When installing Visual Studio of any versions – Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2010, the setup installer does not prompt for any input of product key, serial number or registration code. The bypass of asking for a product key during installation may bring some inconvenience to certain users.

Some users may have purchase a new license for Visual Studio, with a new unique serial key number. Some system administrators may also want to have a single setup installer of Visual Studio which integrates with corporate-specific product key code for installing Visual Studio for easy management. There may be case where users want to install Visual Studio in another language version while using back the existing product key of another language edition.

Microsoft provides free download of Visual Studio trial versions. User can easily enter the product key and upgrade or convert the trial version to full version product. However, entering the product key upfront during installation eliminates this step. Regardless of whether it’s a Visual Studio trial ISO or MSDN ISO, the product key integrated and embedded inside the installer can be changed easily.

  1. Unpack and extract Visual Studio ISO to a folder.
  2. Go into the Setup folder.
  3. Edit setup.sdb file with any text editor such as Notepad.
  4. Locate a section named [Product Key].
  5. Replace the line (serial code) below [Product Key] (if any) with the new product key to be used to install Visual Studio. If there is no product key pre-defined, just type in manually. No dash between 5-character blocks is required. For example:

    Visual Studio setup.sdb

  6. Save the setup.sdb file.
  7. Run the setup installer from the parent directory. If an ISO is required, just use a DVD burning program such as Ashampoo Burning Studio 2010 to create a new data disc with all the files inside the extracted Visual Studio ISO folder, with the changed setup.sdb file.