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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Frustrating Upgrade Process (and Resolution)

One of my development environments recently expired.  Yes, pretty much the whole machine. Almost all the tools hit the 90 day trial period wall over the same few days. 

We have purchased full licences for all machines, so this didn’t seem to be too big a problem for me.  Visual Studio Team System – the trial version – turned out to be the biggest nightmare.

Here’s what you see when Team System 2008 times out:


The text here is misleading, as it was in the nag screens that came up for the last couple of weeks (which, by the way, is why I put it off so long). 

The text reads:

Click Upgrade to find out how you can continue to use the application by purchasing a full edition.

Well…that would be great but that’s not what happens.  Besides, I already have purchased the lot and don’t need any more cash dispensed at this point.  The ‘Upgrade’ button simply opens a browser and takes you to a web page with reasons to buy, feature comparisons and – ironically – links to the trial version.

At this point I pulled down the pre-PID’d version from MSDN Subscriber Downloads and re-installed.  Unfortunately, this ended up being a different SKU than my trial, so I was still getting bounced out of the IDE (even though the installation worked clean and reported no errors).

I figured I’d have to bite the bullet and uninstall Visual Studio, thus losing all my settings.  This is where I realized the err in my dual-SKU approach.  I found two product uninstalls in Control Panel –> Programs (one was the developer edition I just installed, the other was the Team System that was part of the trial). 

Either way I figured I would end up losing all my plug-ins, my config (I highly customize my dev env) and recent items list (which, weirdly, I rely on quite heavily).

Instead, the uninstall gave me this:


Aha! An upgrade path.  Too bad the ‘Upgrade’ button above didn’t take me to a page to tell me about that one!

Dang.  Now where do I get my key?  I can’t get into VS.Net and MSDN downloads says the product is pre-PID’d, so how do I find it?  You have to use the installer (it’s listed in one of the first steps, greyed out), except the problem with that approach is that you don’t get the screen that reveals the key unless it’s a clean install.

Luckily, I have a whole bunch of VMs around :oD

I fired up VPC, went into a clean OS and mounted the ISO.  Two minutes later I had my key:


Next, I plugged the key into the upgrade box I showed above and the ‘Upgrade’ button lit up…so I clicked it…and was pleasantly rewarded with the following:


Fire up Visual Studio, and you’re good to go, all settings in tact.

So, in a nutshell, if your Visual Studio Team System trial expires and you want to continue working using your existing development configuration, do the following:

  1. Download your purchased copy from the MSDN subscribers download site.
  2. Fire up a clean VPC (or a PC without Visual Studio installed) and run setup from the ISO you downloaded.  VPC is easy because you can mount the ISO as a CD in the virtualized hardware.
  3. Run the first few steps of the install to get your key.
  4. On your development machine, go to Control Panel –> Programs and select your Visual Studio trial.
  5. In the maintenance application it prompts you for the key; use the key from the pre-PID’d copy you’ve purchased.
  6. Push upgrade!

It took about three hours longer than I would have liked because I went and downloaded the other copy and did a full install.  I really should have had it downloaded anyways, but I didn’t need to bake in another install. 

Hope this helps if you get stuck with a timed-out version of Visual Studio.

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