Tips on installing Visual Studio 2010 SP1

UPDATED 3/14/2011 with Web Platform Installer links

Visual Studio SP1 went up on MSDN downloads (here) on March 8, was released publicly March 10 here, and is available via the Web Platform Installer in two flavors:

You can find out more about Visual Studio 2010 SP1 via the release announcements:

There's a lot of info on what's in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 in Scott Hanselman's post when the beta was released here: Visual Studio Explosion! - VS2010 SP1 *BETA* Released and Context

I started on this post with tips on installing VS2010 SP1 when I realized I’ve been writing these up for Visual Studio and .NET framework SP releases for a while (e.g. VS2008 / .NET 3.5 SP1 post, VS2005 SP1 post). Looking back the years of Visual Studio SP installs (and remembering when we’d get up to SP6 for a Visual Studio release), I’m happy to see that it just keeps getting easier. Service Packs are a lot less finicky about requiring beta software to be uninstalled, install more quickly, and are just generally a lot less scary. If I can’t have a jetpack, at least my future provided me faster, easier service packs.

Disclaimer: These tips are just general things I've picked up over the years. I don't have any inside knowledge here. If you see anything wrong, be sure to let me know in the comments. You may want to check the readme file before installing - it's short, and it's in that new-fangled HTML format.

On with the tips!

Before starting, uninstall Visual Studio features you don't use

Visual Studio service packs (and other Microsoft service packs as well) install patches for the specific features you’ve got installed. This is a big reason to always do a custom install when you first install Visual Studio, but it’s not difficult to update your existing installation. Here’s the quick way to do that:

Tap the windows key and type “add or remove programs” and press enter (or click on the “Add or remove programs” link if you must).
Modifying Visual Studio 2010 Installation


Type “Visual Studio 2010” in the search box in the upper right corner, click on the Visual Studio program (the one with the VS infinity looking logo) and click on Uninstall/Change.
2011-03-09 10h59_46

Click on Add or Remove Features

Modifying Visual Studio 2010 Installation

The next part’s up to you – what features do you actually use? I’ve been doing primarily ASP.NET MVC development in C# lately, so I selected Visual C# and Visual Web Developer.

Remember that you can install features later if needed, and can also install the express versions if you want. Selecting everything just because it’s there - or you paid for it – means that you install updates for everything, every time.

When you’ve made your changes, click on the Update button to uninstall unused features.

VS2010 - Small Install

Shut down all instances of Visual Studio

It probably goes without saying that you should close a program down before installing it, partly to avoid the file-in-use-reboot-after-install horror.

Additional "hunch / works on my machine" quality tip: On one computer I saw a note in the setup log about Visual Studio a prompt for user input to close Visual Studio, although I never saw the prompt. Just to  be sure, I'd personally open up Task Manager and kill any devenv.exe processes I saw running, as it couldn't hurt.

Use the web installer

I use the Web Installers whenever possible. There’s no point in downloading the DVD unless you’re doing multiple installs or won’t have internet access. The DVD IS is 1.5GB, since it needs to be able to service every possible supported installation option on both x86 and x64.

The web installer is 776 KB (smaller than calc.exe), so you can start the installation right away. Like other web installers, the real benefit is that it only installs the updates you need (hence the reason for step 1 – uninstalling unused components). Instead of 1.5GB, my download was roughly 530MB.

If you’re installing from MSDN (this link takes you right to the Visual Studio installs), select the first one on the list:

2011-03-09 12h43_34

The first step in the installation process is to analyze the machine configuration and tell you what needs to be installed. Since I've trimmed down my features, that's a pretty short list. The time's not far off where I may not install SQL Server on my dev machines, just using SQL Server Compact - that would shorten the list further.

2011-03-09 13h06_20

When I hit next, you can see that the download size has shrunk considerably.

2011-03-09 13h07_20

When I start the install, note that the installation begins while other components are downloading - another benefit of the web install.

2011-03-09 13h09_26

On my mid-range desktop machine, the install took 25 minutes.

What if it takes longer?

According to Heath Stewart (Visual Studio installer guru), average SP1 installs take roughly 45 minutes. An installation which takes hours to complete may be a sign of a problem: see his post Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installing for over 2 hours could be a sign of a problem.

Why so long?

Yes, even 25 minutes is a while. Heath's got another blog post explaining why the update can take longer than the initial install (see: A patch may take as long or longer to install than the target product) which explains all the additional steps and complexities a patch needs to deal with, as well as some mitigation steps that deployment authors can take to mitigate the impact.

Other things to know about Visual Studio 2010 SP1

Installs over Visual Studio 2010 SP1 Beta

That's nice. Previous Visual Studio versions did a number of annoying things when you installed SP's over beta's - fail with weird errors, get part way through and tell you needed to cancel and uninstall first, etc. I've installed this on two machines that had random beta stuff installed without tears.

That Readme file you didn't read

I mentioned the readme file earlier ( ). Some interesting things I picked up in there:

2.1.3. Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 installation may fail when a USB drive or other removeable drive is connected

2.1.4. Visual Studio must be restarted after Visual Studio 2010 SP1 tooling for SQL Server Compact (Compact) 4.0 is installed

2.2.1. If Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 is uninstalled, Visual Studio 2010 must be reinstalled to restore certain components

2.2.2. If Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 is uninstalled, Visual Studio 2010 must be reinstalled before SP1 can be installed again Async CTP If you installed the pre-SP1 version of Async CTP but did not uninstall it before you installed Visual Studio 2010 SP1, then your computer will be in a state in which the version of the C# compiler in the .NET Framework does not match the C# compiler in Visual Studio. To resolve this issue: After you install Visual Studio 2010 SP1, reinstall the SP1 version of the Async CTP from here.

