How to install the Windows Phone Developer Tools on Windows Server 2008

The Windows Phone Developer Tools are not officially supported on operating systems other than Windows Vista or Windows 7.  In between the CTP and the CTP Refresh, a block was added to setup to prevent installing on Windows Server 2008 to help enforce this support limitation.  I’ve heard from some folks who were using the original CTP on Windows Server 2008 who cannot move forward to the CTP Refresh or the final release because of this block.

There is a way you can work around the Windows Server 2008 setup block if needed.  Please note that this is not officially supported, so if you try these steps, you are doing so at your own risk.

  1. Download the Windows Phone Developer Tools web bootstrapper and save it to your hard drive
  2. Extract the contents of the setup package by running vm_web.exe /x and choosing a path to extract to
  3. Go to the folder you extracted to in step 2 and open the file baseline.dat in notepad
  4. Look for the section named [gencomp7788]

    Note - you have to change this exact section - this is the one that controls the OS version blocking behavior in Windows Phone Developer Tools setup.

  5. Change the value InstallOnLHS from 1 to 0
  6. Change the value InstallOnWin7Server from 1 to 0
  7. Save and close baseline.dat
  8. Run setup.exe /web from the folder you extracted to in step 2

    Note - please make sure that you include the /web command line parameter in step 8.  If you don't, setup will not attempt to download the packages it needs to install, and it will fail to install correctly as a result.

<update date="9/17/2010"> Added an emphasis on steps 4 and 8 - setup will fail if you don't pass in the /web switch when using these steps.  Also updated the steps for the final RTW build of Windows Phone Developer Tools. </update>


Comments (65)
  1. SharpGIS says:

    Thanks for this post – just what we needed.

    Is there any work in progress to enable this? I would think it’s very common to have your build server running on Windows Server (think TFS), so if we at least could have the msbuild integration available (no need for emulator, VS Express, XNA etc).

  2. Hi SharpGIS – I definitely understand the need for this type of scenario, and I’ve let the team that creates the installer for the Windows Phone Developer Tools know.  It would also help if you can register your feedback by reporting a bug about this issue on the Connect site at

  3. Cox, Ken says:

    Hey Aaron,

    Thanks for this. I guess most people at Microsoft don’t realize how many developers use Windows 2008 (R2) as a workstation.

    Using a server product wouldn’t be necessary if MS could introduce a developer SKU of Windows 7 that supports Hyper-V.


  4. Feken says:

    On Windows Server 2008 R2 I also needed to set InstallOnWin7Server from 1 to 0

  5. unknown says:

    Doesnt work on Windows Server 2008 RC2! What do i wrong?

  6. Hi Unknown – Are you saying that the WPDT installer doesn't work on Windows Server 2008 R2, or the workaround on this blog post doesn't work on Windows Server 2008 R2?  Windows Server 2008 is not an officially supported platform for WPDT.  The workaround is provided as-is and is not officially supported.  If you haven't yet, you'll need to try the steps in this blog post in order to be able to install WPDT.  If you already tried the steps and they don't work, please post a copy of %temp%dd_install_vm_xcor_100.txt to a file server (such as and reply here with a link I can use to download your log and I'll try to take a further look from there.

  7. SC Vinod says:

    Hi astebner,

    Thanks a lots for the post. I followed your steps but still am getting an error which says installing Visual Studio Express has failed. I have Visual Studio Ultimate installed. Can you suggest me a solution. Thank you.

  8. Hi ShareSilver – Can you please use the tool described at…/6458047.aspx to gather your Windows Phone Developer Tools setup log files, then post the file that is created by that tool to a file server (such as, then reply back here with a link I can use to download your log files and take a closer look?

  9. Eric Sch. says:

    Would be nice, if you would give a good reason why it isn't supported. VS2010 and Blend are working great on Win2008.

    Because of Zune?

  10. Hi Eric Sch – I work on the XNA Game Studio team, and my team doesn't own this decision, so I'm not able to give any kind of official reasons.  One thing I know for sure is that the Zune software doesn't install on server OS's, so that would prevent users from connecting to and deploying apps/games to their Windows Phone devices.

    Also, XNA Game Studio doesn't block installation but it also doesn't officially support server OS's either.  The main reason there is that server computers and server OSs are typically not optimal for game development scenarios – they tend to have graphics capabilities disabled for security reasons and/or don't have graphics cards that support D3D because servers typically don't need that type of graphics power.

  11. Leandro says:

    It works for RTW !!!!  

    Thanks for the treat

  12. Mike says:

    This was entirely my own fault and easy to fix, but:

    I skipped step 4, and changed the values for InstallOnLHS and InstallOnWin7Server in the wrong section.  So, when I ran setup.exe /web, it still gave the error that Win7 was required.  It was easy to catch my error and worked the next time around (now I need to get a new video card to run XNA Emulator though :-/).  But, you could emphasize step 4 more 🙂

  13. Jorge says:

    Awesome! Working for RTM today, Thank you!

  14. Nocturns2 says:

    Thank you for sharing the workaround for installing on Windows Server 2008! It worked great!

