Visual Studio 2019 version 16.2 Generally Available and 16.3 Preview 1

Jacqueline Widdis


Today we are making Visual Studio 2019 version 16.2 generally available, as well as Preview 1 of version 16.3. You can download both versions from If you already have Preview installed, you can alternatively click the notification bell from inside Visual Studio to update. We’ve highlighted some notable features below, but you can also see a list of all the changes in the current release notes or the Preview release notes.

What to expect in Visual Studio version 16.2

Test Explorer

Test Explorer provides better handling of large test sets, easier filtering, more discoverable commands, tabbed playlist views, and customizable columns to fine-tune test information displayed.



This image shows the expanded Test Explorer .
Improved Test Explorer


.NET Developer Productivity

Version 16.2 supports debugging JavaScript in the new Microsoft Edge Insider browser for ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core projects.  To do this, install the browser, set a breakpoint in the application’s JavaScript and start a debug session.

There are improvements in .NET developer productivity as version 16.2 brings back the Sort Usings refactoring option. Developers also have the ability to convert switch statements to switch expressions and also generate a parameter for a variable from the Quick Actions menu.

In addition, there is an enriched experience of creating and configuring Azure SignalR services when enabling real-time communication in web applications.


In the C++ space, changes include Clang/LLVM support for MSBuild projects, incremental build for Windows Subsystem for Linux, and a new C++ quick action to install missing packages in CMake projects using vcpkg.

CMake projects using vcpkg
C++ quick action to install missing packages in CMake projects using vcpkg


Changes in the throughput of the C++ linker significantly improve iteration build times for the largest of input.  This should result in an improvement to all codebases.  Internal measurements taken on the C++ team saw 2X ranges for /debug:fast and /incremental, while /debug:full typically ranged from 3X to 6X and up.  More information is available on the C++ Team Blog.

C++ Iteration Build Time Demo
Improvements to the C++ linker.



To enhance usability, users who opted to hide their toolbars in Visual Studio receive additional vertical space. Upon hiding all toolbars, the Live Share, Feedback and Badge icons are moved to the top.  The steps to restore the toolbar are View > Toolbars and select the desired toolbar.

Adding and removing toolbar selections
Increased usability of the toolbar


A list of preview features is findable under Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features.  This page also allows users to learn about upcoming features as well as participate in surveys to provide additional perspectives on future changes.

Looking forward to 16.3 Preview 1: .NET Core 3.0 Preview and C++

.NET Core 3.0 Preview

Version 16.3 Preview 1 has added support for .NET Core 3.0 Preview.  Additional features include .NET Core project templates like Worker and gRPC for building microservices or Blazor for building client web apps using C#.

Improved Search

Because the ability to search in Visual Studio is a key driver for discoverability, there is an added search box in the start window for users to quickly locate recently used projects, solutions, and folders. The most recently used code containers also integrate with Visual Studio global search so they can be found there as well. This is a direct result of it being one of the highest voted feature requests.  Thanks for all of the feedback!

Improved search feature example

Finding the right project template should be easier than previous iterations.  Template search in the New Project Dialog now supports fuzzy search allowing for typos and plurals while also highlighting matching keywords and ranking results based on relevance.

Recent project search example

Visual Studio will now pick up any updates made to the templates via the .NET CLI and, as a result, the two are kept in sync. New tooling is included in support of the new templates.  Examples include publishing worker projects to container registries and managing Open API & gRPC service references.

This version of Visual Studio also includes many productivity improvements. C++ projects now have IntelliSense member lists filtered based on type qualifiers. Developers have the ability to toggle line comments with a quick command (Ctrl + K, Ctrl + /). .NET projects load more asynchronously and renaming classes in the editor can also rename the containing file. Furthermore, debugging and profiling includes better Edit and Continue support.  There is also auto-expanding of the hot path in the performance profiler and the ability to move both forwards and backward in the profiler during an investigation.

Give it a try today and let us know what you think!

Everyone is encouraged to update to Visual Studio 2019 version 16.2 by downloading directly from or updating via the notification bell inside Visual Studio. An alternative option includes the Visual Studio Installer for updates. Try out the 16.3 Preview 1 release by downloading it online or updating from within the IDE from a previous Preview Channel release.

