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Installing Visual Studio Versions Side-by-Side 

This topic has been updated for Visual Studio 2005 SP1.

Visual Studio supports installation of Visual Studio 6.0, Visual Studio .NET 2002, 2003, and Visual Studio 2005 on the same computer, which allows you to evaluate the latest version of Visual Studio and upgrade gradually.

You should be aware of the following conditions:

  • If you open a solution created with Visual Studio .NET 2002 in Visual Studio .NET 2003 or Visual Studio 2005 and save the solution, you can no longer open the solution in Visual Studio 2002.

  • If you open a solution created in Visual Studio .NET 2003 in Visual Studio 2005, you are requested to upgrade the solution. Once upgraded, the solution can no longer be opened in Visual Studio 2003.

  • Changes in how ProgIDs are handled in the Visual Studio .NET 2003 Automation model can cause errors with add-ins written in Visual Studio .NET 2002. Also, invoking new instantiations of the IDE now requires a version-dependent ProgID. For more information, see New Automation Members for Visual Studio 2005.

  • If you uninstall a version of Visual Studio on a computer that has more than one version installed, the file associations for Visual Studio will be removed for all versions. You can remap these file associations using the Restore File Associations button found on General, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

.NET Framework Versions and Side-by-Side Installations

Side-by-Side Installations of Help

If you install Visual Studio .NET 2002 and Visual Studio .NET 2003 or Visual Studio 2005 on the same computer, you also install different versions of Help for Visual Studio.

You should be aware of the following conditions:

  • The Help that installs with Visual Studio .NET 2003 includes corrections and additional information that also applies to Visual Studio 2002 as well as new information for the features and updates provided in Visual Studio .NET 2003.

  • The Help that installs with Visual Studio 2005 includes corrections and additional information that also applies to Visual Studio .NET 2002 and Visual Studio .NET 2003 as well as new information for features and updates provided in Visual Studio 2005.

  • To save space on your computer, you can specify that Visual Studio .NET 2002 use the version of Help included with Visual Studio .NET 2003 or Visual Studio 2005 and then uninstall the Visual Studio .NET 2002 Help files. For more information, see The Visual Studio Combined Help Collection.

  • If you attempt to view the topics you included in your Favorites from Visual Studio .NET 2002 in the Help for Visual Studio .NET 2003 or Visual Studio 2005, the topic titles will appear, but the links will be broken.

  • If you open a Visual Basic project that was upgraded from Visual Basic 6.0 in Visual Studio .NET 2003, any Help links in the project will be broken.

Side-by-Side Installations of Express Editions

You can install multiple Express Editions on the same computer. After you have installed the first Express Edition, you cannot change the installation directory for any subsequent Express Edition you install because these editions share key application files.

You have the option of installing Help for each Express Edition. If you do not choose to install the Help files, you can still access Help by choosing to use online Help sources in the Options dialog box. For more information, see Online, Help, Environment, Options Dialog Box.

Each Express Edition includes Help files that are specific to the edition you installed. You cannot view Help files for Express Editions simultaneously, however.

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