Changes for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1

Heath Stewart

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (Beta) has been released to web, along with Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (Beta). Included as part of .NET 3.5 SP1 are Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 2 (Beta) and Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 2 (Beta).

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 includes over 250 new features and improvements to existing features, including SQL Server 2008 support. .NET 3.5 SP1 also includes many new features on which VS 2008 SP1 is dependent. Because of this, VS 2008 SP1 chains .NET 3.5 SP1 and other necessary components as you can see from the partial list in the screenshot below.

Orcas SP1 Welcome Screenshot

This means the complete download for VS 2008 SP1 is large – almost twice as large as VS 2005 SP1. The full beta download is about 761 MB which contains the 229 MB full redistributable for .NET 3.5 SP1. However, because of changes we made for VS 2008 SP1 the patch installs in about half of the average time it took for VS 2005 SP1. In addition, we made some additional changes we’re sure you’ll like.

Smaller Individual Packages

Visual C++ libraries and headers comprised almost 70% of Visual Studio 2005 SP1 and because it was all in a single patch package, everyone had to download it. However, libraries and headers for x64 and IA64 are not installed by default and some customers may not install VC++ at all if they only focus on managed languages such as VB or C#. To save time space, three separate packages are produced for each of x86, x64, and IA64 which contain the libraries and headers for VC++. If you don’t have all the VC++ features installed, only part of the overall patch release is downloaded. This does mean, however, that if you later install VC++ features you will need to reinstall SP1 again in order to download and apply the separate patches.

Also by reducing the size of the patch packages, many more customers will be able to install successfully without seeing another 1718 error message stating that the patch was rejected by digital signature policy.

Single Installation Experience

Even though Visual Studio 2008 SP1 includes multiple packages – and not just for Visual Studio – a single user interface using the typical wizard style provides download and installation progress as you see below.

Orcas SP1 Progress Screenshot

VS2005 SP1 only had a chainer to make sure the patch was correctly applied to each applicable and installed product, but did not implement an external UI handler that provided a consistent and uninterrupted user interface. As a result, some customers canceled dialogs under the assumption that VS2005 SP1 was simply installing again and their machines were not updated fully, sometimes leading to destabilization of Visual Studio 2005.

Friendly Logging

Windows Installer logs are difficult for many to read, so the new external UI chainer generates an HTML log file. Script is embedded in the HTML log to provide filtering mechanisms, but by default the error is displayed. Paths to the MSI logs are also provided in the HTML log to diagnose specific installation problems.

Express SP1 are Major Upgrades

Visual Studio Express products are intended to be downloaded quickly. But VS2005 Express SP1 customers had to download both Express RTM and the appropriate SP1 package that was about the same size resulting in a download and install time of almost twice as long. For VS2008 Express products, customers can simply download Express SP1 whether they have Express RTM installed or not. The product will be upgraded if present in roughly the same amount of time as it takes to install the product fresh. The big advantage for new customers is that they only need to download and install a single package.

Known Issues

For a complete list of known issues, please read the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta Readme.

Silverlight 2 Tools Beta 1 Must be Uninstalled

Before VS2008 SP1 can be installed, Silverlight 2 Tools Beta 1 must be uninstalled. This includes both “Silverlight Tools Beta 1 for Visual Studio 2008” and KB949325. You do not need to remove the Silverlight 2 runtime.

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Fails to Install

As part of the .NET 3.5 SP1, .NET 2.0 SP2 is installed. A problem occurs on some customers machines due to registry corruption or missing files that prevents 2.0 SP2 from installing which will fail 3.5 SP1. If you run into problems installing 3.5 SP1, please read through KB951950.

Your Machine must be Upgraded Completely

Because a large number of files are shared between products being upgraded, Service Pack 1 must be installed on every applicable product installed on your machine or none of them may work correctly. This means if you have Visual Studio and Express installed, you must download the appropriate updates for each and install them.

Upgrades Must be Uninstalled Individually

For reasons that I’ll go into in a future post, we do not provide a uninstall chainer. That is, in order to uninstall SP1 and return your machine back to an RTM state, you must go through Add or Remove Programs and uninstall the service pack components individually. If you have both Visual Studio and Express installed, you may have to uninstall both Express SP1 and Visual Studio and reinstall both at the RTM level again.


To provide feedback on the SP1 installation experience or changes to Visual Studio 2008 or Express made by SP1, please visit our forums.


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