Installing Visual Studio

Installing Visual Studio


This page includes detailed information to help you with installing Visual Studio 2015, our integrated suite of productivity tools for developers. We've also included links to get you quickly to information about features, editions, system requirements, downloads, and more.


To view installation information about previous versions of Visual Studio, click the "Other Versions" link at the top of this page.

Before we dig in to the details, here's a list of our most frequently requested links.


To learn more about new or updated features in Visual Studio 2015, see the release notes for Visual Studio 2015 RTM and Visual Studio 2015 Update 1.


To find out what's available in each edition of Visual Studio 2015, see our Compare Visual Studio Offerings page.

System Requirements

To view the system requirements for each edition of Visual Studio 2015, see the Visual Studio 2015 Compatibility page.


To install Visual Studio 2015, download it from Visual Studio Downloads, or use the installation media from the boxed product.

Product Keys

To locate your product key, see the How to: Locate the Visual Studio Product Key topic.


To find out about licensing options for both individuals or enterprise customers, see the Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing white paper.

When you install Visual Studio 2015, you can include or exclude components that you'd use on a daily basis. This means that a Default installation will often be smaller and install faster than a Custom installation. It also means that many components that were installed by default in previous versions now are considered Custom components that you must explicitly select in this version.

Visual Studio 2015 Setup Dialog

Custom components include Visual C++, Visual F#, SQL Server Data Tools, Cross-platform mobile tools and SDKs, and third-party SDKs and extensions. You can install any of the custom components at a later time if you don't select them during the initial setup.


A Custom installation automatically includes the components that are in a Default installation.

The complete list of Custom components is as follows:

  • Programming Languages

    • Visual C++ compilers, libraries and Tools

    • Visual F#

    • Python Tools for Visual Studio

  • Windows and Web Development

    • ClickOnce Publishing Tools

    • Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools

    • Microsoft Web Developer Tools

    • PowerShell Tools for Visual Studio

    • Silverlight Development Kit

    • Universal Windows App Development Tools

    • Windows 10 Tools and SDKs

    • Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.0/8.1 Tools

    • Windows 8.1 Tools and SDKs

  • Cross Platform Mobile Development

    • Xamarin (C#/.NET)

    • Apache Cordova (HTML/JavaScript)

    • Visual C++ Mobile Development for iOS / Android

  • Common Tools and SDKs

    • Android Native Development Kit (R10E, 32 bits)

    • Android SDK

    • Android SDK Setup (API Level 19 and 21)

    • Android SDK Setup (API Level 22)

    • Apache Ant (1.9.3)

    • Java SE Development Kit (7.0.550.13)

    • Joyent Node.js

  • Common Tools

    • Git for Windows

    • GitHub Extensions for Visual Studio

    • Visual Studio Extensibility Tools

You need administrator credentials to install Visual Studio. However, you don't need them to use Visual Studio after you install it.

Your local administrator account must have the following privileges enabled to install everything in Visual Studio.

Local Policy Object Display Name

User Right

Backup Files and directories


Debug programs


Manage auditing and security log


For more information on this local administrator account requirement, see the Knowledge Base article, SQL Server installation fails if the Setup account does not have certain user rights.

  • To install Visual Studio, in the root directory on the Visual Studio installation media, run the installation file for the edition you want:


    Installation File

    Visual Studio Enterprise


    Visual Studio Professional


    Visual Studio Community


In most cases, you can install Visual Studio from the download site with no problems. However, in some cases, you may want to download all the update packages before you install them (for example, to install on multiple machines or on an offline machine). The following steps explain how to download all the update packages that you need for an offline installation.

  1. After you download the update executable from the MSDN website to a location on your file system, run the following command at a command prompt: <executable name> /layout.

    This command downloads all the packages for the installation.

    By using the /layout switch, you can download almost all the core installation packages, not just the ones that apply to the download machine. This approach gives you all the files that you need to run this update anywhere and may be useful if you want to install components that weren't installed originally.

  2. After you run the command, you should be prompted for the download location. Enter the location, and then choose Download.

  3. When the package download is successful, you should see a Visual Studio screen that says Setup Successful! All specified components have been acquired successfully.

  4. In the file location that you specified, find the executable file and the package folder. This is everything you need to copy to a shared location or install media.


    Currently, the Android SDK does not support an offline installation experience. If you install Android SDK Setup items on a computer that is not connected to the internet, the installation might fail.

  5. You can now run the installation from the file location or the install media.

Video Issues with Hyper-V

If you run Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V enabled and an accelerated graphics adapter, you may experience system slowdowns.

For more information, see the following page on the Microsoft website: Video performance may decrease when a Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2 based computer has the Hyper-V role enabled and an accelerated display adapter installed.

Emulating Devices with Hyper-V

When you install Visual Studio 2015 on real hardware without virtualization, you can choose features that enable emulation of Windows and Android devices using Hyper-V. When you install into Hyper-V, you will not be able to emulate the Windows or Android devices. This is because the emulators are themselves virtual machines, and you cannot currently host a VM inside another VM. The workaround is to have real Windows or Android devices to which you can directly deploy and debug your application.

When you run the installation application, you can use the following command-line parameters, which are case-insensitive.






Displays command-line parameters.


Specifies which features to add or remove from the installed product.

/AdminFile AdminDeployment.xml

Installs Visual Studio using the data file that you specified for administrative installation.


Consents to the collection of information to improve the customer experience in accordance with the product privacy policy.

/ChainingPackage BundleName

Specifies which bundle is chaining this bundle. Also can be used to specify a Customer Improvement Experience cohort.

/CreateAdminFile <filename>

Specifies the location to create a control file that can be used with /AdminFile

/CustomInstallPath InstallationDirectory

Installs all re-targetable packages in the directory that you specify.


