How to resolve invalid license data errors after upgrading to the final release of Visual Studio 2005

I have heard from a couple of customers who have uninstalled beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 and then installed the final release.  After installation finished, they saw a small error dialog that looks like the following when trying to launch the Visual Studio 2005 IDE:

Visual Studio 2005 invalid license data error

Pressing OK on this dialog dismisses the IDE and VS 2005 is not usable.

There are a couple of cases where registry data can be orphaned on the machine that causes this type of error.  Unfortunately, because this data is written by a custom action and there are some "interesting" conditions on that cusotm action in the VS MSI, running a repair of VS 2005 will not correctly fix the registry values that control this functionality.

The following steps can be used to resolve this Invalid license data error message:

  1. Uninstall the Visual Studio 2005 product that you have installed.  You only have to uninstall the main Visual Studio product entry in Add or Remove Programs, and you can leave the other pieces installed by Visual Studio setup (such as the .NET Framework 2.0, MSDN, SQL Express, etc) alone.  The product name in Add or Remove Programs that you want to uninstall is dependent on the VS 2005 edition you have installed.  For example, for the English Professional edition, the product name will be "Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Professional - ENU"

  2. Click on Start, choose Run and type cmd

  3. Copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry: 
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
    reg delete HKCR\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f

  4. If you are installing on a 64-bit OS, copy and paste each of the following commands into the cmd prompt to clean up orphaned Visual Studio licensing data in your registry:
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f
    reg delete HKCR\Wow6432Node\Licenses\BA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f

  5. Re-install the Visual Studio 2005 product that you uninstalled in step 1 above

After doing this, the license data should be recreated and correct and allow you to launch the VS 2005 IDE.

<update date="10/25/2006"> Added some more licensing registry values and a new section for 64-bit registry values that need to be removed </update>

<update date="8/27/2009"> Fixed broken link to image. </update>


Comments (22)
  1. .Net User says:

    I think MS released VS2005 much too early with much too little testing. This version is a piece of $&#%@ starting with th install. I personally have installed shareware with better success. My guess that offshored the testing of this as well.

  2. victor, from spain says:

    A mi me a ocurrido y corregi el problema habilitando servicios de windows que habian sido desabilitados por el antivirus, comprobas los servicios deshabilitados y ponerlos de forma manual, así corregí yo el problema

  3. Catherine says:


    I am using Visual studio 2005 team edition-ENU for software developer. After an acident power off (not me, the electrcity accident 🙁 ) with IDE open, once i restart the PC and startup IDE, i got this invalide license data error exactly as you described here.

    I tried the workaround as Steps 1-3 described, with step 3, i got a message: "Error: The system was unable to find the specified registry key or value" from cmd window for each of the four ‘reg delete’ commands.

    I suppose reinstall the product as in 4 won’t help as step 3 seems did not do anything…right??

    What should I do then? BTW, i am using windows XP Professional with SP2. On my machine, I have VS2002 and VS2003 installed previously, they seems still working.

    Thanks for any tips,


  4. Hi Catherine – I would suggest using regedit to double-check that the 4 registry values listed in step 3 are removed. You can do that with the following steps:

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

    2. Navigate to the following location:



    3. Look for subkeys with the names that I listed above and delete them if they exist

    After doing this, you should be able to repair/reinstall VS and things will hopefully work for you.

  5. Eszter says:


    I’ve got the same problem as Catherine, I also have the same system, but double-checking the registry, deleting the entries and then reinstalling VS haven’t solved the problem, it’s still not working. Any idea please?



  6. Hi Eszter – I haven’t heard yet of a case where these repair steps did not work.  You might need to fully uninstall and reinstall VS 2005 to try to resolve this.  You could use the steps listed at to manually remove VS 2005.

    Also, if you would prefer, you are entitled to a free technical support call for VS 2005 setup-related issues, so you may want to pursue that route instead.

  7. Gavin says:


    I’m using Visual studio 2005 team edition-ENU, It was working fine for the pass few months until last week when I launch the IDE a pop-up windows appear with the message:

    "The Beta period is over.

    Thank you for your participation.

    You can remove Microsoft Visual Studio from your computer."

    I have tried uninstall completely and re-install. But it wasn’t helping.

    I’ve search through the web and I can’t find any article about this issue, I think this must be pretty new coz the beta period is over last week?

    You have any idea how to solve this issue?



  8. Hi Gavin – In many cases, a complete uninstall and reinstall is not sufficient to clean out the registry information that controls the beta license and timebomb.  Can you please try the steps listed above in this blog post and see if they help.  In particular, please make sure you remove the registry keys/values listed in step 3 after you uninstall but before you reinstall.

  9. Manisha says:


    I am using Windows XP Pro edition with SP2. I had installed .Net framework 1.1 and IIS 5.1. I then installed vs2005 Professional edition.  I never had vs beta version installed on the machine. After I installed vs 2005 professional software my IIS started giving me error – www services did not start and was giving "Object already exist" error. I tried to open vs2005 ide and started getting this error of Invalid licence data. I tried to fix this by following listed steps but no success. I tried to install and uninstall probably 3-4 times.I am so frustated with vs2005 installation. Strange thing is that it seems like working after I go through the steps and next day it gives me the same error. I guess it only lets me work for a day and then I end up uninstalling and deleting registry keys and all that all over again. I am not sure what is the problem but even though Microsoft tells that it is good tool for faster development but time it takes to set up is more than usual software set up. I hope some body can throw some light on this problem and help me with this.



