Control updates to network-based Visual Studio deployments

Enterprise administrators often create a layout and host it on a network file share to deploy to their end-users.

Controlling where Visual Studio looks for updates

By default, Visual Studio continues to look online for updates even if the installation was deployed from a network share. If an update is available, the user can install it. Any updated content that is not found in the offline layout is downloaded from the web.

If you want direct control over where Visual Studio looks for updates, you can modify the location where it looks. You can also control the version your users are updated to. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Create an offline layout:

    vs_enterprise.exe --layout C:\vsoffline --lang en-US
    
  2. Copy it to the file share where you want to host it:

    xcopy /e C:\vsoffline \\server\share\VS
    
  3. Modify the response.json file in the layout and change the channelUri value to point to a copy of the channelManifest.json that the admin controls.

    Be sure to escape backslashes in the value, as in the following example:

    "channelUri":"\\\\server\\share\\VS\\ChannelManifest.json"
    

    Now end-users can run setup from this share to install Visual Studio.

    \\server\share\VS\vs_enterprise.exe
    

When an enterprise administrator determines it is time for their users to update to a newer version of Visual Studio, they can update the layout location to incorporate the updated files, as follows.

  1. Use a command that is similar to the following command:

    vs_enterprise.exe --layout \\server\share\VS --lang en-US
    
  2. Ensure that the response.json file in the updated layout still contains your customizations, specifically the channelUri modification, as follows:

    "channelUri":"\\\\server\\share\\VS\\ChannelManifest.json"
    

    Existing Visual Studio installs from this layout look for updates at \\server\share\VS\ChannelManifest.json. If the channelManifest.json is newer than what the user has installed, Visual Studio notifies the user that an update is available.

    New installs automatically install the updated version of Visual Studio directly from the layout.

Controlling notifications in the Visual Studio IDE

As described earlier, Visual Studio checks the location from which it has been installed, such as a network share or the internet, to see whether any updates are available. When an update is available, Visual Studio notifies the user with a notification flag in the top right-hand corner of the window.

Notification flag for updates

As described earlier, Visual Studio checks the location from which it has been installed, such as a network share or the internet, to see whether any updates are available. When an update is available, Visual Studio notifies the user with a notification icon in the lower right-hand corner of the window.

The notification icon in the Visual Studio IDE

You can disable the notifications if you don't want end-users to be notified of updates. (For example, you might want to disable notifications if you deliver updates through a central software distribution mechanism.)

Because Visual Studio 2017 stores registry entries in a private registry, you can't directly edit the registry in the typical way. However, Visual Studio includes a vsregedit.exe utility that you can use to change Visual Studio settings. You can turn off notifications with the following command:

vsregedit.exe set "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Enterprise" HKCU ExtensionManager AutomaticallyCheckForUpdates2Override dword 0

Because Visual Studio 2019 stores registry entries in a private registry, you can't directly edit the registry in the typical way. However, Visual Studio includes a vsregedit.exe utility that you can use to change Visual Studio settings. You can turn off notifications with the following command:

vsregedit.exe set "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Enterprise" HKCU ExtensionManager AutomaticallyCheckForUpdates2Override dword 0

(Make sure to replace the directory to match the installed instance that you want to edit.)

Tip

Use vswhere.exe to find a specific instance of Visual Studio on a client workstation.

Get support

Sometimes, things can go wrong. If your Visual Studio installation fails, see Troubleshoot Visual Studio installation and upgrade issues for step-by-step guidance.

We also offer a live chat (English only) support option for installation-related issues.

Here are a few more support options:

See also