VS2003 and Vista - Is the sky really falling?

As part of a recent Visual Studio 2005 SP1 announcement, the Corp VP of Microsoft's Developer Division stated that Visual Studio.NET 2003 won't be supported under Windows Vista. Frans Bouma, Paul Wilson, and others have done a good job of raising the level of awareness on the issue. I agree that it's not, you know, a good thing, but I wanted to hear how big a problem it really is.

Does "not supported" mean it will blue screen your computer and set you on fire, or does it mean it'll mostly work with the occasional annoyance? It seems like it may be the latter.

Scott Hanselman, who has actually been using Vista, told me that "Some obscure things like autoregistration of COM Interop Assemblies doesn’t work. But it’s working fine for me."

Scott Guthrie left a comment on Paul Wilson's post saying that the problem is really with "advanced debugging", and it will "mostly work" under Vista:

The big technical challenge is with enabling scenarios like advanced debugging. Debuggers are incredibly invasive in a process, and so changes in how an OS handles memory layout can have big impacts on it. Vista did a lot of work in this release to tighten security and lock down process/memory usage - which is what is affecting both the VS debugger, as well as every other debugger out there. Since the VS debugger is particularly rich (multi-language, managed/native interop, COM + Jscript integration, etc) - it will need additional work to fully support all scenarios on Vista. That is also the reason we are releasing a special servicing release after VS 2005 SP1 specific to Vista - to make sure everything (and especially debugging and profiling) work in all scenarios. It is actually several man-months of work (we've had a team working on this for quite awhile). Note that the .NET 1.1 (and ASP.NET 1.1) is fully supported at runtime on Vista. VS 2003 will mostly work on Vista. What we are saying, though, is that there will be some scenarios where VS 2003 doesn't work (or work well) on Vista - hence the reason it isn't a supported scenario. Instead, we recommend using a VPC/VM image for VS 2003 development to ensure 100% compat.

I sure would have preferred it if that kind of detail - what won't work, and why not - had been more officially announced, and sooner. However, for now it looks like rather than dealing with complaints about it not completely working, Microsoft's positioning this as another "doesn't work by design - not a supported scenario" thing.

Kind of reminds me of the IE7 Standalone thing. Even though it is technically possible to do and works well enough for development purposes, the official answer is that we need to be developing inside a virtual machine.


  • > ... mostly work with the occasional annoyance?
    That describes most supported products.
    The big issue is the lack of support. In an enterprise environment we can't afford to migrate developer workstations to Vista if their primary tool is not supported - even if it does "mostly work".

  • I have been (trying) to use Vista for the last week or so, and finally gave up last nite (after throwing my stuffed Buddha at the screen). I did not try to run VS 2003. 2005 worked fine for me, but SQL Server was a complete mess. Windows Auth just fails miserably and most of the time things on other partitions are not accessible.

    Finally - I wrote a post about this yesterday - the message boxes were just killing me (Defender at work). Blacking out my screen is just offensive.

  • For me, the most frustrating part of this whole issue is that it was announced so late in the cycle. To shock people at this stage of the cycle is very surprising. I think the result is about what I would expect. Is the sky falling? Of course not. Is it a shock to the system? Yeah. Is it possible to recover from this? Of course.

  • Just use PHP and MySQL for development, or Java. They works fine on Pentium3, AMD64x2, Windows98, Windows2000, Vista, XP, Linux, MacOS, and whatever. Stuck with Microsoft is not a smart idea. Of course, you can always have your VM with XP inside Debian Linux.

  • Have just bought a new laptop with Vista, tried to install VS2003 and failed. Now find this. Totally Ridiculous. Will have to now go thru the pain of changing OS to XP.

  • @mickeyp I had no problems installing VS2003 on Vista back in 2006. But, if you're trying to install Visual Studio 2003 in 2008, I'd say you're getting what you deserve. Install Visual Studio 2008 and call it a day. If you're working in a development shop that requires Visual Studio 2003, install it in XP while you polish your resume. Or, are you running Windows 98? ;-)

  • Hope someone can help me, I really need VS 2003 under Vista, the installation fails...


  • What i do not realize is if truth be told how you are now
    not actually much more neatly-favored than you might be now.

    You are so intelligent. You understand thus considerably in
    the case of this subject, produced me for my part imagine it from
    numerous various angles. Its like men and women are not fascinated until it's something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your personal stuffs great. At all times maintain it up!

Comments have been disabled for this content.