Visual Studio 2010 is a pig

Visual Studio 2010 has not made a good first impression.

It took about a day to install. I was using the Visual Studio Ultimate Web Installer and much of the time was spent downloading bits. I’m sure it would have been faster had I started with a DVD.  Also, I wasn’t giving the install my full attention. I was doing my regular work on one machine while installing VS 2010 on a remote machine. I would connect to the remote machine now and then to check on the progress. I don’t know exactly how long it took, but it was the majority of a day.

When I first started Visual Studio 2010, it took about half an hour to write my first “hello world” example. When I fired up VS 2010, I spent several minutes staring at a dialog that said “Microsoft Visual Studio is loading user settings. This may take a few minutes.” Seven minutes after launching Visual Studio, the application went away and my machine rebooted. I started Visual Studio again, started a C# console application, inserted a WriteLine statement, and compiled. Total elapsed time: 27 minutes.

I closed Visual Studio and did some more work. Later I came back and opened Visual Studio to write “hello world” again. Time from starting Visual Studio to compiling: 2 minutes 50 seconds.

Now I realize that start-up time isn’t everything. Most users will start Visual Studio and keep it up for hours or days. And that’s who Visual Studio is intended to serve. It’s not meant to be something you fire up for quick jobs.

Visual Studio 2010 is huge. The installation DVD is 2.3 GB. The source code for VS 2010 contains about 1,500,000 files and takes Microsoft 61 hours to build according to Phil Haack. (He said he didn’t know how many machines the build process uses.) Phil Haack also said that the release of VS 2010 was delayed because the feedback from testers was that the product was too slow. If the released product is faster, the betas must have been intolerably slow.

Update: I installed the Express version of VS 2010 on another computer and have been using it regularly. It is much faster, and pleasant to use. Maybe there’s something about the Ultimate edition (TFS integration?) that slows it down.

Related posts:

Moore’s law and software bloat
Better tools, less productivity?
You do pay for what you don’t use

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97 comments on “Visual Studio 2010 is a pig
  1. Scott says:

    P.S. Scrolling the Solution Explorer can have multi-second pauses. Needs fixing!

  2. Scott says:

    Some (not all) of the horribly slow behavior went away when I disabled the ‘PowerCommands For Visual Studio 2010′ and ‘Productivity Power Tools’ add-ins and restarted VS. These seems to have been a factor in VS running a compile for each step.
    Another factor is being in the middle of a major restructuring of my app; once there are a lot of errors VS thrashes doing constant recompiles to update IntelliSense and the error list. Looking for a way to pause that behavior — kept scrolling down to an interesting error, about to click it and then VS would update the list and it would disappear.

  3. Mark Richman says:

    Has anyone tried Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 yet? Any performance and/or stability improvements?

  4. Anon says:

    I can’t even install sp1 to see if it fixes any of the (many) bugs I’ve encountered. Service Pack 1 requires an extortionate amount of disk space.
    I have Visual Studio installed on my Virtual Machine running Server 2003 (10GB total, with apps + vs installed I still have 2.5GB free), and this thing requires me to have nigh on 6GB of data free??!!?
    Even the completed install of Visual Studio 2010 without a service pack is less than 3 times this size.

    The only reason I stayed with VS2010 this long was because of their dynamic underlining of issues – it can save time in the long run.
    Sadly, the frequent crashes (where it tells me it may have been caused by an extension, when I have none installed), buggy updates, intellisense not functioning at all & twice as long compile times (for simple C++ apps) have actually become more of a hindrance. While typing this I have just reinstalled VS2008, and it’s already done – and without a reboot!!!

    Microsoft need to sort their “stuff” (for lack of my desired word) out if they want to keep people using their software, which is becoming noticeably more bloated and slower as time progresses.
    I loathe Apple (the company, not the products), but they had the right idea – break the backwards compatibility once to allow for a tech upgrade to get back with the modern world, else they’ll have no customers left.

