Can I still buy Visual Studio 2008 ?

We just announced the release of Windows Embedded Compact 7 the new release of the Windows Embedded CE, our small footprint, real time embedded operating system. To develop both the OS and the application for Compact 7, you will need Visual Studio 2008 Professional or above. Visual Studio 2008 is available in the Windows Embedded Compact 7 tool kit, so if you purchase Compact 7, you have VS 2008 in the box. Now, if you are an ISV or if as an OEM you just need VS 2008 to develop applications for Compact 7,you will need to purchase VS 2008.

I have been asked a couple times about the availability of Visual Studio 2008, given that the latest version of Visual Studio is 2010 and that it is not trivial to find a link to purchase Visual Studio 2008 on the Visual Studio Web site.

Be reassured, Visual Studio 2008 is still available for purchase and will be for some time. Actually VS 2008 will be supported for a total of 10 years (until 2018) and sold for 15 (until 2023). You can find information about its support lifecycle on this page.

Comments (20)
  1. antony says:

    don't live in the past. well someone thinking about Visual studio 2014 and c# 5 you telling about Vs 2008. well what you think about 2023 and 2018.

    this is old habit of MSFT that they always thing about past because past of MSFT is better then toaday. so they still love old day and become old days guys.

  2. @Antony:

    I agree it is important to move forward, innovate, enhance, bring new features.

    But at the same time, it is as important to be behind our customers.

    How would you think the customer who chose a Microsoft technology for building a device that will have a 15 or 20 years life cycle would feel if we told him: "sorry, we moved on, now you are on your own" after 5 years?

    The embedded space requires long term support and this is one of Microsoft commitments and strengths.

    This doesn't mean that there is no work done to provide access to the latest tools to our customers…

    – Olivier

  3. James says:

    I am glad that VS2008 is still available.  As you point out in your comment, devices often have a very long lifespan — those in the company I work for can last up to 7 years, and I know other types of devices could last much longer.  We still have many devices running Pocket PC 2003.  However, I'm not sure I agree the right way to handle that is to also force customers who write applications for those devices to also use old versions of development tools.  Is it not possible to release SDKs for development (both native and .NET Compact) for these types of devices?  It seems the right answer here should be to retain support for legacy devices but allow customers to move forward with advancements in the IDE.  Hopefully this is what your last comment hints at.

    Bonus idea: support for .NET Compact in the Portable Library Tools (…/announcing-portable-library-tools-ctp-justin-van-patten.aspx) would be amazing!  My team does WCF services, Silverlight, and .NET Compact for rugged devices and would love to share code between all three of these platforms.

  4. @James

    Giving access to the latest tools to our Embedded developers is definitively our ultimate goal and on top of our mind. Sometimes there are hurdles that make it longer than we would like.

    In addition as our small group is driving a lot of things in parallel from OS platforms to dev tools, including services, and we often need to prioritize our resources.

    Keep in mind that we definitively don't want to force our customers to use outdated tools, we do our best to provide the right tools.


  5. James says:

    Thanks for the feedback.  I know the world of resource constraints all too well!  It's just good to hear it is being considered and prioritized.

  6. José Joye says:

    For the last 3-4 years, our company developped a framework that was deployable on both standard and compact .NET framework. Now, with this "non" support of compact framework on VS 2010, all this is somehow stalled.

    We are forced to either stay on VS2008, upgrade the framework only for standard .NET (with support of 4.0)… or move to another target platform.

    On top of that, the strange story of Silverlight on Windows CE. We are forced to use a native interface….

    Bit after bit, developpers and architects have more and more difficulties to promote the CE and compact framework platform.

    – José

  7. @Jose

    I totally hear you and this is something our teams are working hard on. We had to make hard choices based on the needs of our ecosystem and had to cut some features in order to deliver high quality platforms.

    Your feedback is important in our planning process and I am defintitively making your voice heard in here :-). Continue posting constructive feedback, we defintively want to hear about such issues our partners and customers are facing, especially as we want to have a better overal story, and in particular a great developper story.

    I am sure you will appreciate what we are working on. We cannot talk about it yet, but when we can I'll be the first to talk about it. Stay tuned.


  8. WilkoSki says:

    Olivier, without sounding rude developers told you that they wanted and needed support for Windows CE and .NET CF in VS2010 when they realised that MS had ditched support during early beta.  At that time numerous MS people stated that support would be in the final product.

    I know we keep banging on about this but the impression given to the development community is that MS has just stuck two fingers up at us and is refusing to listen.  I don't think you realise how important support for Windows CE and .NETCF is in VS2010 and in future VS versions.  There is a huge estate of Windows CE devices running managed code and a minimal number of these devices need the type of UI offered by Silverlight.

