The Visual Studio team has released a set of web-downloadable community tech previews for the VS 2005 express editions. If you go to the individual express edition pages and click the big Download link, it will still download the beta1 versions. However, if you scroll down to the Express Headlines section, there is a link to download the October 2004 community tech preview. For your convenience, here are the direct links:
- Visual Basic: http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/1/a/21a4b949-758c-4ff2-8381-1acb2a943bf9/vbsetup.exe
- Visual C++: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/9/6/996fe06a-08fb-459b-a7c4-35640b4f7bf3/vcsetup.exe
- Visual C#: http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/5/e/a5efa6aa-b73c-4fa7-89b7-4a5fcd60f2a8/vcssetup.exe
- Visual J#: http://download.microsoft.com/download/d/d/6/dd6aa2e5-20ae-4cd1-85ec-52e5ee78dfd4/vjssetup.exe
- Visual Web Developer: http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/6/b/96bc21d5-6a5e-4cc8-ac22-272d98f96a64/vwdsetup.exe
One important note here - if you have any Visual Studio 2005 beta1 products installed, you will need to uninstall them before you install this community tech preview. Setup will not block you, but it will fail if you don't uninstall VS 2005 beta1 first (including all pieces of VS - the .NET Framework, MSDN, SQL Express, etc).
I know that a lot of you tried out the beta1 version using the automatic downloader and there has been a lot of frustration and failed installs resulting from that. The VS setup team has done a lot of work to make the downloader more bulletproof and provide better progress indications, etc. I encourage you all to give it a try and send any feedback you have back to Microsoft. If you send it to me I'll be happy to route it on to the setup team (my former team). You can also log bugs and suggestions on the MSDN feedback site at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/default.aspx.
Also, since this is a community tech preview and not a full-fledged beta, there are some known issues that were not fixed in time for this release. You can find that list at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/readme/cptreadme1004/default.aspx