In order to switch to Visual Studio 2008 and have just one version of Visual Studio running on the system, I uninstalled Visual Studio 2005 on my Vista 32-bit machine. When the uninstallation completed, I got a message from the uninstaller that read something like this –

Next Step: Uninstall additional components

Additional components might have been installed on your computer by Visual Studio during setup. These components must be manually uninstalled using Add or Remove Programs in the order listed below.

Note: Uninstalling these components might affect other applications you have installed that rely on these components.

The following components might have been installed with Visual Studio:

Microsoft MSDN 2005 Express Edition
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Runtime Language Pack
Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Runtime
Microsoft Device Emulator version 1.0
Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 1.0
Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0
Microsoft SQL Mobile 2005 Development Tools
Microsoft Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable Package
Microsoft Visual J# 2.0 Redistributable Language Pack
Microsoft Document Explorer 2005
Microsoft Document Explorer 2005 Language Pack
Microsoft Data Access Components 2.8 SP1 (Windows 2000 only)

The following components might have been installed with SQL Server Express, and need to be removed in the order listed below:
Note: Uninstall of the SQL Express instances will leave behind the user-created databases, which can then be re-attached to the new instance.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express CTP
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Tools CTP
Microsoft SQL Server Setup Support Files
Microsoft SQL Native Client

The following components must be uninstalled last:

MSXML 6.0 Parser and SDK (only on 32bit)
MSXML 6.0 Parser and SDK x64 (Only on 64bit)
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 Language Pack
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

What in the world ? It feels like Visual Studio 2005 uninstaller does not carry enough liability insurance and conveniently pushes a long laundry list on me. Now I am not going to touch any of this because I do not know which is going to break what. I installed Visual Studio 2008 nevertheless and although 2008 works for the most part,  I see puzzling error messages every once in a while reminding me that all is not well.

So if I were to do this again, I would not uninstall 2005. I would rather find another machine for Visual Studio 2008 or install Visual Studio 2008 in a VM. When I rebuild a machine, I can do a fresh install of Visual Studio 2008 and then move Visual Studio 2005 to a VM. Installing Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2005 side-by-side is supported but if uninstallation of Visual Studio 2005 is what it is, I don’t have the guts to try it nor do I wish to waste time on subtle issues from using wrong version of compiler/linker in my projects to more obvious issues such as controlling which devenv.exe version will launch if I am going from Start->Run etc.

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