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Levi Richardson
Levi Richardson

Change the Location of Visual Studio 2019 Files and Folders: A Step-by-Step Guide



Visual Studio 2019 Change Install Location




Visual Studio 2019 is a powerful and versatile IDE that can help you create amazing applications for various platforms. However, it also requires a lot of disk space to install and run smoothly. If you have limited space on your system drive or want to organize your files better, you might want to change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 to a different drive or folder. In this article, you will learn how to do that in a few simple steps.




Visual Studio 2019 Change Install Locationl



Table of Contents




  • Why Change Install Location?



  • How to Change Install Location?



  • Installation Locations Tab



  • Visual Studio IDE Section



  • Download Cache Section



  • Shared Components, Tools, and SDKs Section



  • Tips and Tricks



  • Use SSD for System Drive



  • Clear Download Cache



  • Move Existing Installation



  • Use Symbolic Links



  • Use Custom Installation Script



  • Conclusion



  • FAQs



Why Change Install Location?


By default, Visual Studio 2019 installs its core product files on your system drive (usually C:), which is where your operating system and other essential programs are stored. It also uses the system drive to store the download cache, which contains the installation files and manifests for the workloads and components that you select during the installation process. Additionally, it installs some shared components, tools, and SDKs on the system drive that are used by multiple Visual Studio versions or other applications.


Depending on the workloads and components that you choose to install, Visual Studio 2019 can take up several gigabytes of disk space on your system drive. This can cause some problems if you have limited space available or want to keep your system drive as clean as possible. For example, you might experience:


  • Slower performance of your system and applications.



  • Difficulty in installing updates or new programs.



  • Increased risk of data loss or corruption.



  • Lack of organization and flexibility in managing your files.



Therefore, changing the install location of Visual Studio 2019 can help you avoid these issues and optimize your disk usage. You can choose to install Visual Studio 2019 on a different drive or folder that has more space available or suits your preferences better. You can also change the location of the download cache and the shared components, tools, and SDKs to reduce the footprint of Visual Studio 2019 on your system drive.


How to Change Install Location?


The easiest way to change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 is to do it during the installation process. You can use the Installation locations tab in the Visual Studio Installer to select different drives or folders for different types of files. Here are the steps to follow:


Installation Locations Tab


  • Download and run the Visual Studio Installer from the official website.



  • Select the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you want to install (Community, Professional, or Enterprise) and click Install.



  • In the Workloads tab, select the workloads and components that you want to install according to your development needs.



  • Switch to the Installation locations tab at the top of the installer window.



  • You will see three sections: Visual Studio IDE, Download cache, and Shared components, tools, and SDKs. Each section has a drop-down menu that allows you to select a different drive or folder for the corresponding files.



  • Select the desired location for each section. You can also click Browse to choose a custom folder.



  • Click Install to start the installation process with the selected locations.



Note that you can only change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 before you start the installation. If you have already installed Visual Studio 2019 and want to change its location, you will need to uninstall it first and then reinstall it with the new location.


Visual Studio IDE Section


This section allows you to change the location of the core product files of Visual Studio 2019, such as the executable files, libraries, extensions, templates, and settings. These files are required for Visual Studio 2019 to run properly and cannot be shared with other versions or applications. By default, these files are installed in the Program Files folder on your system drive, which is usually C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Edition\, where Edition is the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you have installed (Community, Professional, or Enterprise).


You can choose to install these files on a different drive or folder that has more space available or suits your preferences better. For example, you can install them on a secondary drive (such as D:) or a subfolder (such as C:\VS2019\). However, you should avoid installing them on a removable drive (such as a USB flash drive) or a network drive (such as a shared folder), as this can cause performance issues or errors.


Download Cache Section


This section allows you to change the location of the download cache, which contains the installation files and manifests for the workloads and components that you select during the installation process. These files are downloaded from the internet and stored locally on your computer for faster installation and future updates. By default, these files are stored in the %ProgramData%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Packages folder on your system drive, which is usually C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Packages.


You can choose to store these files on a different drive or folder that has more space available or suits your preferences better. For example, you can store them on a secondary drive (such as D:) or a subfolder (such as C:\VSCache\). However, you should avoid storing them on a removable drive (such as a USB flash drive) or a network drive (such as a shared folder), as this can cause performance issues or errors.


