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General Questions

  • What are the Visual Studio Express Editions?

    The Visual Studio Express Editions are an expansion of the Visual Studio and SQL Server product line to include fun, simple and easy-to-learn tools for non-professional developers like hobbyists, students and novice developers who want to build dynamic Windows applications, Web sites, and Web services. The Express products consist of:

    Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition - Productivity that is ideal for first time or casual Windows programming
    Visual C# 2008 Express Edition – A great combination of power and productivity for the Windows developer
    Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition – Horsepower with a finer degree of control than other Express Editions
    Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition – An easy-to-use environment for dynamic Web application development
    SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server Compact Edition – A powerful and easy-to-use set of databases to complement each Express Edition
  • What can I do with the Visual Studio Express Editions?

    • Learn how to program using a streamlined, lightweight development environment
    • Create fun and cool applications using developer tools and kits.
  • How much will these products cost?

    Effective April 19th, 2006, all Visual Studio Express Editions are free permanently. This pricing covers all Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions and Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions including Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual J# (only available in Visual Studio 2005 Express), and Visual Web Developer as well as all localized versions of Visual Studio Express.
  • Where can I find out the latest issues and bugs?

    Visit the Readme document for more information on bugs and known issues relating to Visual Studio Express Editions.
  • How long do I have to register?

    You'll have 30 days from when you install your Visual Studio Express Editions.
  • Can you give me more information about the Registration process?

    Visit the Registration Benefits Web page as well as the Registration FAQ page.
  • Can I use Express Editions for commercial use?

    Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using Visual Studio Express Editions.
  • How are Express Editions different from the rest of the Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions?

    Express Edition products are designed for hobbyists, students, and novice developers. As such, they lack the full breadth of features found in higher-end Visual Studio and SQL Server Editions. They are designed specifically for scenarios common to the hobbyist, student, and novice developer. Each Express Edition includes targeted documentation that will help the beginning programmer quickly learn the concepts required to build more advanced applications. The user interfaces are significantly streamlined to ensure that extraneous features do not interfere with the learning process. If you later decide that you do need additional features available in the higher-end editions of Visual Studio and SQL Server, you can seamlessly upgrade your code and skills.
  • Where can I go for more information about the Express Editions?

    You're at the right place. There's content and drill-down information on the product line. You can also get the latest information using the product-specific RSS feeds:
    Visual Basic 2008 Express RSS feed
    Visual C# 2008 Express RSS feed
    Visual C++ 2008 Express RSS feed
    Visual Web Developer Express RSS feed
  • Where can I report bugs or make a product suggestion?

    Please report bugs or suggestions to the Product Feedback Center.
  • Are the Express Edition products supported?

    SQL Server Express is covered under standard Microsoft support policies. Support is offered on a per incident charge. For assistance with other questions, please use the following support options:
    • Use Express Edition Forums where you can get help from other people using the Express Editions, including Microsoft product team members.
    • You can access paid professional support over phone or e-mail.
    • If your organization has Premier support contracts, you can use those for assistance with Visual Studio Express products.
  • What is the MSDN 2008 Express Edition Library?

    The MSDN Express Library contains additional product documentation and code samples for all Visual Studio Express Editions.
  • How can I install the MSDN 2008 Express Edition Library?

    The MSDN 2008 Express Edition Library is available as a separate download from the Visual Studio Express installers.

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Compatibility and Versioning

  • How do I make Visual Studio 2008 Express work with .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.0?

    The ability to target a version of the .NET Framework other than 3.5 (i.e. multi-targeting) is included in all the Visual Studio Express Edition products. Multi-targeting is available under the Project Properties menu which can be selected by going to Project-> Properties.
  • Do applications built for Visual Studio 2008 Express Beta 2 work in the official released version?

    Generally speaking, yes. Please note that there have been some changes between the betas and the official release, so you make to make some updates to your code accordingly.
  • Will the Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions install side-by-side with the versions of Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions?

    Yes, the Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions support side-by-side compatibility with other versions of Visual Studio 2005 including Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions and Visual Studio 2008.
  • What operating systems are supported?

    You can find a full list of system requirements in the Visual Studio Express Editions Readme.
  • Will programs I build with Visual Studio Express work with other versions of Visual Studio 2008, like the Standard Edition?

