Gave Up Trying FxCop 11 Standalone

dotnet, vs comments edit

In FxCop 10 you could run code analysis without installing Visual Studio by either grabbing just the FxCop stuff out of Visual Studio or installing the Windows SDK.

Not so, with FxCop 11. There’s no longer a standalone installer - it’s been removed from the Windows SDK.

I tried grabbing the FxCop out of Visual Studio 2012 and it fails with the exception: System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Could not load file or assembly 'Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.Interop.dll' or one of its dependencies. The specified module could not be found.

Using Dependency Walker on Microsoft.VisualStudio.CodeAnalysis.Interop.dll, you can see a ton of missing assembly references:

  • msvcp110.dll
  • msvcr110.dll
  • ieshims.dll
  • mf.dll
  • mfplat.dll
  • mfreadwrite.dll
  • wlanapi.dll

The msvc*.dllassemblies are part of the Visual C++ redistributable, so I tried installing that and it did fix those issues. The ieshims.dll is part of Internet Explorer, so adding C:\Program Files\Internet Explorerto the path fixed that. The mf*.dllfiles, though… that’s media related. Like, “Media Player” style. I’ve seen places that you can get that with WPF bits.

I made sure my build server had all the latest patches after dealing with the Visual C++ and IE stuff, and… then I got more failures. Stuff about “api-win-core-somethingorother.dll” and some WinRT(?!) stuff.


FxCop was added to the Visual Studio Express family, butthe blog article on itdoesn’t tell you which Visual Studio Express has it. Turns out the Visual Studio Express for Web does not include it.

Visual Studio Express for Windows Desktop has FxCop in it, so that’s what you have to install to get FxCop up and running. I presume the Express for Windows 8 version also has it, but I don’t know and I didn’t check. I’m kind of surprised the web one doesn’t come with FxCop.

So… there you go. You have to install Visual Studio on your build server if you want FxCop. (Or you have to chase down all the chained-in dependencies and drag them along with your local version, in which case, good luck with that.)

Note that, even with VS Express installed, I still failed with an error when running from the command line: Failed to add rule assembly: c:\program files (x86)\microsoft visual studio 11.0\team tools\static analysis tools\fxcop\Rules\DataflowRules.dll. Looking in the folder, sure enough, it’s missing. I don’t see anything referencing that assembly, but it’s there in a VS Premium installation, so… what gives?

In fact, there’s a lot missing from the Express version of FxCop that is there in Premium. Like… the whole Phoenix analysis engine is totally missing. What gives? Honestly, I ended up not only having to install VS Express, but also copy over the missing stuff into C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Team Tools\Static Analysis Tools\FxCopso I could get apples-to-apples builds on my build server and dev machines. (Alternatively, I guess you could install VS Premium on the build server since, hell, you’re already installing Visual Studio, so you lost that battle.)

In the end, I had to install Visual Studio 2012 Premium on the build server in order to get things working. Yeah, you read that right. I mean, if you already have two different Express SKUs installed and still didn’t get the entirety of FxCop, it’s time to stop messing about.

I can’t say this leaves me happy. I’m baffled as to why this doesn’t “just work.” FxCop is a standalone thing. It doesn’t make sense that you couldn’t just install it as part of the Windows SDK or a .NET SDK or something. Kind of makes me wonder if it’s an indirect sales ploy to get you to convert to TFS or something.