How to fix compatibility mode error that can appear when installing Windows Phone Developer Tools or Visual Studio 2010

I have heard from a few people who tried to install the final release of the Windows Phone Developer Tools but get an installation error like the following:

Visual Studio setup cannot run in compatibility mode.
For more information see the ‘Installing’ section in the Visual Studio readme at

The link in the error message points to the Visual Studio 2010 readme because this issue can affect all editions of Visual Studio 2010, including WPDT.  Item 2.1.10 in that readme provides a workaround for this issue.  In my past experience, that workaround has proven to be incomplete though, so here are some updated steps that usually help solve this type of error:

  1. Click on the start menu, choose Run, type regedit and click OK.
  2. Browse to each of the following keys and delete any value that refers to the WPDT setup program (named vm_web.exe):

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Persisted
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Persisted
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers

If the above doesnโ€™t help, then you can also try to save vm_web.exe to your computer and run it from there.  When compatibility mode is triggered by Windows, it is based on a full path to the setup executable, so if you save it to a different location than you previously tried to run it from and then run it again, that can help avoid triggering compatibility mode.

Comments (54)

  1. Phong says:

    Any more ideas, Aaron?

    I've tried all the steps above but still cannot get vm_web.exe to install.  I have also tried running setup.exe from vm_web.exe and verified that compatibility was not checked and that also failed.

    My system is Win7 64-bit, VS 2010 Premium and no previous versions of Win Phone SDK installed



  2. Hi Phong – If you're still getting a compatibility mode error, I'd suggest using regedit to search your entire registry for "vm_web.exe" to see if there are other locations where that is being stored.  If that doesn't help, then I'd suggest saving vm_web.exe to your hard drive, renaming it to something else (the exact name doesn't matter) and running it again after renaming it.

  3. siva says:

    This post saved my day. Thank you very much

  4. Jose says:

    When I had this error I have tried everything mentioned everywhere, but did not solve!

    I was almost going nuts.

    Then for some reason I checked with Application Verifier and found that HighversionLie was set to Windows 7 on any Setup.exe file

    I don't really know why that was set, but removing it solved.

    Hope this solves your case.

  5. Erik Reppen says:

    I had VS 2008 Professional open which borked the install with a really lame prompt that didn't give the option to continue the install after closing VS 2008 (could only exit). Reattempts resulted in that message even after I shut it down and tried again.

    Moving the file to another folder did the trick for me.

    Lazy installer UI code. Bad MS dev! Bad!

  6. Hi Erik Reppen – What probably happened in this scenario is that when you exited setup after it told you that VS 2008 was open, a dialog appeared that said that the setup didn't appear to complete successfully.  If you clicked Yes on that dialog, it will cause future attempts to run that installer to launch in compatibility mode, which will then trigger the error in this blog post.  Compatibility mode is stored in the registry based on the full path to the setup program, so it will appear every time you launch setup from the same location as it was originally launched from.  Renaming or moving the file will cause the path to be different so it won't trigger the compatibility mode dialog.

    I've reported a bug to the WPDT setup team about that files in use dialog not allowing the user to retry.  Hopefully this is something that will be investigated for a future release of WPDT.

  7. Brennan R says:

    Hey, I would just like to additionally add that I had the same problem as Erik Reppen but with Visual Studios 2010. I downloaded the setup to my desktop, ran it, had installation quit because VS2010 was open, then had all subsequent install attempts throw that error. Moving the setup to a different directory solved the problem. I agree that it is pretty weak on Microsoft's part to not allow you to close VS and continue the installation from that point once the program is called.

    Just wanted to make sure that if anyone else runs into this problem they try this.

  8. Hi Brennan R – Thanks for posting about your experience.  The issue described in this blog post can affect all Visual Studio 2010 editions, including the Windows Phone Developer Tools.  Moving the setup program to a different directory should solve this issue because the Windows compatibility assistant uses the full path to a program when it decides whether or not to run in compatibility mode, and moving the setup program causes the full path to no longer match what is stored in the registry.

  9. Marc Allen says:

    Your ret edit updates worked and saved me from wasting more time.

    Had the compatibility mode removed from vm_ware.exe to run uninstall.


  10. ZCerritos College says:

    I tried everything < I just can't get visual studios to download?? Dang,,,

  11. Hi ZCerritos College – Are you getting an error downloading or installing?  If it is a download error, I'd suggest trying to use the ISO file at…/WPDT_RTM_en1.iso instead of using the web download bootstrapper (vm_web.exe).

    If it is an install error, please use the tool described at…/6458047.aspx to collect all of your setup log files, upload the file named that will be created by that tool to a file server (such as, then reply back here and provide a link I can use to download your log files and take a further look.

  12. Perezhogin says:

    Hi! I've got problem "Error occurred during setup Setup could not install the following component: Microsoft Windows Phone Developer Resources" and I've already tryed to:

    1. Rename and change file location, and download it couple times
    2. Search anything in registry as it was suggested (nothing found by the way)

    3. Used ISO file – nothing

    4. Reinstall Windows o_O

    Please, could you help me, please???…/dd_install_vm_xcor_100.txt…/

  13. Hi Perezhogin – Steps 1 and 2 that you listed are only helpful if you're getting a compatiblity mode error dialog like the one described above in this blog post.  Since that isn't the error that you're getting, those steps won't help.

