Installing Visual Studio 2003 on Vista Enterprise

Written by Sam McGeown
Published on 4/6/2007 - Read in about 4 min (729 words)

It’s not as easy as you might imagine if you’re going to be developing on a local machine. The pre-requisites include IIS and FrontPage Server Extensions which will need installing.

Install IIS on Vista

Go through Control Panel, Programs and Features, then select “Turn Windows features on or off” on the left hand menu. The basic installation of Vista from the control panel will not be sufficient for a VS install, you must add IIS Metabase Compatibility (you’ll see why later), .NET Extensibility, ASP.NET, ISAPI Extensions, ISAPI Filters to the options. Don’t ask me why they didn’t have .NET support, one of their flagship products, install as default, I’d hazard a guess at reducing surface area to add to the ”secure by default” ethos. You can also script the installation and do a little more customisation, if that’s your need then try this TechNet article.

Installing FrontPage Server Extensions

If you want/need FrontPage Server Extensions, you’ll need to install them from here. Installing is straight forward, so I won’t bore you with that, the only thing to note is if it asks for a restart at the end, don’t say no because the installer will fail and roll back. Note that this is a beta version of the 2002 FPSE - don’t install it unless you’re aware of the consequences of installing beta software. Also note that there’s no new functionality, it’s the same version as the one used for Server 2003, made available for Vista.

Installing Visual Studio 2003

Now you can go ahead and begin the Visual Studio 2003 install. It will still ask you for the prerequisites disk, and most likely still want FPSE to install - let it do it’s thing.

Once you’re installing VS proper, you’ll recieve a “known compatibility error” warning, according to Microsoft you’ll have to run as an admin on your local machine. Since this is crappy security practice, you can “run as” (right click the icon - “Run as administrator”) or edit the shortcut to always run it as an administrator. This is the easiest way in Vista - navigate to your VS icon in the start menu, right click and select “Properties” and then select the “Compatibility” tab. Under “Privilege Level”, check “Run this program as an administrator”.

There is an MSDN page describing all the VS2003/Vista compatibility issues.

 Getting ASP.NET 1.1 running

 The other gotcha is that you need to follow some steps to get ASP.NET 1.1 running and debugging. Follow the steps in this IIS.NET article. I didn’t run into any issues going through those steps. You’ll find that ASP.NET 1.1 is already installed from the VS Pre-requisites, you will need to install ASP.NET SP1 and the security update - then restart!

Once they’re in it’s a simple matter of adding the ISAPI filter using this command (install using admin privileges):

  1. runas /user:domain\adminuser "%windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\aspnet_regiis -i"

adding the following to your machine.config (windir%\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\config\machine.config) This isn’t straight forward as the folder is protected by Vista and requires confirmation to do anything - you’ll find when you go to save it you get errors and file not found - the solution is to rename machine.config to machine.old.config, open it, edit and save it to your desktop. Then manually copy it to the folder, confirming when asked.:

  1. >>
  2.     <li class="li1">
          <div class="de1">
            <span class="sc3"><span class="re1"><font size="2"><span class="re0">name</span>=<span class="st0"><font color="#ff0000">&ldquo;system.webServer&rdquo;</font></span> <span class="re0">type</span>=<span class="st0"><font color="#ff0000">&ldquo;System.Configuration.IgnoreSectionHandler, System, Version=1.0.5000.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b77a5c561934e089&Prime;</font></span><span class="re2">></span></font></span></span>
        <li class="li1">
          <div class="de1">
            <span class="sc3"><span class="re1"><font size="2">></font></span></span>

and finally, use this command (or use the IIS Admin panel) to set the default web site to use the ASP.NET 1.1 application:

  1. appcmd set app "Default Web Site/" /applicationPool:"ASP.NET 1.1"

Updating Visual Studio .NET

 Now that you’re getting bored of all this and wondering why you haven’t upgraded to VS 2005, it’s time to download the Service Pack for Visual Studio. I found that I couldn’t install the service pack because it wants the install source…I gave it the install source to no avail! If you manage to get around this, please post to let me know.

 That’s it - all done.

All being well, you’ve now got a working installation of Visual Studio 2003 on your Vista desktop. Sure, it was a faff, sure, you wish you’d upgraded, but think of all that work you can do now. I’m sure you could write a script for all that or optimize some of those steps, but that’s how I muddled through

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