Visual Studio 11 Beta Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

On February 29th, I announced the beta release of Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5. It’s been encouraging to see the level of excitement around this release in the community, as well as the number of people who installed the bits and have been providing feedback. I’ve noticed some recurring questions about the release on my blog and other community channels, so I’d like to answer them here. I hope that you will find this information helpful as you use and evaluate the beta.

What are the supported operating systems for Visual Studio 11 Beta?

The supported operating systems for the Visual Studio 11 Beta products are available in the system requirements section of the respective Visual Studio 11 Beta download pages. Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Windows 8 is specifically designed for Metro style app development, and therefore requires Windows 8 Consumer Preview (x86 or x64). Other downloads, like Team Explorer Everywhere 11 Beta, include support for additional operating systems as well. I recommend visiting the Visual Studio 11 Beta download pages for complete details. Again, please note that these are the Beta product specifications. We do not have details available for RTM at this time.

If you’re installing Visual Studio 11 Beta on Windows 8, please note that due to dependent components between Visual Studio and Windows this release, Visual Studio 11 Beta needs to be installed on Windows 8 Consumer Preview or Windows 8 Server Beta, and cannot be run on Windows 8 Developer Preview.

What changes are planned for the Visual Studio 11 user experience post-Beta?

We appreciate all the feedback that we’ve received on the Visual Studio 11 Beta user experience. You can find more information on these changes on the Visual Studio team blog. We are reading the comments and taking this feedback very seriously. The beta product is not the final experience and feedback from our community helps us to further evolve the experience to meet the needs of developers.

I’ve noticed that some of my Visual Studio 2010 icons changed after installing Visual Studio 11 Beta side by side. Is there any way to get them back?

Repairing Visual Studio 2010 will restore most Visual Studio 2010 icons back to their original images. The exception is .sln files which will keep their Visual Studio 11 appearance even after a repair.

What investments have you made in performance as part of Visual Studio 11 Beta?

With Visual Studio 11 we have made significant investments in improving the fundamental performance of Visual Studio. Key examples of improvements that have been made include lower Virtual Memory and responsiveness of Solution Load and Debugging. We’ve started posting specific examples and background information about these performance improvements on the Visual Studio team blog.  Making Visual Studio a high performing environment is something the entire team is committed to.  Performance is also something I believe requires a long term and continual investment.  So please do send along your feedback and let us know what you think. 

Why isn’t the installer customizable? Are you going to make it customizable for RTM?

We are currently investigating customization options. To give us more direct feedback, please feel free to weigh in on the User Voice thread on this topic.

What is the Visual Studio 11 roadmap leading up to RTM?

So far, we’ve shipped two pre-releases as part of the Visual Studio 11 product cycle, including Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview and last month’s Visual Studio 11 Beta. We expect to follow the typical milestones that will include Release Candidate (RC), Release to Manufacturing (RTM), and General Availability (GA).  The timing of those milestones will be based on feedback, so please do make sure to install the beta and send yours if you have not already done so.

What are the supported upgrade paths?

This information is available in the “Upgrade paths” section of the Visual Studio 11 Beta “Go Live” webpage.

Can I install Visual Studio 11 Beta in my production environment?

Yes, Visual Studio 11 Beta ships with a “go live” license, which supports use in production. For more information about the “go live” license terms, please visit the Visual Studio 11 product website.

When will I be able to submit my app to the Windows Store?

The Windows Store isn't open yet for general submission. However you can still use Visual Studio 11 Beta to package and test your app locally while you wait for the Store to open for general submissions. I recommend that you watch the Windows Store blog for updates on this topic.

Which of my existing projects can I open in Visual Studio 11 Beta?

You can find the full list of Visual Studio 11 Beta supported project types on MSDN. Projects built using earlier RTM versions of Visual Studio (such as VS 2010, VS 2008, VS 2005) can be opened in Visual Studio 11 Beta. Visual Studio 11 provides multi-targeting support, so that you can continue to target earlier versions of the .NET Framework. Furthermore, we’ve improved the project compatibility support so that once you open your existing Visual Studio project in Visual Studio 11 Beta, you can continue working on it from Visual Studio 2010 SP1. This is a huge time saver for teams collaborating between Visual Studio 11 and Visual Studio 2010 SP1. (Please note that projects built using the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview are not officially supported in Visual Studio 11 Beta, and may require copying over the necessary code files into a new project created in the Visual Studio 11 Beta.)

Can I use the Visual Studio 11 Beta to develop Windows Phone applications?

Visual Studio is designed to provide first class support for developing applications across the Microsoft platforms. However, the product cycles for Visual Studio and respective platforms are not always aligned. Given this, we don’t currently have Windows Phone support built into the Visual Studio 11 Beta. We are working closely with the Windows Phone team to enable this support, and you can find the latest information on this topic on the Windows Phone Developer blog.

Can I use the Visual Studio 11 Beta to develop and deploy Windows Azure applications?

For now, you will need to use Visual Studio 2010 for Azure development, which can be done side-by-side with Visual Studio 11 on the same machine. Detailed steps are available on the Windows Azure portal. Native support for the Azure SDK in Visual Studio 11 is coming in the future.

Stay tuned for.NET Framework 4.5 support in Windows Azure Guest OS families, which is also coming in the future. 

Does Visual Studio 11 Beta include the async/await features from the Async CTP and Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview?

You can use Visual Studio 11 Beta to build apps that use async/await with .NET Framework 4.5. However, you are currently unable to use Visual Studio 11 Beta to build apps that use async/await with .NET Framework 4 or Silverlight 5. You can find more details on this issue, as well as future updates, on the Parallel Extensions team blog.

