Definitive list of workarounds for Package Load Failure errors in Visual Studio 2005

Important note - the steps in this blog post have typically only proven useful in cases where a previous beta of Visual Studio 2005 was installed on the system prior to installing the final release of VS 2005.  If you have never had a beta of VS 2005 on your system and are encountering package load failure errors, these steps will most likely not help.  In that type of scenario, I recommend running devenv.exe with the /log switch (described in this MSDN topic) to create a log file of the packages it tries to load and then search in that log file for errors and warnings to help narrow this issue down further. 

Ever since the final version of Visual Studio 2005 was released, I have been hearing from customers who are running into Package Load Failure errors while trying to get beta versions uninstalled and the final version installed.  I have previously posted a set of steps that I have found will resolve nearly all cases of these Package Load Failure errors.  However, there have been some cases where these steps are not enough and more in-depth manual removal steps have proven necessary.  Up until now, I have been resisting posting the additional steps that are necessary in some cases because I really want folks to try out the other steps I have posted first.  However, I am going to go ahead and post a complete set of steps and just duplicate my previous steps in an effort to communicate the workarounds I have found as widely as possible while also making my best effort to make things as easy as possible for the majority of customers.

So, without further ado, here is a complete, hopefully definitive set of steps that will help resolve all Package Load Failure errors seen while trying to use the final release of VS 2005 on a system that previously had a beta version installed.  Please try these steps in the order listed and check to see if the Package Load Failure errors are resolved after completing each step so that you can try to avoid needing to perform more removal steps than are strictly necessary on your system.

Please note - if you have Dotfuscator 3.0 installed on your system, you should first try the workaround described here to see if you are running into a known issue that has been fixed by Preemptive (the company that produces Dotfuscator).

1.  Try to repair the .NET Framework 2.0

Sometimes, package load failures have a very simple cause - the .NET Framework 2.0 is somehow in a broken state.  Before trying any of the more complicated steps listed below, it is worth trying to repair the .NET Framework 2.0.  To do this, go to the Add/Remove Programs control panel, locate the item named Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and choose to repair it.

2.  Try to run the VS 2005 beta uninstall troubleshooting tool

Before trying any of the manual steps listed below in this blog post, please download and run the VS 2005 beta uninstall troubleshooting toolThis tool is built on the same code base as the auto-uninstall tool, but it has knowledge of some specific problems that existed in previous beta versions of VS 2005 and knows how to go in and surgically clean them up.

3.  Try to run the following command line to clear out parts of the native image cache

  • Close Visual Studio and/or reboot the system to make sure that there will not be any files in use
  • Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
  • Type rd /s /q %windir%\assembly\NativeImages_v2.0.50727_32\Microsoft.VisualStu# and press enter to remove a subset of the native images that have proven problematic in the past from the cache.

4.  Try to run the following command line to clear out all of the native image cache

  • Close Visual Studio and/or reboot the system to make sure that there will not be any files in use
  • Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
  • Type rd /s /q %windir%\assembly\NativeImages_v2.0.50727_32 and press enter to remove all VS 2005 native images from the cache.

5.  Remove the version of VS 2005 you have installed, manually clean the system and try installing again

  • Uninstall all of VS 2005 using the uninstall instructions and automated uninstall tool
  • Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd
  • Type cd /d %windir%\assembly
  • Type rd /s /q GAC_32 and then rd /s /q GAC_MSIL
  • Type dir and locate any directories named NativeImages_v2.0* and type rd /s /q <directory> to delete all VS 2005 native image directories as well
  • Using regedit.exe, remove all of the following registry sub-hives, including all registry keys and values underneath them:


  • Run this set of steps to locate and delete any files with versions 2.0.xxxxx.xx and 8.0.xxxxx.xx that are still left on your system.  Please note that all of the Package Load Failure errors that I have seen so far have been caused by files left behind in %windir%\assembly (the GAC) on the machine, so pay special attention to any leftover files in this location and make sure that all orphaned files with versions 2.0.xxxxx.xx and 8.0.xxxxx.xx are removed before attempting to reinstall VS 2005
  • Run this set of steps to clean up the WinSxS folder
  • Reboot the machine
  • Try to install VS 2005 again

If none of the above steps work for you, please leave a comment on this blog post or contact me and I will try my best to help you further.

