Uninstalling previous betas to prepare for VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 RTM

Now that the .NET Framework 2.0 and VS 2005 are officially released, those of you who have been running beta and CTP builds will need to prepare your machines to install the final release.  As I'm sure many of you are aware of if you've had a beta installed in the past, beta uninstall and migration to newer builds has been a very painful subject dating all the way back to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta 1.  Fortunately there is a lot more awareness that uninstalling the various pieces of VS 2005 is not trivial, and there are some automated uninstall tools and much better documentation.

For those of you who will need to uninstall a previous beta in order to install the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0, you should make sure to review the official uninstall instructions before starting to uninstall anything.  In case you read nothing else, please make sure that you leave the .NET Framework 2.0 beta uninstall until the very end.  Most of the other pieces of VS 2005 will not uninstall fully if you remove the .NET Framework 2.0 beta first, and that can cause problems in some scenarios after installing the final release.

In order to make the uninstall process easier, there are a couple of automated uninstall tools available for various scenarios:

  1. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 - this tool should be run on a machine that still has the beta or CTP build installed to uninstall all pieces of the beta or CTP to prepare a machine to install the final release

  2. Troubleshooting tool - this tool should be run to find and fix problems while running the final release of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 if you previously uninstalled in the incorrect order; this tool also has the automatic uninstall functionality built-in, but you should use the first tool if you only need to uninstall

  3. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of WinFX - this is similar to the first tool, but is specifically designed to remove WinFX beta/CTP builds in addition to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta/CTP builds

  4. "The Hammer" - this tool is designed for scenarios where you have installed the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0 and it does not work and the troubleshooting tool does not fix it; this tool will fully uninstall the final release of VS 2005 (in addition to any beta versions you might have installed) so make sure you only run it if you want to uninstall the final build; this tool is intended to be used to remove VS 2005 and get a machine back into a known state to try to install it again to clean up any problems that other troubleshooting steps are not able to resolve

The uninstall tools (#1, #3 and #4 above) are designed to run Windows Installer APIs and command lines to discover whether or not a known, fixed set of products are installed and then remove them.  As we discover additional issues that these tools do not cover, I will be updating the troubleshooting tool.  The main goal of the troubleshooting tool is to fix up a machine that already has the final release installed without needing to have the user resort to uninstalling everything and starting from scratch.  It tries to perform more "surgical" fixes for specific issues related to incomplete/incorrect beta uninstalls.

As always, let me know if you run into any issues or have any feedback on any of the above tools and I'll try my best to help.


Comments (68)
  1. Jon says:

    So how about the RC release of VS 2005 Team System? Any tool to uninstall that? Or will the #1 tool above do the job?

  2. Hi Jon – the tool in #1 above will remove the RC build of Visual Studio Team System (the build that was given out at PDC in Los Angeles last month). It will not remove any of the server-side pieces of VSTS however.

  3. kevinowen says:

    Aaron, the links for the first, third, and fourth tools are all redirecting to the same URL (http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/a/a/0aacd9c1-a0c5-43ab-a428-0ee440d4472c/vs_uninst.exe)…

  4. Sailaja says:

    I had Package load errors with RTM, i have used the 4th tool and did a clean install of VS2005 later. But then also i ran into same error. I have run the tool2 to fix the problems and everything works fine now

  5. Hi Kevin – thank you for the heads up about these links pointing to the same location. The 3rd and 4th links will be updated in the next week or so to point to the versions of the tool that I describe above, but for now they are all pointing to the VS 2005 beta/CTP removal tool.

  6. Steve says:

    Is it possible to invoke the hammer in an unattended fashion?

  7. Andy Mackie says:

    Looks like the cleanup tools don’t detect the presence of the VS2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow (for beta 2). I had install errors with VS2005RTM as I hadn’t uninstalled the workflow extensions first. More details here: http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=123826

  8. Huy Dao says:

    This is a time saver! Thanks!

  9. Ron Edge says:

    After uninstalling the SQL 2005 CTP, and running the uninstall tool, .NET compact framework 1.0 sp3 and .NET compact framework 2.0 were still installed. I ran the uninstall of both of them from add/remove programs. I don’t see the compact framework mentioned in the list of manual uninstall steps.

