Uninstalling previous betas to prepare for VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 RTM

Now that the .NET Framework 2.0 and VS 2005 are officially released, those of you who have been running beta and CTP builds will need to prepare your machines to install the final release. As I'm sure many of you are aware of if you've had a beta installed in the past, beta uninstall and migration to newer builds has been a very painful subject dating all the way back to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta 1. Fortunately there is a lot more awareness that uninstalling the various pieces of VS 2005 is not trivial, and there are some automated uninstall tools and much better documentation.

For those of you who will need to uninstall a previous beta in order to install the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0, you should make sure to review the official uninstall instructions before starting to uninstall anything. In case you read nothing else, please make sure that you leave the .NET Framework 2.0 beta uninstall until the very end. Most of the other pieces of VS 2005 will not uninstall fully if you remove the .NET Framework 2.0 beta first, and that can cause problems in some scenarios after installing the final release.

In order to make the uninstall process easier, there are a couple of automated uninstall tools available for various scenarios:

  1. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 - this tool should be run on a machine that still has the beta or CTP build installed to uninstall all pieces of the beta or CTP to prepare a machine to install the final release
  2. Troubleshooting tool - this tool should be run to find and fix problems while running the final release of VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 if you previously uninstalled in the incorrect order; this tool also has the automatic uninstall functionality built-in, but you should use the first tool if you only need to uninstall
  3. Tool to uninstall beta and CTP builds of WinFX - this is similar to the first tool, but is specifically designed to remove WinFX beta/CTP builds in addition to VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0 beta/CTP builds
  4. "The Hammer" - this tool is designed for scenarios where you have installed the final release of VS 2005 and/or the .NET Framework 2.0 and it does not work and the troubleshooting tool does not fix it; this tool will fully uninstall the final release of VS 2005 (in addition to any beta versions you might have installed) so make sure you only run it if you want to uninstall the final build; this tool is intended to be used to remove VS 2005 and get a machine back into a known state to try to install it again to clean up any problems that other troubleshooting steps are not able to resolve

The uninstall tools (#1, #3 and #4 above) are designed to run Windows Installer APIs and command lines to discover whether or not a known, fixed set of products are installed and then remove them. As we discover additional issues that these tools do not cover, I will be updating the troubleshooting tool. The main goal of the troubleshooting tool is to fix up a machine that already has the final release installed without needing to have the user resort to uninstalling everything and starting from scratch. It tries to perform more "surgical" fixes for specific issues related to incomplete/incorrect beta uninstalls.

As always, let me know if you run into any issues or have any feedback on any of the above tools and I'll try my best to help.