<update date="12/19/2005"> Added a new step to remove some registry data related to VS 2005 as part of step 4 above </update>

<update date="1/10/2006"> Added link to information about a package load failure scenario caused by Dotfuscator 3.0 </update>

<update date="1/15/2006"> I have seen a couple of issues caused by orphaned keys under the Express Edition hives and the MSDN hives, so I added those to the list in step 4 above </update>

<update date="11/18/2006"> Added a new first step to try repairing the .NET Framework 2.0 </update>

<update date="4/2/2008"> Added caveat that the steps in this post are typically only useful when a beta of VS 2005 was previously installed on the system. </update>

<update date="4/24/2009"> Fixed broken link to the VS 2005 beta uninstall troubleshooting tool. </update>


Comments (63)
  1. Sergey M says:

    I’ve posted something along the same lines:

    "Step by step Whidbey Beta 2 or CTP uninstallation"

  2. Joku says:

    I would also recommend cleaning up obj directories left behind in project directories, I’ve seen obj dirs from old CTP’s left in projects causing issues.

    Also there are directories that may be left behind after uninstall in the local settings/app data etc for MSDN and VS. Also the settings paths in My Documents/Visual Studio 2005/. I’d get rid of as much of those too since I’ve got first hand experience of subtle issues being caused by having those left behind from the uninstalls.

  3. Lino Barreca says:

    ..or try to uninstall Dotfuscator 3.0

    (the integration with Visual Studio causes package load failures)

  4. Nauman says:

    Just wondering if anyone else has complained of the problem that I am seeing with VS2005 Release. When I open a form, the cursor goes crazy and the whole form flickers. You have to click on one of the other tabs to get out of this state and that can take about a minute or so. This even happens with a simple application with just one button on the form and consistently happens most of the time when I switch to design view. My co-worker has also started seeing this on his machine. We both had the beta 2 installed previously and completely uninstalled it before installing the release version. The funny thing is that my other co-worker has no problems on his machine and he has the same configuration as we do.



  5. Hi Nauman – Can you please try the workaround described at and see if that will help resolve this issue?

  6. Gary says:

    I have installed Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite trial edition on a new Windows XP machine. There have been no previous versions on this machine, yet I am getting the "Package ‘Windows Forms Designer Hosting Package’ has failed to load properly" error message. What do you suggest?

  7. Hi Gary – if you have never had any beta versions of VS 2005 installed, you may have some other add-in for Visual Studio installed that could cause this. Can you try to use the instructions in step 1 of my blog post at to gather a list of installed applications and then send me that list at so I can try to take a look?

  8. John says:

    After running step 1, I noticed that I had a problem with starting SQL 2005 Management Studio. In particular, it would not show the initial connect dialog, and then the main window would be non-responsive. It would work, however, if you ran SQLWB -S localhost -E.

    After running step 2, however, everything is back to normal.

  9. Mark says:

    I was ready to throw in the towel after installing & re-installing four times and basically blowing a day and a half. Nothing worked until I followed Aaron’s instructions. Awesome solution!

    SHAME ON MICROSOFT for making this so difficult (especially for novices), but kudo’s to Aaron for his help. This works!

  10. Moshe Panzer says:

    I am sorry, but I really don’t understand why I should follow so many steps (that really looks scary for novices) in order to U-N-I-N-S-T-A-L-L one program. We are not taking apart a space suhuttle here!!! (of course I followed the perfect instruction above, thanks Aaron).

    You know, the feature that Microsoft invented for this kind of actions is called "Uninstall".


  11. Hi Moshe and Mark – I’m very sorry for the long list of steps and the hassles you had to go through.  The list of steps is complicated because of some bugs that shipped in earlier beta versions of VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 that were fixed later on, but that are tricky to workaround after the beta was already installed on the system and uninstalled in a non-optimal order.  This type of uninstall scenario is one that we know was very painful and did not work well at all for the VS 2005 beta, and we will be looking at ways to make this seamless in future releases of Visual Studio.

  12. Eckhad says:

    I may have found another reason (and solution) for the package load failure.

