Updates to synchronous autoload of extensions in Visual Studio 2019

Mads Kristensen


Since announcing that Visual Studio 2019 v16.1 will block any extension from synchronously autoloading, we’ve seen a tremendous effort of both 1st and 3rd-party extensions to implement async background load. It’s been truly amazing to see the community of extension authors stepping up to the task. Many even did it long before we announced Visual Studio 2019.

The result is faster startup and solution load times for Visual Studio, as well as fewer UI delays cause by blocking operations on the main thread. So, a big THANK YOU to all extension authors for all the hard work to make this happen.

Control the behavior

By default, Visual Studio 2019 v16.1 blocks any synchronously autoloaded package from any extension and shows a notification to alert the user about it.

Yellow bar notification

What’s new is that the individual user can now control how they would like the extension to load. The reason for this change is two-fold.

First, most extensions now support async background loading, which improves startup and solution load performance across the board. Second, there exist a class of extensions developed and used internally in companies around the world that for various reasons cannot support async background load. It’s usually because they no longer have the source code or the person who originally built the extension is no longer working at the company.

To stop blocking synchronously autoloaded extensions, you can either click the Allow synchronous autoload on the yellow notification bar or check a new checkbox in the options dialog.

Extensions options

It’s important to stress that we really don’t recommend to anyone that they allow synchronous autoload, but we recognize the need to be able to unblock users and teams to do their job. Even when we know it leads to degraded performance of Visual Studio.

Group policy

To set this option for all team members, the IT admin can now set a registry key through Group Policy. When the Group Policy is set, it takes precedence over the individual user’s ability to change the option themselves, and the checkbox is greyed out and disabled.

Marketplace updates

Extension authors must still use AsyncPackage and enable background load. An update to the Marketplace shows errors when uploading any extension supporting Visual Studio 2019 that uses synchronous autoload. This update is in place since no extension can make assumptions about the users allowing synchronously autoloaded extensions.

Simply put

Here’s a bullet list to sum it up:

  • Marketplace requires autoload to be async and in the background
  • Users and IT admins can opt out of the blocking behavior (not recommended)
  • Autoloading extension should always happen asynchronously in the background

Again, thank you so much for your efforts to make Visual Studio perform better to the benefit of all users. We appreciate the hard work and understand that on many cases it took a considerable amount of work to make this happen. You have our sincerest respect and admiration.

Mads Kristensen
Mads Kristensen

Senior Program Manager, Visual Studio Extensibility

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Konstantin __ 2019-05-20 11:59:14
Windows Driver Kit Visual Studio extension is still using synchronous load and VS complains about it.
Richard Pastrick 2019-05-21 09:08:47
This seems like the perfect place for a user controlled white list of extensions allowed to synch load instead of a blanket, everyone can synch load.
Stanton, Andrew 2019-05-21 13:39:29
What good does having a fast solution load do if you are blocking the tools that correct the productivity problems within visual studio? Since you didnt know the answer to that, its "None".Solution loading is really not that slow, and definitely not slow compared to the time I have to spend in the awful VS Merge tool. Make an extension that replaces that so I dont have to keep replacing it manually.EDIT: And why did you make VS now freeze for several seconds on startup before showing this gold bar notice? It wasnt doing this before you deprecated the API's. Smells like crippleware to back ones argument to me. EDIT 2:  Dont include breaking changes in a minor release. Nobody is expecting to have productivity stopped by a quick lunchtime VS update.
André Ziegler 2019-05-22 00:51:18
as I commented in your last blog post about extensions, several extension authors have issue to keep compatibility with VS2017 when they switch to AsyncPackage because Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.15.0 in Version is not found. What do they have to do to support both? CreateInstance failed for package [FooPackage]Source: 'mscorlib' Description: Die Datei oder Assembly "Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.15.0, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a" oder eine Abhängigkeit davon wurde nicht gefunden. Das System kann die angegebene Datei nicht finden. System.IO.FileNotFoundException: Die Datei oder Assembly "Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.15.0, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a" oder eine Abhängigkeit davon wurde nicht gefunden. Das System kann die angegebene Datei nicht finden. File name: 'Microsoft.VisualStudio.Shell.15.0, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a How long is IAsyncLoadablePackageInitialize supported? Will such packages also be unloaded in future VS2019 versions? Make a video and show all steps to make it async while keep 2017 compatibility.
Dave Bacher 2019-05-24 12:30:15
Is this also why Visual Studio no longer picks a plug-in at random (including, in some cases, built-in Visual Studio capabilities) when there is a crappy network connection? When connection was bad - say a LTE Hotspot with 1 bar to the tower - Visual Studio 2017 would just pick a plug-in at random, and report "this plug-in is causing the IDE to load slowly."  Sometimes, it would be built in plug-ins like the Solution Explorer.  I have not seen it one time in Visual Studio 2019 - and so I suspect it's fixed, probably because of this?
Matthieu Penant
Matthieu Penant 2019-05-27 05:43:32
Pit J. 2019-05-29 04:59:21
Matthew Fabrizi 2019-06-05 06:10:08
Please continue to support the ability to opt-in to enable synchronously loaded extensions. The developers in my group use an extension we authored that does many things to tailor the build environment, but, most importantly, hooks the OnBuildBegin build event to update header files and resources that are dependencies for the build. Builds may fail or use stale data without this, so it's mandatory that this extension be loaded before a build begins. We experimented with switching the extension to support asynchronous loading, but it's fairly easy for someone to kick off a build before the extension loads. We don't mind trading a slightly slower Visual Studio loading experience to know that the environment is actually configured properly, so we're definitely going to use the ability to opt-in to synchronously load our extension. It sounds like Microsoft has gotten enough push back that it will likely continue to support this ability, but I'd like to add some more weight to the scale. Asynchronous loading is not always a great thing. We require a deterministic experience. It doesn't help us that Visual Studio loads quickly if the environment is not actually fully-configured until some indeterminate time later.
Liviu Duma 2019-06-23 21:25:11
Hi, I created an extension as in the exemple provided (basically I did a fork of AsyncPackageMigration ), but in Visual Studio 2019, at least, I still get that Async Package Migration was not loaded because it uses deprecated syncronous autoload APIs. Can someone please provide some help on this, because it seems that the exemple does not work. Thank you
Jez 2019-07-19 00:24:59
I find this change extremely annoying, and whilst Microsoft may wish to make an informational comment on synchronous extension performance, I don't think they should ever officially deprecate these kinds of extensions.  As many have commented, there are lots of useful extensions out there that load this way.  The one that was key for me was the custom document well in the Productivity Power Tools, which has not been ported over to loading asynchronously, meaning I either have to put up with the default (inferor in several ways) tab well, or hack the VSIX for the old document well to get it to work. Not good.  Not good at all.  Stop trying to make these decisions for us, MS.  Give a small warning but don't say "we're gonna remove this functionality completely one day" like some sword of Damocles.