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Virtualized wrinkle on Visual Studio 2008 trial downloads

Did you know that there are virtualized versions Visual Studio tools? Ed Tittel goes forth to download.

OK, everybody knows that Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 was officially released on February, 27, 2008 in Los Angeles, with much hoopla and fanfare. What’s really interesting about this new release is that in addition to the conventional 90-day trial downloads that MS so frequently provides for its developer (and other) products at launch, you can also download a virtual machine with Visual Studio 2008 already installed (requires Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1).

Of course, the virtualized versions are for some high-dollar versions:

But nevertheless, it’s kind of fun to try this stuff out. After downloading the various bits and pieces (an operation that took the better part of 2 minutes for Virtual PC 2007 and over 20 minutes for the bits and pieces of Team Foundation Server with Team Explorer that I downloaded), you run a Virtual Machine Wizard to set up and size your VM, then log into the VM you’ve set up.

Once you’re up and running, among the first things you notice is that the VMs include no anti-virus protection, and that software is current only through November 29, 2007. Thus an additional install is needed (I used AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition), after which I spent about 90 minutes using Windows Update to bring the Team Foundation Server with Team Explorer up to current status.

My test machine has 4 GB of RAM on Vista, and I gave the VM with Visual Studio 2 GB of that to work with; this left the host OS enough memory to work reasonably well, and gave the VM enough memory that while it wasn’t exactly crawling, it wasn’t super snappy, either. Based on this experience, my hunch is that you’d want to install this on a 64-bit machine with more than 4 GB of RAM to give both the host OS and the VM more room in which to maneuver.

Of course, Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server users will also want to check out the Power Tools just released for this environment as well. I’ll probably write another tip about them, in fact, because there’s such a wealth of good stuff therein. This approach is definitely more fun than a bare-bones install, and less work, too. I’d like to see it become the primary direction for future Microsoft evals!

Author Bio: Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. His motto: 'Cool tools rule!'

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