    On my System I have VisualC# express und Visual C++ Express 2005. Since I experimented with the Symbol Server settings, I got the dreaded "Package Load Failure" when starting VC#, but also a rather helpful "… project creation failed." when I tried to create a new project.

    Turns out I had the following directories (! not files!) in my [ProgramFiles]Microsoft Visual Studio 8Common7IDE folder:









    Deleting this directories made the error go away, but they returned after some days (probably due to some more debugging with Sysmbol server useage).

  13. Seppo says:

    Having installed (on a newly formatted totally clean XP machine) Visual Studio 2005 (8.0.50727.42) I directly tested Tools->Options->Fonts and Colors, which went ok. Then I immediately installed QT Visual studio integration 1.1.0, which resulted (as I expected from previous experience) in the "Package load failure" error message. More specifically, the "Visual Studio Explorers and Designers Package".

    View->Other windows->Server explorer yields the exact same error message. Otherwise everything seems to work fine.

    Hope this means something.

  14. Seppo says:

    Uninstalling (the regular way) Qt visual studio integration (1.1.0) took care of both of the (identical but differently yielded) error messages I described before.

    Maybe I should be talking to Trolltech.

    Good luck with this problem.

  15. Hi Eckhad and Seppo – thank you for posting these additional cases that you have seen that can cause package load failures.  I will create a new post for each of them in the near future to make it easier for search engines and other users to find….

  16. Mike says:

    Thanks!  I spent a couple of days trying to get this to work… then I found this post and now everything works great!!!

  17. Pete says:

    I followed all of these steps and got rid of the messages about Package Load Failures after upgrading to the final release of Visual Studio 2005.  However, once I tried putting the beta versions of WinFX on, the error messages are back.  I installed the latest winfxsetup.exe and vsextwfx.msi files.

    The package that is failing to load when I open the toolbox window is ‘PresentationDesignVisualStudio’.  Is this just an unavoidable consequence of trying to use the beta bits?  

    Thanks for putting all these steps together in one place!

  18. Hi Pete – This is likely unavoidable due to the beta bits, but I’m not 100% sure.  Which beta version of WinFX are you using in this scenario?  Does that error stop happening after uninstalling WinFX?

  19. Pete says:

    Hi Aaron, thanks for the reply – I am using the latest, the Beta 2.2.  I have the stuff for Workflow Foundation, WinFX, WPF, and so on.  And yes, when I uninstall that stuff, and uninstall and reinstall Visual Studio, it goes away.  But just uninstalling the beta bits without re-doing Visual Studio, the error remains.  After re-installing VS, there is no error, but it appears as soon as I put the Beta 2.2 components back, right after the first step…winfxsetup.exe.

  20. Marcio says:


    Obrigado pela dica do unistall, meu ambiente voltou a funcionar 100%!!!

    meu problema ocorreu na versão Professional do, fiz uma pesquisa no Google e encontrei o Blog…felizmente sempre encontramos pessoas com a boa vontade de ajudar ao proximo hehehehe…. Congratulations and Parabéns em português é claro…


  21. ken chambers says:

    Many thanks for your help. After following your instructions I was able to successfully install the program.

  22. I ran across a blog post from Suzanne Cook this past&amp;nbsp;weekend that has been around for a while, but…

  23. Ormond says:

    Maybe I’m simple but I’m confused.  After successfully uninstalling the beta (with Aaron’s help) I installed VS2005 and have run into the Package Load Failure Problem.

    The VS2005 Troubleshooting tool reports no problems

    Step 2 is done and doesn’t help.

    Step 3 is done and doesn’t help.

    Using the link on step 4 takes me to the beta uninstall.  This seems to do something but it doesn’t uninstall VS2005.

    Looking at the manual uninstall list gives a list which refers only to the Beta. It starts with "MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2005 Beta". I have an item "MSDN Library – Visual Studio 6.0". Is this the final release version of the same thing?  Do I start by uninstalling this? Where can I find instructions for uninstalling VS2005? After the pain of uninstalling the beta I’m concerned I get it right!