  15. Piotr says:

    I tried following these steps on Win 2008 R2 with VS Ultimate and the install crashed my machine when I used the "Customize" option.

  16. Hi Piotr – Can you please provide more details about the crash that you're seeing?  Does the installer crash, or does your entire computer crash?  Do you see any specific error messages that might help narrow down this scenario further?

    Also, can you please use the tool described at…/6458047.aspx to gather your Windows Phone Developer Tools setup log files, then post the file that is created by that tool to a file server (such as, then reply back here with a link I can use to download your log files and take a closer look?

  17. François Rossello says:

    It work for me : Thanks !

  18. Marek Stój says:

    It works! Thanks :]

  19. Coder Geek says:


    What happens on XP. Many of us are still on XP, and budget constraints do not allow us to upgrade to beefier computers that run Vista or later versions of the OS.  Can we disable keys like you describe above to get it to work on XP?


  20. Hi Coder Geek – You can use the standalone XNA Game Studio 4.0 package (at…/details.aspx) to develop Windows and Xbox 360 games.  There are several components that are required for Windows Phone application and game development that do not work on Windows XP, so you won't be able to use steps like the ones in this blog post to unblock installation on Windows XP like you can on Windows Server OS's.

  21. Andreas says:

    Hi Aaron, unfortunaly I got a bluescreen while doing this in my 2008 R2 Dev VM.  


    Fortunaly I set a checkpoint before starting the installation      


  22. Dmitri Nesteruk says:

    Thanks! Saved my day 🙂

  23. NLV says:

    Thanks. It worked for me.

  24. XL says:

    thanks for the post and it is very helpful

  25. Sergey Sorokin says:

    Aaron, thanks a lot. W2K8 (R2) is the dev platform of choice for those who could not stand Vista but could not wait for Win7, and it will be around for a while as a dev platform (thanks to Vista). Please let product planners know: they would make our lives _a_ _lot_ easier buy fully supporting VisualStudio on W2K8. I am pretty sure they've heard about that already… Again, thanks a lot for the tip.

  26. Joe says:

    thanks for the helpful

    I can install on windows 2008 R2 now

    but still got some problem after install

    the emulator can't start to work

    it allways stop in load OS

    and somebody meet the problem too?

  27. Hi Joe – Windows Server 2008 is not an officially supported platform for the Windows Phone Developer Tools.  I posted this workaround because it can be helpful on some Windows Server 2008 computers, but there are some other Windows Server 2008 computers that things like the emulator will not work on even after using this workaround.

  28. patrick says:

    Is there a Server 2008 R2 support for future planned?

  29. Hi Patrick – I don't work on that part of the Windows Phone Developer Tools, so I don't know for sure what is planned for the future.  The best way to register your request for this is to report a feature suggestion on the Connect site at (or vote for it if someone else has already reported it).

  30. tim says:

    Is there a workaround to install Windows Phone Developer Tools October 2010 Update with above setup ? Nothing happens when I try to install this update on windows server 2008 R2, I was able to successfully install the original Windows Phone Developer Tools.

  31. Hi Tim – The October 2010 Update is just a patch that applies to one of the components installed by the Windows Phone Developer Tools.  I haven't tried it myself, but I'd expect it to install correctly as long as you were able to get the original version of the WPDT to install successfully.

    What exact error message do you see in this scenario?  Can you try to enable verbose logging and run the .msp file for the October 2010 Update again and post your log file so I can take a look?  You can use steps like the ones listed at…/help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.aspx to enable verbose logging on your computer.

  32. Ahmed says:

    The installation went through ok, but everytime I run the emulator i get the message "Windows Phone Emulator is doing a complete OS boot…" and my PC does a reboot!

  33. Hi Ahmed – I'd suggest taking a look at the emulator troubleshooting guide on the forums at…/c4754ebd-f688-4c33-972a-a578b9db12ff to see if any of the workarounds listed there helps in this scenario.

    Also, please keep in mind that Windows Server 2008 is not an officially supported OS, and this issue may be caused by some kind of incompatibility between this version of Windows and the emulator.

  34. says:

    Thanks for this – much respect 🙂

  35. Ahmed Ilyas (C# MVP 2007-2010) says:

    Thanks once again Aaron for saving the day regarding installing the WP Developer Tools on WS2008! Dinner is on me when I am across the pond soon!

  36. Claus Konrad says:

    Great indeed, Aaron!

    Thanks for hte help

  37. Stephen Hollingworth says:

    I was able to get the installer to run, and it reported to have successfully installed, but when I try to open a WP7 project from VisualStudio2010, I still get the same message:

    The project file <MyProjectPathNam>.csproj' cannot be opened.

    The project type is not supported by this installation.

  38. Hi Stephen Hollingworth – First of all, please keep in mind that Windows Server 2008 is not officially supported.

    That being said, if install completed successfully, I would expect things to work inside of Visual Studio.  Is this project a Silverlight project or an XNA Game Studio project?  Also, is it a project you previously created and are trying to open on this computer, or are you trying to create a new project from the VS 2010 New Project dialog?

