Monday, May 16, 2011

The horror of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1

People who know me also know about the Law of Siderite: never use any Microsoft product until it has reached a second service pack or release. That has been true for me, like a skewed Moore law, since Windows 95 OSR2 (also known as Windows 96). But I had to break my own legal advice and try to install Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1.

There are several reasons for this, one of them being that VS2010 had a few relatively important bugs and I am using the tool at work every day and at home when I get the time. So not only did I not wait for a Service Pack 2, I've gone and installed the beta version! And guess what? It installed without any problems and fixed most of the bugs that annoyed me, if not all. Yay, for Microsoft! But then I had to install ASP.Net MVC, which needed as a prerequisite VS2010 SP1 and so I went and installed the Release Candidate. That is, the version that should be like the beta, only better. This is the story of that fateful decision:
  • Step 1: Start ASP.Net MVC3 installer. Result: Fail!
  • Step 2: Start Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installer, the small 500kb version. Result: fail.
  • Step 3: Download the .iso version and run. Result: fail.
  • Step 4: Reinstall Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate
    a) Uninstall Visual Studio 2010. Result: fail.
    b) Use Microsoft Installer Cleanup Utility on Visual Studio. Install VS2010 (without VB or VC++). Result: Success!
  • Step 5: Install VS2010 SP1
    a) .iso version. Result: fail!
    b) Web Platform Installer version (new fancy Microsoft tech). Result: fail!
  • Step 6: Install Web Developer Express (free) + VS2010 SP1 from Web Platform Installer. Result: SP1 core fail! SP1 success!?!

Bottom line: Now ASP.Net MVC seems to be working, with Razor syntax highlighting and intellisense, but the SP1 core is not installed. Visual Studio help window shows me that I have the Rel(ease) version, not SP1. I don't know what will blow up when I try it. Luckily, all this happened at home, not at work, therefore I haven't broken my main working tool.

My conclusion is that somehow you need to install the (useless, if you have Visual Studio) Visual Web Developer Express in order for the ASP.Net SP1 to work. This allows for different web engines, like Razor. SP1 doesn't work though. If you have the beta installed, try to use the Web Platform Installer to install Web Developer Express as well as the Visual Studio SP1. If it fails, look at the last section and see what got installed. Maybe you get the best of both worlds. I will be trying another Visual Studio version, but as the whole process takes ages, be warned.

Let me say that again, so it's perfectly clear: the install process of Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 plus Visual Web Developer Express via the Web Platform Installer tool took me 12 hours! I did not have to press anything, it wasn't a case of trial and error, I just ran it, it said "installing 2 out of 12" for 12 hours in a row, then it partially failed. And the Web Platform Installer seems the best solution so far!


John said...

You're not the only one having problems with VS2010 SP1. The problems described by Jon Harrop seem even worse,

"Irreparable corruption" sounds chilling...