I have two machines at home here, one is a Vista SP1 laptop, the other an XP SP3 Desktop. The latter was recently patched with SP3 in a desperate attempt to prolong its dwindling desire to function in a reasonable fashion. It's what I call from a development box point of view, "Encrusted." Encrustation is the point at which you no longer have any idea what beta, CTP, evaluation or otherwise not recommended software is installed. It defies its digital nature by throwing up different errors each time its booted. Anyway, the SP1 Beta would not install on this machine, specifically the .NET 3.5 beta bits. I may investigate further, but frankly I think it's time for fenestrecide and a corresponding rebirth.
This led me to try updating my Vista laptop instead. If you download the VS2008 patch you'll notice it's only about 450KB. It's a stub which detects what's missing from your environment and downloads only what it needs. I found the installer to be extremely useless in terms of giving feedback over what it was doing. It just says "installing" and you have to watch a progress bar slowly creeping across with many stalls where your machine doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. This time I downloaded the separate .NET 3.5 SP1 beta bits which size about 220MB. I installed this first and it seemed to go OK. Next, I downloaded the VS patch and let it go ahead. Again many stalls where you're wondering if it's actually going to work at all. Eventually, it failed. After some examination of the logs, I discovered that it didn't like the post-RTM patches for supporting the Reference Source server ( Shawn Burke's Blog - Configuring Visual Studio to Debug .NET ). After removing these updates, I was able to progress to past this prior point of failure but by this time it was midnight, having started the process in earnest at around 8pm. I decided to leave it to run overnight.
In the morning I had a stalled install process and a dialog notifying me that files were in use and that I should shutdown "Machine Debug Manager," "Windows Sidebar Component" and "Windows Sidebar" - Vista GUI cruft - if I wanted to avoid a reboot. I stopped the MDM service and shutdown Windows Sidebar and chose "Retry" from the options of "Retry," "Cancel" and "Ignore." Even though I hit "Retry," the bland dialog displaying "installing" now switched to "Installation failed.. rolling back" - but thankfully, it was NOT rolling back. The status bar appeared stalled for about 10 minutes then popped up the same dialog, this time with only "Windows Sidebar" listed. This time I chose "Ignore" implicitly accepting the penalty of a reboot to allow the status bar to continue its inexorable journey to the right, all the time the text telling me that the installation had failed and it was rolling back. Ten more minutes and the install succeeded. To summarise, VS seems snappier, and everything seems to work fine. I'll post more if I discover anything of interest.
The usual suspects have more information:
Beta of .NET 3.5 and VS2008 SP1 is out (Scott Guthrie)
VS2008 and .Net 3.5 SP1 Beta - Should You Fear This Release- (Scott Hanselman)
.NET 3.5 SP1 Beta- Changes Overview (Patrick Smacchia)