This post by S. Somasegar, VP of Microsoft’s Developer Division, stirred up quite a racket back in September about incompatibilities in VS2005 on Windows Vista. Now that I’ve had a chance to use VS2005 on Vista seriously for a few weeks, I can say that it’s much ado about nothing. VS2005 is a complex application. Does it run on Vista? Yes. Does it run as a limited user or a filtered administrator*? Yes. Are there problems? Yes. Are they show-stoppers? Not for the most part. Full details, including broken features, can be found here on MSDN. If you’re depending on one of these features, life sucks. For most developers, it will mean the occasional visual glitch. I’ve had this happen once and a simple refresh of the Visual Studio window resolved it.

In a way, I can understand where the DevDiv is coming from. VS2005 is in the support channel now and they’re actively working on “Orcas” or Visual Studio vNext. Orcas is the development tool designed to target Vista and .NET 3.0. You’ll notice that all the .NET 3.0 designers are CTPs. They’re works in progress and destined for Orcas as their final home. (I don’t know if VS2005-compatible versions will also be available.) The unfortunate part is that the most likely early adopters of Vista are developers and the DevDiv doesn’t have a fully-supported tool for the platform. Now that sucks. Microsoft has built mind-share by creating a fantastic platform for developers. Developers are a bit out in the cold when it comes to Vista and .NET 3.0. Imagine releasing .NET 2.0 without VS2005? On the one hand, Microsoft should have coordinated th release of Orcas with Vista. On the other hand, by the time most developers will be looking at Vista, Orcas will be released. It’s only us early adopters that need to brave the excitement of running an unsupported developer tool on the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship OS. Honestly, it’s not all that exciting. For the most part, VS2005 works as it always has with a few rough edges due to UAC.

* A filtered administrator is an administrator whose admin token has had most of its privileges stripped out and the Administrators’ group SID changed to a deny. The real admin token is kept in waiting, heavily protected, and is activated when the user clicks “Continue” on a UAC prompt. A good review of the details can be found here on Márton Anka’s weblog. He also has some good information on how to declaratively and programmatically request an elevation of privilege. (i.e. Throw up the UAC prompt.)