Always restarts the computer after installation.


Installs all product features.

/InstallSelectableItems <item name 1>[;<item name 2>]

List of selection tree items to check on the selection screen of the installer wizard.


/Log Filename

Specifies a location for the log file.

/layout Directory

Copies the files on the installation media to the directory that you specify.


Prevents pre-population of the package cache.


Prevents the check for newer versions of this product for either required or recommended updated versions.


Prevents the installation application from restarting the computer during or after installation. See the Return Codes section of the Visual Studio Administrator Guide for the return codes to look for.


Prevents installation from the Internet.

/OverrideFeedUri <path to feed file>

Path to a local, external feed that describes software items



Sets a custom product key that contains no dashes and no more than 25 characters.


Prompts the user before restarting the computer.





Suppresses the user interface (UI) for the installation application. If Visual Studio is already installed and you specify no parameters except this one, the installation application runs in Maintenance mode.



Shows progress but doesn't wait for user input.


Repairs Visual Studio.


Prevents displaying the update available dialog in the installation wizard, thus, the installation wizard will auto-accept any required or recommended updated versions.



Uninstalls Visual Studio.

/Uninstall /Force

/u /force

Uninstalls Visual Studio and all features that are shared with other products.


If you use this parameter, other products that are installed on the same computer might stop functioning correctly.

When running setup from the command line, you will want to capture and process the return code for a better command-line experience. See the Visual Studio Administrator Guide for more information.

Use these resources to get help for setup and installation issues:

  • Visual Studio Setup and Installation forum. Review questions and answers from others in the Visual Studio community. If you don't find what you need, ask your own questions.

  • Microsoft Support for Visual Studio website. Read knowledge base (KB) articles and learn how to contact Microsoft Support for information about issues with Visual Studio installation.

  • For releases of Visual Studio 2015, you can report your issue by using the Connect site at

    It’s best if your issue includes the installation logs. You can prepare your logs for the issue report by using the Microsoft Visual Studio and .NET Framework Log Collection Tool, as described in the following steps.

    1. Download the installation diagnostic tool from 

    2. From an elevated command prompt, run the collect.exe program.

    3. After the collect.exe program completes, fetch the file from your Temp directory and upload that into the issue report.

For information about how to deploy Visual Studio over a network, see Visual Studio Administrator Guide.

After you have installed Visual Studio, we recommend that you register your copy of the product.

To register Visual Studio

  1. On the menu bar, choose Help, About.

    The About dialog box shows the product identification number (PID). You'll need the PID and Windows Account credentials (such as a Hotmail or email address and password) to register the product.

  2. On the menu bar, choose Help, Register Product.

After you install Visual Studio, you can download additional Help content so that it will be available offline.

To install or uninstall Help content

  1. On the Visual Studio menu bar, choose Help, Add and Remove Help Content.

  2. On the Manage Content tab of the Microsoft Help Viewer, select the installation source for your Help content.

  3. If you're looking for a specific Help collection, enter the name or a keyword in the Search text box and then press Enter.

  4. Next to the name of the Help collection you want, choose the Add or Remove link.

  5. Choose the Update button.

For more information about offline Help, see Microsoft Help Viewer 2.2 Help

To repair Visual Studio

  1. In Control Panel, on the Programs and Features page, choose the product edition that you want to repair, and then choose Change.

  2. In the Setup wizard, choose Repair, choose Next, and then follow the remaining instructions.

To repair Visual Studio in silent or passive modes (that is, repair from source)

  1. On the computer where Visual Studio is installed, open the Windows command prompt.

  2. Enter the following parameters:

    DVDRoot \<Installation File> </quiet|/passive> [/norestart]/Repair

To install selectable items

  1. In Control Panel, on the Programs and Features page, choose the product edition to which you want to add one or more components, and then choose Change.

  2. In the Setup wizard, choose Modify, and then choose the components that you want to install.

  3. Choose Next, and then follow the remaining instructions.

Visual Studio doesn't automatically upgrade extensions when you upgrade from previous versions because not all extensions are compatible. You must reinstall the extensions from the Visual Studio Gallery or the software publisher.

To automatically check for service releases

  1. On the menu bar, choose Tools, Options.

  2. In the Options dialog box, expand Environment, and then select Extensions and Updates. Make sure the Automatically check for updates check box is selected, and then choose OK.

Use the following procedures to uninstall Visual Studio 2015.

To uninstall Visual Studio

  1. In Control Panel, on the Programs and Features page, choose the product edition that you want to uninstall, and then choose Change.

  2. In the Setup wizard, choose Uninstall, choose Yes, and then follow the remaining instructions in the wizard.

To uninstall Visual Studio in silent or passive modes (that is, uninstall from source)

  1. On the computer where Visual Studio is installed, open the Windows command prompt.

  2. Enter the following parameters:

    DVDRoot \<Installation File> </quiet|/passive> [/norestart]/uninstall

If you can't uninstall Visual Studio by using the uninstallation utility, you can perform a manual uninstallation by removing Visual Studio and then removing related components. For more information, see the How to uninstall Visual Studio article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB), or the Removing Visual Studio components left behind after an uninstall post on the Microsoft Server & Tools Blogs website.



Installing Visual Studio Versions Side-by-Side

Provides information about how to install multiple versions of Visual Studio on the same computer.

The Visual Studio Image Library

Provides information about how to install graphics that you can use in Visual Studio applications.

Visual Studio Administrator Guide

Provides information about deployment options for Visual Studio.

Installing Multiple Language Versions of Visual Studio

Provides information about how to install different language versions of Visual Studio.

How to: Locate the Visual Studio Product Key

Provides information about how to locate the product key for your installation of Visual Studio.

Get Started Developing with Visual Studio

Links to documents that can help you use Visual Studio effectively.

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