Visual Studio 2005 Express Announcements!

Dear Visual Studio Express community,


We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, Visual C++, and Visual Web Developer Express will be free permanently!


Prior to this pricing announcement, Visual Studio Express Editions were promotionally discounted to be free for one year, starting on November 7th, 2005. With this announcement, the promotional discount for Visual Studio Express is now permanent and Express will continue to be free.


The key reason for the pricing change was you. You’ve helped make Visual Studio Express a runaway hit, and we’re proud to announce that in the five months since its launch, Express has been downloaded over 5 million times!


In addition to announcing that Express is free, we also have some very cool new content with something for everyone including:


Microsoft .NET Interface for Lego Mindstorms Starter Kit
The Microsoft .NET interface for Lego Mindstorms enables you to programmatically control Lego Mindstorms directly from Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, or Visual C++ Express. We also have a dedicated sub-page on Coding4Fun on programming Lego Mindstorms with Express.


Beta: Skype Wrapper for .NET Starter Kit

The Beta of the Skype Wrapper for .NET Starter Kit is a managed code wrapper with samples that enables to programmatically connect and consume Skype services from Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual J#, or Visual C++ Express.



MediaShare Messenger Starter Kit
The Media Share Messenger Starter Kit is a fully functioning Visual C++ Express custom chat client that enables you to send instant messages to your friends and even share your music collection with them over a local area network (LAN).



Annotated Travel Log Starter Kit

The Annotated Travel Log Starter Kit is a fully functioning Visual C++ Express travel planning and tracking application you can use to manage your travel plans & routes, as well as track and record your progress.


Beta: Classifieds Site Starter Kit

The Classifieds Site Starter Kit Beta provides a complete, ready to run, fully customizable, Web site for listing and managing classified advertisements with Visual Web Developer Express and SQL Server Express.




Teacher Starter Kit

The Teacher Starter Kit is a rich client application for keeping track of students, course rosters, and assessments or grades using Visual Basic or Visual C# Express.


Maker Faire Demo: Dancing4Fun

The Dancing4Fun demo is a homemade version of the popular Dance, Dance, Revolution arcade game using Phidgets touchpad sensors to time your dancing just right.




Maker Faire Demo: MSN Spaces Photo Booth

The MSN Spaces Photo Booth demo shows how you can integrate a pan-and-tilt web cam, and an Xbox 360 controller to dynamically upload pictures to your MSN Spaces Web site.




Maker Faire Demo: Skype Home Automation

The Skype Home Automation extends the Skype Starter Kit to show how you can use an instant messaging application to communicate with a home server for the purposes of automation and monitoring, like checking if the lights are on, or even play your favorite music.




How-To Videos: Windows Forms Controls

These bite-sized 5-15 minute videos that show how to use common Windows Forms controls including the SoundPlayer, FlowLayout, NotifyIcon, Button, and other controls using Visual Basic or Visual C# Express.


Video Series: SQL Server 2005 Express for Beginners

This four-hour video series is designed for beginners who are interested in learning the basics of how to create and manage data using SQL Server 2005 Express.


Video Series: Learn how to create Rocket Commander

Watch and learn how to create professional looking 3D games like RocketCommander using Managed DirectX and Visual C# Express in this 10-part instructional video series. 


Webcast Series: Tools for the Hobbyist Developer
The Tools for the Hobbyist Developer webcast series covers the spectrum of Express content including game development, programming for hardware, database development and more.


Meet the Express and Coding4Fun Team at Maker Faire

For those of you in the San Mateo, California area on April 22nd and 23rd, stop on by Maker Faire and say hello to us in person!


Made In Express Contest

The Made In Express contest is your chance to shine and win $10,000 in prizes by building a cool, fun project using Visual Studio and SQL Server Express. To enter, just submit your idea.


Our thanks again to you, the Visual Studio Express community, for making Express so successful and we hope to continue building great tools and samples to enable the next generation of developers.


Happy coding,

- Visual Studio Express & Coding4Fun Team

Comments (171)
  1. Dan Fernandez, seineszeichen Lead Product Manager für Visual Studio Express, hat heute in seinem Blog [1] bekannt gegeben dass die 2005er Express Edititionen von Visual C#, Visual Basic, Visual C++, Visual J# sowie Visual WebDeveloper "dauerhaft"

  2.  Great

    post, I always knew about that dark little horse. Glad to see it was killed.

    SQL Server…

  3. jimmy says:

    good decision!

