Dealing with the Team System 2010 CTP expiration

If you’ve been using the Team System 2010 Community Tech Preview VPC, you’ve probably noticed that the instance of Visual Studio within the VPC is getting close to expiring.  We expect that it will cease functioning around the end of the year and instead return the message “The evaluation period for Visual Studio Trial Edition has ended”:


Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before we release our next update to Team System 2010 so you’ll need to take action to keep this version working for a while.  Fortunately, there is a relatively easy resolution to this problem.  It involves turning off the synchronization between the host OS and the VPC.  This enables you to set the time in the VPC to a 2008 date while you live in 2009.  As you might imagine, Team Foundation Server doesn’t like it much when time goes backwards so you’ll want to make sure that you don’t use the VPC and then set the clock backwards after that point.  Ideally, you can use a fresh VPC and disable your clock prior to launching it for the first time. 

Disabling the host OS synchronization of the VPC.  This is a change to the .VMC file (see below) that basically disables the clock synchronization between the VPC and the host OS.  This means that time in the VPC moves forward only when the VPC is being used. As a result, we have essentially 2 months of runtime (not wall time) for the VPC which is way more time than people should need to run the CTP, even if they’re demoing it regularly to others.

Here are the changes necessary for the .VMC file (specific to a particular VPC and not a system-wide setting):

            <allow type="boolean">true</allow>
<enabled type="boolean">false</enabled>

Bunch of other stuff that I am skipping over to save space...     </microsoft>

Hopefully this will allow you to have plenty of time to evaluate the CTP and send us feedback on what you like and don’t like about what we put together in this release.  As you might imagine, we’re hard at work putting together the next release and your feedback over the next period of time will really help us make sure that the next release is even better than the current CTP.  And, yes, we will release both a VPC and native install version of the CTP so that folks will have flexibility in how they deploy and evaluate the next release. 

One important note:  don’t attempt to join the VPC to a domain since the domain will set the time within the VPC and thus cause Visual Studio to expire.

Many thanks to Brian Keller and his detailed description of the various activation messages associated with the CTP as well as to Virtual PC Guy who provided the original information on how to disable the VPC clock synchronization. 

If you’ve converted this VPC image to HyperV following Grant’s instructions, be sure to read Cameron’s update to learn of a similar workaround for HyperV

Happy CTPing!