    When MS first pushed the .NETCF and integrated the tools into VS they sold the developer community on the productivity gains and advantage of leveraging existing skills for the embedded market.  Now it seems we are stuck because those of us who did leverage existing skills and share code across the embedded platforms are now stuck on VS2008.  If we want to take advantage of VS2010 then we have to maintain multiple development platforms, source control environments and duplicate source.  Not very productive now is it ?

  9. @WilkoSki: you are not being rude at all. Your comments are legitimate and I totally hear you.

    As a matter of fact I am not the only one who hears you and there are several work streams within the Windows Embedded group to try and find solutions to this.

    Unfortunately the solution will not arrive over night as this has a huge implication in terms of resources needed. We have not let the managed ecosystem down and we definitively consider .Net CF as key.

    Give us some time to elaborate the best plan to bring the best solution. We are working on it.

    @All: please keep this kind of feedback coming. This is very usefull to help us prioritize the work we need to do.


  10. SecondThat says:

    WilkoSki's comments were bang on – so Oliver, if you need another voice, here it is. When we first selected CE 5.0 for our product line there was a raft of developers (and other engineers) who looked at that decision as insanity. “Why not pick X?” they would say. (Insert your favorite OS under X, normally variations on Linux).

    The decision was made because of the very real state of our engineering team: lots of peoples with skills in the Windows API; and a set of world class tools surrounding that ecosystem. That was back in the days of VS2005. The release of VS2008 was a big step forward; so the team happily moved – except of course the OS design folks. Now, with VS2010 and .NET 4 offering a wide range of big features, the team once again wants to move ahead.

    Alas, we have a large complex system with projects that target both the desktop and the embedded devices – so the lack of SmartDevice support in VS2010 was a real blow. Looking at Microsoft Connect and several blogs; Microsoft must have heard that howl of protest. The state of the union is fairly poor for our teams now. We use VS2005 to build the CE 6 image; VS2008 to build the smart device pieces; and VS2010 to build the .NET 4.0 parts. Talk about a complex development machine setup. Don’t even ask about the maintenance of common projects that need to span across all those tool chains. Add in a continuous integration build system and you start to see how things are getting complex. Nightmare is also a good term here. (Yes, I know there are tools to help manage all this – trust me; we use them.)

    Yes, CE 7 helps remove VS2005; but it’s getting harder and harder to stem the tide of “Just use Linux on the embedded devices” – and the old argument of “We can keep this fancy IDE across all the products; and the build works in one slick system” is gone; and I fear it shows no sign of becoming reality any time soon.

  11. Thanks, this is definitively the kind of feedback that helps get things moving. I will keep you posted as soon as we can discuss what's going on for Dev tools.


  12. WilkoSki says:

    @All a while back I posted a suggestion on the Microsoft Connect site

    This is currently the 3rd most voted item under Visual Studio suggestions.  If you agree with the suggestion then please vote or comment on it.

  13. Adinda says:

    Hi Olivier!

    I've read the comment thread, but I still can't understand if VS2010 will be ideal for CE 6.0 development. I currently only have VS2010 in my system and wondering if I have to install VS2008 for this embedded project I'm working on.

  14. @Adinda. VS2010 does NOT support WIndows CE development (neither OS Design, nor applications development for CE/Compact).

    If you want to do Windows Embedded CE 6.0 development, you need VS 2005 to build the OS and VS 2005 or 2008 to develop applications.

    If you want to do Windows Embedded Compact 7 development, you need VS 2008 for building the OS and developping applications.


  15. andrej says:

    I was trying to find the link to purchase Visual Sutdio 2008 Professional but I was not successful.

    Could you please provide that link?


  16. Hi Andrej

    Information about VS 2008 line of products can be found here:…/2008-editions

    You should be able to download VS2008 Pro if you have an MSDN subscription:…/hh442898

    Otherwise you will have to go to your regular distributor or to an online authorized one (you can find it on Amazon).

    – Olivier

  17. azoz says:

    for those who say move forword

    you must know that moving to VS2012 will force you to move to WIN8 because VS wont work on earlier versions of Windows

    so stick on your VS2008


  18. syed says:

    want to buy older version of VS where can i get it,

  19. Ehsan says:

    it's not important witch version do you use.

    the important thing is what do you want to do.

    you can still done a project with visual basic 6.

  20. JW says:

    People who are telling others to forget 2008 and move on to 2013 etc… I hate to tell you this, but some development platforms REQUIRE 2008 Pro. I'm a Crestron developer and you can only use the SIMPL Sharp plugin with VS2008 – So it has to be available because every single one of Microsoft's Crestron project's is written using SIMPL Sharp on VS 2008 now. You can't just chuck it in the garbage because another year has passed. There are still plenty of valid reasons for 2008 to stay around for a while.

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