Scott Hanselman

Download Visual Studio Express

June 19, 2014 Comment on this post [32] Posted in Tools
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visual-studio-2013-logoYou liked, so, here's because I like you so much.

Here are the direct links to all the Express SKUs for Visual Studio. They are all completely free.

NOTE: I wrote this post on my own, and not as a representative of Microsoft. That's their copyrighted logo over there on the right, and these downloads are all Microsoft's.


You're not going to believe this, but there is no reason for this post anymore! There is now a FREE and very complete (basically Pro) version of Visual Studio called Visual Studio Community. It even supports Visual Studio extensions!

No need for Visual Studio Express! Download the new "Visual Studio Community" NOW at

Seriously. I'll only keep these links up for a little while longer. Visual Studio Community is a single download and supports EVERYTHING you see below and LOTS more. It's better.

Visual Studio 2013 Express for Web

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web provides the core tools for creating compelling, innovative web applications and services. This includes the ASP.NET editors for HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, etc.

Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows (Desktop)

Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop enables the creation of desktop apps in C#, Visual Basic, and C++, and supports Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, and Win32.

Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows (Store)

The tools include a full-featured code editor, a powerful debugger, a focused profiler, and rich language support that you can use to build apps that you write in HTML5/JavaScript, C++, C#, or Visual Basic. Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows also includes tools for Windows Phone 8.0 development and Windows Phone emulators that you can use to test how your Windows Phone apps will run on different devices.

Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2013

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Express 2013 is a source-code-control, project-management, and team-collaboration platform at the core of the Microsoft suite of Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools.

Hope this helps! All these links were dug out of with Fiddler.

Thanks to Tobias Schmidbauer for help with the Update 3 links!

Also, if you already have Visual Studio 2013, you might just want Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 (That's 2013.3)

Sponsor: A big thank you to my friends at Octopus Deploy. They are sponsoring the blog feed this week. Using NuGet and powerful conventions, Octopus Deploy makes it easy to automate releases of ASP.NET applications and Windows Services. Say goodbye to remote desktop and start automating today!

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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June 19, 2014 7:09
Paul - working on that.
June 19, 2014 7:20
Wasn't chocolatey suppossed to solve this problem?
June 19, 2014 7:29
Chocolatey! Submit pkgs!
June 19, 2014 8:04
I didn't find it hard at all to download the visual studio express stuff. The Microsoft site for those is actually clear and simple. But if it gets you more hits on your blog Scott, then whatever. ;-)
June 19, 2014 8:20
Paul - why should I care about blog hits? The goal was to take an jquery-ed experience and make it a simple list.
June 19, 2014 9:50
I thought it was a simple list, with language specific downloads too. Anyway, no hard feelings, didn't mean to come off sounding like a troll.
June 19, 2014 10:16
Scott, why is the search button on your blog an input element? I can't middle click to open in a new tab!
June 19, 2014 11:03
+1 for Chocolatey!
June 19, 2014 11:10
tyrsius - Search button has javascript attached to it and is not a link, so can't new tab/window it with the mouse click context menu thingy.
June 19, 2014 12:02
My biggest problem is why are these even 3 separate downloads? I don't have to install Visual Studio Professional 2013 Web/Desktop/Store. Hoping the 2014 express suite does away with this.

I am sure the good people at Microsoft can come up with a clean way to install all of these from 1 installer, but let the developer choose which components they want/need.
June 19, 2014 12:57
+1 to what Chris said about one installer!
June 19, 2014 13:07
This is just genius, sorry I know its a simple list of links but MS should make this as easy as possible for people to get. its the entry point into microsoft platform development for a lot of people learning, why hide it behind a hard to navigate corporate site and not just put in this sort of link.

You could still monitor number of downloads without who is downloading.
June 19, 2014 16:43
Awesome, as usual. But I'm just going to stick with VS 2012 Pro at home, and let my boss worry about what SKU at work we're using there.
June 19, 2014 16:51
@Chris My impression has always been that the different versions of Express were to intentionally make it inconvenient so as to encourage you to upgrade to a paid version. Which all in all is probably fair, as it offers hobbyists and others a way to cheaply get started on the MS stack while still keeping a strong incentive to upgrade.
June 19, 2014 17:18
One download to rule them all! Sorry, I got carried away.
June 19, 2014 17:31
So does the online installer for VS2013 Express for Web give you Update 2?
June 19, 2014 17:51
I'm with Chris, what is the reason for the various flavors of express? Why do I need to have Web AND Desktop? That just seems arbitrary if you ask me. What's really weird is that they truly are restricted to their flavor for opening project files.
June 19, 2014 22:57
I thought it was obvious: the reason for the various flavors of Express was to get you to buy Professional to have it all in one place.
June 20, 2014 0:01
It might also be worth linking to the NodeJS/Python tools projects, since those turn VS Express into a pretty decent free IDE for some other langauges.
June 20, 2014 2:05
It would be nice if Express editions would allow installation of extensions and add-ins. For me this is the most wanted feature. This would mean "opening up a new world".
June 20, 2014 3:22
@Paul J - Yea, that's my point! It should be middle clickable. Making an input into a button is a UX fail for this reason (and others). If it was a real button it would be middle clickable. You can still put javascript on buttons, but they have the advantage of working the way buttons should!
June 20, 2014 3:25
@Paul and Scott, this is a great article on buttons if you are interested.
June 20, 2014 11:02
To Jonathan Park, you can take grandma - ;)
June 20, 2014 12:56
One question I have about Microsoft downloads - they now have a nice lightbox offering all the downloads on the page in one place, but the file names are meaningless!

I tried to install SQL Server Express 2008 R2 the other day and this is the link I came to:

Sure I can decipher the x86/x64 part, but the rest means very little to me - can you find out if this can be changed?
June 20, 2014 15:07
I have Visual Studio Professional 2013 (I am a student and joined DreamSpark). And I wonder whether I can reuse the key and the ISO file I got when I restore my OS and re-install all my software.
June 20, 2014 18:18
@joan: Probably. Visual Studio is more friendly about that kind of thing than most software (developers are known to regularly wipe out their machines and reinstall everything).
June 22, 2014 4:25
Actually kinda sad how Microsoft has such a clunky and difficult to use website and resource download section for developers, that its own employees have to resort to registering their own URLs to help their blog readers locate these tools.
June 23, 2014 19:27
Excellent, love this - can we also have a sister site to this one which highlights the ability for the VS Express versions to be used for commercial purposes, as so many people don't realise this and will argue with you until you get them to read the licenses!

Just a simple one page "Yes you can use VS Express for commercial purposes, it says so here...", perhaps call it

July 12, 2014 11:23
Thanks so much for providing these links. Thanks to Microsoft for providing these express editions they are really great :-).
July 16, 2014 23:08
Thanks for these links. I went to the MS website, and it seemed DELIBERATELY confusing! I can't think of anything as jumbled and garbled and plain mixed up. Like throwing all your bills and junkmail, books, magazines, flyers, newspapers into a pile, and say, "Yep, the thing you want is in there." Once again, thanks!
July 26, 2014 12:11
Scott, thank you very much for the easily understandable information. On microsoft site everything so mess or i am very much dull :-D
August 19, 2014 8:08
Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves and go wipe their tears with their money. Half of the work is finding the download link, remembering your old 2009 hotmail email because hotmail sucks, then clicking setup and waiting. No fun.

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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.