Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News Debate: Should Visual Studio 2003 be supported on Vista?

Debate: Should Visual Studio 2003 be supported on Vista?


Microsoft has a tough decision. They can either concentrate on the next version of Visual Studio, with features such as LINQ, or they can ensure Visual Studio 2002/2003 works Vista.

Comments such as these are common on the Microsoft web logs:

Seeing that the support for VS2003 will not be present on Vista is a bit worried for us. We've lots of large customers that works with .NET 1.1 applications and surely they will not be ready for a migration soon. In second, we work a lot on the Dynamics platform, and here .NET 1.1 is he standard.
Should we plan to have a machine with Vista and a machine with XP? Not so good... By doing this, you'll see that XP will be the main platform for a lot of time.

Stefano Demiliani

Visual Studio .NET 2003 is a product that was out 2+ years ago. Many of our customers, partners and vendors still rely on it. Not supporting VS 2003 and/or .NET 1.1 is harshly forcing everyone to upgrade to 2005 version. Many IT Departments and CTOs are unable to justify the upgrade in such a short span of time.

Wilson Loo

While there isn't a lot of vocal support for their decision, Microsoft is standing firm for both technical and financial reasons.

Development tools as a whole have requirements that are not a part of normal applications.  Some of the things developer tools expect to do are also the types of things that malicious code tries to perform on a user machine.  As you all know, the Windows team has continued to make great progress w/Vista on the security front.  There are a number of new security related work and features that are a part of Windows Vista.  In the case of Visual Studio, things like debugging while attaching to a process requires reading and modifying that process’ memory, or registering a COM component directly conflict with the principles behind some of the new security features in Windows Vista.

I’ve also clearly heard the concern around our decision not to support VS.NET 2003.  We know from talking to customers that some of them have been successful in using VS.NET 2003 and VS2005 on Windows Vista when running as an administrator on the machine.  However, there are some scenarios, like those I described above, that will not work. Going forward, we will provide more details on what these issues are and any known workarounds that you can use.  Also, when we have fixes to workaround some of these problems, we will make them available. 


Like you, we have resource constraints.  It might look like Microsoft is a huge company with infinite resources but, unfortunately, it’s not.  We are just as constrained as everyone else in the world as to how we invest our time and money.  I can assure you we have spent a lot management time wringing our hands over what the right thing to do here is.  All work we do comes at an opportunity cost.  For example, if we go back and make VS2002 work on Vista, we have to trade that off against not making progress on Orcas.  Ultimately, we balanced all of these trade-offs and came up with this plan.  The plan is to support our run time environments on Vista and to support VB6, VS2005, Orcas and all future versions.  Would it be good to support more?  Yes.  Is it worth the opportunity cost?  We think it isn’t.

Brian Harry

Rate this Article