VS.NET 2003 comes with a nice feature that allows you to automatically run an external executable file before or after a build. For example, you may want that after a build a Windows Explorer window is automatically opened on the output folder, so that you can easily run the compiled program. Or you may want to backup the current assembly by copying it to another location before the build is run. This is possible in C# projects (not VB.NET unfortunately) by settings some options in the project’s properties dialog window (Project | Properties), under the Common Properties / Build Events sheet.
To make VS.NET open the project’s output folder after a build, just type “explorer $(TargetDir)” in the Post-Build Event command line textbox. For more elaborated actions, such as doing backups, registering/unregistering assemblies to the GAC or to the COM+ catalog, you can write custom .BAT files, and point to them in the Pre/Post-build events.