  4. AlfredTwo says:

    Check out Dan’s blog for all the details. VS Express is now free for ever and not just for the first…

  5. Dan Fernandez writes today about some of the great content and news his team over at Visual Studio 2005…

  6. From Dan Fernandez:

    "We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual…

  7. Dear Visual Studio Express community,

    We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19th,…

  8. Mike says:

    Hi – tutorial 7 and 10 video links are dead (404) on the Rocket Commander page.

    Think you can contact the right people to fix it?


  9. Thanks Mike! I’ve forwarded to the MSDN team to fix right ASAP


  10. abhishek says:

    the link for Visual C#, Teacher Starter Kit is also dead.

  11. As announced by Dan Fernandez on his blog the Visual Studio Express editions are to be free forever.  They’ve…

  12. Effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#,…

  13. akashra says:

    VSE Free, that’s fine… But I still can’t take Visual Studio 2005 seriously until they include Unit Testing as part of the Professional edition.  You’ve basically said "Here’s a tool which every serious developer should be expected to have, but we’re only going to give it to the ones who can afford an AUD10,000/year license".   Getttttt real.

    There are other little quirks meaning I plan on staying with 2003 for a very long time.

  14. Keith says:

    This is a good thing. With Visual 2005 Express going for free, I am sure it will encourage a lot more programmers to do the switch to try out Visual kits.

    On the other hand, I do have reservations if this Visual Express editions is comparable to the performance of the <a href="">Microsoft Visual Studio</a> versions.

    Personally, I would still go for the Professional version, if not GNU GCC would do great for me as well.

  15. ratingo says:

    Setting microsoft products (express editions) being freeware is a very good move. Looks like microsoft has finally decided to follow open-source / freeware trends.

  16. Hey Akashra,

    Sorry to hear and I do understand your desire for integrated unit testing. I’m passing your comments on wanting unit testing features in Visual Studio Pro team.



  17. The obvious news: The Express Editions of Visual Studio (5 million downloads and counting) are now officially…

  18. Esta si es una excelente noticia, cuando fueron liberadas unos meses atras las versiones express edition…

  19. vincent says:

    Any plans to make the embedded tools free again?  Requiring a Visual Studio purchase has really crippled the market for hobbyist developers making cheap or free Windows Mobile applications.

  20. Hey Vincent,

    Good question 🙂

    The short answer is "no", but your idea is a good one that we have internally brainstormed as we get feedback from hobbyists developing mobile applications that would want a "Mobile Express" product.  If we do announce something, you can bet I’ll be blogging about it.



  21. ShadowFlare says:

    To the person who seemed to be talking about optimization options.  Microsoft has said that the express editions have all of the optimization options that the standard and professional editions have.  Looking through those options, in my opinion it seems that they are telling the truth about that.  I’ve even looked at some of the produced code in assembly language and I could see some fairly extensive optimizations in some places.

  22. Leigh Appel says:

    Hmmm this is indeed very exciting news, personally i cant wait to get stuck into this stuff

  23. Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for the Visual Studio Express&amp;nbsp;product line has confirmed today…

  24. I came across a press announcement and some additional blog information regarding the availability of…

  25. Quick Microsofty post in the middle of LAN Principals revision…First up Visual Studio Express editions…

  26. I’m the furthest thing you will ever see when it

    comes to developers…makes you wonder why i’m so freaking…

  27. 無名 says:

    Thanks Dan!

    This is a huge boost for all developers.

  28. Today Dan Fernandez the PM for&amp;nbsp; Visual Studio Express announced along with the press release that…

  29. There is too much to copy from Dan Fernandez’ blog but I’ll give you the highlights so you’ll go read…

  30. Check out this post with a

    LOT of links to cool projects for Visual Studio 2005 and express editions….

  31. The various Visual Studio Express SKUs are free. You might

    think &amp;#8211;…

  32. Kunal Deo says:

    I have never been a keen supporter for microsoft strategies. But I like this one. MS have really done great to make these express editions free. Now more and more nvoice programers can enjoy to be produce some real code. Later they can even go for Standard edition for some Money making development.

    together with these Starter pack this whole thing is simply awesome.

    GO Ahead MS

  33. Stephen says:

    Where is the ‘official’ .NET Lego Man to celebrate?