    Absolutely. Visual Studio Express is a great entry point to professional software development, and Microsoft is committed to helping you "graduate" to higher-end products should you need them. Projects you create with an Express Edition will easily migrate to higher-end Visual Studio 2008 projects.
  • Where can I find a list of any backwards breaking changes between the .NET Framework 2.0 and the .NET Framework 3.5?

    From .NET 2.0 to .NET 3.0 we have 100% binary compatibility. This is because none of the .NET 2.0 binaries were changed for that update.

    From .NET 3.0 to .NET 3.5 we an extremely high level of compatibility with existing applications. This is an estimated 95% binary compatibility without a recompile being required. The last estimated 5% is recommended to be found by testing and the incompatibilities are a result of bug fixes, performance improvements, geo political fixes and security fixes introduced in services packs .NET 2.0 SP1 and .NET 3.0 SP1 as part of the .NET 3.5 upgrade.

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Installation & Setup

  • I'm having problems installing my Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition.

    If the automated installer doesn't work for you, visit the Express Installation and Setup forum or if you want to download an Express Edition to burn to a DVD for installation on another machine, visit the Express Editions Downloads page.
  • How big are each of the Express downloads?

    Without the .NET Framework, the download size for each of the Visual Studio Express products are the following:
    • Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition with SP1 - 65MB
    • Visual C# 2008 Express Edition with SP1 - 56MB
    • Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition with SP1 - 79MB
    • Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition with SP1 - 122MB

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Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition

  • For whom is Visual Basic 2008 Express intended?

    Visual Basic 2008 Express is designed for hobbyists, first-time developers, and students looking for a fun and easy way to build Windows applications.
  • What types of applications can I build with Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition?

    Visual Basic 2008 Express can be used to build Windows applications, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) applications, console and reusable components and controls. If you want to create interactive Web sites, you should use Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition which fully supports the Visual Basic language.
  • Will code from Visual Basic 6.0 work in Visual Basic 2008 Express?

    Visual Basic 2008 Express includes a migration wizard that will help import existing Visual Basic 6.0 projects. You may need to make some manual adjustments to the code you port over, but the migration wizard is a good first step towards moving your code forward.
  • Will code from Visual Basic 2005 Express work in Visual Basic 2008 Express?

    Visual Basic 2008 Express includes a migration wizard that will help import existing Visual Basic 2005 Express projects. You may need to make some manual adjustments to the code you port over, but the migration wizard is a good first step towards moving your code forward.
  • Where can I get help and support for Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition?

    The Express products are not officially supported. But you may find help by posting your question in the Visual Basic 2008 Express Forum.

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Visual C# 2008 Express Edition

  • For whom is Visual C# 2008 Express intended?

    Visual C# 2008 Express is designed for hobbyists, first-time developers, and students looking for a fun and easy way to build Windows applications.
  • What types of application can I build with Visual C# 2008 Express?

    Visual C# 2008 Express can be used to build Windows applications, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) applications, console and reusable components and controls. If you want to create interactive Web sites, you should use Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition which fully supports the Visual C# language.
  • Where can I get help and support for Visual C# 2008 Express Edition?

    The Express products are not officially supported. But you may find help by posting your question in the Visual C# 2008 Express Forum.

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Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition

  • For whom is Visual C++ 2008 Express intended?

    Visual C++ 2008 Express is designed for hobbyists, first-time developers, and students looking for a fun and easy way to build Windows applications.
  • What types of application can I build with Visual C++ 2008 Express?

    With Visual C++ 2008 Express you can build both native and managed applications. Included is the Windows Platform SDK which you can build applications that take full advantage of the Win32 API.
  • Does Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition include MFC and ATL?

    No, MFC and ATL are not included with Visual C++ 2008 Express. MFC and ATL will be included in Visual Studio 2008 Standard and above editions.
  • Does Visual C++ 2008 Express include the "optimizing compiler"?

    Yes, Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition includes the same core optimizing compiler that will be included with all other Visual Studio 2008 editions. Some new expanded optimization features, including Profile Guided Optimizations, will be available only in the Standard and above editions of Visual Studio 2008.
  • Where can I get help and support for Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition?

    The Express Editions include forum support. Please go to the Visual C++ 2008 Express Forum to post your question.

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Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition

  • What is Visual Web Developer 2008 Express?

