I am developer working mainly in C# who has now been assigned to a Data Migration project. (Sad story, I know. But that's for another day). We are currently creating column-to-column mapping between tables in an Excel worksheet in a particular format.

Now as many developers, I too hate this kind of mechanical work. I was thinking of creating some sort of small app which will help me in automating this process to a large extent. For this I was thinking of using Visual Studio Express edition as my manager says that the project can't afford a full-fledged VS license.

Is it okay to do this considering the license terms of Express edition?

3 Answers 3


The license terms for Visual Studio Express allow you to write applications that can be used for any purpose, including commercial applications.

  • @Robert But then why does the splash screen of VS Express always say - For Evaluation Purposes Only.
    – Mayank
    Jan 18, 2011 at 16:48
  • @Mayank: I have no idea. See the faq link I posted above. Is it possible you are using VS Professional in evaluation mode? Do a Help/About, and see what the dialog says. Jan 18, 2011 at 16:49
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    @Mayank - have you registered it? The Express editions need to be registered within 30 days - as detailed on the same page @Robert links to.
    – ChrisF
    Jan 18, 2011 at 16:51
  • 1
    It would seem that Microsoft is gently nudging their Express users to try and get them to pay for the Professional version. You can't really blame them for that, I guess. Jan 18, 2011 at 17:01
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    @Dominic - Which means its working exactly like it should.
    – Ramhound
    May 27, 2011 at 16:29

If you still have concerns about using the Express Edition, you could alway try Mono, which is an open source implementation of .NET. It runs on Window, Linux and Mac. Even if you don't need it for this project, it is worth checking out.


License terms doesn't matter, as long as your software is legally obtained according to your country / state laws... it is legal and you can do whatever you want with it.

Because country / state laws always have precedence. And these laws define if your software is legal or not. TOS would be very hard to proove even legally bounding, despite the fact that many rules found in some TOS are just illegal.

  • 7
    Are you a lawyer or do you at least play one on TV?
    – Adam Lear
    Jan 18, 2011 at 19:04
  • @Slawek While some (and only some) laws take precedence over what might be in the TOS, that doesn't mean everything in the TOS is null and void. Have you ever heard of a contract? Accepting the TOS is entering into a contract. Illegal contract terms are unenforceable, but do not void the rest of the contract. Jan 18, 2011 at 19:35
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    Please bear in mind that it's almost certainly that noone on this site is a lawyer, including the downvoters. Slawek makes an excellent point, if tangentially: your rights depend on your local legal regime, and your shrink-wrap "contract" might be unenforceable. Some countries do not allow you to give up various of your rights. Jan 18, 2011 at 20:31
  • No Anna, im not a lawyer - but sometimes read some TOS and usually they're full of some unenforceable bullshit (eg. it is unacceptable to use XXX... to help in preparing a terrorist attack). Now what? You use illegal software if you do? :) There is a big case in my country now, there is an service provider that argues that 11 years old children should be accountable to their TOS and pay $100 for a year, upfront, because they trick them to sign to their service by sending spam saying "sign up now for free! someone posted naked pictures of you!".
    – Slawek
    Jan 18, 2011 at 20:38
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    @Slawek If you help prepare a terrorist attack and get busted, breach of software TOS is the least of your problems. ;) IANAL, but I suspect clauses like that are there more to protect the sofware company rather than prosecute the users.
    – Adam Lear
    Jan 19, 2011 at 14:23

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