Install Visual Studio

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Microsoft Visual Studio (VS) is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) used to develop and publish applications, cloud services, web apps, mobile apps, and SQL Server Integration Services projects.

If you're going to be using Visual Studio, you need to decide which edition to install and what to expect from the installation process.


We'll look at the three editions available to help decide which one to use and how to download the installer. We will then walk through the installation process on a machine with Windows 10 Professional desktop.

Visual Studio Minimum Hardware and Software Requirements

Operating System

  • Windows 10 version 1703 or higher (Home, Professional, Education, or Enterprise)
  • Windows 8.1 with update 2919355 (Core, Professional, or Enterprise)
  • Windows 7 SP1 with latest Windows Updates (Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate)


  • 1.8 GHz or faster processor - quad-core or better recommended
  • 2 GB of RAM (2.5 GB minimum if running on a VM) - 8 GB is recommended
  • 800MB of disk space but installation can be up to 210 GB - 20-50 GB is typical
  • Video card that supports a minimum display resolution of 720p (1280 by 720) - 1366 by 768 or higher is recommended

Visual Studio Editions

Visual Studio 2019 is available in three editions"

  • Community Edition
    • $0.00
    • Individual use
      • Developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own applications, free or paid
    • Organization use
      • Unlimited number of users provided that it's used for:
        • Classroom learning
        • Academic research
        • Contributing to open source projects
        • Non-enterprise organizations (defined as having less than 250 PCs or $1,000,000 in annual revenue) can have up to 5 users
    • Available for Microsoft Windows
  • Professional Edition
    • $45 per month for monthly subscription or $1,199 for the first year and $799 per year to renew for standard subscription (as of this writing)
    • Entry level commercial edition
    • Can be used by enterprise organizations for any development work
    • Available for Microsoft Windows and Mac
  • Enterprise Edition
    • $250 per month for monthly subscription or $5,999 for the first year and $2,569 per year to renew for standard subscription (as of this writing)
    • Professional edition plus a number of additional development tools including:
      • Live Dependency Validation
      • Architectural Layer Diagrams
      • Architecture Validation
      • Code Clone
      • IntelliTrace
      • Code Map Debugger Integration
      • .NET Memory Dump Analysis
      • Snapshot Debugger
      • Time Travel Debugging (Preview)
      • Live Unit Testing
      • IntelliTest
      • Microsoft Fakes (Unit Test Isolation)
      • Code Coverage
      • Embedded Assemblies
      • Xamarin Inspector
      • Xamarin Profiler
    • Available for Microsoft Windows and Mac

Install Visual Studio

Obtain the Installer

First, we need to download the installer. Follow this link to obtain the latest version of Visual Studio 2019: Download Visual Studio 2019

Click on the download link for your chosen edition.

Visual Studio download page

Depending on the edition, you will download one of the following files (where __xxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx refers to the version):

  • vs_community__xxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx.exe
  • vs_professional__xxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx.exe
  • vs_enterprise__xxxxxxxxxx.xxxxxxxxxx.exe

If you are just starting out with Visual Studio, I presume you will be using Community Edition. The installation for any of the three editions is the same with the exception of what edition and version it says you are installing on the installation screen. We will download and install Community Edition for our walk-through.

Run the Installer

Let's get started.

  1. Double click on the downloaded executable to start the installation
Visual Studio installer executable
  1. You will see a screen telling you a few things that need to be set up to configure the installation.
Visual Studio installer screen 1

On the next screen, scroll through and choose which Visual Studio Workload(s) you want to install. Workloads are essentially individual tool kits that each have special tools for the type of development you will be doing. Workloads can be added or removed after installation by running the installer again.

For this tip I want to keep the example as simple as possible. I only checked off the 'Data storage and processing' Workload because I want to create a SQL Server database project when the installation is done.

  1. Select Workload(s)
  2. Individual Components – if you want to individually Visual Studio components
Visual Studio installer screen 2

This is where you add any individual components if you don't want to use Workloads to customize your Visual Studio installation.

  1. Language packs – if you need additional language support
Visual Studio installer screen 3

The installer matches the language of the operating system by default. You can change the language by selecting it and following the prompts. We will use the default.

  1. Installation location – to change default installation locations
Visual Studio installer screen 4

On this screen we can change the installation drive and / or directory for the Visual Studio IDE; download cache; and shared components, tools and SDKs. We're installing it on a desktop that only has a C:\ drive so we will be keeping the defaults.

  1. Install
Visual Studio installer screen 5

The screen that opens will show the download and installation progress.

Visual Studio installer screen 6

Launch Visual Studio and Create a New Project

When the download and installation is complete, you will see the product and version installed and can now launch Visual Studio.

  1. Launch
Visual Studio installer screen 7

On the next screen we can clone a repository, open a project or solution, open a local folder, or create a new project. For this example, we will create a new project.

  1. Create a new project
Visual Studio Get Started

The 'Create a new project' screen opens and we can choose what type of project we want to create.

  1. SQL Server Database Project
  2. Next
Create a new Visual Studio project
  1. Name your project
  2. Create
Configure new Visual Studio project

The Visual Studio window will open.

Visual Studio Start Window
Next Steps

We have compared the three Visual Studio 2019 editions, learned how to install them, and learned how to create a new project. Here are some links to more Visual Studio 2019 tips on

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Joe Gavin Joe Gavin is from the Greater Boston area. He started working with SQL Server and Sybase in 1998 in the financial services industry and has been a SQL Server Database Administrator for a dairy cooperative since 2011. He graduated from Northeastern University in Boston with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology (BSET) degree in Computer Technology. Joe has spoken at the Boston and Providence SQL Saturday events.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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