Now Available: Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" September 2006 CTP

The first "Orcas" public CTP release of Visual Studio is now available for download as a virtual machine from Microsoft Downloads (Download details: Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" September 2006 CTP).

Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" delivers on Microsoft’s vision of smart client applications by enabling developers to rapidly create connected applications that deliver the highest quality rich user experiences. This new version enables any size organization to rapidly create more secure, manageable & reliable applications that take advantage of Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. By building these new types of applications, organizations will find it easier than ever before to capture and analyze information so that they can make effective business decisions.

From: Download details: Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" September 2006 CTP

As interesting as this release is for its "new bits" value alone, what's equally interesting to me is the means by which we're distributing it - as a virtual machine that you can use with Virtual PC or Virtual Server (both of which are now freely available - Virtual PC Is Now Free!). By using Microsoft virtualization technology, you'll automatically have a sandboxed environment for trying prerelease software. At the same time, you won't have to suffer through the challenge of an evolving setup experience.

To be specific, Visual Studio CTP releases will ship as differencing disks that use a common, Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio CTP base image. With the move to shipping virtual machines, differencing disks will mean smaller downloads than having to download a complete image with each release. If you're unfamiliar with using differencing disks, you should read Andrew Connell's HOW TO: Use Virtual PC's Differencing Disks to Your Advantage.

You can review the Download details: Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" September 2006 CTP page for what's contained in this release, and you should be sure to follow the directions for installation at the bottom of that page.


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Comments (14)

  1. Andrew Shebanow says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but distribution only as VPC images sucks. VPC may be free, but as the download site points out, it doesn’t even work on vista. And when it does work, its still a lame cousin to vmware.

    And if this trend continues, how am I going to manage testing two of your prerelease products simultaneously (e.g. Orcas + SQL Server .next)?

    Bottom line: let me manage my own virtualization, thank you very much.

  2. Ezequiel Jadib says:

    Microsoft Pre-release Software Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” – September (CTP)

    The highlights of this CTP include….

  3. Don says:

    Thank you for releasing it as a VirtualPC image!  This means I can actually install it and try it out without having to worry about needing to reinstall the OS afterwards (the way I did after trying the first VS2005 CTP).


  4. Is there any reason why we can’t have the old ISO delivery method? I have a physical box set aside just for running beta stuff – and whilst virtualization is good – the perf doesn’t approach "running on the metal" – it just doesn’t. More to the point I’d like to be able to run Orcas in my environment. Can we assume that once Vista ships and you guys have more resource available you’ll revert to the ISO delivery method and give us the choice? Lastly, when will we be able to run under or preferably install on – Vista?

  5. Steve says:


    I have sucessfully downloaded the base image but when I try to download the bigger CTP, it fininshes immediately and leaves an invalid 3k exe file


  6. Doug says:

    Downloaded the VPC Image.

    Ran the install.

    Connected it to VPC.

    I get this error

    The parent virtual hard disk has been moved…


    I try to change it to the installed one but it does not take.

  7. Rog says:

    Releasing this on Virtual PC only just means I won’t use it, and I bet I’m not the only one. When there’s an ISO I can grab…

  8. Tony Goodhew says:


    You need to download the base VPC image as well. The reason we split the images into 2 parts was to decrease the download size. Once you have the base image downloaded you will not need to download it again (we just ship the differencing disk).


  9. Tony Goodhew says:

    Let me give you the background to the VPC decision:

    1. Shipping as a VPC was one of the major requests that we had for CTPs releases during VS 05.

    2. Setup lags the main builds by some delta.

    We could have waited until a later iteration release to give you a CTP but we decided that it was better to get it out to you early than later so we’re using VPCs right now.

    We will be delivering setup driven installs for later CTPs though.


  10. G.T. says:

    It does not download, and after waiting for another day, it does not work because the Base01.vhd hard drive is missing.

    Just tell me Microsoft, when you will actually hold people accountable for such mistakes? Tons of downloads, and lots of time wasted from just everyone?

    You know what, I guess it is 5 times slower than VS 2005, and 50 times more broken, it is so broken that I just can’t start; but never mind, it is a long Microsoft tradition.

  11. (For Doug)

    "Download the Base image (one-time only): Save the self-extracting base image VSCTPBase.exe and extract to a folder on your computer. This base contains the Operating system and is common to all "Orcas" CTPs."

    You can download it here:

  12. Steve Dunn says:

    I think that distributing these as VPC images are fine for CTP’s although for Beta’s and RC’s, we’d still like installables as we run these on ‘proper’ machines. I for one like the idea of more rapid incremental releases as a result of the MS developers not having to worry about installers.

    One thing with this download though; it’s about 3KB! Any idea what’s going on?



  13. Patrick says:

    Thanks for all the info. I had the missing base image problem to. Another time proofed that most of the time the mistakes sits in front of the pc…

  14. Klaus says:

    Hi everyone,

    I wanted to try out: VS 2005 CTP. However,

    this is really awful, I wasted now quite some time on this. I downloaded first the image – only to find out with quite a lot of help on the web (as of course MS does not need to document this anywhere accessible) that I need the base image.

    I finally found this and downloaded it, just quite more

    Now what do I have to do on a step by step basis to mark it work? I can not use the base image – which login, I cannot use the CTP image..

    Did someone already succeed?

    And yes, I do NOT want to become a virtual PC expert in the process. I did similar work with VMWare (without being expert) and always without any trouble. (Better documented images as well).

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