Enabling administrator updates to Visual Studio with Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager

Applies to: yesVisual Studio noVisual Studio for Mac


This article applies to Visual Studio 2017. If you're looking for the latest Visual Studio documentation, see Visual Studio documentation. We recommend upgrading to the latest version of Visual Studio. Download it here

The Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (SCCM) can manage Visual Studio administrator updates by using the Software Update management workflow. For documentation simplicity, the content below will refer to the Visual Studio 2017, Visual Studio 2019 and Visual Studio 2022 products collectively as "Visual Studio".

When Microsoft publishes a new Visual Studio update to the Content Delivery Network (CDN), Microsoft will simultaneously publish a corresponding administrator update package to the Microsoft Update servers. This will then enable an administrator to distribute the Visual Studio update via the Microsoft Update Catalog (MUC) or Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). Configuration Manager can be set up to synchronize the Visual Studio administrator updates from the WSUS catalog into the site server, and then, it can download the update and distribute it to Visual Studio client machines across the organization. Refer to the Visual Studio Release Notes for more information about which fixes are present in each release of Visual Studio.

To distribute Visual Studio administrator updates through Configuration Manager, you’ll need to take these two initial preparation steps:

  1. Enable Configuration Manager to receive Visual Studio administrator update notifications.
  2. Enable (or disable) client machines to receive Visual Studio administrator updates from Configuration Manager.

After you perform these steps, you can use the software update management capabilities of Configuration Manager to deploy the Visual Studio administrator updates. The different types and characteristics of Visual Studio administrator updates are described in Applying administrator updates, which provides guidance about how and when they should be distributed throughout your organization. For more information about Configuration Manager functionality and options, see Deploy software updates in Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.

Enable Configuration Manager to receive Visual Studio administrator update notifications

To enable Configuration Manager to manage Visual Studio administrator updates, you will need:

  • A current licensed version of Windows Server running Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager (current branch) and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). You can’t use WSUS itself to deploy these updates; it must be used in conjunction with Configuration Manager.

  • The Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager must be configured to receive notifications when Visual Studio administrator update packages are available. To do that, use the following steps, and for more information, see Introduction to software updates in Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.

    1. In the Configuration Manager console, select Administration (bottom-left), then select Site Configuration (middle left), then Sites, and select your site server.

    2. On the Home tab ribbon at the top, in the Settings group button, select Configure Site Components, and then select Software Update Point.

    3. In the Software Update Point Component Properties dialog box:

      • On the Products tab, under the Developer Tools, Runtimes, and Redistributables hierarchy, choose the versions of Visual Studio you want to synchronize.

      • On the Classifications tab, make sure “Security Updates”, “Feature Packs”, and “Updates” are selected.

    4. Next, synchronize the software updates with the WSUS server by choosing Software Library (bottom-left), and then on the Home tab ribbon at the top, select the Synchronize Software Updates button. Synchronizing Software Updates will make the available Visual Studio administrator updates visible in, and able to be deployed from, the Configuration Manager console.

Enable (or disable) client machines' ability to receive Visual Studio administrator updates from Configuration Manager

To enable a client machine to accept Visual Studio administrator updates, you will need to ensure that the Visual Studio Client Detector Utility is installed properly, you will need to set a registry key to enable the client to receive administrator updates, and you will need to ensure that the account executing the administrator updates has both administrative privileges to the machine and access to the source location of product updates.

Visual Studio Client Detector Utility

The Visual Studio Client Detector Utility must be installed on the client machines in order for the administrator updates to be properly recognized and received. This utility was included with all Visual Studio product updates that were released on or after May 12, 2020, it is included as a pre-requisite with all the Visual Studio administrator updates, and it is also available on the Microsoft Update Catalog to install independently.

Encoding administrator intent on the client machines

The client computers must be enabled to receive administrator updates. This step is necessary to make sure that the updates are not unintentionally or accidentally pushed out to unsuspecting client computers.

The AdministratorUpdatesEnabled key is designed for the administrator to encode administrator intent. This key can be in any of the standard Visual Studio registry locations. Admin access on the client computer is required to create and set the value of this key.

  • To configure the client computer to accept Administrator Updates, set the AdministratorUpdatesEnabled REG_DWORD key to 1.
  • If the AdministratorUpdatesEnabled REG_DWORD key is missing or is set to 0, administrator updates will be blocked from applying to the client computer.

Ensuring the account has the right privileges and permissions

By default, the client machine's SYSTEM account will be downloading and installing the Visual Studio administrator updates. This means that the SYSTEM account must have administrative privileges to the machine. Additionally, depending on where the client is configured to obtain the product sources from, the SYSTEM account must also have access to at least to either the Visual Studio endpoints on the internet or permissions to read from the network layout location in order to download the updated product bits. Note: an easy way to grant permissions to a network share for a collection of client machines' SYSTEM accounts is to grant permissions to the "Domain Computers" AD group.

Feedback and support

Support or troubleshooting

Sometimes, things can go wrong. If your Visual Studio installation fails, see Troubleshoot Visual Studio installation and upgrade issues for step-by-step guidance.

Here are a few more support options:

  • We also offer an installation chat (English only) support option for installation-related issues.
  • Report product issues to us via the Report a Problem tool that appears both in the Visual Studio Installer and in the Visual Studio IDE. If you're an IT Administrator and don't have Visual Studio installed, you can submit IT Admin feedback here.
  • Suggest a feature, track product issues, and find answers in the Visual Studio Developer Community.

You can use the following methods to provide feedback about Visual Studio administrator updates or report issues that affect the updates:

See also