Creating a C Project in Visual Studio

If you’re in love with Visual Studio as I am, you would probably prefer to do all of your coding day in and day out in Visual Studio. However, sometimes some languages may not appear as if they are supported in Visual Studio. One of those languages is C. Visual Studio is well known for its support of C++ projects, but doesn’t explicitly list C as a language. Because C++ contains all of the features/functionality of C, the VS C++ compiler will also compile any C code you write. To create a C project in Visual Studio you just need to create an empty C++ project and add any appropriate .c / .h files as needed. All will compile and work just fine.

Here’s how you can start a new C project within Visual Studio.

Note: This tutorial is designed/tested around Visual Studio 2012, the latest version of Visual Studio available as of this writing. However, this should work for any version of Visual Studio.

  1. Open Visual Studio
  2. Select File –> New –> Project… (or CTRL+SHIFT+N for you keyboard fanatics)
  3. When the New Project dialog box appears select Visual C++ in the left pane. (You may need to go to Templates –> Other Languages –> Visual C++
  4. In the Project window, select Win32 Console Application
  5. Give an appropriate name to the project.
  6. The Win32 Application Wizard dialog box should appear
  7. Click Next at the Welcome to the Win32 Application Wizard page
  8. On the Application Settings page, make sure the following are selected:
    1. Application Type: Console application
    2. Additional Options: Empty Project
  9. Click Finish
  10. You now have a new “C” project

The following steps walk you through creating the actual C files.

  1. If Solution Explorer is not visible go to View –> Solution Explorer
  2. Right click the Source Files folder in Solution Explorer and select Add –> New Item…
  3. The Add New Item dialog box should appear.
  4. Select C++ File (.cpp) and name it an appropriate name, such as main.c (make sure to give it a .c extension)
  5. Start coding!

That should be all you need to know to create a new C project in Visual Studio. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy coding!

Solved: devenv.exe–Entry Point Not Found in Visual Studio 2012 RC

If you recently installed the Office 15 public preview alongside Visual Studio 2012 RC, you more than likely encountered the following error:


It seems Microsoft is well aware of this issue and has issued a patch for Visual Studio 2012. It apparently has something to do with the Office 15 preview breaking your VS2012 install… you’d think Microsoft would have tested this and fixed it before release, but I guess not.

I actually ran across this issue earlier today and figured it was a problem with the Visual Studio installer. After reinstalling, uninstalling, and installing again I eventually went and searched online for the issue. Thankfully, I was not the only one with this issue and I received the link mentioned above via a blog post at ACS Blogs.

If you are experiencing this issue, the above patch should work for you.

Get your 25GB of free SkyDrive storage while you still can

I just learned from Paul Thurrott that Microsoft announced some new services and products associated with its SkyDrive cloud service. Although most of the news was welcomed, one downside is Microsoft dropping the amount of free storage on SkyDrive from 25GB to 7GB. But, don’t fret yet, because Microsoft is allowing its loyal users (the ones who have been with them through thick and thin) a free upgrade to 25GB… for life. As far as I can tell, as long as you have previously created and used a SkyDrive account, you should be able to upgrade for free. Here’s how.

Go to and sign in with your Live ID.

When you sign in, you will see this at the top of your folders screen:


Click the link to be presented with the option to upgrade to your 25GB of space for free, for life.


Click “Free upgrade!”. You now have free storage of 25GB for life on your SkyDrive account.

Note, as you can see, Microsoft is now also offering paid-tier pricing plans. Up to 100GB per year, for an annual fee of $50.00. Along with this update, Microsoft has also released a SkyDrive desktop application that integrates with Windows Explorer. This is a very nice addition and one I plan on talking about soon.

Windows 8 Product Editions: Keeping it simple

Microsoft today unveiled the Windows 8 Product Editions on their Windows Team Blog. There are a couple things we can take from this post. First, Microsoft is slimming down the product editions in Windows 8 and second, Windows 8 is now the official name for the next x86/x64 Windows (note, the importance of x86/x64 here, Windows RT is the official name for Windows on ARM, or WOA, devices).