  34. When Visual Studio 2005 was launched last year, Microsoft announced that the Express editions would be…

  35. John Crocker says:

    My only concern now Express editions are free forever, is the competitors of Visual Studio will get together and file an anticompetitive lawsuit in the US courts..  I only hope this doesnt spoil the party…

  36. Caros Amigos,N&#227;o sei se todos sabiam mas a Linha Express era gratuita por 1 ano. Agora tornou-se gratuita…

  37. I’m the furthest thing you will ever see when it

    comes to developers…makes you wonder why i’m so freaking…

  38. My colleague over in the Visual Studio Express team, Dan Fernandez, has a great blog on the announcement…

  39. Yesterday, Microsoft announced each of the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions will be available for…

  40. &amp;nbsp;

    [via 福井 厚] [via Dan Fernandez]

    According to Dan’s post, Visual Studio 2005 Express product series…

  41. Rexiology... says:


    crosspost from

    [via 福井 厚] [via Dan Fernandez]

    According to Dan’s…

  42. B# .NET Blog says:

    Superb news hitting the road: the Visual Studio 2005 Express Tools (including Visual Basic 2005 Express,…

  43. gflores says:

    Esta es una excelente noticia, los productos Express de Visual Studio han sido anunciados como &quot;GRATIS&quot;…

  44. Ol&#225; a todos,

    Ontem saiu uma &#243;tima not&#237;cia para os usu&#225;rios das vers&#245;es Express: a partir de hoje, todas…

  45. says:

    Despu&#233;s de 5 millones de descargas, donde se regalaba un a&#241;o de licencia para la versi&#243;n Express, los chicos de Microsoft han decidido que el producto sea definitivamente gratuito.

  46. Dan Fernandez announced that Visual Studio Express Tools are now available for free. You will never have…

  47. Con la reciente versi&#243;n 2005 de Visual Studio y SQL Server, Microsoft lanz&#243; unas versiones espec&#237;ficas…

  48. Here is what happened this week:

    Comparison of XSLT 2.0 and XQuery 1.0

    Upcoming WPF/E Channel 9 Video…

  49. When C# Express was announced last fall, it was promotionally discounted as free for a year.

    The permanent…

  50. Making the Express editions of the .NET programming languages free is one small step towards Microsoft’s original goal of creating a programming platform to compete with Java.

  51. Welcome to the Web Development Tools team blog!&amp;nbsp; Recently we decided to create a team blog to ensure…

  52. Pens&#233; que las versiones Express de Visual Studio y SQL Server eran gratuitas …

    Y efectivamente….

  53. Is it possible to redistribute Visual Studio Express? I have read the license, but IANAL and I am not sure if I can or if I can not.

  54. tashma says:

    Express your mind

  55. mb says:


    Was this an original plan, because I was hardly supprised they did this. I mean why offer SQL free forever, but the dev enviroment would cost after a year. People might leave for JAVA when they come and see that they were too late.

  56. I've got dial up and no hope of downloading this free stuff! says:

    Why are there so many crap and incomplete feedback items here?  Can’t someone clean them up?

  57. This is old news by now, but I had to post about it anyway. This is an extension of the previous offer…

  58. Hola a tod@s,


    Con la reciente versi&#243;n 2005 de Visual Studio y SQL Server, Microsoft lanz&#243; unas…

  59. Hola a tod@s,


    Con la reciente versi&#243;n 2005 de Visual Studio y SQL Server, Microsoft lanz&#243; unas…

  60. Here is a great link that covers off the Lego Mindstorms announcement (that I’ve already blogged about)…

  61. abi says:

    101 comments, thats insane .. ups one more ..

    btw: I like the link to RocketCommander 😀

  62. Esta es ya una noticia un poco viejita (19 de abril) pero yo apenas me enter&#233; hoy y puede que haya alguien…

  63. :-)Y siguen las buenas noticias:

    Microsoft ha anunciado que ante el enorme &#233;xito de la iniciativa…

  64. fprintf says:

    I would like better organized tutorials & learning content graded by programming experience, much like they do for python.

    I have downloaded and installed VC++ and VB and to be honest, other than a running Hello World! and date changing form, I am completely overwhelmed. As a C++ hobbyist programmer coming from a non-windows environment, the tools are great and free!  But getting started with them is not easy!

  65. Thanks for the feedback "fprintf", we do have good video tutorials for VB beginners at, but we don’t have a lot of C++ beginner content. Have you had a chance to play with the VB beginner content? I’d appreciate your feedback on this.



  66. Quiz&#225;s ya lo sep&#225;is, pero por si acaso lo indico aqu&#237;.

    Seg&#250;n public&#243; el pasado 19 de Abril en su blog…

  67. Nikesh Patel says:

    So this means that any company can use SDK’s and wrap C#express edition IDE and include them in their software provided to their clients? If that is true then company’s can make their own tool similar to VSTA.

