Dealing with the Team System 2010 CTP expiration

If you’ve been using the Team System 2010 Community Tech Preview VPC, you’ve probably noticed that the instance of Visual Studio within the VPC is getting close to expiring.  We expect that it will cease functioning around the end of the year and instead return the message “The evaluation period for Visual Studio Trial Edition has ended”:


Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before we release our next update to Team System 2010 so you’ll need to take action to keep this version working for a while.  Fortunately, there is a relatively easy resolution to this problem.  It involves turning off the synchronization between the host OS and the VPC.  This enables you to set the time in the VPC to a 2008 date while you live in 2009.  As you might imagine, Team Foundation Server doesn’t like it much when time goes backwards so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t use the VPC and then set the clock backwards after that point.  Ideally, you can use a fresh VPC and disable your clock prior to launching it for the first time. 

Disabling the host OS synchronization of the VPC.  This is a change to the .VMC file (see below) that basically disables the clock synchronization between the VPC and the host OS.  This means that time in the VPC moves forward only when the VPC is being used. As a result, we have essentially 2 months of runtime (not wall time) for the VPC which is way more time than people should need to run the CTP, even if they’re demoing it regularly to others.

Here are the changes necessary for the .VMC file (specific to a particular VPC and not a system-wide setting):

            <allow type="boolean">true</allow>
                <enabled type="boolean">false</enabled>

Bunch of other stuff that I am skipping over to save space...

Hopefully this will allow you to have plenty of time to evaluate the CTP and send us feedback on what you like and don’t like about what we put together in this release.  As you might imagine, we’re hard at work putting together the next release and your feedback over the next period of time will really help us make sure that the next release is even better than the current CTP.  And, yes, we will release both a VPC and native install version of the CTP so that folks will have flexibility in how they deploy and evaluate the next release. 

One important note:  don’t attempt to join the VPC to a domain since the domain will set the time within the VPC and thus cause Visual Studio to expire.

Many thanks to Brian Keller and his detailed description of the various activation messages associated with the CTP as well as to Virtual PC Guy who provided the original information on how to disable the VPC clock synchronization. 

If you’ve converted this VPC image to HyperV following Grant’s instructions, be sure to read Cameron’s update to learn of a similar workaround for HyperV

Happy CTPing!


Comments (40)
  1. Jeff Beehler has written a nice post about how to address the Team System 2010 CTP expiration date.

  2. El Bruno says:

    Buenas, si has estado probando la máquina virtual con la última CTP de Visual Studio Team System 2010

  3. El Bruno says:

    Buenas, si has estado probando la máquina virtual con la última CTP de Visual Studio Team System 2010

  4. El Bruno says:

    Buenas, si has estado probando la máquina virtual con la última CTP de Visual Studio Team System 2010

  5. El Bruno says:

    Jeff -> thanks for the cool tip  😀

  6. That&#39;s the massage you are going to get around 2009 Jan 1st if you are using the VSTS 2010 CTP .

  7. The first episode in a series on VS 2010 was posted this week on Channel 9. The series is put on by some

  8. If you’ve been testing out the latest VSTS 2010/.NET 4.0 CTP, you may or may not have noticed that the

  9. Since the beginning of the year, the developer community joined one of the most exciting initiatives

  10. Erik Cox says:

    Thx for the post…I have read it and applied what you mentioned in your post to <a href="">Team System 2010</a>..but I was just wondering is there any way to make sure that I have applied everything correctly!?

  11. Hi Erik-

    The best way to check to make sure you’ve applied the changes correctly is to shut down the VPC, wait a few minutes and then start it back up.  If the time in the VPC doesn’t match the time on your system, you’ve done it correctly.

    Hope that helps!


  12. VB Feeds says:

    Have you downloaded and started using the Visual Studio 2010 Community Technology Preview (&quot;CTP&quot;

  13. For those of you that have downloaded the Visual Studio 2010 CTP, you might have noticed that it will expire within a few days. The fix for this is simple and Jeff Beehler has a good post that is easy to follow. In case you missed it from the link blog,

  14. andrew says:

    Downloaded this think all day, only to find it had seven days left. Why waist our time and our band width, needless to say. Not all the hacks work as they should, once VS times out, thats it, not even a reinstall works.

  15. andrew says:

    This must be the worst CTP ever released by MS, the CTP does not work as expected, the trial period of 1 week is not worth 2 cents. The band width for us SA people costs over a $100 for this download. what a waist of time and money, hopefully the release is nothing like this. This must be the first time ever that I have been so disappointed in Microsoft in 28 years.

  16. A couple of months ago, we unveiled Visual Studio 10 at several conferences and provided attendees a

  17. To all the customs trying our CTP – the timebomp is activated and you probably getting the following

  18. Andrew – I’m sorry that you had a negative experience with our CTP.  We release these builds for a number of reasons including of course to get customer feedback.  We’ve gotten plenty of it including some like yours regarding the delivery vehicle rather than the product itself.  The fact that the release was only on a VPC and that it inadvertently expired early are very unfortunate and we’re ensuring that we don’t repeat them again in future releases.  