  10. Terry says:


    I am having trouble installing SQLServer 2005.

    All of the tools / installers say I still have

    a remnant of a previous beta / CTP. I have tried all of the tools referenced in the WebLog but they all give 2 error messages while trying to uninstall the SQL Server 2005

    Express Edition CTP. Both error messages say an unexpected error is encountered in the datastore and unable to write to the cache.

    Any ideas?



  11. Hi Ron – The final build of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 and 2.0 were included in the beta versions of VS 2005, so the removal tool does not need to uninstall those because those are not betas even though they are installed by the setup of a beta product.

    Hi Terry – It sounds like you are running into the issue that I described in a separate blog post at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/13/465401.aspx. Can you please try the steps listed there and see if they help you resolve this?

  12. Terry says:


    Thanks for the information on the separate blog post. It was just what I needed. I was able to delete the 6 references to the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition CTP.

    Unfortunately, after the SQL Server 2005 Standard installation program continues, it

    hangs during the System Configuration Check.

    I have to kill the install from the Task Manager.

    Is there another blog that addresses this problem? Do you think it is tied to my earlier problem of being out of sequence on the uninstall?



  13. Hi Terry – Debugging SQL setup failures can be a bit tricky. Could you please zip and send me the log files located in %Program Files%Microsoft SQL Server90Setup BootstrapLOGFiles on your system so I can try to take a look and see if I can figure anything out here? You can send them to aaronste@microsoft.com.

  14. Brad says:

    I’m having mega-problems removing the VS 2005 beta. Part of the problem might be that I did not use the proper order (didn’t know about it at the time). When I run the various uninstall tools, I’m told that C:DOCUME~1UserNameLOCALS~1TempIXP000.TMPnetfx.msi is not present, and the uninstall fails. This might all have sprung from an initial installation via "Run As…" administrator since I usually try to run without admin priveleges. I’ve tried the uninstall tool by: (A) Run As, (B) while logged in as admin, and (C) by giving myself admin priveleges and logging in as me. Each time I get the same error.

    I need a bigger hammer. Any suggestions? I’d rather not have to reinstall windows and start over.

  15. Hi Brad – Can you please try the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove the .NET Framework 2.0 in order to get around this issue?

  16. JP says:

    hello aaron,

    i hoped that these tools would help out. but i really killed sql server beta 2… i did the uninstall in the wrong order. then it disappeared on the software list in the control panel. so i removed the dir manually and some registry keys… but now no tool can re-install a sql server…. and no tool can remove it… :S

  17. Hi JP – there are a couple of blog posts I’ve written that might help you remove the beta version of SQL – http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx and http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/08/501885.aspx.

    Can you try those steps and then see if install will work for you? If it still fails, can you zip up the log files located at %ProgramFiles%Microsoft SQL Server90Setup BootStrapLOGFiles and send them to me at aaronste@microsoft.com so I can try to take a look?

  18. dp says:

    By the time I reached this blog I was already quite frustrated. So I went straight for the Hammer. Unfortunately that didnt work for me. Then I tried the unistall tool mentioned in step 1, and when that also did not fix the problem, the troubleshooter mentioned in step 2. That finally solved my problem. I would have saved some time if I had followed the suggested sequence. Thanks for the help!

  19. dp says:

    I fixed tthis problem for another computer. Ultimately, the troubleshooting tool is what worked for me both times.

    BTW, I ran the uninstall from step 1, the troubleshooter from step 2, and finally the hammer BEFORE the vs2k5 install. I still had the package load failure problem. However, running the troubleshooter after the install fixed the problem.

  20. William Johnson says:


    I’ve downloaded the uninstall tool for downloading the betas; However, when I run the tool nothing happens. I am presented with a blank window and the application hangs for ever.

    I’ve also tried uninstalling the betas manually by following the manual uninstall instructions on MS web site, but that doesn’t seem to work either. My system just hangs. Is there any other way for me to uninstall the betas from my computer? Nothing seems to be working.