  24. Hi Ormond – It sounds like you are looking at the instructions at to try to fix this package load failure issue.  The instructions page in step 4 ( will allow you to uninstall the pieces of Visual Studio 2005 that you need to remove.  The automated tool only works for beta versions, but you can use the manual instrutions to find all of the product names and then individually remove them from Add/Remove Programs.  Alternatively, you can use the tool labeled the "hammer" at to automatically remove the final release bits.  You should not need to uninstall that Visual Studio 6.0 version of MSDN.  Hope this helps.

  25. ormond says:

    Thanks, Aaron, but that page explicitly says that it is for prerelease versions, and the autouninstall too does too.  The manual list on the page is all about beta versions.

  26. Hi Ormond – That page was designed to help people uninstall the beta version, but the steps are equivalent for the final released version.  The exact name of the products in Add/Remove Programs will be slightly different in some cases (they will not say "Beta" for example), but you should be able to figure out the steps you need by comparing the list of applications on that page with the list in Add/Remove Programs.

    Also, the version of the auto-uninstall tool nicknamed the "hammer" at should uninstall the final release version and not just the beta versions.

    Please try these steps out and let me know if you have any trouble.

  27. Ormond says:

    Thank you!  That did it.

  28. Steve Willis says:

    Confused. Using VS2005 for the first time. I go

    to FILE->NEW_>Project. A "project type" appears and I select C++. I then enter "WIN 32 Smart Device Project" and enter a name, oh, say, "NativeHello" which also appears in the solution name. I hit OK and I get "Project Creation Fails". Please note I’m following the MS supplied "Developing Native Applications For Pocket PC and SmartPhone Devices’.

    BTW, I can create a C# project.

    Why am I posting here? Because I uninstalled the sucker and scraped clean anything I could find. I only found these instructions tonight. Will they fix my problem?

    Also, this blog seems to have sharp folks.


  29. Hi Steve – The steps on this blog post will essentially perform a full manual uninstall of Visual Studio 2005.  That can be useful in a variety of circumstances (and not just for package load failures as the title might imply).  However, I am not familiar with the type of error that you describe, so I’m not sure if these steps will help in your scenario or not.  You may want to search for similar issues on the MSDN Forums ( or the Product Feedback site ( and see if other customers have other suggestions as well.

  30. Adam says:


    Thanks this saved me a lot of time after I had package load failures.

  31. marshaun says:

    Anyone else having trouble downloading the troubleshooting tool?  After multiple attempts, the download just won’t start…  Tried left-click, and right-click "Save Target As"…


  32. Hi Marshaun – My file server is currently down for maintenance.  Please see for more details and contact information in the meantime.

  33. marshaun says:

    For what it’s worth…

    I was seeing package load failures while creating a Windows Mobile 5 project – the package noted in the error was ‘Smart Device Project Package’.  Steps 1-3 in this topic didn’t help, and before I dove into step 4, I googled and came up with this, which did the trick:

    In case that link breaks in the future, here’s the relevant text:

    1. For each user on the machine remove the %userprofile%Local SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftCoreCon1.0 Folder and all files under it.

    2. For each user on the machine rename the %userprofile%Application DataMicrosoftDevice Emulator folder to %userprofile%Application

    DataMicrosoftDevice Emulator_B2

    3. Repair the Windows Mobile 5.0 SDKs

    I’m guessing it was primarily the WM5 SDK repair that did it.


  34. Estoy fastidiado 🙁

    Hoy se me ocurri&#243; la brillante idea de instalar en mi equipo de trabajo el Starter…

  35. atobrandon says:

    I found out that part of my problem with this issue was solved by using the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to get rid of old installations.   Details here:

  36. Dhaval says:

    Thanks Aaron, 4th was a charm for me!! On one hand I was very disappointed that I had to waste two days (time that I will never get back) in getting this up and running (and I didn’t even have beta version!!) but at the sametime thankful atleast I had somewhere to look …

    Thanks again.


