Visual Studio Code FAQ

Visual Studio Code FAQ

Our docs contain a Common questions section as needed for specific topics. We've captured items here that don't fit in the other topics.

If you don't see an answer to your question here, check our previously reported issues on GitHub and our release notes.

What is the difference between Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio IDE?#

Visual Studio Code is a streamlined code editor with support for development operations like debugging, task running, and version control. It aims to provide just the tools a developer needs for a quick code-build-debug cycle and leaves more complex workflows to fuller featured IDEs, such as Visual Studio IDE.

Which OSs are supported?#

VS Code runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows. See the Requirements documentation for the supported versions. You can find more platform specific details in the Setup overview.

Is VS Code free?#

Yes, VS Code is free for private or commercial use. See the product license for details.

How to disable telemetry reporting#

VS Code collects usage data and sends it to Microsoft to help improve our products and services. Read our privacy statement and telemetry documentation to learn more.

If you don't wish to send usage data to Microsoft, you can set the telemetry.enableTelemetry user setting to false.

From File > Preferences > Settings (macOS: Code > Preferences > Settings), search for telemetry, and uncheck the Telemetry: Enable Telemetry setting. This will silence all telemetry events from VS Code going forward.

Important Notice: VS Code gives you the option to install Microsoft and third party extensions. These extensions may be collecting their own usage data and are not controlled by the telemetry.enableTelemetry setting. Consult the specific extension's documentation to learn about its telemetry reporting.

How to disable crash reporting#

VS Code collects data about any crashes that occur and sends it to Microsoft to help improve our products and services. Read our privacy statement and telemetry documentation to learn more.

If you don't wish to send crash data to Microsoft, you can change the enable-crash-reporter runtime argument to false

  • Open the Command Palette (Ctrl+Shift+P).
  • Run the Preferences: Configure Runtime Arguments command.
  • This command will open a argv.json file to configure runtime arguments.
  • Edit "enable-crash-reporter": false.
  • Restart VS Code.

GDPR and VS Code#

Now that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is in effect, we want to take this opportunity to reiterate that we take privacy very seriously. That's both for Microsoft as a company and specifically within the VS Code team.

To support GDPR:

  • The VS Code product notifies all users that they can opt out of telemetry collection.
  • The team actively reviews and classifies all telemetry sent (documented in our OSS codebase).
  • There are valid data retention policies in place for any data collected, for example crash dumps.

You can learn more about VS Code's GDPR compliance in the telemetry documentation.

What online services does VS Code use?#

Beyond crash reporting and telemetry, VS Code uses online services for various other purposes such as downloading product updates, finding, installing, and updating extensions, or providing Natural Language Search within the Settings editor. You can learn more in Managing online services.

You can choose to turn on/off features that use these services. From File > Preferences > Settings (macOS: Code > Preferences > Settings), and type the tag @tag:usesOnlineServices. This will display all settings that control the usage of online services and you can individually switch them on or off.

How do I opt out of VS Code auto-updates?#

By default, VS Code is set up to auto-update for macOS and Windows users when we release new updates. If you do not want to get automatic updates, you can set the Update: Mode setting from default to none.

To modify the update mode, go to File > Preferences > Settings (macOS: Code > Preferences > Settings), search for update mode and change the setting to none.

If you use the JSON editor for your settings, add the following line:

    "update.mode": "none"

You can install a previous release of VS Code by uninstalling your current version and then installing the download provided at the top of a specific release notes page.

Note: On Linux: If the VS Code repository was installed correctly then your system package manager should handle auto-updating in the same way as other packages on the system. See Installing VS Code on Linux.

Opt out of extension updates#

By default, VS Code will also auto-update extensions as new versions become available. If you do not want extensions to automatically update, you can clear the Extensions: Auto Update check box in the Settings editor (Ctrl+,).

If you use the JSON editor to modify your settings, add the following line:

    "extensions.autoUpdate": false



You can find the VS Code licenses, third party notices and Chromium Open Source credit list under your VS Code installation location resources\app folder. VS Code's ThirdPartyNotices.txt, Chromium's Credits_*.html, and VS Code's English language LICENSE.txt are available under resources\app. Localized versions of LICENSE.txt by Language ID are under resources\app\licenses.

