Resolving error creating smart device projects in Visual Studio 2005

I heard from a customer this week who uninstalled all beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 and then installed the final release. After doing this, he saw an error when trying to create a Smartphone 2003 Smart Device project using Visual C#. The following error message consistenly appeared when trying to create the project:

This project requires .NET Compact Framework v1.0, which is not installed on this machine.

Visual Studio 2005 setup has logic to automatically install the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3 and .NET Compact Framework 2.0. The customer verified that .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3 is installed on his system by checking in Add/Remove Programs.

The customer was able to resolve this problem by doing the following:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs and uninstall the version of Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 1.0 that you have installed
  2. Go to your Visual Studio 2005 installation DVD, and re-install the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3 by running NETCFSetupv1.msi from the folder \wcu\NetCF

There are some cases where beta versions of Visual Studio 2005 install an incompatible version of the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3. The MSI for this product has not changed since the early beta phase of VS 2005, so the cleanup tool does not attempt to uninstall it. If you have installed very early beta versions of VS 2005, you might run into this error and the above steps should resolve it for you.