  68. Hey Nikesh,

    To your question about distribution of the IDE, the answer is no, we do not grant the rights to redistribute the IDE itself. You do, however have rights to redistribute applications made with Express, even for commercial purposes, but we do not grant distribution rights for the tool.  

    That being said, you can certainly add documentation to your SDK that they can download Express for free from the Web as an easy workaround.



  69. Rick Southard says:

    Would a school district be able to install the Express Editions in their computer labs to use to teach High School and Middle school students to program?

  70. Bhavesh says:

    Can we have setup of the Express edition. While running setup all the required files are downloaded from the Internet… I have 5-6 PC and i want to install Express edition on it..

    so i have to keep this 5-6 PC on the internet…

    Any one have solution of this..

    I have made setup in one way… If any other way available…?

    Bhavesh Rana

  71. Hi Rick,

    To your question about installing Express in a school computer lab, yes, absolutely there are no issues with this, although you may want to pre-register every Express product so that students aren’t prompted to register the product after 30 days.

    Best of luck!



  72. Hey Bhavesh,

    I blogged about Aaron Stebner’s instructions for doing an unattended installation or network install at:

  73. Pat Crenshaw says:

    Dan, Good news to hear say _VS 2005_ will be permanently free.

    But what about _VS06_ or later ones? New name, new policy?

    Does that give you room to slip back to a non-free product?


    Potential VS User.

  74. Hey Pat,

    We simply arent discussing pricing or the sku plan for any future versions of Visual Studio at this time.  

    My personal opinion is that if we did charge in the future, it would seem pretty obvious that we would lose trust and anger our existing Express customers and that would be a bad thing.

    As a general philosophy, the developer division believes that feature take-backs are a bad thing that should be avoided.

    Hope this helps,


  75. Microsoft announced yesterday that the VS Express products will be free forever.&amp;nbsp; I know there had…

  76. &lt;P dir=rtl style=&quot;MARGIN-RIGHT: 5px&quot; align=right&gt;&lt;IMG style=&quot;MARGIN: 5px&quot; height=70 alt=&quot;&quot; src=&quot;***presseditions.gif&quot; width=125 align=left border=0&gt;به گزارش

  77. How and where do I download Visual Studio Express?

  78. Hey Frank,

    You can download Visual Studio Express Editions from

  79. S.Arun says:


    Like i had written previously…this cd that i’ve registered for is also free of cost right?… i am getting a little bothered about it…it said that it was free of cost , on the web page…(



  80. vincent says:

    "As a general philosophy, the developer division believes that feature take-backs are a bad thing that should be avoided."

    Isn’t this exactly what happened with the Mobile development SDK?  They have always been available for free until this latest release.  Coupled with the Microsoft Certification program, the barrier for entry for mobile development has jumped to $750, whereas it used to be free.  I’m surprised you are not hearing more complaints about this.

  81. Hi Arun,

    I’m not sure what your issue is, but the site doesn’t pull up. I’m assuming you’re talking about (India). Yes, the tool is available to download for free and the version you can order is the same version that is downloadable from, it just happens to include all Express products on CD.



  82. Hey Vincent, which Mobile Development SDK are you referring to? None of the SDKs listed on the link below have any cost associated them –

    Further, you can buy Visual Studio Standard Edition for $299 ($199 upgrade) which includes Mobile development support so I don’t know where the $750 price came from.

  83. simon says:

    Web Services neophyte here.  Can anyone point me to a tutorial using Visual C# Express that explains how to access and consume a web service?


  84. Hey Simon,

    Good question, you can find a tutorial that shows how to consume’s Web Services using C# Express here

  85. Hey Vincent,

    My apologies, but it appears that I deleted your second comment. Community Server showed your comment as two comments with the exact same text. When I deleted one, the other one got deleted as well. In any case, could you repost your comments?



  86. vincent says:

    Oh yeah, no problem.  I was saying that while all the Mobile SDKs you posted are free, all the previous generations were standalone products.  Now, the Mobile 5 SDK requires at least Visual Studio Standard, a $300 product, so calling it "free" is a bit misleading.

    The other $450 was for the new code-signing requirements, although I realize that is not really your concern.  You can  find the general reaction to that here:

    (That second comment is not me, btw)

    I guess I’m just frustrated because I can see such potential  (and some shortcomings) in my WM5 device, but I can’t justify dropping $300 to develop some simple little apps for personal use.  Add the other $450 if I want any hopes of distributing them, and the barrier for entry in this market is just way too high.  This is going to push independent coders and small development studios right out of business, and the platform as a whole will flounder because of it.

