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Microsoft will continue to enhance the capabilities of Visual Studio 2019 with frequent minor version updates. We want these features to add clear value to you. So, we ask for your product suggestions on Developer Community, we publish a Roadmap of upcoming features, and we make a preview of these features available for you to validate and submit feedback on. This doc will explain our release rhythm of previews, releases, and servicing fixes.

Visual Studio 2019 can be acquired from one or both of:

  1. Preview channel
  2. Release channel

Preview Channel carries the latest features and provides you with an early peek of what's coming in the next minor version update on the Release Channel. After a few iterations in preview, these features become available on the Release Channel. You can install both Preview and Release Channel versions of Visual Studio 2019 side-by-side on the same machine. At any given point, the Preview Channel will contain the same or newer features and fixes compared to the Release Channel. You will get notified as newer versions are available for install.

In the following sections, you can find more details about how and when updates to Visual Studio ship, and how you can preview functionality before it's released to the world.

Visual Studio Releases and Previews
(Figure 1) Visual Studio Releases and Previews

Release Channel Updates

Updates to Visual Studio fall into two general categories:

  • Minor Updates ship roughly every two to three months to the Release Channel, after being available in the Preview Channel. These updates may include new features, bug fixes, and changes to adapt to platform changes (for example, changes in Windows, Azure, Android, or iOS). You can determine which minor update you are running by opening Help > About and reading the second part of the version number, for example 16.1 or 16.2.
  • Servicing Updates are releases of targeted fixes for critical issues. You're can determine which servicing update you're running by opening Help > About and reading the third part of the version number, for example 16.0.10, 16.1.3.

Both minor and servicing updates to the Release Channel are ready to be used in production environments. Noteworthy updates will be announced through the Visual Studio blog. All minor updates are accompanied by release notes. Visual Studio alerts you that a new update is available by the notification icon in the bottom right corner of the IDE.

We strongly encourage everyone to adopt updates as soon as possible. However, we do acknowledge that some customers may need to use an older build. For users of the Professional and Enterprise editions, we offer multiple servicing baselines to give administrators and larger development teams more flexibility and control in adopting new releases. Please note that outside of servicing baselines, we do not offer support for these older releases. If an older release is required for your development scenario, we recommend that you create your own offline install cache and store the cache for future use.

Preview Channel Updates

Previews are meant for those who are eager to try out new Visual Studio features. All features or experiences that are coming online in the next minor update always ship first in a release to the Preview Channel. Even though previews are not intended for use in production, they will be at a sufficient quality level for you to generally use and provide feedback. There are usually multiple previews leading up to the next minor update, and they don't necessarily adhere to any preset schedule.

Update Notifications

You will receive notification that updates to the Preview and Release channels are available through the notification icon in the IDE and through posts to the Visual Studio blog. The Release Channel release notes and Preview Channel release notes will document the features and fixes available in that release to help you make an informed decision about when to install it. Lastly, we will update all the relevant feedback items on the Developer Community portal to let you know in which version an issue was fixed.

Feedback & Suggestions

We would love to hear from you! For issues, let us know through the Report a Problem Feedback Icon feature in the upper right-hand corner of either the installer or the Visual Studio IDE. You can make a product suggestion or track your issues by using Visual Studio Developer Community, where you can ask questions, find answers, or propose new features. You can also get free installation help through our Live Chat support.

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