    This is the exact error that I see in your log file:

    Error 1935. An error occurred during the installation of assembly 'Interop.SirepBootstrap,FileVersion="7.00.7003.0",version="",culture="neutral",publicKeyToken="31BF3856AD364E35",processorArchitecture="x86"'. Please refer to Help and Support for more information. HRESULT: 0x8002802F. assembly interface: , function: CreateAssemblyCache, component: {8B51A48B-422A-4AD9-8671-6433A35A1202}

    In the past, when I have seen this error while installing the SirepBootstrap file, it has been caused by the version of Windows being a pre-release version.  From the version information listed in your log files, it appears that you don't have the final release of Windows 7 installed on your computer.  Your logs say you have the 7260 build, but the 7600 build is the final release.  Where did you get your version of Windows 7 from on this computer?  Do you have a disc that contains the final release of Windows 7 that you can install instead of the build that you have?

  14. Perezhogin says:

    Thank you!!!

    It works now – I don't know, how is it possible, but I realy had old 7260 version.

    Thank you again! :)))

  15. In my case

    Application Verifier 3.4 utility was blocking the installation of VS 2010.

  16. Rakesh G says:

    My problem resolved thanks

  17. garymedina says:

    As simple as saving the download directy to C:/ (no regedit) and it worked right away. Thank you so much!

  18. Christian says:

    Thanks so much! :] I appreciate the post! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Konstantin says:

    Thanks. You saved my time ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Pratik Shah says:

    This really helps me. Thanks

  21. Poshan says:

    thank u very very much

  22. ivowiblo says:


  23. pooja says:

    after deleting from regedit as told..just placed the .exe file on desktop and now its installation beging again ! fingers croossed may it work now

  24. Gaurav Verma says:

    Did the same thing….just renamed the exe and run it successfully…Thanks for the valuable posts guys

  25. Syed Adil Umair says:

    Thanks a bunch.. this saved a lot of time.

  26. says:

    I tried to download Visual C++ 2010 Express but I had an error message about compatibility. I'm on Win 7 Home Premium x64 (forgive me about my syntaxis, I'm just french!). Good rollin'!

  27. Hi – The title of this blog post refers to the Windows Phone tools, but the same type of workaround should work for all editions of Visual Studio.  Can you please give the workaround a try and let me know if it helps solve this issue on your computer?

  28. Santosh says:

    It worked for me thanks…

  29. Jay says:

    Thanks a ton Aaron!!

  30. I fixed this my simply renaming the downloaded installer to "install".

  31. Doris says:

    Renaming the file solves the trick. I had the same problem, VS2010 was opened when I tried to install. I got a message that I need to close VS and when I did that I could not rerun the .exe. I copied the file and rant it again, I'm reinstalling as I type this. Thanks!

  32. Matt says:

    Thank you very much, turns out just dragging the file onto my desktop sorted it, I feel like such an idiot now.

  33. David Hams says:

    Thank you very much!!!

  34. Katrina says:

    Hello alan. i have a problem installing my visual studio 2010 and i can't find vm_web.exe from the directions you have posted.

  35. Hi Katrina – The file will only be named vm_web.exe if you are trying to install the Windows Phone SDK.  If you are installing another Visual Studio edition, the name will be the name of the setup executable of the edition that you are trying to install.  I'd suggest looking for any Visual Studio edition names in those Application Compatibility registry keys and deleting them, or copying your Visual Studio installer to a different location and running it from there instead.

  36. Hamza says:

    its works in 5 min thnx alot !

  37. Julian says:

    You are a hero!. I love it when a simple suggestion saves two days work. Tried everything and your simple 'save to different dir to prevent compatibility mode problem' did the trick. Thumbs up!

  38. For me copying the vm_web2.exe file to C: drive fixed the problem. No need to mess up with the registry.

  39. Andy says:

    Thanks Kashif_Imran. It worked for me too. I just copied the file in C drive.

  40. amen bakakat says:

    thanks alot for the help! ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. Eddie says:

    Downloaded, Renamed it to vm_web1, it worked.  Thanks  

    Windows 7 – 64 bit

  42. Ashay says:

    Deleting correspodning entries did not worked. But thanks Aaron for your valuable idea to download and rename the file.

  43. Neel says:

    Just Goto "Setup folder" inside the VS Setup folder

    run setup.exe from inside that folder.

    you will have no error.

    The error appears when you install from the root folder.

    Happy Programming

  44. someone says:

    TNX ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. Guest says:

    Thanks Kashif_Imran, it worked for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Archana Mamidi says:

    Thanks a lot. It solved the problem. worked for me.

  47. M says:

    Thank you Brennen R for suggesting that we change the setup's directory. I simply moved it to my desktop and it worked again.

  48. saad says:

    ู„ุง ุงุนู„ู… ู„ู…ุงุฐุง ูŠุธู‡ุฑ ู‡ุฐุง ุงู„ุฎุทุง ูˆูƒูŠููŠุฉ ุชุฌู†ุจู‡ ุงูˆ ุงู„ุชุฎู„ุต ู…ู†ู‡ ู„ุชุดุบูŠู„ ุงู„ุจุฑู†ุงู…ุฌ ู…ุฑู‡ ุงุฎุฑูŠ

  49. Hi Saad – Have you tried the workarounds listed in this blog post yet?  To summarize – you can find and delete the AppCompat registry keys, or you can rename the program that you're trying to install (either by renaming the .exe or by saving it to a new path).

  50. Lenny Woods says:

    I renamed the file and it worked fine after that

  51. abby says:

    tkx sooooo much u saved my day !!

  52. Radzee says:

    Thanku so much!!

  53. Ishrat Ali says:

    Thanks Sir,

    It really work.

  54. Oquzcan says:

    thanks thanks <33