Missing Web Site Templates in Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition

Continuing in my quest to experience the goodness of the new .NET 3.5 SP1 stuff from the ground up, I installed Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition.  After all, now that I have my AdventureWorks database up and running, I want to experiment with ASP.NET data scaffolding (ASP.NET Dynamic Data), JavaScript Intellisense, ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services, and many of the other great new features in this release.  As Scott Hanselman and Carl Franklin recently discussed on Hanselminutes, this framework update really should have been .NET 3.6 there is so much new stuff in there!


The Problem

So I was sorely disappointed to start my first web site and was prompted with this confusing dialog box after doing a File -> New -> Web Site:


Selecting a different version of the framework didn’t fix anything, I had no web site templates!  How was I going to follow all of these simple step-by-step tutorials if I couldn’t get past step 1?  From the scores of other people having the same issue, I could tell I was not alone in my frustration.

Allow me to back up a bit and describe how I got into this predicament — it didn’t take long…



After installing, I did the natural thing and clicked on the item in my start menu labeled “Microsoft Visual Studio 2008” as it seemed to be the only logical choice.  Verifying the properties shows that this shortcut is pointing to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 9.0\Common7\IDE\Devenv.exe, which is exactly what I would have expected from experience with other versions of Visual Studio (insert snide remark about seemingly old version number in the “Common7” part of the path).


The Solution

No telling if this will be the same problem that everyone else seemed to be having, but it appears I just opened the wrong .exe!?!  I can’t really blame myself though, since the installation process seems to be a bit misleading.  There is no shortcut anywhere to the correct application which is actually called VWDExpress.exe:


Launching this executable manually gives me the much anticipated web site templates, and what I need to move on .  One subtle note is that my menu path to get to this is actually File -> New Web Site.  This path is one level shallower than the full blown studio version, but they both share the same keyboard shortcut of Shift + Alt + Nimage

So, if you read the whole post above and you’re still not quite sure what I am getting at, just look at the log in your development environment:

No web site templates (bad):


Web site templates (good):


The Details

To clarify whether or not this should apply to you, I am running all free versions of the tools provided my Microsoft.  If you have a full-blown version of Visual Studio, you may not experience this problem when using the standard IDE.  I first installed SQL Server 2008 Express, then Visual Web Developer 2008 Express.

This means that I now have the following versions of these files:

devenv.exe 9.0.30729.1
VWDExpress.exe 9.0.30729.1


Stay tuned for more blog posts as I continue on this journey…



15 Responses

  1. I looked all over for a solution. Everyone said 1 of 3 things:

    1. Reinstall the app
    2. Give correct permissions
    3. Run the following command: VWDExpress /installvstemplates

    None of these worked.

    However, I stumbled upon your website.

    I am happy to say that I am now able to access the templates correctly.



  2. I was very eager to use Microsofts new framework and then I had to deal with this crap.

    Thank god I found your blog! I tried uninstalling and reinstalling. Nope, same deal. Finally, after a bloodcurdeling scream, I googled and found your blog. As Borat would say… “Beeg Secesss!!!!”

    Thanks for all the clarity and print screens!!!

  3. Ditto to the two previous comments. I was banging my head against the wall until I found your blog. Thank you!

  4. Hi and thanks A LOT ! ! ! !

    I tried whole a day to get to know, where the fucked missing templates are. I have never thought about so simple solution. Please take my deepest tribute.

    Thank you again and wish you a nice xmass time.


    PS: I reinstalled the hell studio twice before I found this web site!!!

  5. Scott,

    Thanks for your post. It took care of my problem.

    Any books you would recommend? I have a computer science degree but haven’t really used it in 15 years as I ended up flying planes for the USAF.

    Anyway, I’m trying to develop a website with create, access, update, and delete data capability.

    I’ve read Learning SQL from O’Reilly press, which was quite detailed, but now I need to put that together with a web application. I have a decent programming background but haven’t used it much lately. This all led me to MS SQL Server (express) and VWD (express). I would like to use these free tools just to work on my knowledge before actually buying anything.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Hope you had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

    Scott Evans

  6. There are so many good books out there, it is hard to go wrong. Even the bad ones should give you a better understanding of how the components fit together.

    Based on your skill level and what you’re trying to accomplish, I might recommend using Dynamic Data. This is a very cool feature of the new .NET framework that gets you up and running very quickly. Here is a book I would try (haven’t read it):


    And a few links:




  7. I am used to using Visual Studio 2005 at work. I’ve started using Visual Web Developer at home. But I noticed that I am missing the ‘Publish’ button. Is this the proper way to ‘publish’ my website, or should I be doing something else?


  8. @Michael: There are many factors that would play into the correct deployment of your site. Take a look at the following post and the subsequent comments which should provide some options for you:

  9. I searched high and low for the solution to this problem and then came across your post which was the answer to my problem! Great thanks!!!!


    I worked a lot with previous 2005 version and with 2008 I keep on “reusing” my old projects and files because I couldn’t resolve the missing templates and since now this is the first effective solution I found!

  11. how can i solve this problem in my system
    in my system vs templates are not worked
    & vwd is already installed in my system

  12. Thank you. You’ve saved me a lot of trouble.

  13. I searched for days on my missing templates. Everyone suggested running devenv /installvstemplates but that didn’t work and I got so frustrated!! Thank you!!


  14. Thank u so much!!!!! u literally saved me….was seaching for this everywer. now is looks like such a dumb mistake

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