    Fortunately, we have received a lot of positive feedback on the product functionality as well.  Customers are very excited about the VSTS 2010 features and I’m confident that you’ll like the end result.  We’re working hard on a beta release at the moment and I hope that you’ll give us another chance once that’s available.

    Once again, my apologies for the troubles you had with the most recent CTP release.



  19. rita says:

    where is the test manager feature which was promised to be release in the 2010 version

  20. Rita – if you look at the CTP walkthroughs (see for more info) take a look at the "Sprint 2" section.  In this part of the walkthrough you’ll see information about how we envision customers will manage their testing efforts.  

    Hope this helps,


  21. Get it right the first time, that is the main thing, Gonna make that first time last. &quot;Get it right

  22. The Virtual PC image for Visual Studio 2010 CTP provided at PDC 2008 and downloadable from here has an

  23. Lamer says:

    Oh Joy… now I get to download all over again.  Another great CTP experience in a hole.  Why not just let peeps get the CTP themselves?

  24. The product installs in the VPC images of WCF 4 and Dublin should be expiring around now if you’ve been

  25. Blah says:

    That didn’t work.  I set my time back on my system, changed the settings, and when I loaded up the VPC it said that it wanted me to activate.  Why oh why must you guys always do things the hard way?

  26. The activation messages can be safely ignored.  Setting the VPC date back allows for the Visual Studio IDE to start which it won’t do after 1/1/2009.  

    I’m sorry for the difficulties.  We have taken steps to ensure that we check future releases for these sorts of problems before we publish them.  


  27. W wersji CTP , która była dostępna podczas zeszłorocznych konferencji TechEd i PDC, a która wciąż jest

  28. Since the beginning of the year, the developer community joined one of the most exciting initiatives

  29. amily says:

    6zzuRF flgoey72FdAa1nc830fNdKu

  30. michael says:

    Since I run MacOSX and VmWare Fusion, the way Microsoft distributed VS2010 CTP was a barrier.

    While I generated a VmWare image, and ran it under VmWare Fusion, the install of VmWare Tools changed the BIOS date Windows 2008 stopped showing the mouse, etc….

    For folks like myself who don’t mind Linux, this sort of treatment is terrible.  

    i.e. if you are doing a community preview, do it well.

    I think it was totally unacceptable for Microsoft not to reimage with extended trial dates; in that case, users like myself would actually try your product instead of walking away.

    Moreover, Microsoft made me feel negative about their products instead of positive about their products.

    No other company is this silly!

    Apple isn’t that silly; Adobe isn’t that silly, etc…

  31. michael says:

    RE: "Andrew – I’m sorry that you had a negative experience with our CTP.  We release these builds for a number of reasons including of course to get customer feedback."

  32. michael says:

    RE: "Andrew – I’m sorry that you had a negative experience with our CTP.  We release these builds for a number of reasons including of course to get customer feedback."

    I would hope that someone at Microsoft starts to think.  I don’t really understand why Microsoft made users download every single office product; project; and all the team editions of the software.  SQL Server was also running.

    Most other companies, like Apple and Adobe, wouldn’t mistreat their customers like that.

  33. John Anthony Oliver ( former student partner ). says:

    For all users why don’t Microsoft set the expiry date of a CTP nearer the planned actual release date of the product?

    So if Visual Studio 2010 is released say 1st December 2009 then why no set the CTP to expire on the 1st November 2009 ( or better still the day before it goes on sale )?

    To anyone downloading this CTP after the 1st Jan 2009, wil I need to set my system clock back 1st or simply disable the date-ime synchronization as above?

    On the subject of MSDN subscriptions I wish Microsoft offered 3 month, 6 month, and 9 month MSDN subscriptions or even a monthly payment option.

    THIS WOULD BE GREAT FOR STUDENTS like myself on a low income who may only be working part-time.

    While on the subect how about making CTP files available via MSDNAA or / AND the DREAMSPARK sites too?

  34. Krishna says:

    Did it ever work for anyone? I followed the steps mentioned in the blog — tried atleast 10 times – what a waste of time.

  35. Juan Zamudio says:

    It didn’t work for me either, the date on the server is September 2008 but i get the same trial period ended message.

  36. GA says:

    Can someone PLEASE help me!!!! I still can’t get the activation message to go. The virtual machine has a date of May 2008 but the activation message continues to popup. I’ve way too much time on this already. Does anyone know how I can play with VS 2010??????????

  37. Dan says:

    It would seem that the version of Microsoft Virtual PC that comes as part of windows 7 does not respect the setting that disables host clock synchonization. -:

  38. I’m sorry to hear about all of these challenges people have had getting the VSTS 2010 VPC to work correctly past the expiration date. My best recommendation at this point is to wait for our beta release which is just around the corner.  From there you’ll be able to install VSTS and TFS on your own hardware or virtual machine and no longer need to worry about activation or resetting VHD time sync settings.  


  39. Priyanka says:

    Is there a new CTP / Beta Release with the  VPC for Training Kit ,somewhere in pipeline in near future. The workaround doesnot  work for me and over and again , I m getting the same expiration messages. I am not able to open up Visual Studio.

  40. We will most likely release a new VPC with our next Beta release of Dev10.  In the meantime, you can certainly install Dev10 Beta1 from here:  There’s even a training kit available here:

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