Scott Hanselman

How to make an offline installer for VS2017

February 8, '17 Comments [25] Posted in VS2017
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I just got back from Kenya and South Africa and had a great time speaking at NexTech Africa and the Microsoft Tech Summit in Johannesburg. I also got to hang out with my wife's family a bunch. While I was there I was reminded (as one is when one travels) how spoiled many of us with being always connected. Depending on how far out of town you get the quality of internet varies. There's not just bandwidth issues but also issues of latency and reliability.

Visual Studio generally - and Visual Studio 2017 specifically - has an online installer and if you lose connectivity during the installation you can run into problems. However, they haven't got an ISO available for downloading for legal reasons. They can't package up the Android Installer from Google, for example, into an ISO. The user needs to download certain things themselves dynamically.

Fortunately there's docs that walk you through making an offline installer. These could be used to create USB sticks or DVDs that could then be passed out at User Groups or free Events.

  • First, I went to and clicked Download. I use VS Community but you can also do this for Enterprise, etc. I downloaded the bootstrapper .exe and put it in its own folder.
  • If you want EVERYTHING possible then you'd run something like this. Note that is my folder there and I selected en-US as my language.
    vs_community.exe --layout e:\vs2017offline --lang en-US
  • However if you don't want EVERYTHING - maybe you just want .NET Core, ASP.NET Core, and Azure, then you'll pass those options in on the command line. They call them "Workloads" but that's a Microsoftism.
    • Here is a list of all the Component IDs you can choose from.
    • I did this to get an offline setup for my main four "workloads." I ran this from a cmd prompt.
      vs_community.exe --layout e:\vs2017offline --lang en-US --add Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.Azure Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.ManagedDesktop Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.NetCoreTools Microsoft.VisualStudio.Workload.NetWeb

It will go and download everything you need. If you want everything then it'll take a while, so hang back.

Give us a minute, we'll be done soon...

If you have trouble or nothing happens, check the dd_bootstrapper*.log file in %TEMP%.

DOS prompt downloading Visual Studio

When it's all done you'll end up with a folder like this that you can copy to a DVD or USB key.

The result of the VS offline Layout generator

One nice aspect of this system is that you can update a "layout" in place. As updates become available for Visual Studio 2017 (RC or otherwise), you can run the --layout command again, pointing to the same layout folder, to ensure that the folder contains the latest components. Only those components that have been updated since the last time --layout was run will be downloaded.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure that your file is named "vs_[SKU].exe." Sometimes you'll end up with a file like vs_community__198521760.1486960229.exe and you'll want to rename it to vs_community.exe for offline to work.

Before you run the installer, you'll want to install the root certificates in the \certificates folder. From the team:

They are the root certs needed to verify the setup application (the stuff installed under ProgramFiles\Visual Studio\2017\Installer) and the catalog (a json file that lists of all the VS components that could be installed by setup).  Most computers will already have these root certs.  But users on Win7 machine may not.  Once you install these certs, setup will be able to authenticate the content being installed is trusted.  You should not remove them after installing them.

I hope this helps you set up offline installers for your classrooms and organizations! You'll save a lot of bandwidth.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Trying out "dotnet new" template updates and csproj with VS2017

February 7, '17 Comments [28] Posted in Open Source | VS2017
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I updated my Visual Studio 2017 RC installation today. Here's the release notes. You just run "Visual Studio Installer" if you've already got a version installed and it updates. The updating processes reminds me a little of how Office 365 updates itself. It's not as scary as VS updates of the past. You can download the VS2017 RC at and it works side by side with your existing installs. I haven't had any issues yet.

New Templating Engine for .NET Core CLI

It also added/updated a new .NET Core SDK. I am a fan of the command line "dotnet.exe" tooling and I've been pushing for improvements in that experience. A bunch of stuff landed in this update that I've been waiting for. Here's dotnet new:

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop> dotnet new
Template Instantiation Commands for .NET Core CLI.

Usage: dotnet new [arguments] [options]

template The template to instantiate.

-l|--list List templates containing the specified name.
-lang|--language Specifies the language of the template to create
-n|--name The name for the output being created. If no name is specified, the name of the current directory is used.
-o|--output Location to place the generated output.
-h|--help Displays help for this command.
-all|--show-all Shows all templates

Templates Short Name Language Tags
Console Application console [C#], F# Common/Console
Class library classlib [C#], F# Common/Library
Unit Test Project mstest [C#], F# Test/MSTest
xUnit Test Project xunit [C#], F# Test/xUnit
Empty ASP.NET Core Web Application web [C#] Web/Empty
MVC ASP.NET Core Web Application mvc [C#], F# Web/MVC
Web API ASP.NET Core Web Application webapi [C#] Web/WebAPI
Solution File sln Solution

dotnet new mvc --auth None --framework netcoreapp1.0
dotnet new console --framework netcoreapp1.0
dotnet new --help

There is a whole new templating engine now. The code is here and you can read about how to make your own templates or on the wiki.

I did a "dotnet new xunit" and it made the csproj file and a Unit Test. Here's what's inside the csproj:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">
    <PackageReference Include="Microsoft.NET.Test.Sdk" Version="15.0.0-preview-20170123-02" />
    <PackageReference Include="xunit" Version="2.2.0-beta5-build3474" />
    <PackageReference Include="xunit.runner.visualstudio" Version="2.2.0-beta5-build1225" />

That's not too bad. Here's a a library with no references:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk">

Note there's no GUIDs in the csproj. Sweet.

Remember also that there was talk that you wouldn't have to edit your csproj manually? Check this out:

C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop\lib> dotnet add package Newtonsoft.Json
Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.1.545.13942
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Writing C:\Users\scott\AppData\Local\Temp\tmpBA1D.tmp
info : Adding PackageReference for package 'Newtonsoft.Json' into project 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop\lib\lib.csproj'.
log : Restoring packages for C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop\lib\lib.csproj...
info : GET
info : OK 1209ms
info : GET
info : OK 181ms
info : Package 'Newtonsoft.Json' is compatible with all the specified frameworks in project 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop\lib\lib.csproj'.
info : PackageReference for package 'Newtonsoft.Json' version '9.0.1' added to file 'C:\Users\scott\Desktop\poop\lib\lib.csproj'.

Doing "dotnet add package" automatically gets the package from NuGet and adds it to your csproj. Just like doing "Add NuGet Package" (or add reference) in Visual Studio. You don't even have to open or look at your csproj.

I'm going to keep digging into this. We're getting into a nice place where someone could easily make a custom template then "nuget in" that templates then "File | New | Your Company's Template" without needed yeoman, etc.

Please shared your feedback:

Also, be sure to check out the new and growing Docs site at

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.