  87. Thanks Vincent, it’s true that Visual Studio Standard can be a high price point for independent coders.  We have considered doing a Mobile Developer Express tool and feedback like yours can help build the case for it.  I’m sure you passed your feedback onto the mobile team’s blog, but it seems like it’s a lot easier to share an application on something like that doesn’t have the stringent requirements and just have people sync their games rather than the pain of going through a cert authority. I’m surprised that isn’t pushed more by the mobile team, but I guess the desire is to be able to download directly from the device…

  88. Apedo David says:

    need instrumentals

  89. Apedo David says:

    by next month i should get it

  90. Jana says:

    I want Visual Studio 2005 Express!

    I can’t find any download-link!

    this stuff is free……

    i can’t belive it!

    can someone give me a Link??

    plz! 🙁

  91. Jana says:

    I want Visual Studio 2005 Express!

    I can’t find any download-link!

    this stuff is free……

    i can’t belive it!

    can someone give me a Link??

    plz! 🙁

  92. I think the confusion may be that there are actually multiple Express products, but for convenience sake, here are the links to each product’s download. If you’re totally new to programming I suggest choosing Visual Basic Express.


    Visual Web Developer Express

    Visual Basic Express

    Visual C# Express

    Visual C++ Express

    Visual J# Express

    SQL Server Express

  93. alice says:

    hello, site is cool.

  94. Yesterday, Microsoft announced each of the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions will be available for

  95. hassan says:

    where can i find free MSDN for V.S6 to download online

    paste the ur for me

  96. " We are incredibly excited to announce that effective April 19 th , 2006, all Visual Studio 2005 Express

  97. Here is a great link that covers off the Lego Mindstorms announcement (that I’ve already blogged about

  98. Brandon says:

    I’m looking for a straight answer.  I have Visual C# express installed.  Can I develop Windows Mobile 5.0 applications and if so, exactly what do I need to install in addition to Visual C# Express?

    Thanks in advance!

  99. Hey Brandon, no, C# Express can’t be used for Mobile development, you’ll need Visual Studio Standard or higher.

  100. Sandra says:

    Any suggestions on books to buy to learn Visual Studio Express?

  101. David says:

    I had a very good experience when I contacted Microsoft before purchasing Visual Studio. I spoke to Joy from the Visual Studio team. The customer service representative told me she will connect me to the right team to get my answers on Visual Studio product. When she connected me to Joy I never felt that I am not yet buyer of the Visual Studio. He took good time to provide me all the details about Visual Studio and also helped me getting the number of the sales team where I can order my product. The answers are really honest answers which now a days we cannot expect from the Technical Support people. Also he offered me his direct number in case I have any query in future. I don’t know if Joy is going to read this message but Joy let me tell you one thing you are honest person I have ever spoken with. Microsoft should be proud to have such people in their organization.

    I love using Microsoft Products



  102. Manoharan says:

    I have been waiting for something like this as I am only used to and  love to stay with VC++.It is a great boon to me. Thank you; Thanking you once again.

  103. A free – not just "affordable" – entry-level option for Windows Mobile development would be a superb idea for Microsoft to bring new developers on board with their mobile technology. Independent developers can bring a lot to the party but not unless they’re invited!

  104. Chris says:

    Yeah, I’m in the same boat with regard to developing mobile applications. I would just buy the app that I want but it only exists for Pocket PC editions, not Smartphone. It’s a really simple, tiny program that I could make in a couple days but I don’t want to pay $300 just to make this one thing for myself.

  105. Zaheer says:


    Thanx i found it get free MS VS

  106. James says:

    I totally agree about the free mobile development — frankly, the biggest thing WM has going for it over the iPhone is that it’s not a walled garden.  But if WM charges an entrance fee to develop, while Apple just charges a fee to distribute a finished app, who do you think will get more projects run to completion?  The one with the royalty structure, or the one with a multi-hundred-dollar entry barrier?

  107. Sherif says:

    Hello,pls i need your help here,how do i do this:

    "Recieve the ages of the 40 students in Class 2.List them one each on a row.Calculate the mean of their ages and print on screen in Visual Basic programming using Visual studio 2005".

  108. @Sherif – That looks exactly like a homework assignment and you need to learn how to code yourself, no one on the Web should do your homework for you. Go to to learn the basics.

  109. pareja says:

    i hope visual studio 2010 is as good as the 2005…

  110. Vijay says:

    may i know who can used vs2005 freely.Can very small business owner used it commercially.  

  111. I wish I could get that updated screenscraper code.  That was one of the most cool programs I've seen!

Comments are closed.

Skip to main content