Well, after 3 days and nights of pure torture downloading
our MSDN Universal Subscription copy of Visual Studio.NET Enterprise Architect
Final at average speeds something like 12Kbps on a cable connection that
would normally clock in somewhere between 80 and 120 Kbps, I opened the
EN_VS.NET_Ent_Arch_Full.EXE and surprise! - all 24,930 files unzipped
As always, I looked at the README stuff. I used to just
fire up Setup.exe, but now I'm a little older and hopefully wiser. I've
determined that the most important of the Commandments and Great Truths
for Microsoft Developers is "Thou shalt carefully examine the
README prior to touching Setup.exe". Observing this simple rite
with true reverence has improved my efficiency as a developer - now, instead
of spending 50% of my time installing and uninstalling software, and the
other 50% actually using it, I spend only 25% of my time installing /
uninstalling. Hey, that's a 50% improvement in developer productivity!
First, if you want to see some useful information on
installation issues for the .NET Framework, read
our article on that .
Now came the "moment of truth": I did what
MS refers to as a "Clean Uninstall" of Mobile Internet Toolkit,
IE Web Controls, ASP.NET Premium, VS.NET Beta 2, the Framework SDK. I
removed mscoree.dll from the System32 folder, and fired up Setup.exe.
It promptly reported that I had to remove a previous BETA installation
of .NET Framework v.1.0.2914 before I could continue. Which of course,
brings me to the second most important of the Commandments and Great Truths
for Microsoft Developers, "There is no such thing as a Clean Uninstall".
The fact of the matter is, after you uninstall BETA 2,
RC1, RC3, Build 9144 or any of the others, you are likely to find that
HUNDREDS of orphaned Registry entries and DOZENS of folders and files
have been carefully and strategically left on your system to boobytrap
you into turning into a raving lunatic and going to live in a cave in
Afghanistan, because your only thought will be "Now I have to reformat
my hard drive and lose all my precious software to get this product to
Yet, Dear Reader, Fear Not! For although we worship at
the Altar of the Great Registry, we shall fear no DLL.
Now lets go through some free Guerilla Uninstall training!
The trick here of course is that we want to try and get our system to
look to Setup.exe like NO VERSION of VS.NET was ever installed, right?
Well, the logic I follow goes as follows (Be advised, your mileage may
vary, and if you do any of this stuff, and it screws up your system, you
BETTER HAVE A BACKUP of your Registry AND know how to recover it, and
I will remain blameless!):
1) Back up your Registry (Programs/Accessories/System
Tools/Backup and choose "Emergency Repair Disk" and check the
"Also Backup the Registry...." option).
2) Have a way to move the backup registry files back over the one you
screwed up (Recovery Console, set of Setup Disks with Repair disk, Boot
Disk with NTFSDOS, or -- as I do -- another hard drive with another operating
system you can boot into and get to the files that way).
3) Now we fire up Regedit and start a search for the version string that
Setup.exe reported it "thought" was still installed on your
system, even after you did a "Clean Uninstall" (in my case this
was "v1.0.2914"). You can be pretty confident that any key or
subkey containing this string deals ONLY with VS.NET BETA version you
had installed. Anytime you find a key or subkey containing this string,
DELETE the parent (root) key. Then hit F3 and let it find the next one.
You can get into a real rhythm with this, kind of like: CLICK -- DEL --
YES -- F3 CLICK -- DEL--YES--F3 etc. You better get used to it because
you will likely find hundreds of them! (Right, that was what they call
a "Clean Uninstall"!). I suspect that probably if you only removed
the keys that say "Installer/Products" that would do it, but
hey - you're already there so why not just take the time to get rid of
all of them?
4) Now you need to attack the folders. There are several in WINNT with
names that have ".NET" in their names. There are some under
Program Files, and there are a bunch more in "Documents and Settings"
- even in the AllUsers folder. Get rid of anything that looks like .NET
or Visual Studio / 7.0. I even had one folder with mscorcc.dll that wouldn't
delete because some process had a lock on it. So, I renamed the parent
folder, rebooted, and got rid of it that way. On my XP partition, even
mscoree.dll was there and "locked" after everything was uninstalled.
So I renamed the file (don't ask me how I could have renamed it when I
couldn't delete it, but it worked), then I rebooted and was able to delete
5) Now, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY DISABLE all stuff like
ZoneAlarm, Norton Antivirus and any other similar program that might interfere
with the scripted installation process of the VS.NET install. If they
are services, stop them and set them to DISABLED temporarily while you
complete your installation. You've been WARNED!!!
When you have finished all this, and your fingers didn't
slip and hit the wrong key, you should be able to run Setup.exe and it
will be happy. The good news is that Final installs somewhat faster than
BETA 2, and the best news is that you get to keep all your precious programs
and settings that would have taken you a week to replace! Folks, you won't
find this Guerilla Install Tactic anywhere else - not in the KB,
not in MSDN, not in the newsgroups. You saw it here first! It's an Eggheadcafe.com
I've also seen a few posts about using the MSIZap utility.
You can find info on this and where to get it on our previous article
about the Framework that's referenced above. However, because of the locked
files and folder stuff I mentioned above, I prefer to use the "brute
force" guerilla method with the registry as described.
As I complete this article, it's January 19, 2002 --
just three days after Visual Studio .NET Final was first made available
to MSDN Universal and other subscribers. Since then, I've successfully
completed FULL INSTALLS of VS.NET Enterprise Architect on both Windows
2000 Advanced Server and Windows XP Pro, and I"ve had to use this
technique on both machines in order to get a successful install,
so I suspect (and hope) that this article will attract some significant
readership. Regarding the .NET Framework only ("dotnetfx.exe"),
we've already successfully installed this in Windows 2000 Server, Windows
2000 Advanced Server, Windows XP Pro, and Windows ME. If you find out
information you can add, or you have questions, please feel free to join
Eggheadcafe.com (free) and post your information on our forums.
Peter Bromberg is an independent consultant specializing in distributed .NET solutions
in Orlando and a co-developer of the NullSkull.com
developer website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org