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How to: Install Community Components

If you have saved a community component to your computer from the Web, or received a component from another developer, you must install the component so that you can use it in Visual Studio. Components can be starter kits, item templates, code snippets, or add-ins, among others. Components recognized by Visual Studio use the .vsi file name extension and are installed by using the Visual Studio Content Installer. 

Beginning in Visual Studio 2008, authors of community components can select the versions of Visual Studio that their component supports. You can install components created by using Visual Studio 2005 on both Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008. However, components created by using Visual Studio 2008 might not target Visual Studio 2005, depending on choices that the content author made. For more information, see How to: Package Community Components to Use the Visual Studio Content Installer .

If you have Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Studio 2005 installed on the same computer and you double-click a .vsi file that contains a component other than an add-in, the component will automatically install for use with both versions. Add-in community components can only be installed for use with one version of Visual Studio at a time, because of registry issues. By default, if an add-in community component was created by using Visual Studio 2005, the add-in will only be installed for use with Visual Studio 2005.


Depending on its design, a community component created by using Visual Studio 2005 might not work correctly when it is used in Visual Studio 2008 and vice versa.

To install a community component

  1. Double-click the .vsi file for the component.

    The Visual Studio Content Installer appears.

  2. Follow the directions in the wizard to install the component.

    Security noteSecurity Note:

    It is highly recommended that you read the information in Publisher Status to determine whether the control is signed. For additional security, click Review to display a list of the files that will be installed on your computer.