Not a very helpful message – but not the worst.

Error details

For what it’s worth here are the error details.


Failed to start project (Microsoft Visual Studio)


Unable to start debugging.
The debugger is not properly installed.
Run setup to install or repair the debugger. (Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.VsIntegration)

Program Location:

   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsPackageDebugger.LaunchVsDebugger(IVsDebugger iVsDebugger, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsPackageDebugger.ValidateAndRunDebugger(Int32 flags, IOutputWindow outputWindow, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsProjectDebugger.LaunchDtsPackage(Int32 launchOptions, ProjectItem startupProjItem, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsProjectDebugger.LaunchActivePackage(Int32 launchOptions)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsProjectDebugger.LaunchDtsPackage(Int32 launchOptions, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsProjectDebugger.Launch(Int32 launchOptions, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)


Unable to start program 'DTS'.

The debugger is not properly installed.  Cannot debug the requested type of code.  Run setup to install or repair the debugger. (Microsoft Visual Studio Debugger)

Program Location:

   at System.Runtime.InteropServices.Marshal.ThrowExceptionForHRInternal(Int32 errorCode, IntPtr errorInfo)
   at Microsoft.DataTransformationServices.Project.DataTransformationsPackageDebugger.LaunchVsDebugger(IVsDebugger iVsDebugger, DataTransformationsProjectConfigurationOptions options)

Microsoft’s handling of SSDT isn’t good

I have criticized Microsoft about this before here – and I am going to continue to wag my finger at them. It’s getting better, but still not as good as it should be when they should be making sure developers aren’t wasting hours trying to figure out their mess. I have fixed this problem before, but like always I was too busy to write down what I did to fix it. Well then that’s when I pay for having to figure it out again.

STOP: Uninstall/Reinstall isn’t totally necessary

I’m sorry to say, my solution may not be your solution because this is a rather complicated problem because SSDT, SQL Server and Visual Studio have a very spaghetti code like relationship. A lot can go wrong and it doesn’t seem like there is any one solution. I will caution however that uninstalling everything and reinstalling everything is usually a last resort measure – don’t feel compelled to do that because normally a solution can be found if you try to understand the problem first. If you are desperate then go ahead and do a complete tear down and build up – but all you are doing is hiding the problem.

Why is this all so broken?

To understand where all of these problems have more than likely come from then please read this post, it’s all there. Now if you read that post you will understand this block located on the Microsoft SSDT Visual Studio 2017 download page.

Make sure to study this carefully, it might have your answer in it.

You might have forgotten something

The most important thing here is to realize or remember that you might have installed the initial extensions that Microsoft offered which weren’t great but it was all they had before they released an official SSDT version for VS 2017. Those plugins sucked so bad if you needed to get any real work done you stayed on VS 2015 until they fixed it (at least I did).

So essentially what is happening here is, you might have forgotten you installed those extensions, you tried to run an SSIS package, you get that error up top and now you wonder why. This is just a hypothesis, but it is more than likely because Visual Studio itself has outgrown those extensions.

The potential fix

Like I stated before, this isn’t a guarantee that it will fix your problem, but you can try it IF you have a similar recollection or setup to what I am describing above:

  1. Uninstall ALL old Visual Studio SSIS, SSRS and SSAS extensions (VSIX) – they are no longer viable for developing with.
  2. Download the SSDT installer for Visual Studio 2017
    1. If the installer warns you that you have something old installed, you have to uninstall it for this to be successful
    2. Warning: Installing SSDT is easier than uninstalling SSDT – so try to get this right.
  3. Try and run your SSIS package again – it should work this time. If it doesn’t work then you are having a different problem. Sorry.
    1. Try and work through the problem logically, there are a lot of moving parts to worry about.
    2. If you are desperate then you can uninstall everything and reinstall everything.

Conclusion / rant

I don’t know why Microsoft won’t get this right, I know they are transitioning many core elements of SQL Server development tools in general over to Visual Studio based platforms. However it seems like they keep making some pretty daunting mistakes that cost everyone too much time. I had a colleague the other day lose hours of work to a windows update that screwed up his environment while working on an SSIS package. It’s irritating to say the least. Me I just lost about 2 or 3 hours trying to remember what the problem is here, but this time I documented it. I hope it helps others not lose time. Microsoft! Get your shit together!

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