First try, there wasn't enough space on the drive, which happens to be a Parallels virtual drive on my Mac. So I fattened it up with about five gigs to spare, and no love. Got the ever popular and incredibly useful error 2908. You know, the 2908! Duh! It was completely hosed after that, and I couldn't even start VS.

I was pretty annoyed. It took about an hour just to get that far. Seriously, how does this stuff ever get out of QA like this? Thank God this wasn't a consumer product, or everyone would have another excuse to start slamming Microsoft again.

Fortunately, being a Mac user with Parallels, I backed up the machine before starting and just started over. Same problem on second attempt, but I tried. The stuff I could Google was all from the initial launch of the product, and a lot of explanations that offered no real solutions.

So there are two things that suck about the installation experience (aside from the fact it simply doesn't work). The first is that you need lots of free disk space, and the installer doesn't bother to check it before doing its thing. Someone should be fired for that. The second problem is the absolutely useless error code. I've yet to encounter anything on the Mac that doesn't tell me why something is wrong when it breaks, but you get nonsense like this all over Windows.

This was very much the moment that I realized just how screwed up Windows really is. I've read some good explanations about why the SP takes so long to install, but the bigger picture issue is that most problems are related to the Windows architecture that Microsoft can't let go of. .NET itself is fabulous, but VS still has too many hooks to the OS, not the least of which is the damn registry, apparently.

I don't know what I'm going to do at this point. I don't really have time to keep fighting the OS. My MSDN incidents expired. I guess I'm going to go on un-SP'd. This does not inspire a lot of confidence at work either, where we were hoping to get some of the reported performance gains.


  • I agree with much of your sentiment: no warning about disk space and an esoteric 2908 error?!? After several tries myself (one all-nighter), I moved the exe to a secondary drive and ran it with patch cache disabled ( and I'm all good to go.

  • I could pour through logs... but why should I have to? Is it too much to ask that a $1,500+ product work when I install it?

    It's SO frustrating when you see something so useful turn into something that is completely useless, especially when you're a big fan boy like me.

  • Same problem here I really have no idea who tested this product when it was in beta but it seems nobody tested it at all. I can't actually even believe that installing a dumb service pack is such a hell to go through. At this point I've also abandonned the SP1 installation as per the same error code and left the update to another century.

  • I have a somewhat similar experience, where it feels like every newer version of Visual Studio seems to be less responsive when working with it.

    For some reason, trying to add a reference to something suddenly requires VS to take ages to load the reference dialog.

    Strange auto-collapse behaviour from the toolbox, data, solution explorer, output, etc... panes.

    It just "feels" slower. And it sure isn't the hardware :)

    I'm preparing at the moment to go to a dual boot setup to run in Linux and take a serious look at Mono and the effort/productivity it takes to develop for it and in Linux. Curious :)

  • Most installations/upgrades are not nearly as painful as this. I'm curious to know which IDEs you've used on the Mac that were easier to upgrade though.

  • It has nothing to do with IDE's. This is par for the course on all kinds of non-trivial Windows software, and even Windows itself.

  • I wish I had seen this site b4 trying to SP-up.

  • Well, I've tried installing it, but it just won't install because I don't have enough disk space. I actually do have enough disk space, but because I have installed Visual Studio onto a D: drive instead of C:, I can't actually tell the installer to look at D: instead of C:. I can't be the only one in this boat, and I really feel they need to have another go at this. All I want to say is 'install onto the D: drive', but the installer just isn't listening. (Unless someone has a suggestion for me??)

  • For those of the humorous sort, I've written an updated install guide:


  • Same happened with me too... Looks like this crap is taking more that 300 MB of memory and gets stuck after waiting for 4 hrs. Its time MS gives us a break and provides with a professional installation tool.

  • Microsoft screwed up big time on this one. The forums are filled with people complaining about SP1 installation problems. I have been a microsoft developper for about 15 years, but a few months ago I have switched to ubuntu linux as my main desktop environnement and I can tell you that it was the best move I ever made. I still have to go back into windows once in a while to use VS2010, but now this latest SP destroyed my installation, so I'm left wondering if I should make the effort of unistalling everything and reinstalling in hope it will work, or just port my application to some other technology where I wouldn't need to use windows. It's sad because .Net is a great platform, but on a bad OS.

  • Whatever. You're responding to a post that's five years old.

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