How to create an installable layout for Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions

The following options can be used to download and assemble a folder structure that can be used to install one of the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions.

Option 1: Download and burn or extract the CD image (easiest option)

The first, and easiest option is to utilize the Manual Installation Instructions for Express Editions page on the MSDN site. This site provides direct download links for ISO and IMG files for each of the Express Editions:

Once you have downloaded the desired IMG or ISO file, you can either burn the image onto a CD and then copy the contents to your local hard drive or extract the contents to your local hard drive directly using a tool such as IsoBuster.

Once you have copied the contents to a local hard drive, you can share out the folder on a network and install it from there if you chose to.

Option 2: Manually assemble the equivalent of the CD image (advanced option)

If you need to optimize bandwidth or for some other reason cannot use option 1, you can use some advanced steps to reverse engineer the Express Edition setup data files and manually download the individual pieces you will need to create a network installation point. If you use these steps, you can optimize your download size by only including the optional components you want to install (meaning you can skip SQL Express and MSDN if you choose to not install them during Express Edition setup). You can also optimize your download size based on the configuration of the machines you will be installing on. For example, if you know you will not need to install on any x64 systems, you can skip downloading the x64 components for the .NET Framework 2.0, SQL Express and the remote debugger. Also, if you know that the systems you will install on already have prerequisites such as Windows Installer 3.1 or the .NET Framework 2.0, you can skip downloading those components.

The following steps will allow you to manually assemble an installable layout for an Express Edition. In this example, I will use Visual WebDev 2005 Express Edition (English), but equivalent steps can be used for the other Express Editions and non-English languages as well. For other Express Editions, you will need to change the download location used in steps 1 and 5 below.

  1. Download the web download bootstrapper for Visual WebDev Express Edition and save it to your local hard drive
  2. Create a new folder named c:\visual_webdev (or one of your own choosing)
  3. Extract the contents of the web download bootstrapper to the folder c:\visual_webdev by running vwdsetup.exe /t:c:\visual_webdev /c
  4. Go to c:\visual_webdev and open the file baseline.dat in a text editor such as Notepad
  5. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [vs_setup.dll] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51422
  6. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 5 and choose to save the file ixpvwd.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev
  7. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu
  8. For each of the prerequisites and optional components listed below, follow the set of additional steps listed below to download them and place them in the correct location

Windows Installer 3.1

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\msi31
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp90] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51430
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file WindowsInstaller-KB893803-v2-x86.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\msi31

.NET Framework 2.0 (x86)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp18] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51424
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file dotnetfx.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework

.NET Framework 2.0 (x64)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework\x64
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp27] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51431
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file netfx64.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework\x64

SQL Server Express (x86)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\SSE
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp96] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51433
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file sqlexpr32.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\SSE

SQL Server Express (x64)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\SSE
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp31] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51434
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file sqlexpr.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\SSE

MSDN Express

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\MSDNExpress
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp30] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51429
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file msdnixp.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\MSDNExpress

Remote Debugger (x64)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\RDBG and then another new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\RDBG\x64
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp73] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51432
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file expdbgsetup.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\RDBG\x64

J# Redistributable (note - this is only needed for Visual J# Express Edition)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\JSharpRedistCore
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp21] section of baseline.dat. In this example, the desired URL is http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=51426
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file vjredist.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\JSharpRedistCore

Additional notes for non-English Express Editions

If you want to create an installable layout for a non-English Express Edition, you will need to use different URLs than the ones listed above. The URLs can all be assembed using the prefix http://go.microsoft.com and the data stored in the URL value for the section in the file baseline.dat that corresponds to the component in question.

In addition, you will also need to download the language pack for the .NET Framework 2.0 for non-English Express Editions. This can be done with the following steps:

.NET Framework 2.0 language pack (x86)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp20] section of baseline.dat. The desired URL will vary based on what language you are installing.
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file langpack.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework

.NET Framework 2.0 language pack (x64)

  1. Make a new folder named c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework\x64
  2. Open a web browser and build a URL by typing http://go.microsoft.com/ and appending the data stored in the URL value in the [gencomp34] section of baseline.dat. The desired URL will vary based on what language you are installing.
  3. Navigate to the URL that you created in step 2 and choose to save the file langpack.exe to the folder c:\visual_webdev\wcu\dotnetframework\x64

Advanced note about setting default checked state for optional components

You can configure the default checked state for the MSDN Express and SQL Express optional components using the DefaultSelected and WebDefaultSelected values in baseline.dat. Setting them to 0 will cause the setup UI to appear with the checkbox unchecked for the item in question, and setting them to 1 will cause the setup UI to appear with the checkbox checked for the item in question. The default selection state only applies to optional components for the Express Editions, so setting these values for components other than MSDN Express or SQL Express will not have any effect.