Installing Visual Studio from an Internal Intranet Website

Christine Ruana

We’re happy to announce that starting with Visual Studio 2022 version 17.6, Visual Studio layouts are available to install from an internal intranet website! 

Enterprise customers have long been able to download a particular version of Visual Studio, host it on a private network file share, and make it available for their clients to install. This download cache of Visual Studio product files is commonly known as a layout.  There are a few reasons why a company would choose to use layouts.  For example, the administrator may want control what version of the product their organization uses. Or sometimes, the client machines or users don’t have sufficient access permissions, and thus they cannot download or install Visual Studio from Microsoft servers. 

Several administrators have asked for the ability to install a Visual Studio layout from an internal intranet website instead of from a network file share so that they can more easily

  • deal with complicated scripting logic that manages client-to-layout connections in different geographical areas. A static internal website sitting in front of these distributed file share servers simplifies their deployment code.
  • take advantage of website caching and realize download performance improvements.
  • manage access permissions on websites as compared to file network shares. 
  • adjust Visual Studio’s update source by configuring a single website’s binding as opposed to updating multiple client update channels.   

How to setup a web hosted layout

The process for setting up a web hosted layout involves three main steps.  

  1. Create, maintain, and update a regular layout on a network file share just like normal. 
  2. Create and configure an internal website and bind the website’s source to the layout’s network file location. Make sure that permissions are set and the MIME types are registered properly on the internal website. You’ll likely want to configure the layout’s response.json file so that client updates are sourced from the internal website. 
  3. Run an initialization script on the client to perform the initial installation from the internal website. Once the admin has done this, then Visual Studio will be ready for normal use.  

Even though this feature is new, this functionality extends to all supported versions of Visual Studio now that the latest Visual Studio installer is shipping everywhere Just be sure you use the latest bootstrappers and installers that were released on or after June 1, 2023. 

We hope that this new feature will provide more options to successfully acquire and update Visual Studio within your organization. 

Let us know what you think

We welcome your feedback on this experience! Feel free to add comments to this blog post or submit a problem report on the Visual Studio IT Administrator feedback page about any challenges you have or improvements you’d like to see regarding this internal website acquisition solution. We welcome your feedback on other topics too – please leave a suggestion for another experience you’d like us to deliver and fill out our Customer Deployment Profile survey, so we have a better understanding of your operational environments.  


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  • Eric Belden 2

    Been waiting for this! Excited to give it a try, nice job!

  • amrullah amrullah 1

    I’m so excited to give it a try, nice job!

  • Jay 0

    Is this something new? I always thought that “layout” was always available since VS 2015. What is so special in VS2022?

    I did a few times in VS2017, and 2019 but I just gave up because it was just a waste of time. VS is so big that on my home machine it can take up to 6 hours to finish the job. I am on fast broadband (in United Kingdom) and still it takes very long time.

    • Christine RuanaMicrosoft employee 0

      Hi @Jay,

      The part that’s new is the ability to make the layout available to install through your own private website using http protocol. Customers used to only have the option of installing from a file share, like \\server\share\layout\vs_enterprise.exe. Now, if an admin wants to, they can create an internal website and make the layout available that way. Some people find websites easier to manage and deploy out to their organization as compared to file shares. Hope this helps clarify.

      Layouts are really useful in certain situations. For example, many banks use layouts because their clients don’t have access to the internet, so the client needs to get the Visual Studio files from a local internal resource. Since you’re on fast broadband, a layout wouldn’t really offer any significant benefit.

  • Peter Desimone 0

    Is this about installing Visual Studio 2022 100% from a source with all configurations for a Corporate environment?
    — Installing Visual Studio from an Internal Website —

    Or is this about installing Visual Studio layouts from a central place.

    The title is confusing.

    • Christine RuanaMicrosoft employee 0

      Hi @Peter,

      Thanks for the feedback. I just updated the title slightly to hopefully make it less confusing.

      Users (typically administrators) have long been able to download the Visual Studio files, store them on a network file share, and install onto a client from this network file share location.

      That part that’s new is the ability and guidance to be able to setup an internal webserver (e.g. http://mycompanysite/VisualStudio) in front of your private network file share, and have your clients be able to install from your private intranet location.

      Does this answer the question?

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