Description of what's in Visual Studio 2010 SP1

There's a KB article which describes Visual Studio 2010 SP1, including the issues that are fixed and the technology improvements that are added in Visual Studio 2010 SP1:

Hardware acceleration for Visual Studio is disabled on Windows XP

Visual Studio 2010 SP1 disables hardware acceleration when running on Windows XP (only on XP). You can turn it back on in the Visual Studio options, under Environment / General, as shown below. See Jason Zander's post titled Performance Troubleshooting Article and VS2010 SP1 Change.


  • I guess the next tip would be how to slipstream a new install with SP1?

  • I think I've found a bug already. I use External Tools to generate Subsonic classes and this utilises the $(ProjectDir) argument. However, since I switched over to using IIS Express for a particular project the ProjectDir no longer maps to the current project directory, it maps to "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\" instead. It actually maps to "http:/\\" which I guess defaults back to the VS installation directory.

    Is this a bug? Anyone else see this? Where should I register this bug if it one?

  • And what'll happen after SP1, one decides to install additional components, like F# or C++? re-run SP1 installer?

  • I believe section is incorrect - it at least implies that the *existing* CTP is compatible with SP1; as far as I can tell from what I've read elsewhere on the web, it isn't... or at least, it won't be stable.

    From what I understand, we should wait for an async CTP refresh for SP1.

  • Great article!

    If I remove features that I do not need and then install SP1, then add them later (e.g. F# - I want to take a look/use but just don't have the time at the moment)... will I need to reapply SP1?

    Lastly, possibly unrelated, but I have been having problems installing MVC 3 (blogged on ) which is driving me mad as I really want to start MVC3/Razor.

    All I have done is (in this order)

    1. Install VS a while ago
    2. Install Web Matrix beta a while ago
    3. Install VS SP1 yesterday
    4. Tried to install MVC 3 - it failed
    5. Removed Web Matrix Beta as I thought may be a conflict

    And it still fails... Looking in event log shows that each time it fails I get the following:

    Application: WebConfigCA.exe
    Framework Version: v4.0.30319
    Description: The process was terminated due to an unhandled exception.
    Exception Info: System.ArgumentException
    at System.Web.Configuration.VirtualDirectoryMapping..ctor(System.Web.VirtualPath, System.String, Boolean, System.String)
    at System.Web.Configuration.VirtualDirectoryMapping..ctor(System.String, Boolean)
    at WebConfigCA.Program.GetWebConfig(System.String)
    at WebConfigCA.Program.RemoveAssemblyReferences(System.String, System.String[])
    at WebConfigCA.Program.Main(System.String[])

    At the moment, I am thinking of just reinstalling Windows, but I would really like to avoid this.

    I do not think I have done anything out of the ordinary apart from WebMatrix Beta and was just wondering if there is anyway to fix this?

  • @Eric - As best I can tell, SP slipstreaming is no longer supported:

  • One more - for people doing a fresh install of VS 2010 be sure to install the Windows Phone tools before installing SP1. Otherwise you get an error when starting VS stating that "SP1 hasn't been applied to all components of VS; please reapply SP1" and then need to go through the SP1 install process again (which does fix the issue).

  • Great!

    Some great updates in the service pack here!

  • SP1 also turns off Automatic Outlining (at least for .ASPX markup files). That was might nice of MSFT to turn that off for us.

  • I'm not certain if this is still an issue, but the Beta for SP1 wouldn't install for me until I'd removed all of the hotfixes I'd applied to Visual Studio.

  • Nice article - but what's with all the insipid comments? For heavens sake the signal to noise ratio is off the chart with all the nonsense comments - sadly that includes this one ...

  • can't use the web pi behind a proxy that needs authentication! bummer!
    is there a way to download the service pack - not just the webpi?

  • It took many years to get intellisense in SQL, and now thanks to this SP, it's gone. This was a known issue but they shipped it anyway. Now 3 months later we still don't have a fix.
    Really nice.

  • I am working at a client site and they have some computers with premium (mine) and most with professional vs 2010. After checking in code to TFS and letting others developers check out the solution they were unable to open it. I'm logged into a virtual machine and I installed vs 2010 ultimate, and it still would not open it. I am Using this link with the Web Platform Installer as since I'm using MVC3 Tooling Update, Nuget , IIS Express etc... so that is good that it is rolled up. It is taking forever to install (Step 1 of 15).

  • Fresh Install w2008r2 sp1 64 bit
    Fresh Install VS2010
    Trying to apply sp1, gets stopped installing silverlight sdk

    Any solution that doesn't involve spending hours and hours, like for example having VS2010 with service pack 1 applied ?


  • Hi I am trying to install VS2010 Pro. I have vb6 and vc++6 installed already on my windows7. So when i tried to install VS2010 on top of them it says installation is complete but it does not really install the software

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  • Hi

    we've VS 2010 Ultimate.

    I did debug XSLT without any problem.

    after installing SP1 for VS 2010, I am unable to debug XSLT file.

    Following 2 options are Disappeared from the XML menu, after SP1 Installation.

    Start XSLT Debugging Alt+F5
    Start XSLT Without Debugging Ctrl+Alt+F5

    please advice, how to get those 2 options back?

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