Shared Components, Tools, and SDKs Section


This section allows you to change the location of some shared components, tools, and SDKs that are used by multiple Visual Studio versions or other applications. These include common runtimes, libraries, frameworks, emulators, compilers, debuggers, and other development tools. By default, these files are installed in various folders on your system drive, such as C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VS7Debug\ or C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\.


You can choose to install these files on a different drive or folder that has more space available or suits your preferences better. For example, you can install them on a secondary drive (such as D:) or a subfolder (such as C:\VSShared\). However, you should avoid installing them on a removable drive (such as a USB flash drive) or a network drive (such as a shared folder), as this can cause performance issues or errors.


Tips and Tricks


Changing the install location of Visual Studio 2019 can help you optimize your disk usage and improve your development experience. However, there are some other tips and tricks that you can use to further enhance your Visual Studio 2019 installation. Here are some of them:


Use SSD for System Drive


If possible, use an SSD (solid state drive) for your system drive instead of an HDD (hard disk drive). An SSD is much faster and more reliable than an HDD, which can significantly improve the performance of your system and applications. This can also reduce the impact of having Visual Studio 2019 installed on your system drive, as it will load and run faster than on an HDD.


Clear Download Cache


If you have already installed Visual Studio 2019 and do not plan to install any new workloads or components in the future , you can clear the download cache to free up some disk space. The download cache contains the installation files and manifests for the workloads and components that you have installed, which are no longer needed after the installation is complete. To clear the download cache, follow these steps:


  • Open the Visual Studio Installer from the Start menu or the taskbar.



  • Click the More button next to the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you have installed and select Modify.



  • In the Workloads tab, click the Modify button at the bottom right corner of the installer window.



  • In the confirmation dialog box, check the box that says Delete downloaded installation files and click Modify.



  • Wait for the modification process to finish and close the installer.



Note that clearing the download cache will not affect your Visual Studio 2019 installation or functionality. However, if you want to install any new workloads or components in the future, you will need to download them again from the internet.


Move Existing Installation


If you have already installed Visual Studio 2019 and want to move it to a different drive or folder without uninstalling and reinstalling it, you can use a third-party tool called Visual Studio Uninstaller. This tool can help you uninstall Visual Studio 2019 completely and cleanly, including all the registry entries, files, folders, and settings. You can then reinstall Visual Studio 2019 with the new location using the Visual Studio Installer. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Download and run the Visual Studio Uninstaller from GitHub.



  • Select the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you want to uninstall and click Uninstall.



  • Wait for the uninstallation process to finish and close the tool.



  • Download and run the Visual Studio Installer from the official website.



  • Select the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you want to install and click Install.



  • In the Workloads tab, select the workloads and components that you want to install according to your development needs.



  • Switch to the Installation locations tab at the top of the installer window and select the desired location for each section.



  • Click Install to start the installation process with the new location.



Note that using this method will remove all your Visual Studio 2019 settings, extensions, templates, and projects. You will need to restore them manually after reinstalling Visual Studio 2019.


Use Symbolic Links


If you have already installed Visual Studio 2019 and want to move it to a different drive or folder without uninstalling and reinstalling it, you can also use a feature called symbolic links. A symbolic link is a special type of file that points to another file or folder on your computer. You can use symbolic links to create shortcuts or aliases for your Visual Studio 2019 files and folders on a different drive or folder, while keeping them accessible from their original location. This way, you can save disk space on your system drive without affecting your Visual Studio 2019 installation or functionality. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Create a new folder on a different drive or folder where you want to move your Visual Studio 2019 files and folders. For example, D:\VS2019\.



  • Open a command prompt window as an administrator.



  • Type mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2019\Edition\" "D:\VS2019\" and press Enter. Replace Edition with the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you have installed (Community, Professional, or Enterprise). This will create a symbolic link for your core product files of Visual Studio 2019.



  • Type mklink /J "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Packages" "D:\VSCache\" and press Enter. This will create a symbolic link for your download cache of Visual Studio 2019.



  • Type mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\VS7Debug\" "D:\VSShared\" and press Enter. This will create a symbolic link for some of your shared components, tools, and SDKs of Visual Studio 2019.



  • Repeat step 5 for any other folders that contain shared components, tools, and SDKs of Visual Studio 2019 that you want to move. You can find them in various locations on your system drive, such as C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET \Framework64\v4.0.30319\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk\.



