Deborah's Developer MindScape

         Tips and Techniques for Web and .NET developers.

October 23, 2011

Setting up Separate Visual Studio Instances

Filed under: C#,VB.NET,Visual Studio @ 5:14 pm

You can open Visual Studio multiple times, but each environment has the same settings. With Visual Studio 2010 and experimental instances, you can now have entirely different instances of Visual Studio with different settings.

If you open up Visual Studio 2010 and make the font larger or install specific extensions, those settings are used every time you open Visual Studio. This assumes that you want to work with Visual Studio the same way every time you use it. But you may have scenarios where this is not the case.

Say you want to set up your Visual Studio with one set of settings for your daily work and a different set when you do demos to your team or user group. Or you want one set of settings when you work on an ASP.NET application and a different set when you work on Windows Forms. Or one set when you work with client x and another set when you work with client y.

To support these scenarios, Visual Studio 2010 provides a feature called "experimental instances". Experimental instances allow you to set up multiple instances of Visual Studio with completely different settings,  options, and extensions.

To set up an experimental instance, create a short cut to Visual Studio. Include with the path, the option /RootSuffix XXX, where XXX is any name you want to give to your alternate instance.

For example:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe" /RootSuffix Demo

This sets up a new instance of Visual Studio called Demo. You can create any number of these new instances, just give them unique names.

The following is a screen shot for my demo instance:


Use this technique any time you want to set up multiple instances of Visual Studio.


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