Windows Update will include security updates for Visual Studio

Enable the Receive updates for other Microsoft products option

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Soon, Windows Updates will not be limited to drivers, security updates, and updates for Microsoft Office. Starting from the August 2024 security patch for Windows 11 and 10, Microsoft plans to bundle security updates for Visual Studio.

Microsoft announced this on Visual Studio’s developer community page. The Redmond tech giant also mentioned that to get security updates for Visual Studio from MU each month, head to Settings>Windows Update> Advanced options and enable the Receive updates for other Microsoft products option.

If you are a developer using Windows Home Edition, you can enable this option manually. However, if the option is greyed out for you and your IT admins control the updates on your machine, this feature will not work for you.

Opting into this feature will be beneficial as it will ensure you get security updates on Visual Studio without any misses. Microsoft updates run automatically in the background without disrupting the usual tasks.

This will apply to supported release and LTSC channels of Visual Studio 2022, 2019, and 2017, but it doesn’t apply to Visual Studio Preview.

If you are using an IT admin-managed system, the option is likely already enabled for you but will not be under your control.

Opting out

If you are already enrolled in receiving updates for other Microsoft products but don’t want to receive updates for Visual Studio, you can opt-out.

To do this, press Windows + R to get the Run window, type regedit, and click OK to open Registry Editor. Navigate to this path: Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\VisualStudio\Setup

From the right pane, locate VSthroughMUUpdatesOptOut, double-click it, change the Value data to 1, and click OK. If you don’t find VSthroughMUUpdatesOptOut, right-click Setup from the left pane, select New>DWORD, name it VSthroughMUUpdatesOptOut, and change the Value data.

Microsoft mentioned that the preview Visual Studio update packages via Microsoft Update will be available starting in June and July. So, if you have manually enabled the feature, you will get a preview of the Visual Studio Update experience.

The Redmond tech giant further mentioned that these Visual Studio updates delivered through the Microsoft Update channel will follow the same rules as Visual Studio updates.

Things to remember

  • Close Visual Studio: Before applying an update, ensure Visual Studio is closed, as Microsoft Update or Visual Studio will never forcefully close Visual Studio.
  • Background updates: Microsoft update will offer Visual Studio updates silently in the background. If the Visual Studio app is closed, the updates will apply on their own.
  • Manual updates: You can always initiate updates by clicking the Check for updates button from the Windows Update section.
  • Timing –

Here are the known issues mentioned by Microsoft:

There are a couple of known caveats to the experience that we’re already aware of and working on. These issues are mainly UI related, which is more noticeable when people manually try out the experience; they’re less problematic when people let and trust the update to run automatically.
First of all, the error messages in the Windows Update UI are a bit cryptic now, but they will be improved soon.
Secondly, if you decide to manually “Check for Updates” using the Windows Update UI, the progress bar will be stuck at 0 all the way until the update finishes, at which point it will immediately go to 100%. We ask for your patience here. Users will try to “Check for Updates” after they initially enable this feature, and having the progress bar look like it’s stuck at 0 leaves the impression that nothing is happening. Remember that Visual Studio updates can sometimes take a while, so just wait a bit and it’ll eventually finish. We’re working with the Windows team to improve the error messages and progress bar visuals.

Users’ reactions

A lot of users were not happy with the announcement as they wanted an option or checkbox to choose Visual Studio in MU. One of the users mentioned:

Will we eventually see this elevated to a proper checkbox/etc. within Visual Studio itself?

There’s definitely a lot of confusion on this – it’s opt-in at the machine level, but then opt-out (via registry tweak) at the application level. I would imagine a LOT of folks wanting the MU setting ON, but the VS setting OFF – and hacking the registry isn’t a solid experience to do that.

Another user expressed his concern:

I wish I could downvote this issue. I think it’s a bad idea. VS updates have broken our automated builds at least once a year for the last decade. It’s usually some subtle change in MSBuild, MSTest, .NET SDK, or some updated code analyzer that logs errors it missed before, but it’s frustrating. VS updates frequently stop our development team in its tracks. VS has such a massive surface area (e.g., .NET SDKs, Windows SDKs), that it seems very risky to think the majority of developers will want it to update without explicit interaction. VS touches too many things to be evergreen like VS Code or other Microsoft apps.

Our workflow is now, “Don’t install VS updates until I approve them and make sure they work on my machine and a build machine.” Now I’ll have to try to ensure every developer machine and build machine has this HKLM-level registry key set too, which I can’t set from a non-admin build script. I’m planning to read the registry key and throw an error if it’s not set the way I want. I wish I could override this behavior with a .vsconfig or .editorconfig setting (i.e., in a file that everyone git pulls), but I realize those are solution-scoped not machine-scoped.

I’ve only had Windows updates block me once, and I’ve never had Office updates block my workflow. But VS updates are different. They are frequent blockers.

The concerns expressed are genuine, as Microsoft updates with Office included don’t generally cause issues; however, Visual Studio updates, on the other hand, are not flawless and often create issues.

What are your views on this change? Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments section below.

More about the topics: windows 10, Windows 11