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Installing Visual Studio Orcas March CTP and getting Addins like CodeRush to work with it

Today I found some time to install Visual Studio Codename Orcas CTP March 2007 (see below for all the download links), which came out last month. I have worked a lot with ASP.NET Atlas (now ASP.NET Ajax) and LINQ (C# 3.0) before, but they are now beautifully integrated in the latest CTP and intellisense works so much better than in the early days of LINQ, so getting this up and running for future projects would be a good thing since I'm an early adopter anyway.

Initially VS Orcas would not even install at all and I thought maybe my Visual Studio 2005 is messed up because I had some problems with ASP.NET Ajax before and had to repair VS 2005 a couple of times this year already. After completely uninstalling VS 2005 and trying again the same fatal error message was still coming up in the Installer:

Microsoft Web Designer Tools failed .. EventType : visualstudio8setup and then a lot of crazy numbers, which do not help (googleing did not return anything).

As usual clicking on the '
view error log' gets you a site not found page, while the installer creates a couple of log files in c:\something or c:\program files\microsoft visual studio 9\logs\ like "dd_vserror80.txt". Those files look interessting, but they only tell me the exact same crazy numbers and that this component failed. After googleing some more and only finding similar problems like this one I uninstalled everything that could even remotely being used by .NET. After restarting and trying again the exact same freaking error message appeared. Grrr ...

To make a long story a little bit shorter: I finally found out that Office 2007 was the root of all the problems, after uninstalling that one (what the hell does this have to do with web designer tools?) the Orcas installer was working and I could launch the new version:

As you can see it looks the same way as Visual Studio 2005, some colors were just enhanced. As you can also see I'm back to Windows XP just because so many games do not work correctly in Vista and many drivers (hello Nvidia) are still shitty and slow.

TestDriven.NET works beautifully in VS Orcas and the developer Jamie Cansdale really does a great job updating the product so often. He even added VS Express support again recently, which might be cool for XNA Express developers. I also like the relatively new 'Go to Reflector' feature and especially the 'Rerun test' I use all the time.

Other plugins I use like CodeRush, VisualSVN, Explorer, LineCounter and whatever do not show up however. And reinstalling them does not help because the developers of those just did not update the installers yet. I can live without most plugins, but not without CodeRush and my CR_Commenter plugin, so I had to get this working. I thought this would be a long day ahead with all the problems even installing VS Orcas, but it turned out to be quite easy to add your existing VS 2005 addins to VS Orcas.

If you install VS Orcas after VS 2005 and have all your addins already installed it will migrate most of them over to VS Orcas, but if you install VS Orcas first (like I did because I killed VS 2005 before, see above) or install new addins, then you will need the following tricks to make them work in VS Orcas. Some addins like CodeRush will not be added by the VS Orcas installation because it misses the "Addins" (CodeRush 1.x) or "PreloadAddinStateManaged" (CodeRush 2.x) registry keys, but you can easily copy them over from VS 2005 (vs 8.0) to VS Orcas (vs 9.0) the following way:
  • Open up regedit
  • Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\AddIns
  • Search for the CodeRush key and export it
  • If you can't find a CodeRush key here try (probably CodeRush 2.x specific): [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\PreloadAddinStateManaged]
  • If you can't find it there either try the reg installers below!
  • Now edit the exported .reg file and just change the \8.0\ to \9.0\ and save.
  • Finally doubleclick the file to merge it with your registry (at your own risk btw ^^)
  • Start VS Orcas and enjoy the DevExpress menu and the CodeRush functionality :)

If you had not installed CodeRush before installing VS Orcas most important registry keys will be missing and you will probably get some "package could not be loaded error" like I did. This will also happen if you install other plugins to VS 2005, which are not installed to VS Orcas like TestDriven.NET does it. Then you have to apply the following process:

  • Open up regedit again (you have to repeat this probably a few more times if you miss any important reg key)
  • Search for your Addin name or navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\InstalledProducts
  • Find your product, it might not be just the name of the product, but something similar (like DXCore for CodeRush).
  • You need to open up the key and copy the internal package GUID (the long ugly id) like {BD359A86-BF88-4c4e-A7D2-6CDDA36C3B79} for DXCore
  • Now search the whole HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\ namespace for this key and export everything to external files.
  • Merge those exported .reg files and replace \8.0\ with \9.0\ like above.
  • Save, import again and start Orcas to test. Repeat until it works ^^
It would probably be better to write some tool for this, especially since there is almost no addin that will install itself correctly to VS Orcas, but I'm too lazy right now and have no time for that anyway. But here are a couple of .reg files I used to restore the 2 most important addins for me:

This will probably only work with the same versions of these addins, but the process is the same if you need other addins to work. I also tested it on vista and it worked there too. Again, if you just installed VS Orcas over your existing VS 2005 installation most addins will be copied and work out of the box. And even addins like CodeRush can easily be fixed with the tricks above. You probably won't need the .reg files here, but they may still be useful for someone and if you need additional addins to work.

I hope this helps if you want to work with VS Orcas too. It did not crash at my computer yet and I did some nasty things to the registry ^^ It only crashed once at my colleagues computer so far (and we both set the AutoRecover to 2 minutes just in case, we were early adopters for VS 2005 too and learned our lessons).