Visual Studio 11 Beta and .NET 4.5 Beta Available Now!

I am very happy to announce that the Visual Studio 11 Beta and .NET 4.5 Beta releases are now available for download.

I previously blogged about some of the innovation that went into the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview releases at //BUILD/:

Since //BUILD/, we’ve been hard at work on the beta releases, and I’m excited at the improvements that have been made on the feature sets previously shown, as well as on the slew of new functionality and value that’s been added.

For a more in-depth view on these beta releases, see Jason Zander’s blog.  And for those of you yearning to learn more about how to build great apps for Windows 8, check out the new Windows 8 app developer blog.

Since the Visual Studio 11 “sneak peek” event held on Thursday, we’ve been listening intently to all of the feedback you’ve provided.  We very much appreciate the comments you’ve shared with us, and we look forward to hearing more from you once you’ve begun using the beta bits.


Comments (26)

  1. i'm very happy too 🙂

    i can't wait to try it and the new amazing features 😀

  2. jim says:

    Can vs2011 beta be installed side-to-side with vs2010? I mean if I can have them both installed

  3. toub says:

    HoOz_Malhas, great, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.

    jim, yes, you can install and use Visual Studio 11 Beta alongside Visual Studio 2010.

  4. Mike says:

    Do we need to UNinstall the previous VS11 (preview) first before installing this VS11 Beta?  (0r will the installer take care of that?

  5. toub says:

    Mike, you will need to uninstall Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview before installing Visual Studio 11 Beta. There are more details on this on the download page:…/downloads.

  6. Although I'm excited about this release, I'm a little disappointed that some of the blocking issues I had with the developer preview still are not fixed in the VS 11 beta/win8 consumer preview.

    For example, where is WriteableBitmap.Render? I was hoping to be able to finally get started on an app that needed some form of WriteableBitmap.Render functionality, but that functionality appears to be completely missing.

    I can't make any kind of image composition apps using XAML without the ability to render XAML UI to an image. Right now the only option I have is to NOT implement the share charm, and let it "default" to take a screenshot (or I suppose I could make either an HTML app or a DirectX app – neither are ideal options). The strange thing is that the printing API lets me print directly from XAML, which I'm assuming requires some kind of rasterization (probably it uses an undocumented API).

  7. LMKz says:

    Oh dear, half an hour and I am going back to VS2010 already… WAY too slow (sits on 25% CPU even when idle??!! single core machine) and I miss all the extras that Productivity Power Tools extension has.

    Also, while I was open minded about the grey theme, turns out all the knockers were right, it is horrible, VS 2010 is so much better to use and look at.

    DO like the search box in menu strip at top – that's all I can think of for now.


  8. Bluto says:

    Looks like the Pro edition received code analysis and a profiler for C++ – that is the good.

    BUT, the new theme is AWFUL:

    1) The worst thing are the tiny monochrome icons in Solution Explorer.  When I look at them it makes me want to cry because they all look very similar.  I want to emphasize that the problem with the new icons is not that they are gray (you could give each one a different color if you want).  The problem is that the icons consist of a single color.  Having multiple colors in an icon helps to make it recognizable.  Even the bigger icons in "New Project" window are jarring because they are a single color.

    2) The lack of edges in the windows, tabs, etc., is confusing.

    3) The docked window tabs read "SOLU…", "PERF…", "COD…", "TEA…", "TOO…" but they have no color icons!

    I don't like the Dark theme either.  I have every version of Visual Studio since VC++ 4.0.  I will continue to use the old versions until you fix the theme.  I'm sorry, but I won't use the beta version with this confusing flat gray theme.  I already paid for my MSDN renewal, now I will wait for you to fix the problem.

  9. Adam says:

    Yes, the new theme is just dreadful, truly truly dreadful.

    I spent about 2 hours just trying to see if I could rebuild my Silverlight app in it. No joy.

    I would say VS crashed at least 10 – 12 times. I sent the watson reports each time.

    Any time I went to open a XAML file, VS just locked up permanently and I had to kill it from Task manager.

    When I opened my Silverlight project it needed to convert the project files. This wanted to checkout all files from TFS but I wanted to just work Offline. No matter what I tried to remove my TFS credentials, VS kept readding them on me automatically. I tried deleting stored credentials from the credential manager, removing the TFS from VS settings, just about everything but it kept adding it back in.

    In the end I just had to give up. The monochrome icons were just too much of a strain on the eye. the new TFS – Pending Changes is very difficult to read too and it's much more clumsier on how you select which files you want to/not want to check in. The checked listbox is gone.

  10. yaserall says:


  11. @Adam, thanks for letting us know that you're having trouble working with XAML files in Visual Studio 11 Beta. ("Any time I went to open a XAML file, VS just locked up permanently and I had to kill it from Task manager.")

    We'd appreciate it if you'd send us your project so we can look into what might be causing the issue.  You can email it to

    You can also read more about Blend and the VS11 XAML Designer that we just released on our team blog…/visual-authoring-for-the-windows-8-consumer-preview-with-blend-and-visual-studio-2012-02-29

  12. not possible says:

    Worse then 2010. Crash, Performance issues, Ugly UI. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse it did.