Why does Visual Studio Code have a different license than the vscode GitHub repository?#

To learn why Visual Studio Code, the product, has a different license than the open-source vscode GitHub repository, see issue #60 for a detailed explanation.

What is the difference between the vscode repository and the Microsoft Visual Studio Code distribution?#

The repository (Code - OSS) is where we develop the Visual Studio Code product. Not only do we write code and work on issues there, we also publish our roadmap and monthly iteration and endgame plans. The source code is available to everyone under a standard MIT license.

Visual Studio Code is a distribution of the Code - OSS repository with Microsoft specific customizations (including source code), released under a traditional Microsoft product license.

See the Visual Studio Code and 'Code - OSS' Differences article for more details.

What does "Built on Open Source" mean?#

Microsoft Visual Studio Code is a Microsoft licensed distribution of 'Code - OSS' that includes Microsoft proprietary assets (such as icons) and features (Visual Studio Marketplace integration, small aspects of enabling Remote Development). While these additions make up a very small percentage of the overall distribution code base, it is more accurate to say that Visual Studio Code is "built" on open source, rather than "is" open source, because of these differences. More information on what each distribution includes can be found in the Visual Studio Code and 'Code - OSS' Differences article.

How do I find the license for an extension?#

Most extensions link to their license on their Marketplace page or in the overview section, when you select an extension in the Extensions view.

For example:

Extensions view details license link

If you don't find a link to the license, you may find a license in the extension's repository if it is public, or you can contact the extension author through the Q & A section of the Marketplace.

Are all VS Code extensions open source?#

Extension authors are free to choose a license that fits their business needs. While many extension authors have opted to release their source code under an open-source license, some extensions like Wallaby.js, Google Cloud Code, and the VS Code Remote Development extensions use proprietary licenses.

At Microsoft, we open source our extensions whenever possible. However, reliance on existing proprietary source code or libraries, source code that crosses into Microsoft licensed tools or services (for example Visual Studio), and business model differences across the entirety of Microsoft will result in some extensions using a proprietary license. You can find a list of Microsoft contributed Visual Studio Code extensions and their licenses in the Microsoft Extension Licenses article.

How do I find the version?#

You can find the VS Code version information in the About dialog box.

On macOS, go to Code > About Visual Studio Code.

On Windows and Linux, go to Help > About.

The VS Code version is the first Version number listed and has the version format 'major.minor.release', for example '1.27.0'.

Previous release versions#

You can find links to some release downloads at the top of a version's release notes:

Download links in release notes

If you need a type of installation not listed there, you can manually download via the following URLs:

Download typeURL
Windows 64 bit System installer{version}/win32-x64/stable
Windows 64 bit User installer{version}/win32-x64-user/stable
Windows 64 bit zip{version}/win32-x64-archive/stable
Windows 64 bit ARM System installer{version}/win32-arm64/stable
Windows 64 bit ARM User installer{version}/win32-arm64-user/stable
Windows 64 bit ARM zip{version}/win32-arm64-archive/stable
Windows 32 bit System installer{version}/win32/stable
Windows 32 bit User installer{version}/win32-user/stable
Windows 32 bit zip{version}/win32-archive/stable
Linux 64 bit{version}/linux-x64/stable
Linux 64 bit debian{version}/linux-deb-x64/stable
Linux 64 bit rpm{version}/linux-rpm-x64/stable
Linux 64 bit snap{version}/linux-snap-x64/stable
Linux ARM{version}/linux-armhf/stable
Linux ARM debian{version}/linux-deb-armhf/stable
Linux ARM rpm{version}/linux-rpm-armhf/stable
Linux 64 bit ARM{version}/linux-arm64/stable
Linux 64 bit ARM debian{version}/linux-deb-arm64/stable
Linux 64 bit ARM rpm{version}/linux-rpm-arm64/stable

Substitute the specific release you want in the {version} placeholder. For example, to download the Linux ARM debian version for 1.50.1, you would use

You can use the version string latest, if you'd like to always download the latest VS Code stable version.