Windows 8 will include four editions, Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 8 Enterprise and Windows RT (note, there is no Windows 8 in that last one). Consumers, however, only need to really worry about two editions, Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Here’s a bit of a breakdown:

Windows 8. This is the base edition of Windows 8, similar to Windows 7 Home Premium. It will target consumers who need the basics, but don’t need the “enterprise” features that Windows 8 Pro offers. This edition supports upgrading from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium.

Windows 8 Pro. This edition, which closely resembles Windows 7 Ultimate, targets power users. This edition includes every feature of Windows 8, with also power user features such as boot from VHD, Hyper-V, and BitLocker encryption, to name a few. This edition supports upgrading from Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate.

Windows RT. This edition only supports Windows on ARM or WOA devices. It is also the only edition to include Microsoft Office by default (however, this will probably be a slimmed down version of Office 15 and not the full version). Because Windows RT will only be installed on new WOA devices, most users will only need to worry about this edition when buying a Windows 8 tablet. Windows RT includes most, but not all, of the features in Windows 8. Users cannot upgrade from any version of Windows 7 to Windows RT.

Windows 8 Enterprise. This edition is specifically for volume licensing customers, and as such, will not matter to consumers very much, if at all (though I’m sure some consumers could get into volume licensing if they wanted/needed to). This edition includes all of the features of Windows 8 Pro.

This is a nice changeup from Microsoft. Users now only have two editions to choose from, which makes the buying decision a little easier, compared to Windows 7’s massive list of SKUs.

If you have any questions about Windows 8, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ubuntu removes default Mono support in 12.04: Don’t worry though, you can still (easily) get it back

I’m currently trying out the latest Ubuntu pre-release, 12.04 (Precise Pangolin), and noticed Ubuntu removed support for Mono by default in this release. Prior to 12.04, Ubuntu included a default installation of the Mono Project. However, getting Mono back onto Ubuntu is very easy.

  1. Open up the Ubuntu Software Center (located on the Launcher)
  2. Select Developer Tools from the left navigation pane in USC.
  3. Select Mono/CLI option.
  4. Choose from one of the Mono/CLI developer tools installs and click Install (I recommend choosing complete Mono runtime, development tools, and all libraries).
  5. Enter in your administrative credentials if prompted and click Authenticate to continue.
  6. Done. Enjoy developing/running all your .NET applications.

For those unfamiliar, the Mono Project allows applications targeting the Common Language Runtime (CLR, .NET applications) to run on multiple platforms, such as Mac OSX, *nix, and Solaris. The Mono Project also offers a free Integrated Development Environment for developers to use to develop their CLR applications on these different platforms. Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the project and it seems to be a huge success in the overall community. It currently supports up to .NET Framework 4.0 and is based on the ECMA/ISO standardizations of the CLR.

The Mono project was a great addition to the software suite included in a default installation of Ubuntu. It allowed more scalability of the different types of applications which could run on Ubuntu, but further, it allowed users to test/run .NET applications in a Linux environment. I’m somewhat disappointed the team decided to remove this functionality, but at least they made it very easy to install.

I may write up a separate post about developing and running .NET applications using the Mono project.

.NET Reflector’s Prices Have … Doubled?

For those who know me know I’m a huge fan of RedGate’s .NET Reflector. I’ve used it since the days it was originally released for free (before RedGate’s announcement on Feb 2, 2011). Since then, I’ve held onto my copy, which according to its license terms says I can use my copy as long as I want. It just so happens that my copy never came with full Visual Studio integration, something I would like, but don’t necessarily require. A while back I was looking at this functionality and even considering RedGate’s VS edition of Reflector going for $65 at the time (this supported full VS integration). It seemed reasonable, and I almost considered getting it, but ended up not pulling the trigger. Now, I sort of wish I had, because that same edition now costs a humble $130. In fact, all three editions have seen all doubled in price:


Original Price

Current Price

Standard $35 $70
VS $65 $130
VSPro $90 $190

I tried finding the original prices using WayBackMachine … but it seems like RedGate offers dynamic pricing versus static pricing, so pricing didn’t even show up. If anyone has a screen capture of the original prices and would like to share, feel free to send it my way. BUT, I was able to find this, dating back to March 10, 2011 … Version 7 starting at $35. (Note: you can also see the Feb 2, 2011 announcement when they decided to switch Reflector over to a paid for product.) I’m not sure when RedGate put in the official price changes, as they have nothing on their site stating the increase, it just happened.


