I spent several hours working to get Visual Studio 2008 to function properly.  Following an apparently successful installation on Windows XP Professional SP3, Visual Studio 2008 refused to start.  The splash screen would appear briefly, and then poof, nothing at all.  The application event log showed the following error:

.NET Runtime version 2.0.50727.1433 - Fatal Execution Engine Error
(79FFEE24) (80131506)

This lead to lots of reading that seemed to be related, but nothing directly applicable.  So I decided to try to start with a clean slate.  I uninstalled all Visual Studio related items, and re-installed .NET 2.0 SP1, but removed .NET 3.0 SP1 and .NET 3.5 that came along with VS 2008.  When I tried to re-install VS 2008, it attempted to install .NET 3.5 but it failed, leaving me with a rather generic-looking screen:

The error log just contained the rather generic MSI 1603 installer error, but now I had something a bit more specific to look for.  I came across Aaron Stebner’s blog entry regarding strange installation failures for various .NET packages.  Indeed, I had an orphaned registry key.  I deleted everything located at:


…and below and re-ran the installation.  It completely without errors, and Visual Studio starts normally!  If you’re having problems you think might be related to .NET, check out Aaron’s blog!!!