A couple of weeks ago I installed the RTM version of Visual Studio 2005. But first, I ran the uninstall program that Microsoft provided. The Readme for VS 2005 lists the steps you need to take, but also provides a link to the uninstall program which purports to do the uninstall for you. I ran that first and then installed VS, on both my desktop and laptop. Both computers have had pre-release versions, including Beta 2 and the Release Candidate (aka RC). The installs ran fine and everything seemed fine. But on both computers VB crashes. Not always, of course. And I can't find a pattern, so there is no repro.
But to be honest, I don't think the problem is with VS. I think the problem is that I installed the final bits on a hard drive that still had left over goo from the Beta or RC. I think the uninstall tool does not completely remove VS. I think there are left over bits, perhaps registry entries or DLLs, that interfere with the install. I think the only solution is to reformat and start again.
This sucks. Yes, I know the official guidance from Microsoft is to not install pre-release bits on production machines. And I know the recommendation from my peers is to use VPCs. But a big part of my job as an independent consultant is to use/learn/write about/talk about software before it is released. My 2 computers are my production computers. I don't have the luxury (yet) of a 3rd computer that I can devote to pre-release software.
I don't want to rely solely on VPCs. I love VPCs, but they can be slow. On my desktop I have my VPC images on an external drive and the performance is adequate, although a bit pokey. On my laptop I have 1 drive and running a VPC on it is very slow. Also, VPCs are fragile. I managed to hork an image last week at VSConnections. I was in Ami Vora's talks on WCF (aka the technology formerly known as Indigo) and I was following along with her demo on my laptop using a VPC that had the WinFx SDK. At the end of her talk I put my laptop into Standby mode and went to lunch. I did not shut down the VPC or put it into Standby mode and when I resumed my laptop the VPC had managed to mangle itself. Some Windows DLL was now not valid and IIS wouldn't run, which meant I couldn't run the WCF demo anymore. So I have to rebuild the VPC.
My point is that I wish the Visual Studio Setup team would build a complete and reliable clean up tool that would remove VS from a computer. I think they think they did that. I think the tool they built is not complete enough. And I think I should not have to be rebuilding both my laptop and desktop this week to use VS 2005. I hope you join me in asking for more help from the product team in this regard. Thank you for your support.
P.S. I have discovered a side effect to rebuilding my laptop, which is a T43p from Lenovo (aka the hardware company formerly known as IBM). The copy of Norton AntiVirus on it is good for 90 days and that 90 days apparently restarts when you rebuild the machine by restoring the factory defaults. So if I rebuild my laptop once a quarter it appears I could use Norton without having to purchase it. Not that I would do that, of course.