Visual Studio 2008 Standard vs Professional and the lack of Windows Services Support

27 03 2008

Ok, well I’ve blogged about the virtues of VS2008 Standard before.

Essentially, I find the Standard version very satisfactory for everyday coding. Even the Server Explorer is there, regardless of what Microsoft’s product comparison says.

One thing that frustrates me however, was that nowhere on the site, did they mention that the creation of Windows Services was a Professional-only inclusion. Huh.

This is the MSDN article explaining the lack of the feature. But checkout the link they have on VS version comparisons and show me where it mentions no Windows Services. Boo.

If you think about it, Services are useful little tools, especially when you have your own server to work with, and you need something running all the time, managing data requests – like a process queuing service for example.

The feature that is missing from Visual Studio is the startup Project Template. However, if you know the startup code, you don’t need the Template.

You can still create an Empty Project in VS2008 Standard, include the System reference and the System.ServiceProcess reference and then add the classes from there. This CodePoint article provides a good insight. Microsoft have their own article – though it’s in VB.NET (ewww).

Personally, I find the best approach is to create a Service.cs file and load the code from the Code Project site. Then you can simply follow Microsoft’s instructions to add an installer.

You then install via your framework’s InstallUtil.exe (again see the Microsoft link). This executable is distributed with the .NET 2.0 Framework, and as such you can find it somewhere like: C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.

Update: Feb 4, 2008

Another thing I’ve noticed missing is the ability to create Office Add-Ins. These are those tools that you install into the various products of Office. I’m suspicious though that this lack is something that a work around, like the above one, could fix.¬†

If you’re just looking for interoperability with Office, that’s simply the matter of installing the version of Office you need on your dev machine, and then including the COM reference in your project. (eg. Word is Microsoft Word XX.X Object Library (v 12.0 is 2007, 11.0 is 2003))



10 responses

9 04 2008

I just noticed this in my Standard install too…Lame. Thanks for the workaround

14 07 2008

Thanks for the info. I was just planning to buy VS 2008 Standard and I couldn’t figure out if it would be able to connect to a SQL Server database for creating Linq to SQL classes. You’re saying it actually does have Server Explorer, so it should work fine for this, right?

14 07 2008
Justin J. Moses


yep, VS2008 standard does have the server explorer. though personally i just use the SQL Server Management Console Express tool, and design the DataSet in VS to interface with the DB using stored procs.


9 01 2009
30 07 2009

Thanks for the info

The link to the VS version comparison is for VS2005 only. There doesn’t appear to be any equivalent for VS2008, only for the Team system.

You say “VB.NET (ewww)”, I say C# (squiggly bracket language ewww) :-))

30 07 2009
Justin J. Moses

Really? I just double checked. Says VS2008 all over it:


30 09 2009


Do you know if anyone has wrapped this up in a custom project template for VS2008? This is an absolutely awful thing to do as a way of encouraging purchase of a pro license.



4 02 2010

From reading the Microsoft forums, it sounds like the omission of the Windows Service template was a mistake, not a deliberate attempt to differentiate Standard vs Pro. Anyway, all you need is the template files, which someone kindly posted over on the MSDN forums:

26 04 2010
David Roberts

I would like to know whether the Standard Edition of Visual Studio 2008 has the .msi Project maker that is in the Professional Edition.


13 12 2011

the openMP (easy multithreading) is not included inside VS2008 standard (only in the pro version)

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