    Thank you,


  21. The King says:

    THANKS AARON! Trouble shooting tool fixed my problem. I had bad assemblies from beta releases and they were messing with launch VS 2005 standard edition.

    I spent ALL weekend removing in order and reloading VS 2005 and was totally frustated! Same result… package load failures with the explorer and designer in VB. I ran the ttool (trouble shooting tool) and in about 20 seconds my problems were fixed. Words cannot express how pleased I am with the tool. Great job!

  22. Janos Horanyi says:


    the tools are runnig but find nothing.

    All things are ok.

    I have nothing to removed (I see not old versions).

    But by start – programms I see SQL SERVER 2005 CTP and VS 2005 Beta2.

    I can the new VS 2005 install but SQL Server not (both express or developer)

    Please help

    E-Mail –> janos.horanyi@saz.at

  23. Hi Janos – If a program is in the Start menu, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is still installed on the computer.  It is possible that the Start menu shortcuts were left behind after a beta uninstall.  If you don’t have any products listed to uninstall when you run the cleanup tool you are probably OK.

    For the SQL issue, can you please zip and send me the log files located at %ProgramFiles%Microsoft SQL Server90Setup BootstrapLogFiles so I can try to take a look?

  24. PeteL's Blog says:

    Like Scott Guthrie (our GM) I spend a bit of time every day reading blogs, and surfing forums. …

  25. Bob Logan says:

    I was a participant in the Avalon TAP program last year and therefore installed VS2005 beta 2/WinFx, etc. The uninstall methods mentioned above require access to the beta 2 dvd, of which my copy is not available. Is there somewhere I can download beta 2 (so that I can then completely uninstall it)? I’m desperately trying to get my RTM version installed, which kicks out an error that beta 2 is still installed. (I have already followed all the manual instructions). Thanks!

  26. Bob Logan says:

    OK… downloading a copy of beta 2; hoping to re-install, uninstall, then install the RTM.

  27. Hi Bob – The tools listed on this blog post should not require access to the source media for beta 2.  It is possible that there are bugs in the beta uninstall that might cause you to be prompted for source to be able to uninstall.  If that is the case and you don’t have or can’t find the source anymore, you can use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove the beta version that you still have installed.  Hope this helps…

  28. Bob Logan says:

    Thanks Aaron! smartmsizap.exe did the trick… I can now launch VS 2005 (although I do get a couple of package load errors). I’ll track those down next.

    Thanks again for your help,


  29. Hi Bob – I’m glad to hear that smartmsizap helped you.  You can take a look at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx for some suggestions regarding the package load failures that you’re seeing.  Hope this helps as well!

  30. Ian says:

    THANK YOU!   This has sorted out a whole pile of pain I was stuck in, after a botched deinstall of the beta 2005.    VS2005 final would install, but had simply dozens of package errors.  vs_uninst has sorted it out completely.

  31. John O'Connor says:

    Troubleshooting tool (ttool.exe) does what "it says on the tin"; it fixed my problem – "method not found: ‘Boolean EnvDTE80.CodelClass2.get_IsShared’"

    Thank you.

  32. Mohsen says:


    I tried uninstall tools (#1, #3 and #4) but all of them in a message box with caption of

    "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition CTP" showed this messages:

    The setup has encountered an unexpected error in datastore. The action is RestoreSetupParams. The error is Failes to read Property "InstallIds" {"MachineConfiguration". ""."MOHSEN-P4"} from cache

    Unable to write property into cache: IsClustered

    Unable to write property into cache: "IsClustered"

    XmlRW Error" Failure loading xmlrw.dll

    CheckAllProcedures() returned: 2

    and then in a message box with caption of "Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Tools Express Edition CTP" it shows:

    "Te setup has encounterd an unexpected error in datastore. The action is Write_CollitFalg. The error is: Unable to write property into cache: flagCommit

    Unable to write property into cache "flagCommit"

    xmlRW Error: Failure loading xmlrw.dll

    CheckAllProcedures() returned: 2"

    Can you give me an advise

    Thanks in advance


  33. Hi Mohsen – It sounds like you are running into the issue that I described at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/13/465401.aspx.  Can you please try the workaround listed there and see if it helps in your scenario?

