Quick Survey: Your Feedback Desired

With Visual Studio 2005 releasing later this year, we’re very interested in learning more about how our subscribers manage both the Visual Studio and MSDN Libraries that are made available to you on MSDN Subscriber Downloads or shipped to you on CD or DVD media.  While this is a bit informal and unscientific, we’d appreciate any anecdotes or feedback you may have on the following items:


  • How do you use the Libraries?  Do you install the MSDN Library to replace the Visual Studio Library or install it as a standalone application and run both the VS and MSDN Library versions side-by-side?  Do you install quarterly versions of the MSDN Library as standalone versions and run those side-by-side?

  • What do you do with the quarterly updates of the MSDN Library when they arrive?  Update your MSDN Library installations immediately, wait until you “need” the updated content, update every other version, or some other frequency?

  • When was the last time you updated your Visual Studio or MSDN Library installation?

 (Of course, you’re welcome to share any other feedback you may have on your use of or experiences with the Library…  I’ll make sure that your feedback gets routed to the right people or team.)


Thanks much,


Seth Adams

Program Manager, MSDN Subscriptions

Comments (4)

  1. ghostdev says:

    Generally I just file the MSDN updates until I am doing a reload (like today). I use the MSDN library very little as it is easier to Google for whatever I am looking for, and if needed I narrow it down to a specific microsoft.com site.

  2. Jeff Parker says:

    Basically when ever you ship me the DVD’s is when I install them. Then I install it all. Typically here is how a day goes when an MSDN shipment comes in. The Receptionist walks it back to me personally. I think she gets a kick out of how excited I typically get cause you know it’s kind of like Xmas for a geek. I have even blow off my boss who was sitting there wanting to discuss something, even though he pays for them, but it is like Xmas though to a geek. Sometimes you get socks and shirts and some times you get the red rider BB gun with a compass in the stock.

    Then I pull down all the pouches and start replacing any outdated cds looking at each one and seeing what was replaced and different. Setting aside the MSDN library for last because I know I will be installing it. Then as going through I also set out any SDK’s and stuff like that I know I want to install and check out.

    Then comes the install. Now here is the problem. I do not think I am installing them side by side. When I first installed them and even when I reloaded there was an option to choose install all and do this everytime there is an update. So basically when I pop the dvd in I just let it install on its own. Now I noticed that under the MSDN directory there are several large directories with multiple dates on them and they all vary in size and not like a growing order some newer directories are smaller than older ones so I have always assumed I am doing like a progressive install where it only updates newer content. But I do not really know for sure there was not a lot of direction as far as what the installation options were and what they did. However I know that when I am in VS and do a search I do get newer docs and examples and so on. Rarely though do I read it line by line. Mainly because I also subscribe to the MSDN RSS Feed on new articles. So I tend to go read them there when they come out. My primary reason for installing the MSDN Library is for use inside Visual Studio. That integration there is priceless.

    Now one of the other things though is I do still have a MSDN Library that is separated from the norm which is the MSDN Library 6a. I keep that there for legacy stuff and also it is still a better source for things like VBScript and JavaScript, DHTML. I think I just like the way the older stuff is presented or maybe more the reason, I spent so many years dealing with the older stuff in that format I am just used to it that way and know exactly where everything is in there. You have no idea how many hours, days, weeks even months, I have spent inside the odler MSDN library so its kind of like coming back home after being off on an adventure. I have made back up copies of the MSDN 6a library in that format because I never want to loose it for the old stuff until at least there comes a day when I finally say I have eliminated everything legacy.

    The .net stuff I am familiar with it in the newer format and like it like that. I am confortable there in the new MSDN By New I do mean the format ever since VS 2002.

  3. mikestre says:

    I install the latest version of the MSDN library as soon as it arrives, using the quick update option. I always replace the Visual Studio library wth the latest MSDN library and install the minimum amount of documentation for my needs. I carry the DVD around in my laptop drive until the next one arrives

  4. mrdavejr says:

    When updates arrive, I throw out the previous quarterly version and replace it with the current one.

    As a contractor I keep all of my environments on Virtual PC. Every time I get a new contract I’ll update all the software on the base image for that environment (which has Visual Studio sans VS or MSDN Library installed). After creating the image for the new contract I install the latest quarterly library and never update the library again because I haven’t really noticed much changing between updates.

    From my point of view, if the library was a quarterly full install with automatic updates (via Windows Update perhaps?) I would always be up to date.

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