Removing Visual Studio components left behind after an uninstall

When you install Visual Studio and related content like Windows Kits or some add-ons, most packages that comprise those bundles are reference counted to make sure they are not removed prematurely. Uninstalling Visual Studio and related content should eventually remove those packages (i.e. last one out the door turns off the light). Contrast with older… Read more

How to install Visual Studio to another directory when a pre-release is installed

If you’ve installed pre-release versions of Visual Studio – or even another edition of the same release – you may find you can’t change the installation target directory. This is because once a set of shared components is installed, we install all the other components to the same directory structure. When you have multiple editions… Read more

Visual Studio 2010 uninstall utility back online

Four years ago I published a utility to help perform a clean uninstall of Visual Studio 2010. Before we added package reference counting and related bundles to Visual Studio setup, we couldn’t always be sure which products were still required so not everything was removed. This utility will remove everything provided one of a few… Read more

How Visual Studio 2012 Avoids Prompts for Source

Requiring source packages during installation, repairs, and even uninstall are common occurrences for some customers. The core issue is that Windows Installer needs the source location of the package and its files to install – and can’t find them automatically – when attempting to restore the machine to the state it should be in (according… Read more

Introducing Package Reference Counting

These days it’s more common to install products composed of more than one installer package. Modern applications are often a loose fitting of localized components and being authored into a single package just isn’t practical. For example, a localized application will undoubtedly have neutral or single-language binaries while using satellite resources for other languages’ resources…. Read more

Downgrading Shared Components

Shared components define shared resources. It might seem obvious, but it’s important to understand that whatever you do to a shared resource during the installation of one product affects those same resources for any other product. For example, when upgrading one product to update files shared with another product, that other product will use the… Read more

Visual Studio 2010 Uninstall Utility

While we hope you’ll love Visual Studio 2010 for all the application development it enables with powerful features and a robust extension model that enables great extensions like the Productivity Power Tools, if you ever need to uninstall Visual Studio it can be difficult. If you’ve ever tried to remove Visual Studio you already know… Read more

Major Upgrades with Shared Components

Major upgrades are Windows Installer products that can be installed like any other product with the added benefit of removing one ore more related products. For example, version 2 of a product can be installed on a clean machine, or on a machine with version 1 already installed and will remove version 1. When another… Read more

VS 2008 SP1 Beta must be removed prior to installing the release of VS 2008 SP1

When I announced that Visual Studio 2008 SP1 RTM will install over SP1 beta, we were on track to make that reality. However, when SP1 beta shipped we found that adding new components into existing features was causing a prompt for source for non-default installations of Visual Studio 2008. To fix this, we would have… Read more

MSIZap is not Uninstall

The tool msizap.exe that is available in the Windows SDK and elsewhere on the web (remember to always download from a trusted source) is a powerful but dangerous tool that is often used to quickly and casually, and can leave your machine in a corrupted state if not used correctly. The same is true for… Read more