Most noteworthy, Visual Studio teams are continuously driven by feedback, so we look forward to hearing what you have to say about our latest releases. If you discover any issues, make sure to let us know by using the Report a Problem tool in Visual Studio. Additionally, you can head over to Visual Studio Developer Community to track your issues, suggest a feature, ask questions, and find answers from others. We use your feedback to continue to improve Visual Studio 2019, so thank you again on behalf of our entire team.


Comments are closed.

  • Keith Nicholas
    Keith Nicholas

    Can you please hire a keyboard junky and every time before you release new features, make sure your keyboard junky can effectively drive the UI via the keyboard.  For whatever reason the start window the recent items are not the currently select item so you can’t arrow to the appropriate project.   
    Its great now the screen without toolbars properly works, but now I have to do a silly dance because, for some silly reason, you can’t set the Debug Target on .net core project anywhere except in the Standard toolbar.  

    Can you guys stop working on things like liveshare and just get a bunch of Ux designers to go through the UI from the persepctive of a mouser and keyboard junky and make sure everything is nicely designed?  Don’t tell people to “raise an issue and see if enough people vote for it before we even consider looking at it”.   No, just design your core product nicely without having everyone ask you to do it. So many things are insanely bad for over a decade.  Or open source visual studio so we can fix it for you.    
    If I seem bitter it’s because I have been complaining about the same issues for over a decade and everytime I do I get lots of upvotes or me toos for the same issues….

  • Avatar
    Martin Liversage

    I was so happy to see ” .NET projects load more asynchronously and renaming classes in the editor can also rename the containing file.” However, it doesn’t work for me. Also, there is no mention of this in the release notes. On GitHub it seems that it will be fixed in 16.3. So is this a feature in 16.2 and I’m just failing to get it to work or do I have to wait for the next release?

  • Jacqueline Widdis
    Jacqueline WiddisMicrosoft logo

    Thank you all for taking the time to feedback the blog post and our new features. I’ve been reading the comments as well as the linked Developer Community items. I can see where this must be very frustrating to feel as if you aren’t being heard or that you can’t work in your projects as efficiently as you’d like. At this point, I have made all involved teams aware of the feedback so far. I would love to be able to share a definitive answer as to what is being done and a timeline to see improvement, but I am unable at this point. Decisions take time, but we hear you.

  • Avatar
    SuperCocoLoco .

    Please Microsoft, listen to your users and stop looking at your belly button and stop listening to yourself:
    1. Restore the old Start Page, or at least make it at an option. Nobody wants the new ugly Start modal Windows and nobody has requested or demanded it. It is completely useless.
    2. Restore the old new project Window dialog. Nobody wants the new ugly mess new project Windows and nobody has requested or demanded it. It is completely a mess.
    3. Make “Extensions Menu” top level menus. Nobody has requested or demanded it and requieres more clicks to access useful menu options.
    4. Make the “Show title bar” a permanent option. Not a temporary solution that will be removed in a future Visual Studio version. Nobody has requested or demanded it and has contributed nothing. It should even be enabled by default.

    This are things that makes Visual Studio 2019 unuseable for me, waiting for this things fixed in order to upgrade from Visual Studio 2017.

    • Avatar
      James Foye

      You are screaming into the wind. They cannot resist the temptation to change the UI for the worse on every release, and then when people complain, too bad, it’s a done deal, and besides, 3% of the community actually likes it.

  • Avatar
    Florian Harde

    I’m not sure if this is the approriate place to ask, but I’m mainly concerned with the development of the Graphics Diagnostics at the momemnt and wanted to know which priority this part of the IDE has right now. 
    Recently, GD startet to show wrong results and crash on a regular basis, which makes it hard to debug any frame captures. For now, I switched to RenderDoc, but I really like GD and want to use it. Sadly, I couldn’t find much regarding the issues I’m facing or the development of the GDs.
    It startet to behave wierd once Compute Shaders and HDR came together. There are issues like having wrong values when stepping through the code while the results looks right, crashing while trying to open an UAV or simply showing wierd frame results.