Download Visual Studio Updates For Offline Installation

In case you don’t know already, Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 was released April 4th (Official AnnouncementDownload PageRelease Notes).

Like the previous Visual Studio update, you get a very small EXE file, which you run to download the update from the Internet, install it, and then delete it. This means that if you need to install the update on multiple machines, you may need to download it multiple times.

In this post, I’ll show you how to get the EXE to download the files to a known location so that you can use it on multiple machines, my sample update will be Visual Studio 2012 Update 2.

Offline Download Instructions

  1. Download the standard small EXE file, for VS 2012 Update 2, the filename is VS2012.2.exe
  2. Open a command window at the same folder you downloaded the EXE to

    One easy way to do it is open the folder with Windows Explorer, and write "powershell" (or "cmd" for standard command prompt – both without quotes) in address bar

  3. In command window, write

    Note the "/layout" flag, this tells the EXE you want to download the files and keep them, instead of install and delete them. Also note the file name may be different for different updates (or if you saved it with different name)

  4. When a wizard similar to installation shows, choose the download folder at the first step and press "DOWNLOAD".   

    download location

    I suggest that you create a new folder to store the files to, what you are downloading is an EXE with the same file name as what you downloaded, and a "Packages" folder containing all different bits of the update

  5. Wait as the download completes. This will take time, long time. That’s why we want to do it fewer times, right?


    Once finished, you can copy the downloaded folder to other machines, and use the EXE next to (NOT inside) the "Packages" sub-folder to install the update without requiring any extra downloads.

The instructions are also found at the end of the download page, but it seemed that not many people noticed it, which is why I wrote this post.

Gotchas & Going Forward…

Note that the download tool isn’t exactly like your preferred download manager. Don’t expect download speed optimizations or error-proof resume for network failures, etc..

There is a feature request for the Visual Studio to include the update in an ISO file that you can download use the best way you like instead. If you want to see this happening, please vote it up here:

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