Visual Studio administrator guide

In enterprise environments, system administrators typically deploy installations to end users from a network share or by using systems management software. We've designed the Visual Studio setup engine to support enterprise deployment by giving system administrators the ability to create a network install location, to pre-configure installation defaults, to deploy product keys during the installation process, and to manage product updates after a successful rollout.

This administrator guide provides scenario-based guidance for enterprise deployment in networked environments.

Before you begin

Before you deploy Visual Studio across your organization, there are a few decisions to make and tasks to complete:

  • Decide on your servicing needs.

    If your company needs to stay on a feature set longer but still wants to get regular servicing updates, plan to use a servicing baseline. For more information, see the Support options for Enterprise and Professional customers section of the Visual Studio product lifecycle and servicing page, as well as the Update Visual Studio while on a servicing baseline page.

  • Decide on the update model.

    Where do you want individual client machines to get the product updates from? Specifically, decide whether you want the client to get updates from the internet or from a company-wide local share. Then, if you choose to use a local share, decide whether individual users can update their own clients or if you want an admin to update the clients programmatically. It's best if these decisions were made before the original installation happens on the client machine. For more information, see Create a network-based installation of Visual Studio.

    It's possible to update a network installation layout of Visual Studio with the latest product updates so that it can be used both as an installation point for the latest update of Visual Studio, and also to maintain installations that are already deployed to client workstations. For more information, see Update a network-based installation of Visual Studio.

    Organizations that utilize enterprise deployment tools can take advantage of the fact that Visual Studio updates are available on the Microsoft Update Catalog and Windows Server Update Services. For more information, see Enabling administrator updates and Applying administrator updates.

    For computers that are not connected to the internet, creating a minimal layout is the easiest and fastest way to update your offline Visual Studio instances. For more information, see Update Visual Studio using a minimal offline layout.

  • Decide if you want to enable Group Policy, and if you want to configure Visual Studio to disable customer feedback on individual computers.

Step 1 - Download Visual Studio product files

Step 2 - Build an installation script

Step 3 - Deploy updates

Use your deployment technology of choice to execute your script onto your target developer workstations.

  • Refresh your network location with the latest updates to Visual Studio by running the command you used in step 1 on a regular basis to add updated components.

    You can update Visual Studio by using an update script. To do so, use the update command-line parameter.

    You can deploy Visual Studio updates from the Windows Server Update Services or the Microsoft Update Catalog with tools like System Center Configuration Manager. Refer to Applying administrator updates for more information.

Step 4 - (Optional) Use Visual Studio tools to verify installation

We have several tools available to help you detect and manage installed Visual Studio instances on client machines.

Advanced configuration

By default, the Visual Studio installation enables custom type inclusion in Bing searches from error list F1 and code links. You can configure Visual Studio to disable the search mechanism from including any custom user types by changing the value of the following registry key by policy:

“PutCustomTypeInBingSearch” DWORD 0

The registry is located in the *Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\16.0_{InstanceId}\Roslyn\Internal\Diagnostics* directory of your private registry hive. For instructions on how to open the registry hive, see editing the registry for a Visual Studio instance.

Step 1 - Download Visual Studio product files

Step 2 - Build an installation script

Step 3 - Deploy updates

Use your deployment technology of choice to execute your script onto your target developer workstations.

  • Refresh your network location with the latest updates to Visual Studio by running the command you used in step 1 on a regular basis to add updated components.

    You can update Visual Studio by using an update script. To do so, use the update command-line parameter.

    You can deploy Visual Studio updates from the Windows Server Update Services or the Microsoft Update Catalog with tools like System Center Configuration Manager. For more information, see Applying administrator updates.

Step 4 - (Optional) Use Visual Studio tools to verify installation

We have several tools available to help you detect and manage installed Visual Studio instances on client machines.

Advanced configuration

By default, the Visual Studio installation enables custom type inclusion in Bing searches from error list F1 and code links. You can configure Visual Studio to disable the search mechanism from including any custom user types by changing the value of the following registry key by policy:

“PutCustomTypeInBingSearch” DWORD 0

The registry is located in the Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\15.0_{InstanceId}\Roslyn\Internal\Diagnostics\ directory of your private registry hive. For instructions on how to open the registry hive, see editing the registry for a Visual Studio instance.

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 an installation chat (English only) support option for installation-related issues.

Here are a few more support options:

See also