    VS's only accomplishment: the degree by which you managed to lower users expectations.

  13. Dave says:

    How does it feel to write to software the doesn't work and people don't like ?

    I never seen a development environment as bad Visual Studio 2011 then have to lie in you blogs to carry the corporate line that this software works and actually does something useful. I would seek another job if I were you. I suppose money is worth more then integritiy. I guess maybe in 490 years what you blog about make actually be here. If you want to help developers abandon Visual Studio and .NET, how many years does it take you to realize this paradigm doesn't work.

    I often wonder if you have followed Visual Studio 6.0 design patterns how far ahead developers would be instead instead of placing us back in the dark ages of software development and now you are playing catch up to open source.

    Seriously I would fire everyone that ever wrote I line of code in .NET and Visual Studio.

  14. toub says:

    Dave, I'm sorry to hear you've had such a negative experience.  Can you provide more details on what are your specific concerns / what are the exact problems you've run into?  Thanks.

  15. Ian Haynes says:

    I have to agree, the new theme is dreadful. The Developer Preview was really good, why spoil it?

    As well as the new features in VS we also need a top flight front-end web editor to work both independently and alongside VS. Expression Web can and should be that editor but needs urgent update for the mobile space.

  16. KeithBa says:

    Of all the improvements made in VS 11 I have to say that I am most satisfied with the color coding in the code editor window. It gives a .NET look to the code (which I hated until I actually began coding in C#).  My only complaint would be the load time but with the amount of functionality in Visual Studio it is to be expected to some degree.  Very happy…

  17. Andrei Gheorghe says:

    Please fire the designers that have drawn the new theme … it's absolutely horrible

  18. Bluto says:

    Please take a look at Windows Explorer small icons for "h" file in VS2010 vs VS11.  Capture a screenshot and look at it with mspaint.  The VS2010 icon has anti aliasing to make the strokes of the "h" effectively at least 1.5 pixels.  The VS11 icon "h" strokes are 1 pixel.  Please also compare the "C" icons.  Curiously, the small C++ icon is a blank gray page.  The C# icon has a tiny "i" in it.  The large C# icon has 2 pages in it, one has an "i" and another one has a "C#".  I think this is supposed to mean that a C# file is an "include" file and "C" file, 2 files rolled into one – a better C++.

    Gray icons in Windows Explorer – not good.  I installed the beta in a VM, to prevent my 2010 projects from catching the gray fungus.

  19. Marcello F. says:

    It would be great if the team can add a new "Application Look" menu so we can switch between the 'new' gray scale theme (Retro) to several other themes, ie Vintage(for Visual Studio 6), Whidbey for VS2005/2008 and the theme of VS2010. I have already seen it in several samples of the CJ & BCG toolkit. Thinking big in gray scale doesn't make any sense.

  20. Rory O'Donnell says:

    @Marcello F.  The next thing Microsoft will say that it doesn't support BCG anymore.  Would not surprise me one bit

  21. DA says:

    I downloaded it and gave it a try but have decided that unless the UI and colour scheme is substantially improved [to be similar to 2010] it's unusable and I'll be skipping this version or going to another development platform.

    I've suffered enough with Expression Blend over the last few years and was glad that was a brief thing only when needed, I'm simply not going to put up with the poor usability in my primary development environment.  Unfortunately I've also renewed my MSDN a short while ago, but I'm already considering cancelling it if I don't hear of an improvement and I'll renew again if I return to the platform.

  22. Dave says:

    @Stephen I left a comment it didn't post through if you have an email let me know and I will forward it as it long ….

  23. toub says:

    Hi Dave-

    If you email your comment to stoub at microsoft, I can post it for you on your behalf.  You could also try again posting it yourself; I've noticed some folks having issues posting comments, and typically in those cases a second or third attempt will succeed.  Our blog platform folks are investigating.

  24. Mohamed Gamal says:

    i am very happy with the new IDE, when will the final version will be released

  25. toub says:

    Mohamed, it's great to hear that you enjoy the updated IDE. We've not yet announced an RTM date for Visual Studio 11, but I fully expect Soma will share that information once it's available.

  26. Please Please TALK to us says:

    Think of the benefit there would have been if you had talked about your UI changes before you just coded them all up and dropped them on us expecting us to be happy.

    It is a proven software methodology that communicating with your customers frequently leads to lower costs of development and happier customers.  Even if you don't give us XP support, if you TALK to us then you are managing expectations.

    Why why why why will you not talk about XP support?  Now you just ignore us!  This has been up in the air since the first preview 3/4 a year ago.

    How hard is it to COMMUNICATE a bit with your customers.  Let us know your plans so we can also make plans.

    Please please think about talking to us.  If you will not talk to us, will you please post why you choose to not tell us?  So that we can at least understand the decision?

    Silence is the worst you can do.

    Please, please, PLEASE stop the silence policy and tell us your plans!

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