  39. Stephen Hollingsworth says:

    Thanks Aaron, I did get it to work — what I had to do was to run the installer again, and select "Install Optional Components", and select "Windows Phone 7 Add-in for VisualStudio 2010".

  40. Javier Yague says:

    Hi! Do you know how to uninstall from WS2k8? Now I want to install the update for Mango, and I have to uninstall first this version from my machine.. thank you!

  41. Hi Javier Yague – I think uninstall should work correctly if you run setup.exe from the same location that you originally installed from, and make sure that the original install location has the necessary change to baseline.dat that is described in this blog post.  If that doesn't work, it might be necessary to modify the copy of baseline.dat that is installed with the tools.  It will be in a location like the following:

    For Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.0: C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 10.0Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone  – ENUbaseline.dat

    For Windows Phone SDK 7.1: C:Program FilesMicrosoft Visual Studio 10.0Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone 7.1 (Beta2) – ENUbaseline.dat

    Note – the above paths assume that you are using a 32-bit version of Windows and that you installed VS to the default location.  If these assumptions are not true on your computer, then you will need to update the path appropriately in order to be able to find baseline.dat on your computer.

  42. Nikos says:

    Excellent post. thank you

  43. HydUser says:

    Thanks a lot for the post! This definately helped me in unblocking.

  44. Amber says:

    Just used your post to install Windows Phone SDK 7.1 on Windows Server 2008 R2.  Worked like a charm (only difference being vm_web.exe is now vm_web2.exe)!  Thank you SO much!!

  45. Rolando says:

    Thank you!!! Every day we learn something new. =D

  46. Steve says:

    This worked for me on a XP SP3…

  47. Abraao says:

    Hello, with this tutorial the installation failed, but when i change the line:



    Worked like a charm.

  48. Pankaj Nikam says:

    It fails with Server 2008 R2 even after the workaround…

  49. Hi Pankaj Nikam – Do you mean that setup still fails, or setup succeeds but the product doesn't work afterwards?  If it is a setup failure, can you please use the tool described at…/6458047.aspx to collect all of your setup log files, post the file named that this tool will create to a file server (such as, and then reply back here and provide a link that I can use to download your log files and take a closer look?

  50. Andres Carmona says:

    Thank you very much for this tips. Very helpful!!

  51. Jim Lane says:

    That was awesome – worked like a charm – I really appreciate it.

  52. Nick smith says:

    Thanks dude!

  53. Michael says:

    trying to download window phone sdk 7.1 on my system which has Visual studio 2008 but it comes up with an error saying they are not compactible. Any ideas?

  54. Hi Michael – Can you please use the tool described at…/6458047.aspx to collect all of your setup log files, upload the file named that this tool will create to a file server (such as, and then reply back here and provide a link that I can use to download your log files and take a closer look?

  55. Srinivas says:

    Hi Aaron Stebner, the installation went fine with this approach. When I try to create a PhoneGap project it gives me the following error  

    c:usersAdministratorAppDataLocalTempxyzCordovaStarter.csproj(134,3). The imported project "C:Program Fiels(x86)MSBuildMicrosoftSilverlight for Phonev4.0Microsoft.Silverlight.WindowsPhone71.Overrides.targets" was not found. Confirm that the path in the <Import> declaration is correct, and that the file exists on disk

    Am I missing anything here?

    Thanks & Regards


  56. Hi Srinivas – That .targets file should have been installed by the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.  Did you install 7.1 or the older 7.0 version of the tools?  If you installed 7.0, I'd suggest installing 7.1 instead.  If you installed 7.1 and still see this error, then I'd suggest trying to repair 7.1 to see if it will restore that .targets file that it says is missing from your computer.

  57. Bruddah Iz says:

     I had to do two additional edits to the web installer config file.

     It wanted to install visual studio – but it could not, and, I already had visual studio installed.

     So I did the same edit mentioned above about gencomp7788 for the two sections that looked like visual studio sections (x86 and x64).

     It is possible that my Expressions or 64bit 2008R2 is what needed these additional two edits that I made that caused it to skip the visual studio downloads

  58. says:


    it work even under the follow configuration:

    – virtual box

    – MS Windows 2008

    – VS 2010

    – Silverlight 4 premium

    however, virtual box Graphic drive is not 100% compatible to GPU configuration so when test the message "… GPU and XNA…." will popup. Just hit continue.

  59. HikerJohn says:

    That's great for SDK 7.1, but the SDK 8.0 installation seems be be structured differently. How about installing Windows Phone SDK 8.0 on a Windows Server 2008 R2 machine, at least a stripped-down installation for a TFS build server?

  60. Hi HikerJohn – The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 doesn't have a block on server OS's like the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 does.

  61. George Birbilis says:

    seems to also apply to SDK7.1 from…/downloadsdk

  62. Gopala says:

    This works fine for me. But when I open VS 2010 for Windows Phone and create a windows phone app it asking me to install Windows SDK 7.1 and when I try to install Windows SDK 7.1 it is checking for my operating system and throw an error saying Windows 7 or higher versions needed.

  63. Hi Gopala – I haven't heard of this type of error before.  What is the exact download link you're using for the Windows SDK 7.1?

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