  10. Hi Manisha – I have not yet heard of a problem like the one you describe.  I would suggest contacting Microsoft technical support because you are entitled to a free support case for setup-related problems with Visual Studio 2005.  You may also want to search on the MSDN Forums ( to see if any other people have run into similar issues and might have suggestions.  I’m sorry I’m not able to be more helpful here.

  11. Gavin says:


    I tried removed the registry it give me errors when I run the command saying registry key does not exist. I then proceed to install VS but after installation it is still not working.

    Same problem:

    "The Beta period is over.

    Thank you for your participation.

    You can remove Microsoft Visual Studio from your computer."

    Any other recommendation?



  12. Hi Gavin – it sounds like you are installing a beta version of VS 2005 – the beta versions were set to expire on May 1, 2006.  Can you double-check to see if you are installing a beta version or the final release version?  The steps in this blog post will not help if you are trying to install a beta version.

  13. Gavin says:

    I’m not installing beta version. It is a final version.

  14. Hi Gavin – The final release version does not have these error strings at all, so it isn’t possible to receive these error messages when installing or using the final release version.  I am not sure why you would be getting these errors and I don’t have any additional ideas for workarounds, so I think your best bet is to contact Microsoft technical support for further assistance.  You are entitled to a free support case for setup-related problems with Visual Studio 2005.  I’m sorry I’m not able to be more helpful here.

  15. GregM says:

    AStebner, if that is true, then the MSDN Visual Studio 2005 DVD does not contain the final release version, because I just had this show up, and I installed a couple weeks ago from that DVD.  I know it wasn’t from a previous install, because this is in a Virtual PC that was created just for this install.

  16. GregM says:

    Oops, never mind, I thought you were referring to the "invalid license data" strings.

  17. Hi GregM – Did the workaround on this blog post help solve the "invalid license data" issue that you ran into?  Please let me know if you are still hitting any problems….

  18. Scott McKenzie says:

    For the record I had this problem on a clean Vista install and a clean VS2005 Team Edition for Developers. (No Betas what so ever have or ever will see this PC!)

    As it looks to me as as though a reinstall cannot be avoided what can I do to backup my keys for in the future? Unless you can find a way to undo it? Can I install to another a PC and gets the keys from there?

    Is MS going to provide a fix?

  19. petermcwerner says:

    Invalid License Data Reinstall is required

    Machine configuration:

    Partition 1: XP Pro

    Partition 2: Vista 32 Home Premium

    Partition 3: Vista 64 Business

    I have tried to install Visual Studio 2005 under Vista 64 Business various times

    and always getting the same Invalid License Error. I applied the

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses17A13F5F-2dE4-4691-B332-83CA4CC38935 /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses2F1682F3-6A3C-4545-AF41-6836A22276CF /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses2FE88699-A1AF-410D-8049-1CB6BA8F8FF2 /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses5BCBC240-27DF-49C1-8C1C-27B8463009A9 /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses895E2152-C3F9-4C49-968B-15B08ADA0F37 /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicenses95C63E85-8244-4D86-8327-579B85EC154C /f

    reg delete HKCRWow6432NodeLicensesBA32367F-28F8-4AEA-848D-95AE438B3B9C /f

    uninstalling VS2005 and re-installing it.

    Here the detail of my last attempt:

    1) The installation from DVD succeeds without errors

    2) Installing SP1 I get the following error:

    Error 1402. Cannot open key:


    verify that you have sufficient access to that key.

    3) Looking at the registry in Regedit:

    3.1) There is no HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE32, noly a HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE

    3.2) Looking at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClassesLicenses Regedit gives the error message :

    Licenses cannot be opened. An error is preventing this key from being opened. Details: Access is denied

    4) Making a copy of the registry file and opening it with Notepad,

    <HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClassesLicenses> is not found.

    After <HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREClassesLicense.Manager.1> the next entry is


    I hope these data may help in finding the solution to this problem. Thank you for any help.

  20. Hi Scott and Petermcwerner – I don’t know of any other suggestions to fix this issue other than the ones listed in this blog post.  If they do not help, you will probably need to contact Microsoft Technical Support for more detailed troubleshooting assistance.  You are entitled to a free support case for setup-related issues such as this, and you can find contact information at

    Also, please note that it is not supported and will not work to backup and restore these licensing keys to different computers.  If that worked, it would essentially allow you to install fully licensed versions of VS onto sets of different machines, but it is only licensed for installation on a single system per copy of VS.

    I’m sorry I’m not able to be more helpful to either of you in this scenario.

  21. DrWatson says:

    You can simply try to re-enable the ProtectedStorage service on win2k boxes. It holds the registry keys mentioned in the post and gives access to them through the CryptoAPI.

    If you harden your win2k box after installing vs2005 disabling this service you’ll run into this error, and reinstalling you’ll run into the CA_SetPidProps error. I used to disable this service since no program ever complained 😀

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content