  • Close the command prompt window and check the new folders that you have created. You should see the files and folders of Visual Studio 2019 that you have moved with the symbolic links.



Note that using this method will not remove your Visual Studio 2019 settings, extensions, templates, and projects. However, you should be careful when using symbolic links, as deleting or modifying them can cause errors or data loss.


Use Custom Installation Script


If you want to have more control and flexibility over the installation process of Visual Studio 2019, you can use a custom installation script. A custom installation script is a file that contains commands and parameters that tell the Visual Studio Installer how to install Visual Studio 2019 according to your preferences. You can use a custom installation script to specify the workloads and components that you want to install, the location of the installation files, the language of the user interface, and other options. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Create a text file with a .vsconfig extension. For example, VS2019.vsconfig.



  • Open the file with a text editor and write the commands and parameters that you want to use for the installation. You can use the Visual Studio Configuration File Reference to learn more about the syntax and options that you can use.



  • Save and close the file.



  • Download and run the Visual Studio Installer from the official website.



  • Select the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you want to install and click Install.



  • In the Workloads tab, click Import configuration at the bottom left corner of the installer window.



  • Select the .vsconfig file that you have created and click Open.



  • The installer will load the configuration from your file and show you the workloads and components that will be installed. You can review and modify them if needed.



  • Click Install to start the installation process with your custom configuration.



Note that using this method will allow you to change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 before or after you start the installation. However, you should be careful when using a custom installation script, as using incorrect or incompatible commands or parameters can cause errors or data loss.


Conclusion


Visual Studio 2019 is a great IDE that can help you create amazing applications for various platforms. However, it also requires a lot of disk space to install and run smoothly. If you have limited space on your system drive or want to organize your files better, you might want to change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 to a different drive or folder. In this article, you learned how to do that in a few simple steps using the Installation locations tab in the Visual Studio Installer. You also learned some tips and tricks to further optimize your Visual Studio 2019 installation using an SSD, clearing the download cache, moving an existing installation, using symbolic links, or using a custom installation script. We hope that this article was helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below.


FAQs


Here are some frequently asked questions about changing the install location of Visual Studio 2019:


Q: Can I change the install location of Visual Studio 2019 after I have installed it?




A: Yes, but you will need to uninstall it first and then reinstall it with the new location using the Visual Studio Installer. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tool called Visual Studio Uninstaller to uninstall it completely and cleanly, or use symbolic links to create shortcuts for your files and folders on a different drive or folder.


Q: Can I install Visual Studio 2019 on a removable drive or a network drive?




A: No, we do not recommend installing Visual Studio 2019 on a removable drive (such as a USB flash drive) or a network drive (such as a shared folder), as this can cause performance issues or errors. You should install Visual Studio 2019 on a local drive (such as C: or D:) that has enough space available and is fast and reliable.


Q: Can I install multiple editions of Visual Studio 2019 on different drives or folders?




A: Yes, you can install multiple editions of Visual Studio 2019 (such as Community, Professional, or Enterprise) on different drives or folders using the Installation locations tab in the Visual Studio Installer. However, you should note that some shared components, tools, and SDKs will be installed on the same location for all editions, and you will need to update them separately for each edition.


Q: Can I change the install location of Visual Studio Code?




A: Yes, you can change the install location of Visual Studio Code, which is a lightweight and cross-platform code editor that is different from Visual Studio 2019. You can do this by using the --user-data-dir and --extensions-dir command-line arguments when launching Visual Studio Code. You can also use the installLocation and extensionsLocation properties in the product.json file to specify the default locations for your user data and extensions.


Q: How can I check the disk space usage of Visual Studio 2019?




A: You can check the disk space usage of Visual Studio 2019 by using the Visual Studio Installer. Here are the steps to follow:


  • Open the Visual Studio Installer from the Start menu or the taskbar.



  • Click the More button next to the edition of Visual Studio 2019 that you have installed and select Modify.



  • In the Workloads tab, you will see a bar at the bottom of the installer window that shows the total disk space required for your selected workloads and components.



  • You can also switch to the Individual components tab to see the disk space required for each individual component that you have installed or want to install.



  • You can also click the Modify button at the bottom right corner of the installer window to see a summary of the disk space usage for each section (Visual Studio IDE, Download cache, and Shared components, tools, and SDKs).



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