Visual Studio 2008 Now Running Side-by-side Visual Studio 2005

I have been having a few Vista problems lately and paved my system and put Windows XP Pro back on it.  I figured this was a good time to setup my development environment the way I wanted it.  My goal was to have Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 on the same system.

Visual Studio 2005 Environment

I know Visual Studio 2008 can target the .NET Framework 2.0, which I have some client applications running, but opening a Visual Studio 2005 project in VS 2008 converts the project to a new project format and you can no longer open the project in VS 2005.  The only way to do this is maintain two separate project files for each solution.

My current development environment consisted of:

  • Visual Studio 2005 with Service Pack 1
  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition with SQL Management Tools
  • SQL Server 2005 Express
  • .NET Framework 2.0
  • .NET Framework 3.0
  • GhostDoc 2.12 for VS 2005 
  • MSDN Library
  • Visual SVN 1.31 and Subversion

My environment is pretty simple, not many add-ins.  I don’t like too many add-ins as I travel to clients and if I have to work on different systems I don’t want to be handicapped by the dependency on a third party tool a developer may not have.

I installed the above tools and made sure everything worked as before with my projects.  Everything worked fine.

Visual Studio 2008 Environment

I wanted to get my VS 2008 environment as close to my VS 2005 as I could with a few extra tools.  The environment looks like this:

  • Visual Studio 2008
  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition with SQL Management Tools (already installed)
  • SQL Server 2005 Express (already installed) 
  • .NET Framework 3.5
  • GhostDoc 2.12 for VS 2008 
  • MSDN Library
  • Entity Framework Beta 2
  • Entity Framework Tools CTP

I was installing from a clean install but if I wasn’t and had the VS 2008 beta 2 on my system I would have had to uninstall everything first.  I wrote an article for InfoQ on the subject.

I did run into a couple problems with the Entity Framework beta 2 on VS 2008.  The installer fails and apparently targets a certain .NET Framework 3.5 build.  A very helpful blog post from Ralf Rottmann did the trick. 

NOTE: Ralf’s posts shows a way to hack the MSI file using Notepad++ but there is a better way using a tool from Microsoft called Orca, which gives a nice editor for the MSIs.

Installing the Entity Framework Tools also failed and could fixed with the same method, also pointed out by Ralf Rottmann in a separate blog post.

Keep in mind if you run GhostDoc you will need version 2.12 which has a fix for running VS 2005 and VS2008 side-by-side.

Overall the experience went very smooth with the exception of the Entity Framework install.  Everything is running fine and getting along well.



15 responses to “Visual Studio 2008 Now Running Side-by-side Visual Studio 2005

  1. So, 26 days later, how’s it running? No side-by-side issues? About to give 2008 Team Suite trial a go on Vista x64 … hoping not to upset my 2005 Pro install …

  2. @Andrew – it’s actually going very well. I am running on Windows XP Pro, not Vista though. I have installed VS2005 and VS2008 side-by-side and work on projects in both environments. I use Team Foundation for source control and it works well.

    You may already know if you are running side-by-side and you open a VS2005 project in VS2008 and save it, you won’t be opening it in VS2005 again.

    I have played around a bit with VS2008 on Vista 64 and it seemed to work fine. I have been one of those users who upgraded/downgraded to Windows XP Pro from Vista. Long story but Vista is not there yet, even with a beta of SP1 I was using.

  3. Hi, is there any point leaving VS 2005 installed except for being able to open VS 2005 project without converting them.

  4. @Petar I don’t think there is any reason to leave both versions of Visual Studio running side-by-side unless:

    1. You have projects shared with other developers still using VS 2005. If not, you can upgrade your projects and just target the version of the .NET Framework you need.

    2. You have not tested any third-party controls your using under VS2008 or you may have some problems.

    Unless you are tight on disk space, and even then, I don’t think it hurts to keep both running together. VS2008 has been out for a short time and we don’t know all of the hurdles we may face with backward compatibility right now.

  5. Thanks, I just installed VS 2008 side by side with VS 2005, works fine šŸ™‚

  6. A number of people are using VS 2005 in our group. If a new developer needs to get set up, is there any reason that they shouldn’t use VS 2008. If a 2005 developer needed to pick up a project from the 2008 environment would that work, or do we start the dominos of having to make everyone upgrade.

    Which environment do you prefer?

    FWIW, I plan to set up a side by side, but was researching if it is feasible and/or advisable before placing my system at risk.

  7. @Chuck The issue you will face with some developers having VS2005 and some having VS2008 is the project files are NOT compatible. If you open a project in VS2008 which is a VS2005 project it does a conversion which the VS2005 cannot open.

    VS2008 does target multiple .NET Runtimes but that is about the only compatibility.

    The only real way to have both environments used with the same project is to maintain two separate project files. This of course adds some maintenance you may not want to add.

    I hope this helps.

  8. Hi, My name is Sachin, I have a problem please help me, the problem is, I Developed a windowservice in Visual Studio 2005, later I uninstalled VS2005 and installed VS 2008, So when I am trying to open that project, it ask me to convert that to VS2008. I did it. But I did not save that old copy, and I directly convert that to VS2008. Later I completed my WindowService project and tested in my local Box. it is working fine i.e., the service “.msipackage” is installed the service and the service installed and started.
    Now my problem is When I try to install on the devlopement system , it is asking my “This setup requires the .NETFramework version 3.5. Please install the .NET Framework and run this setup again.”

    Now How to install the Windows Service, without installing the .NET Framework 3.5, because there is a constraint of not using .NET 3.5 at this time. So I want to know is there any way to installed that windows service “.msi” without installing the .NET Framework 3.0 or 3.5.
    FYI., I never used .NETFramework 3.0 and 3.5 in that project. All my refereces and everything based on .NET 1.1 AND .NET 2.0.

    Thanks in Advance…

  9. Hi Rob, I have VS 2005 standard & VS 2008 Professional installed on a XP pro box. Everything seems to work fine. However, when I am attempting to covert a copy of a 2005 project to 2008 for testing purposes, I am running into an issue. The main form designer isn’t recognizing references to the dataset class created in the dataset designer. Mainly the dataset name, 4 references to tableadapters, and 1 fk reference. Have you come across this, or is there documentation covering this that I have over-looked? Thanks.

  10. Tendulkar,
    Sorry, clipboard problem, this is the correct link:

  11. @Brandon Thanks for the link it’s a nice find. I will update my post with a link.

  12. @Dan I have not see this issue. I would be interested if you find an answer. If I get enough issues like this I will post about the serious of exceptions we find.

  13. hi
    this is haja

    i have window xp machine with p4 config.i have been installed visual studio 2005 on my machine with out installing windows xp service pack(default is sp2) and working fine in my system,Now i wanted to uninstall 2005 and install vs2008 in my machine,i did that,but vs2008 could not install in my machine,some error is came from setup.msi in vs 2008

    but i did in window 2003 server with latest service pack ,same setup has been installed in my machine

    i dont know where is the problem

    i hear from that some friends are installing vs2005 and vs 2008 on their machine in window xp,how they do it.

    plz help me i am too wanted to install 2005 and 2008 in win


  14. Hi,

    Actually there is another option : see here

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