  34. ratish says:


    while installing the VS 2005 release setup it does not install SQL 2005, since i have previous CTP versions of SQL 2005 and iam unable to remove it…

    do you any tool to remove previous versions of SQL 2005 or any pointers will be helpful.


  35. Hi Ratish – You should be able to use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/13/465401.aspx to attempt to remove previous versions of SQL 2005.  Hope this helps!

  36. Ratish says:


    the install worked perfect !!!… but i am getting error message-boxes while i open VS 2005.

    The error states " Package Load Failure –  Package Visual Studio Common IDE Package has failed to load properly (GUID = {XXXXX})…

    please advice,


  37. Ratish says:

    All well ends well 🙂 !!! …..

    SQL 2005 installed … VS was giving the package problem so run the cleanup tool and looks like i am not getting the error again…

    thanks for all the support



    PS: These links were of gr8 help



  38. Hi Ratish – There are some steps at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx that should help resolve the package load failure issues that you’re seeing.  Can you try those out and see if they help in your scenario?

  39. ratish says:

    it worked !!!..

    so far so good here 🙂

    thanks once again..

  40. SWeb says:

    is it normal for visual studio beta to remain in the registry after it has been completely uninstalled? I also have found lots of vs and sql files in my c drive via explorer. do i need to remove these before installing vs express?

  41. Hi SWeb – I have seen cases where some items are left behind in the registry or the file system.  As long as you followed the uninstall instructions, you should be fine installing the final release of the VS 2005 Express Editions.  Please let me know if you run into any issues.

  42. SWeb says:

    Thanks Aaron! I also encountered a strange situation – visual studio just-in-time debugger appeared in windows after vs was uninstaled. i had used the uninstall tool on the vs beta disk, manually uninstalled all components and since, the ttool. I dont think this will cause any difficulties but maybe other people have also encountered this?

  43. David M. Bennett says:

    Unable to successfully the VS 2005 uninstall tool. Following is error dialog box text:

    The setup has encountered an unexpected error in datastore.  The action is Write_CommitFlag.  The error is:Unable to write property into cache: flagCommit Unable to write property into cache: "flagCommit"

    XmlRW Error: Failure loading xmlrw.dll


    returned: 2

    Would appreciate help, thanks!

  44. Hi David – This sounds like the same error that I described at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/09/13/465401.aspx.  Can you please try the workaround listed there and see if it solves this issue on your system as well?

  45. A customer contacted me this week after reading my blog post about uninstalling beta builds of VS 2005…

  46. Deepak Kumar says:

    Hi: Thanks for valuable information.


    Deepak Kumar



  47. The ininstall program from Microsoft tries to get rid of .net 2Beta but stops with an error message 1316A cannot find CWINDOWSinstaller.netfx.msi, then just runs back.

    I am STILL stuck with the Beta and cannot even install.net 1 which is needed now for several programmes.

    IS it to do with the fact that I have been landed with a PC with a "bad" version of |XP Pro and the Microsoft policy about upgrades.

    I cannot even try the Beta of playe 11

  48. Hi Brian – Can you please use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/10/30/487096.aspx to locate and manually remove the .NET Framework 2.0 beta version?  Once you remove the .NET 2.0 beta, hopefully the installation of .NET Framework 1.0/1.1 will work correctly for you.

  49. BoSJo says:


    I’m trying to get rid of Visual Studio 2005 Beta2 with all other stuff that comes along.

    I get an error, something like this (Translated from Danish) :

    there can not be established connection to windows installer. This problem can occour if you run windows in Safe Mode or if Windows Installer is inpropper installed. Contact support personell to get help.

    I have tried normal manuell uninstall

    I have tried to install the latest Windows Installer (Success, no warnings)

    I have tried the steps at the top of this page.

    I have tried every single tool spoken about on this page and following links.

