VS 2005 beta uninstall instructions are missing the MSDN Library

A customer contacted me this week after reading my blog post about uninstalling beta builds of VS 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 in preparation for installing the final release. After following the officially documented uninstall instructions, they tried to install the final release and were prompted to uninstall the MSDN Library for VS 2005. When they tried to uninstall MSDN using the entry in Add/Remove Programs, the uninstall failed with a generic "fatal error" message and they were stuck with MSDN and could not install the final release of VS 2005 or the .NET Framework 2.0. I took a look at the instructions page, and sure enough - it currently does not list the MSDN library in the set of VS 2005 uninstall instructions at the bottom.

If possible, I recommend that instead of manually uninstalling that you use the automated removal tool that is linked to at the top of the uninstall instructions page. The automated tool does include a step to uninstall MSDN if it is present on your machine so you will not have to worry about running into this problem.

However, if you have already uninstalled all of the other parts of VS 2005, then the uninstall tool will fail to remove MSDN just like if you try to manually remove it using the entry in Add/Remove Programs. The most reliable way to resolve the MSDN uninstall crash is to use the following steps:

  1. Re-install the .NET Framework 2.0 beta build
  2. Uninstall the MSDN for Visual Studio 2005 beta build from the Add/Remove Programs control panel
  3. Re-uninstall the .NET Framework 2.0 beta build

If these steps do not work, you can also try to use steps similar to those located here for manually uninstalling programs that have uninstall bugs.

I have mentioned this issue to the VS setup team and they are working on a refresh of that page to include the MSDN uninstall step.

<update date="11/11/2005"> Added a link to make it easier to find the .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2 installer in case you need to re-install it to remove MSDN </update>