Visual Studio alternative folder – a joke?

I was thinking about installing Visual Studio 2013 Express… if nothing else to compile my program from my last post.

Well, 5.3Gb was not so bad, but I do not really want Visual Studio on my C drive, since:

  • C is an expensive SSD drive, that I want to avoid filling up
  • I am not going to use Visual Studio a lot, and it is fine for me if it is a little slower – can live on my Q-drive (an old IDE drive)
  • I am just going to use the command line tools that come with Visual Studio anyway, so I really don’t need to waste my SSD C-drive with 5.3 GB of dev tools

Perhaps my arguments are just stupid, but they make sense to me.

This is the funny dialog I got when installing…

VSExp2012

I mean, seriously??? I can change installation directory, which will move 1GB to the other drive, and keep over 4GB on C. Why did you even bother with an alternative install path, Micro$oft? Why does Windows support more than one hard drive at all?

Obviously there are other people being annoyed with this too. And there are ideas about using symlinks in Windows to solve the problem… but the problem is that a lot of those 4GB may go just everywhere on the C-drive anyway.

The people who design Windows are obviously retarded and Windows is a mess. I am not going to make my Windows gaming computer dirty by installing stupid Visual Studio on it. I remain happy to use Windows as little as possible.

This was annoying with my Nokia N8 that put plenty of stuff on the little C-partition that could not be moved to the big D-partion. But Windows 7 not being better than Symbian – come on?

How it is done right
For those of you who only ever used Windows, I will quickly explain how this is done right. You give the user the option of installing anywhere, in particular

  • Standard system path – so everyone can use it (c:\Program files)
  • Non standard path – so everyone can use it, but it does not get in the way for those who dont care (q:\extra\devtools)
  • The users home directory!

The last option obviously requires no admin rights whatsoever. This is very good, because you know for sure nothing is installed elsewhere.

For development tools, this has several advantages:

  • If installing the dev tools does not modify the system in any way, you can be sure that the programs you build behave the same way for your end user as they do for you – and with behave, I typically mean “work”
  • You can install several dev tools/versions side by side, and be sure they do not disturb each other or rely on each other
  • You can be sure that your system works just as it used to, even after you installed dev tools

Finally, I want to remind that even though dev tools (compilers, linkers, libraries, IDEs) are very advanced stuff… in the end of the day they only produce regular files; sequences of bytes. No privileged access is needed to produce a binary file! There is no magic about it.

It is not only unnecessary that Visual Studio installs itself in C – it is a suspicious behavior. Only bad things and bad practices can come from it.

Finally, clever software providers get this right! And Valve have ambitious Linux plans… just because they are clever.

  1. Thank you for putting all this down.
    I also had this problem and was totaly flabbergasted about the way the installer -well let’s be honest- fucks my SSD in the ass.
    This is the dumbest thing i have seen in an installer in about 20 years. And that includes installers with music built in…
    I dont get it how can programmers be so narrow minded and Apple-like (as in our way or no way)…

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