Prerelease versions#

Want an early peek at new VS Code features? You can try prerelease versions of VS Code by installing the "Insiders" build. The Insiders build installs side by side to your stable VS Code install and has isolated settings, configurations, and extensions. The Insiders build is updated nightly so you'll get the latest bug fixes and feature updates from the day before.

To install the Insiders build, go to the Insiders download page.

What is a VS Code "workspace"?#

A VS Code "workspace" is usually just your project root folder. VS Code uses the "workspace" concept in order to scope project configurations such as project-specific settings as well as config files for debugging and tasks. Workspace files are stored at the project root in a .vscode folder. You can also have more than one root folder in a VS Code workspace through a feature called Multi-root workspaces.

Can I run a portable version of VS Code?#

Yes, VS Code has a Portable Mode that lets you keep settings and data in the same location as your installation, for example, on a USB drive.

Report an issue with a VS Code extension#

For bugs, feature requests or to contact an extension author, you should use the links available in the Visual Studio Code Marketplace or use Help: Report Issue from the Command Palette. However, if there is an issue where an extension does not follow our code of conduct, for example it includes profanity, pornography or presents a risk to the user, then we have an email alias to report the issue. Once the mail is received, our Marketplace team will look into an appropriate course of action, up to and including unpublishing the extension.

VS Code gets unresponsive right after opening a folder#

When you open a folder, VS Code will search for typical project files to offer you additional tooling (for example, the solution picker in the Status bar to open a solution). If you open a folder with lots of files, the search can take a large amount of time and CPU resources during which VS Code might be slow to respond. We plan to improve this in the future but for now you can exclude folders from the explorer via the files.exclude setting and they will not be searched for project files:

    "files.exclude": {
        "**/largeFolder": true

VS Code is blank?#

The Electron shell used by Visual Studio Code has trouble with some GPU (graphics processing unit) hardware acceleration. If VS Code is displaying a blank (empty) main window, you can try disabling GPU acceleration when launching VS Code by adding the Electron --disable-gpu command-line switch.

code --disable-gpu

Installation appears to be corrupt [Unsupported]#

VS Code does a background check to detect if the installation has been changed on disk and if so, you will see the text [Unsupported] in the title bar. This is done since some extensions directly modify (patch) the VS Code product in such a way that is semi-permanent (until the next update) and this can cause hard to reproduce issues. We are not trying to block VS Code patching, but we want to raise awareness that patching VS Code means you are running an unsupported version. Reinstalling VS Code will replace the modified files and silence the warning.

You may also see the [Unsupported] message if VS Code files have been mistakenly quarantined or removed by anti-virus software (see issue #94858 for an example). Check your anti-virus software settings and reinstall VS Code to repair the missing files.

Resolving Shell Environment is Slow (Error, Warning)#

This section applies to macOS and Linux environments only.

When VS Code is launched from a terminal (for example, via code .), it has access to environment settings defined in your .bashrc or .zshrc files. This means features like tasks or debug targets also have access to those settings.

However, when launching from your platform's user interface (for example, the VS Code icon in the macOS dock), you normally are not running in the context of a shell and you don't have access to those environment settings. This means that depending on how you launch VS Code, you may not have the same environment.

To work around this, when launched via a UI gesture, VS Code will start a small process to run (or "resolve") the shell environment defined in your .bashrc or .zshrc files. If your startup file takes a long time to process (more than 3 seconds), you will see the following warning:

Shell environment startup warning

If, after 10 seconds, the shell environment has still not been resolved, VS Code will abort the "resolve" process, launch without your shell's environment settings, and you will see the following error:

Shell environment startup error

The easiest way to investigate delays in your startup file is to:

  • Open your shell's startup file (for example, in VS Code by typing ~/.bashrc or ~/.zshrc in quick open).
  • Selectively comment out potentially long running operations.
  • Save and fully restart VS Code until the warning or error disappears.

Technical Support#

You can ask questions and search for answers on Stack Overflow and enter issues and feature requests directly in our GitHub repository.

If you'd like to contact a professional support engineer, you can open a ticket with the Microsoft assisted support team.


Visual Studio Code Frequently Asked Questions
Visual Studio Code Frequently Asked Questions

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