New Azure Client OS VM Images for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7

I love the awesome surprises I get in the Azure Management Portal on a regular basis!  Today’s (05/12/2014) was an awesome set of new base images for MSDN subscribers:


Yep, you see correctly, Windows 8.1 Enterprise and Windows 7 Enterprise images, including some with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 already installed! w00t!

I also noticed that a number of new extensions are available as well!  Including “Custom Script” and numerous “Security Extensions” with support for Microsoft Antimalware, as well as Symantec Endpoint Protection and Trend Micro Deep Security Agent.  Time to go learn more! 


Oh, and look at these tantalizing new preview features! Azure RemoteApp and Windows Azure Files, an SMB File Share service!


SQL Server Data Tools for SQL Server 2014 fixes SQL publish.xml “Unable to connect to target server” Errors

If you have a SQL Database project in Visual Studio 2013, with a *.publish.xml file that you are trying to use to deploy the database to a SQL Server 2014 instance, you may be receiving an error stating that the data tools are “Unable to connect to target server”:


If that is the case, then you likely haven’t installed the updated SQL Server Data tools For SQL Server 2014

You can learn more about the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) here:

Anyhow, The fix is easy! 

  1. From the Visual Studio 2013 menu bar, select “TOOLS” | “Extensions and Updates…”
  2. In the “Extensions and Updates” window, along the left, select “Updates” | “Product Updates” and then select the “Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Update for database tooling” update and click the “Update” button.


  3. Follow the prompts to complete the install.  You may want to close Visual Studio 2013 while the tools update installs, and re-open Visual Studio and your project when the installation completes.

Once you have the updated tools install, you should be back in business, and your publish process should succeed!


Cleaning out Visual Studio’s Cluttered Closet

I do a lot of tweaking in Visual Studio’s options.  A tweak here to test so esoteric feature of .NET, a tweak there based on some input from some guru, a tweak during a demo to show some debugging option, a tweak, a tweak, a tweak.

So lately I’ve had problems during my debugging demos.  The debugger just wasn’t behaving the way I expected it.  More than once during some presentation, I’ve had to say “well, it not supposed to do that, its supposed to …”, and it has been getting a little embarrassing. 

There are large number of debug options available to us (which is generally a good thing), but trying to figure out what tweak needs to be un-tweaked is near impossible because of it. Rather than go switch by switch to determine the cause, I thought it would be better to just reset them all to their defaults.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a “Reset All” button in the debugging options of Visual Studio.  So how do you do it?

You could do it from the command prompt:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe /ResetSettings

However if is even easier, and more flexible if done from within Visual Studio.  From the Visual Studio menu bar select “Tools|Import and Export Settings…”.  Use the wizard to first save your current settings (in case you forgot some special setting you really wanted, this will let you recover your settings to find out what it was), then import a previously saved set of settings, or import a set of default settings provided with Visual Studio.  Finally, you can select the specific options you want to import, so you don’t have to reset everything if you don’t want to:

 click the image below to see the wizard pages…
 Reset Visual Studio Settings Landscape