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VC++ Novice: Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition Arrives

see also:
     2007-11-26 Toolcraft: Making Discs from CD/DVD Image Downloads
     2007-08-24 VC++ Novice: What About VC++ 2008 (Orcas) Express Editions?
     2007-06-10 VC++ Novice: What's the Visual C++ Express Edition?

It's here!

The Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition release is now available for download.   The developer center for Express Editions has been revamped with fancy visuals and re-organized access to materials.

For users of Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, the key first features are that

  • Your Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions can be installed alongside Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition (and other Visual Studio 2005 Express packages) without interference with each other.  (There may be some changes with regard to which IDE opens when you double-click a program file or a solution.  And VS 2008 will upgrade 2005 projects.  We'll explore how to control all that later.)
  • The complete set of VS 2008 Express Edition packages is available as a single DVD-image download.  It takes a DVD because it is slightly more than what fits on a single CD-ROM.  The disk image is 894MB.
  • There are differences in packaging and supplemental materials between VC++ 2005 Express and VC++ 2008 Express.  There are also differences with regard to .NET dependencies and the .NET libraries that you can take advantage of (if using the C++/CLI dialect in a project).

First Things First

I strongly recommend that you download the DVD image and arrange to record it for preservation purposes.  This provides a medium from which you can reinstall the package as often as you want.  It is an important backup if for any reason that you need to revert back to this software at some future time, if you need to install on a new computer, and so on.

Step #1: Go to the fancy new Download Page, using the menu bar at the top of the development-center page (above):

While you are here, notice that

  • The top of the page offers web installs of the individual VS 2008 Express Edition components.  I do not recommend this approach.  It's here as a convenience.  I prefer having recorded media that I can use whether or not I have a connection, whether or not the download is still available.
  • Notice that there is an MSDN Express edition that is now downloadable separately.  This is part of the packaging differences.  Remember that you saw that here.
  • There is a menu item for Offline Install.  I want you to want that.

The DVD Image Download

If you scroll down the main download page (above), you'll see that there is a DVD download option below the different web install invitations:

This is how I selected my DVD download.   If you click the Offline Install link at the top of the download page, there is a more-detailed page with more information about burning DVDs and other options:

Either way, the first step is to perform the download.  You should perform a standard download to a handy place on your PC:

My first download stalled at 33% and would go no farther.  I cancelled that download and started another.  That time, the full 894MB landed safely on my computer. 

The next action is making a DVD from the image file.  I won't attempt anything else until I have the DVD and can explore it as part of choosing how I want to do the installation, and on what machine.

Meanwhile, if you have been using Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition, or because you simply want to have it, now is a good time to download its Offline Install CD-ROM image.  At some point, the VS 2005 Express Edition material may become more difficult to locate.  Obtain the CD-ROM and use it to back yourself up.

Additional Information

  • There is a FAQ page for the VS 2008 Express Editions.  Please note the intended audience and the limitations of the Express Editions in contrast with the commercial VS 2008 Standard Edition and higher offerings.
  • Good News: The PSDK is no longer a separate install.  There is an integrated version of the Platform SDK as part of the Visual C++ 2008 Express Edition.  More details as further exploration is conducted.
  • The Forums for the Express Editions have been consolidated for support of VS 2005 and VS 2008 Express Editions release versions.  When asking questions on the VC++ Express Edition forum, please be careful to specify whether it applies to the VC++ 2005 or VC++ 2008 Express Edition.

[update 2005-11-26: I added a link to a tutorial on making CD/DVD discs from the downloaded .iso image files.
 update 2007-11-20T06:51Z: I corrected a wording and added more about 2008 upgrading 2005 projects and needing to learn how to prevent that.  There are some image links that were to the wrong pages, too.]

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