This is quite a shame really, .NET Reflector was one of my favorite .NET decompilers. But for now, I will have to continue using my previous edition and have to deal with no VS integration, because there’s no way I’m spending $130 simply for VS integration.

On another note, there are only two updates on RedGate’s “update” page. One shows the new release of Version 7 and the other announcement is the announcement that .NET Reflector is no longer free. That’s it. No announcement of future price increases, no other announcements on the future of Reflect, nada. I’m not against a price increase in general, I personally believe if you have a great product (which .NET Reflector is) you have every right to sell it, but doubling your prices instead of a slow increase, plus without notifying your customers, that I don’t like.

Another I noticed was the extended 30 day free trial (originally only 14 days):


I still don’t think this makes up for the drastic price increase.

Hopefully, RedGate will change their minds about the price increases (or offer a lower priced edition), especially with other comparable free alternatives.

Improving security out of the box: Change Internet Explorer’s default homepage

When purchasing a new computer, or reinstalling Windows, one of the first things I do is change Internet Explorer’s default home page. By default, Microsoft sets the home page to MSN, which has had its fair share of security risks in the past. I always ask myself, why take the extra risk when I haven’t yet installed any other browser, or anti-virus, or possibly a firewall and go to a unsecure website from the get go. Instead, I opt to change the home page of IE before I even start IE. And, you can too … here’s how.

First, before you open Internet Explorer for the first time, open up the Windows Start Menu / Start Screen and type internet options in the search box. Select the option Internet Options to display the dialogue box.

Note: If you are using Windows 8, you will still search internet options in the start screen, BUT, you must navigate to settings (on the right pane) and then click Internet Options.

Once done, you should get the following dialogue box (click on image to make it larger, if needed):


See the highlighted text? This will automatically point your browser to (actually, it first directs to, then forwards you to one of their MSN servers) … a potentially risky environment. Instead, I like to leave this option blank and instead navigate directly to the Microsoft Security Essentials download page. You could, of course, set IE’s home page to something like Google or another preferred search engine, but this also has had it’s issues with security in the past. To be safe, I opt to just leave it blank and navigate to the MSE download site manually.

If for any reason you wish to go back to the original settings after you’ve installed your favorite security tools, just access this dialogue box again and click the Use default button. As always, have fun and be safe.

Have a Kinect? The Kinect for Windows SDK May Be Right For You

Microsoft today released the Kinect for Windows SDK. The highly anticipated development kit is just in beta at this moment but it does offer what many have been anticipating (and what others have already accomplished through self-brewed drivers), connecting and using a Kinect with a PC.

Not only is this product still in Beta, but one interesting note is it hasn’t been given a proper department for it to be held under. Instead, Microsoft Research is still sponsoring the SDK while it is in beta (perhaps forever?). You can download the beta bits here. Just be careful though, there are distinct 32-bit and 64-bit variations to this SDK so make sure to grab the right one. The files stand at 20.8MB and 21.8MB in size, respectively.

There are also already a slew of documentation regarding the API/SDK. Head on over to MR’s main documentation site for the Kinect SDK to get more information on that topic. Documentation includes a programming guide, a brief read me, and several code walkthroughs/examples. It’s worth checking out for anyone beginning their first steps in a Kinect/Windows development environment.

