Creating a Visual Studio offline installer

Usually, I work with more than one computer and reinstall my operating system from time to time, so I spend a lot of time downloading and configuring Visual Studio. To make this process easier, we can add parameters to the Visual Studio installer and create a local copy with all the files needed for our workflows. After we create our local copy, we can easily update it, so we don’t need to download everything when a new version is available.

Create the installer

This post will show you the steps needed to create your offline installer using the Visual Studio 2022 Community Preview edition. Other versions will work similarly, using their installer. You can always check the parameters for any version running the installer from the command line and adding the -? parameter. This will open a local web page with all the related information.

First, we need to get the installer from the download page and store it in a local folder. I will use c:\VSOffline

After that, we need to open a command window in the folder where the installer was downloaded and then run the following instruction, which will start the slow download process.

VisualStudioSetup --layout C:\VSOffline --lang en-US --add Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.NetCrossPlat --add Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.Universal --includeRecommended --includeOptional

Description of the parameters

–layout is the destination folder

–lang the language to download, available values are specified in the BCP 47 column in the following link

–includeRecommended & –includeOptional will make sure that all the needed files will be included

add used to include all the workflows that we need. In my case, I’m interested in cross-platform development, but you can see the available flows here

Update our installer

If we already created the installer, we can update to the latest version using the same call used to create our initial version.

Install Visual Studio

In the same command line window used to do the download, we can use the following command.

VisualStudioSetup --passive --norestart --includeOptional

This will start the installation, as shown in the following screenshot. The files are not downloaded again. The installer is only checking that they are available.

If we open the GUI from the installer, we will see that the selected workflows were installed.

In a following post, I’m going to add more information about how the process can be further automated and how it can be used with Windows Sandbox (in Spanish) to create temporary clean development environments.

I hope this will be useful, and that you will be able to configure your development environment faster!

Related Blog Posts

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