    Nada helps


  50. Hi BoSJo – Can you please try to use the following steps to repair the Windows Installer service on your system:

    1.  Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd

    2.  Type msiexec.exe /unregister

    3.  Type msiexec.exe /regserver

    4.  Reboot

    5.  Try to uninstall Visual Studio 2005 beta 2 one more time

    Hopefully these steps will resolve this issue…

  51. BoSJo says:

    That did the trick 🙂

    Ever so thankfull, everything works 100% now 🙂

  52. nlc9 says:

    I am having a major problem with .net framework 2.0.  It is necessary to run notebook hardware controls on my laptop.  I accidentally uninstalled it and then did a system restore to undue my mistake.  Since then, notebook hardware controls will not run.  I have been trying to uninstall .net framework 2.0 or repair it but each time I get this message:

    "Patch package could not be opened. Verify that teh patch package exists and that you can access it . . ."  

    I tried using every tool you have listed above and only the 4th tool detected the framework on my laptop but when it tried to uninstall it I got the same message.  Please help.

  53. Hi Nlc9 – Can you please try to use the .NET Framework removal tool described at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2006/05/30/611355.aspx to uninstall the .NET Framework 2.0 and then try to install it again and see if that helps solve this problem?

  54. Where to get Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 Where to download the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable

  55. ZookManPat says:

    Hi Aaron — I have struggled for two days to get VB Express 2005 final release running, but no luck.  Trouble started after I installed VB 2008 beta, VWD express and SQL Server express. Before that it ran great for months.

    I am currently in the mode where I get six package load failures on startup.  This is after I have run the "Hammer" and re-installed from CD (burned from downloaded iso image).  

    The only thing I have not tried is to run the troubleshooting tool (Ttool.zip) because the link appears to be broken.  Is there another place to get it?  Is there anything else I should be trying?

  56. Hi ZookManPat – If you had any previous beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 installed on your system, I’d suggest trying the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx.  My file server is currently down for maintenance, but it should be back up soon so you can check back in a day or so and hopefully it will be available for download again.  I’m sorry for the hassle that this issue is causing for you.

    If this problem started after installing the VS 2008 beta, I’d also suggest reporting a bug on the bug reporting site at http://connect.microsoft.com/visualstudio/.

  57. ZookManPat says:

    Thanks for the timely reply, Aaron.  I went through the steps at 504906, except for #2.  Any chance you could email me the troubleshooting tool so I could try that?  My email is patwiegand at suddenlink dot net.

  58. I post on this with every release, but I'll post something about the latest blog entry on it. The

  59. Weddings says:

    Now that the .NET Framework 2.0 and VS 2005 are officially released, those of you who have been running beta and CTP builds will need to prepare your machines to install the final release. As I’m sure many of you are aware of if you’ve had a beta installe

  60. theputernerd says:

    Thanks for your article. your tool helped me sort out this nightmare uninstall problem. I suffered this problem from 2003 to 2005 and have recently helped someone who had this problem going from 2005 to 2008. Why don’t MS fix this problem? They are obviously aware that it exists.


  61. GUZZLR says:

    I stumbled upon your blog and I’m not entirely sure which tool to use to uninstall VS2005.
    I uninstalled my VS2010 first, with out any problems. I then uninstalled VS2005, which did uninstall. However, after the successful uninstall (VS2005), a window popped up with a long list of other programs, like several SQL programs which must be uninstalled in a specific order. and then at the end, uninstall .net 2.0. I do not have this list. So, how should I proceed to uninstall all the other programs associated with the original install of VS 2005?
    Thanks for the help

    1. Hi Guzzlr – I don’t know of a complete list of the components that could be installed behind the scenes during Visual Studio 2005 setup. You could try using steps listed at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/astebner/2005/10/30/how-to-uninstall-an-application-when-it-does-not-appear-in-addremove-programs/ to create a list of all installed products, look for which ones were installed on the same date and at the same time that you originally installed Visual Studio 2005, and then uninstall them one by one.

      1. GUZZLR says:

        I actually found out I still have reminants of 2010, should I get rid of 2010 or 2005 first?

  62. Howard Wood says:

    Thank you so much for the link to the uninstall tool. It did the job for me. Microsoft has not done a good job of making that easy to find.

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