Devenv Command-Line Switches for VSPackage Development

Visual Studio allows developers to automate tasks from the command line when executing devenv.exe, the file that starts the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE).

Tasks include:

  • Deploying applications in predesigned configurations from outside the IDE.

  • Automatically building projects using preset build settings or debug configurations.

  • Loading the IDE in specific configurations, all from outside the IDE. In addition, you can customize the IDE upon launch.

Guidelines for Switches

Visual Studio documentation describes the user-level devenv command line switches. For more information, see Devenv Command Line Switches. Devenv also supports additional command-line switches that are useful with VSPackage development, deployment, and debugging.

Command-line switch



Launches Visual Studio in safe mode, loading only the default IDE and services. The /safemode switch prevents all third-party VSPackages from loading when Visual Studio starts, thus ensuring stable execution.

This switch takes no arguments.


Clears all skip loading options that have been added by users who want to avoid loading problematic VSPackages, then starts Visual Studio. The presence of a SkipLoading tag disables the loading of a VSPackage. Clearing the tag re-enables the loading of the VSPackage.

This switch takes no arguments.


Starts Visual Studio by using an alternate location. The following command is run by the shortcut created by the Visual Studio SDK installer:

devenv /RootSuffix exp

In this case, exp identifies a location with a particular suffix, for example 10.0Exp rather than 10.0. The experimental instance allows you to debug a VSPackage separately from the instance of Visual Studio that you are using to write code.

This switch can take any string that identifies a location that you have created by using VSRegEx.exe. For more information, see Experimental Instance of Visual Studio.


Shows the Visual Studio splash screen as usual and then shows a message box before showing the main IDE. The message box lets you study the splash screen, to check for a VSPackage product icon, for example.

This switch takes no arguments.

See Also


Devenv Command Line Switches


Adding Command-Line Switches