  37. 如果你是先安装 SQL Server 2005 任意一个发行版本,如果你随后卸载掉 SQL Server 2005 中自带的VS 2005开始安装其它版本的VS2005(例如专业版)的话,你绝对会遇到包加载失败的错误。

  38. KeepThat! says:

    According to Aaron Stebner’s post, the package load failures he was getting in VS2005 were mostly from having the beta version on the machine first, but in my case the beta had never been on the machine – a VPC…

  39. charlesbaldo says:


    Is there anywhere I can send you a check 🙂

  40. Hi Charlesbaldo – I’m glad that this blog post helped you.  There’s no need to send me a check though, I work for Microsoft and they’re already paying me  ðŸ™‚

  41. says:

    Hello Aaron – I never installed vs 2005 beta. I am using the VS BI version to develop SSIS package. Windows server 2003 sp2 x64. I am getting the following error message after i opened a ssis project which was developed somewhere else.



       <time>2007/12/20 01:48:07.209</time>


       <source>Microsoft Visual Studio</source>

       <description>Begin package load [Visual Studio Data Package]</description>





       <time>2007/12/20 01:48:07.818</time>


       <source>Microsoft Visual Studio</source>

       <description>CreateInstance failed for package [Visual Studio Data Package]</description>



       <errorinfo>Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.</errorinfo>




       <time>2007/12/20 01:48:07.818</time>


       <source>Microsoft Visual Studio</source>

       <description>End package load [Visual Studio Data Package]</description>


       <hr>80004005 – E_FAIL</hr>

       <errorinfo>Exception has been thrown by the target of an invocation.</errorinfo>


  42. Hi Srashid01 – Do you see this error for all projects or only for this one?  I’m not familiar with SSIS – is it possible to instantiate new projects for that type instead of relying on the project that you received from someone else?  Do you get the same error for new projects of the same type?  The reason I ask is that it is possible that something in the project itself could be causing this error.

  43. says:

    The VS designer is working for 2 other users once we reinstalled the VS. It is from the SQL Server x64 tool cd. For some reason I am still getting the error message when I start VS. I didnt open any SSIS projects. I have tried resetting VS env. It didnt work. I am only getting the "Unable to add data connection The data connection dialog could not be intialized".  I am planning on copying the toolbox.tbd from another user profile. I need to research about toolbox.tbd.

    Thanks again

  44. Tanya52185 says:

    On step 4 when I type the cmd line I receive an error message "Invalid Switch – c:WindowsassemblyNativeImages_v2.0.50727_32"

  45. Hi Tanya52185 – What is the exact command you typed when you tried step 4 on your system?  Maybe there was a typo in one of the command line switches or you are missing a space between one of the commands or something like that?  If possible, can you post a screenshot of the exact text you typed in the cmd prompt and the error it displays?

  46. Tanya52185 says:


    I have the screenshot how do I post it on here?

    I copied and past the command into Word just to make sure I typed it with the correct spaces and it was right. I would still like to show you the screenshot though. Thank you for responding.

  47. Tanya52185 says:

    Here’s an attempt of a screenshot. I hope it’s not too blurry. Click the link.

  48. Hi Tanya52185 – Thanks for posting the screenshot.  It looks like the command line is not typed exactly the way it is listed in the text of this blog post above.  Your screenshot shows that you only ran this command:

    rd /s /q %windir%assemblyNativeImages

    You need to run this exact command:

    rd /s /q %windir%assemblyNativeImages_v2.0.50727_32Microsoft.VisualStu#

    Can you please try again and see if that gets rid of this error you’re seeing?

  49. Tanya52185 says:


    Sorry, I don’t know how my eyes skipped the rest of the cmd. Here’s a screen shot of both steps 3 and 4 I did. First, I did step 3, opened vb and recieved the package load failure. I then tried step 4 and recieved the same message and on another round I rebooted after each step. Still a package load failure. So now I’ll proceed to step 5. If you see something wrong with the screenshot, like something missing please let me know. It seems like it went through. I’m not sure though.

  50. Tanya52185 says:

    Good evening,

    I’m on step 5 bullet 5. Click the link for the screenshot. Does this mean I don’t have any files for the assembly? I manually went into my windows/assembly folder and found 21 items for vb including v 7 & 8. I tried to unistall these but it said the system couldn’t because it needed them to run other programs. Please take a look at my screenshot for step 5 bullet 5, I’m not sure what to do next since it doesn’t seem that any of the Dir have NativeImages_2v* …am I reading the wrong thing?