System requirements according to Microsoft Research (Note, this is a direct copy/paste from MR’s site, thus includes links to the download/reference pages for the system requirements):

  • Kinect for Xbox 360 sensor
  • Computer with a dual-core, 2.66-GHz or faster processor
  • Windows 7–compatible graphics card that supports DirectX® 9.0c capabilities
  • 2-GB RAM (4-GB RAM recommended)

The best part is that this is relatively free from a development perspective (only cost for most people will be the Kinect device) as the development tool is the free express edition of Visual Studio 2010 (of course, the normal editions of Visual Studio 2010 will work just as well). As always, have fun and code safely!

Release of IE 9 Garners 2.35 Million Downloads in 24 Hours

At 12:00AM EST Tuesday I was sitting in front on my computer eagerly awaiting my install of Internet Explorer 9 RTW. After several months of beta testing and even more months of testing the Platform Previews for IE 9, I was thoroughly excited about finally getting my hands on the final product. In fact, I wasn’t the only one downloading IE 9 at that time. Some 2.35 million users downloaded IE 9 in just the first 24 hours of its release.

There’s good reason for those many downloads. Microsoft has made some great strides with IE 9, making it the best version of IE available to date. Microsoft’s huge bet on HTML 5 is sure to pay off even if it takes another five years for HTML 5 to become fully recognized and standardized. What this means is that for once Microsoft is finally adhering to web standards and producing a product (especially Internet Explorer) that has almost no negative feedback or comments on. In fact almost everyone I’ve talked to has completely enjoyed using IE 9 as their new, default browser.

Not only is IE 9 becoming more standards compliant, but Microsoft has offered more security features to stack on top of the already secure IE 8. Active X filtering enables users to creates lists of websites to block or allow streaming media, such as Adobe Flash. This is a very useful tool for security users because many of the attacks against Internet Explorer involve Active X in some sort of manner.

Microsoft didn’t stop there though. To add with it’s already good performance with HTML 5 and CSS 3 implementations, Microsoft work hard in creating the first truly hardware accelerated web browser. What hardware acceleration allows for is for both the CPU and GPU to be used during page rendering, which includes anything from loading a basic page to playing a video or a game on the Internet. According to Microsoft only 10% of total PC power is utilized through the processor, which is how traditional browsing took place (IE 8, Chrome, Firefox, etc.). However, by including the GPU with hardware acceleration, the web browser is able to ascertain the remaining 90% of your PCs total power.

There’s many other features that make IE 9 a great upgrade from previous versions and I’ll be writing up a review shortly. If you’re currently interested in downloading IE 9 RTW (Release to Web), you can do so by visiting Beauty of the Web.

How to Get Back the Missing Outlook People Pane

I opened Outlook the other day, as I do everyday, and noticed the People Pane was missing. Trying to figure out what was going on, I thought maybe I hadn’t installed the Outlook Social Connector (which includes support for Facebook and Live Messenger) to enable it. After-all, it was a fairly clean install of Windows 7 + Office 2010. However, I clearly remembered accessing this exact feature the day before, but I definitely did not remember turning it off or even remotely disabling it in any way, yet it wasn’t there.

After perusing the Outlook 2010 ribbon for a little bit, I came across the option to turn it back on. I’m still thoroughly perplexed as to how it was turned off in the first place. And for the record, this isn’t the first time it’s happened to me either.

If you’re in the same predicament I was in I can show you how to get the people pane back up and running, even if I can’t tell you exactly why it disappears from time to time.

Simply click on the View tab in the Ribbon, click on the People Pane option and either select Normal or Minimized to re-enable it. Mine, for some random reason, was set to off. For what it’s worth, I usually set my People Pane to Normal, being able to minimize and restore it on the fly.


That’s all there is to it. If you’re wondering what the People Pane is, it’s simply a useful feature in Outlook that keeps track of e-mails, social networking interactions from your colleagues with integration of the Outlook Social Connector (a separate add-on from Microsoft). Thus, when you select a colleague from your contacts page, or receive an e-mail from the person you can use the People Pane to see their latest status updates, received mail, etc. all in one location. I hope to do a more in-depth coverage as to how the People Pane works and how it can be beneficial for the average user.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter (@jctierney) for more tech news and updates along with answers to some of your shorter, less than 140 character questions.