    Visual Web Developer 2008 Express is a stand-alone, lightweight, easy-to-use Web-focused tool for building ASP.NET 3.5 applications. It includes everything you need to begin building Web applications, including a built-in development/test Web server.
  • For whom is Visual Web Developer 2008 Express intended?

    Visual Web Developer 2008 Express is intended for non-professional, hobbyists, students and beginning Web developers who want to learn how to build ASP.NET 3.5 Web applications.
  • What types of application can I build with Visual Web Developer 2008 Express?

    You can build Web applications and Web services using Visual Web Developer 2008 Express.
  • Where can I get help and support for Visual Web Developer 2008 Express?

    For questions on ASP.NET 3.5, please visit the ASP.NET Forums.
  • Does Visual Web Developer 2008 Express support ASP.NET 2.0?

    Yes. The ability to target different versions of the .NET framework (i.e. multi-targeting) is available in Visual Web Developer 2008 through the Project Properties menu.
  • Can I have Web sites using ASP.NET 2.0 and ASP.NET 3.5 on the same machine?

    Yes. ASP.NET 20 and ASP.NET 3.5 can be run side-by-side on the same machine. You can easily control which applications and virtual roots target a certain version of the framework.
  • What programming languages are supported by Visual Web Developer 2008 Express?

    Visual Web Developer 2008 Express supports development with Visual Basic and Visual C#. Visual Web Developer 2008 Express also includes rich editors for HTML, XML, JavaScript and Cascade Style Sheets (CSS).
  • Do I need IIS to build applications with Visual Web Developer 2008 Express?

    No. Visual Web Developer 2008 Express comes with a built-in Web development server that enables you to build and test applications without a dependency on IIS. The server only accepts local requests and is only for build and test. Web applications built with Visual Web Developer can easily be deployed to IIS or your favorite hoster using the built-in copy Web tool.
  • Can I use Visual Web Developer 2008 Express to edit Web projects I created with Visual Web Developer 2005 Express?

    When you open a Visual Web Developer 2005 Web project in Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, the project is converted to the new, simpler project layout used with Visual Web Developer 2008 Express. The conversion process also converts existing .aspx pages, .ascx files and other files into a new format. Note that the conversion process creates a backup of your project before the conversion begins.
  • If I create a Web site with Visual Web Developer 2008 Express, will I be able to continue editing the project if I upgrade to Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition?

    Absolutely. The Web site layout and file formats are 100 percent compatible between Visual Web Developer 2008 Express and Visual Studio 2008 Standard Edition.

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SQL Server 2008 Express

  • What is SQL Server 2008 Express?

    SQL Server 2008 Express is an easy-to-use and free version of SQL Server 2008 that is designed for building simple, data-driven applications.
  • What is the difference between SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server Compact Edition?

    SQL Server Compact Edition is a lightweight , easy to deploy database system that is ideal for Windows database development. A 2MB footprint that requires no administration makes it an ideal solution for creating most data storage needs. Some of the limitations of SQL Server Compact Edition:
    • Does not accept remote connections
    • It is not compatible with the design time tools for LINQ to SQL
    • Does not support stored procedures
    SQL Server Express is designed to be feature-rich and powerful database system. It is an ideal solution for creating client-server Windows applications and Web development. Some of the features of SQL Server Express:
    • Develop stored procedures with Visual Basic Express and Visual C# Express
    • Full support of design time tools like LINQ to SQL
    • A huge data storage of 4GB capacity
    For more details on the comparison between SQL Server Compact Edition and SQL Server Express, visit the SQL Server Compact Edition page.
  • How much does SQL Server 2008 Express cost?

    SQL Server 2008 Express is free to download. For ISVs, SQL Server Express is also free to redistribute (registration required).
  • What features are available for SQL Server Express?

    Reporting Services plus a free and easy-to-use management tool, SQL Server Management Studio Express Edition, are available in the SQL Server 2008 Express Edition with Advanced Services download.
  • What is SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services?

    SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services is a download that includes the SQL Server 2008 database engine, SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services, SQL Server 2005 Management Studio Express and Full-Text Search. SQL Server 2008 Management Studio Express is also available separately as a download.
  • How is SQL Server Express different from other editions of SQL Server 2008?

    SQL Server Express is designed to meet the needs of lightweight applications. It is limited to using 1 CPU and up to 1GB RAM, with a 4GB maximum database size. SQL Server Express does not include the advanced components of SQL Server including Analysis Services, Data Transformation Services, and Notification Services.

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