  51. Hi Tanya52185 – From the screenshot, it looks like you’ve already removed the NativeImages_v2.0.50727_32 folder and also the GAC_MSIL and GAC_32 folders.  You should be able to proceed with a re-install of VS 2005 from here and hopefully this will help.

    Please note also that the steps listed in this blog post are typically only useful in solving package load failures on systems that previously had a beta version of VS 2005 installed on it.  If you haven’t ever had a beta of VS 2005 on this system, then it is not likely that these steps will help, and you will need to attempt some other troubleshooting steps.

    What I typically suggest is to try to run devenv.exe with logging enabled to narrow down the cause of the package load failure.  You can do that by running a command like the following:

    C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 8Common7IDEdevenv.exe /log %temp%devenv_log.txt

    Then you can look for the string "error" or "warning" in the file %temp%devenv_log.txt to try to see the exact cause of the package load failure.

    It can also help to post questions about this type of issue on the MSDN Forums at

    Hopefully, one of these suggestions will help.

  52. m_a_madero says:

    Is there any update for VS 2008?

  53. Hi M_a_madero – This blog post is specific to Visual Studio 2005, and in particular it describes workarounds for package load failures caused by previous beta versions of VS 2005 that were orphaned on the system.

    This type of beta scenario did not cause widespread problems in VS 2008 like it did in VS 2005 because of changes made to the beta uninstall logic.

    If you are running into package load failures in VS 2008 (or in VS 2005 on a system that didn’t previously have a beta of VS 2005 installed on it), then the thing I typically suggest trying first is to run devenv.exe with a verbose logging command line and then looking at the output to see if you can narrow down the cause of the package load failure.  To do that, you can run the following:

    "%ProgramFiles%Microsoft Visual Studio 8Common7IDEdevenv.exe" /log %temp%devenv2005.log


    "%ProgramFiles%Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0Common7IDEdevenv.exe" /log %temp%devenv2008.log

    Then go to your %temp% folder and look at the devenv2005.log or devenv2008.log and search for errors or warnings.

  54. justinc says:

    I get this error:




       <time>2008/04/24 16:18:52.200</time>


       <source>Microsoft Visual Studio</source>

       <description>End package load [Visual Studio Explorers and Designers Package]</description>



       <errorinfo>Method not found: ‘EnvDTE.SolutionEvents EnvDTE.Events.get_SolutionEvents()’.</errorinfo>



  55. Hi Justinc – The HR value listed in this log file is a .NET Framework CLR error code that means "An attempt was made to dynamically invoke a method that does not exist."  Normally, this means that there is a mismatch somewhere with the .NET Framework bits on your computer.  I’d suggest trying to repair the .NET Framework 3.5 and see if that makes any difference here.

    Also, it would be helpful to know what OS you are running.  Windows Vista includes the .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0 as OS components, and they have to be updated in a different way than other OS’s, and I’ve heard of some specific issues on Vista related to this type of error.  If you are running Vista, you may want to try to install Windows Vista SP1 to see if that helps as well (because Vista SP1 contains the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and 3.0 SP1, which are required for the .NET Framework 3.5 to function correctly).

  56. Marcin says:

    Uninstalling StyleCop helped me

  57. Shelly in Idaho says:

    I know this is an old post, but THANK YOU! Just downloaded the TTool.exe and it completely removed VSWD Express 2005 from my machine (after a restart because of a failed previous uninstall). Thanks for saving me from pulling my hair out.

  58. kiquenet says:

    and  for 2008

    Definitive list of workarounds for Package Load Failure errors in Visual Studio 2008 ??

  59. Hi Kiquenet – The information in this blog post is typically only useful if you had a previous beta of VS 2005 installed, then uninstalled it and installed the final version of VS 2005.  For package load failures in other versions of Visual Studio, it can sometimes help to gather a log from devenv.exe like I mentioned at the top of the blog post.  If that doesn't help you narrow down the cause, then I'd suggest posting a question on the Visual Studio forums at…/visualstudio and hopefully someone there can help provide some additional suggestions for you to try.

  60. Ivan Ferrer says:


    I SOLVED it in VS2008 unchecking all extensions at Tools/Extension Manager menú ('Herramientas/Administrador de complementos' in spanish version).


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