Where is Blend?

In Visual Studio 11 Beta, Blend is included as part of the installation of Visual Studio 11 Express Beta for Windows 8, Visual Studio 11 Professional Beta, Visual Studio 11 Premium Beta, and Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Beta.


Thanks again for all the great comments.  Please keep the feedback coming!


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Comments (9)
  1. davidacoder says:

    Here is another question: Will there be a free C# Express edition? A large reason we stuck with C# for our product is that there always was a free VS version for it. If that is going to change it would be quite terrible from our point of view (open source scientific model, where the ability for other research teams to run our code quickly and freely is key).

  2. Patrick Smacchia says:

    The community being clearly concerned about the greyish icons, maybe we could add the question:

    -> Is there a chance that the VS team takes account of the thousands of negative feedbacks concerning greyish icons, and switch back to VSpre11 colorful icons?

  3. Daniel Rose says:

    Will Blend also be part of Visual Studio when it is RTM?

  4. Jason Zander says:

    @davidacoder, @Daniel – we have not yet finalized the SKU's for the final release, stay tuned…

    @Patrick – we have definitely heard the feedback.  as mentioned above, the beta is about getting feedback and will not reflect the final look and feel

  5. commongenius says:

    I appreciate that you are listening to all of the "passionate" feedback regarding the user experience. I hope you also appreciate that a large part of the criticism is not just about the design itself, but also about the way that it was presented. Rather than saying to the community (preferably long before Beta):

    "We are considering making a radical change to the UI of Visual Studio. We know that it will be a shock, but we think that ultimately it will provide a better experience. Here is our reasoning; and because we can imagine that you will be skeptical, here is our thinking about some of the potential objections you might have, along with the detailed testing and study results we have already compiled that back up our conclusions. Do you think the problems we have identified are as significant as we think they are? Have you encountered them when using Visual Studio yourself? Do you think this new approach will solve or mitigate them? Are there any potential unanticipated consequences of this design that we might not have identified?"

    instead we got:

    "Even though you never noticed before, we have decided that the increasing use of color in the last several releases of VS was actually bad; all those colors and lines have actually been distracting you from your work. Trust us. We want to 'fix' that by deviating radically from established design guidelines from the last two decades, such as reverting to a grayscale palette throughout most of the application, and eliminating control edges and other small elements that help give the UI its sense of structure. This may or may not be an attempt to align Visual Studio with controversial new design guidelines being pushed across the platform that likely have no place in this kind of application. Here is a very simple study involving an extremely tiny sample that produced some vague results that we have decided support this change. Download the Beta today and enjoy the new and improved experience we are forcing on you."

    I realize that was not how it was intended, but that is effectively how it came across. The negative aspects of this design are so obvious to so many of us that it really undermines our confidence in the Visual Studio team when they are not even mentioned or acknowledged. Even now, after the enormous wave of negative feedback, the only response has been "We are listening". We don't just want you to listen, we want you to respond. Let's have a conversation. Did the potential usability issues that the community has expressed concern about come up during the design of this new experience? Were they not considered problems at all, or was it decided that the expected benefits would outweigh them? Did anyone in any of the usability studies that you have presumably already done bring up these issues? How severe were they? Did you adjust the design at all based on that feedback prior to Beta? Speaking of usability studies, do you have more details about those studies that you can share?

    If we had some sense that VS was not being designed in the dark (pun somewhat intended), and that the design of the VS user experience was an iterative process in which our feedback was incorporated (you know, that whole Agile fad that keeps popping up), I think the reaction would have been much more measured. Certainly there would still have been a significant negative response, but probably not with the same kind of animus that has been exhibited for the last couple of weeks. As it is, people (many of whom have experience with previous versions of Visual Studio and other Microsoft products, and know that by the time the Beta comes around, very little typically changes before RTM) are so afraid that this is what they are going to be stuck with for the next several years that they feel compelled to express their opinion as loudly and as strongly as possible, in the desperate hope that it will have an impact.

    For the record, I have been using Visual Studio 11 Beta as my primary IDE both at work and at home since it was released. The lack of color and differentiating lines makes the UI dramatically more difficult to navigate quickly. While the focus of most of the feedback has been on color, I have found that the "line reduction" and the resulting lack of depth has had a more significant negative impact (although the lack of color is definitely a negative, particularly in Solution Explorer and Intellisense and other similar places where colored icons were the easiest way of distinguishing different kinds of items). With the new mantra of "focus on the content", the IDE team has apparently forgotten that VS itself is a tool with features that make us more productive; attempting (successfully) to fade the UI into the background has made those feature much more difficult to use productively.

    I am excited about so many of the other new productivity features. The Preview Tab is a brilliant addition, and a great example of understanding user workflows and designing an experience to improve them. I have already noticed it making a difference in the organization of my environment. But if these features are presented in the current package, all of that effort will be for naught. I certainly would not recommend to my employer that we upgrade to VS 11 if it meant using this interface.

  6. Yoyo says:

    (comments not working correctly, as always)

    I'm with David A. Nelson on this one. This post is the perfect example of the indifference the VS team is showing. With thousands of negative comments on the new UI colors, lines, use of space, etc. you'd think this would be the first question they'd address, but no…

  7. Rory O'Donnell says:

    I hope they haven't forgotten Brief emulator support too?

  8. Eric Griffith says:

    What's the roadmap for proper support for 64-bit development?

  9. Peter N Roth says:

    David A Nelson said a mouthful, and I agree.

Comments are closed.

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