  5. Richard says:

    At work, I run VS2010 on a quad-core desktop with 16 GB of RAM, a RAID-1 startup drive (no SSDs, so the previous comment from Jeffrey Zhang is a bit of an outlier: everything is fast on an SSD), and on a clean boot (Windows 7 x64), the IDE takes 3 minutes to load. I could live with that, if I had to, but what I can’t forgive is how the UI freezes during C# builds:it’s like I’m back on the Sun 3/60 with vi and make, only they were a heck of a lot more usable.

    VS 2010 is dreadful: I have no idea why more people aren’t complaining loudly about this.

  6. Joe says:

    VS2010 is indeed a pig even with SP1. I am running Win 7 64-bit. Dual Quad Core Xeons, 12gb ram, non ssd hds in raid -1.

    Terrible slow. Takes minutes to open. Lags while typing. Indexing takes forever. c++ is useless in this :/ I am bummed we moved to this. I do my editing in VS 2008 now and just switch to 2010 to do builds when my code is done.

  7. sherifffruitfly says:

    (shrug) Works fine for me on a new-ish dual core laptop. Installation did take awhile, though. But nowhere near the 24 hours you claim. More like an order of magnitude less.

  8. @sherifffruitfly

    You mean 2.4 hours to install a piece of software?

    Does it compile it from source?

    Do you include the time to download it from the Internet?

    What can it be possibly doing for 2.4 hours on your machine? Solving some NP-hard problem?

  9. ramakrishnan says:

    for me, It was happend in 2 – 3 minutes, No Problem.

  10. Nick says:

    I normally use VS2008 because most of my code base is there, but I have used VS2010 for debugging crash dumps since it is much better in that regard. I hadn’t noticed any particular slowness, so I just ran a test. I started it, created a Windows Forms app that put “Hello World” in a textbox, and the total time from start (opening VS2010) to creation, compiling to displaying the form was 2 1/2 minutes on a rather slow dual core laptop.

    Were you using pre-production version? (My VS2010 version is 10.0.30319.1 RTMRel.)

    While I probably could have written a Hello World C console app faster with a text editor, calling an old complier from DOS, I certainly could not have written a forms app any faster.

  11. JC says:

    @Daniel

    I would assume sherifffruitfly meant with the download included since the OP said it took about a day including the download. I actually did a fresh install of VS2010 a few minutes ago, and it took about 40 minutes — another 100 minutes or so for the download seems plenty. But unfortunately, I don’t remember how long my download took since I downloaded it several months ago.

  12. I have been using Microsoft’s Development products since Visual Basic 2.0
    I have used all the releases of Visual Studio since it came out.
    After a couple of weeks of working in VS 2010 my experience has been mostly positive. Targeting Outlook with a plug in went like a dream.
    One thing I did find strange was opening forms in a windows application, even a basic form was taking many seconds to load. However, on subsequent requests for an other instance of the same form, it was almost instant.
    It does mean I will have to suggest to my clients that they leave my applications running, rather than stop and start them frequently. I can live with that I think.
    I also found that the Janus Suite that I use did not work, and I will have to upgrade to the latest version.
    I am going to stick with VS 2010

  13. DILIP says:

    Yes, VS2010 is a pig, i started my installation of VS2010 Professional at 6 PM now it is 8 PM, still it is not completed 10% of installation.

    I have my own local copy and from there i am installing this.

    I am running Win XP sp3 32-bit. Pentium Dual Core , 1GB ram.

  14. John says:

    DILIP: Only 1 GB RAM? I suspect that’s part of your problem.

    (I never thought I’d say “only 1 GB RAM.” I was floored the first time I heard of a machine with that much RAM.)

  15. Brian says:

    I agree with John. 1GB RAM is probably a bottleneck. Great if you only log on and do 1 thing, but if you have more than a couple programs open, even with XP, that Pentium Dual-Core is *probably* going to struggle to keep up, and the hard drive will be very busy using the pagefile to make up the difference.

  16. @Brian

    I agree with John. 1GB RAM is probably a bottleneck

    In 2020, this statement will read: 100 GB RAM is a bottleneck. Come on! Get with the program. You need 1TB RAM and 1024 cores..

  17. John V. says:

    @Daniel

    Yep, but it will still take a few minutes to start Windows …

  18. @John V.

    Yes, and Windows will have a requirement that says “runs better with 256 cores or more”.

  19. Brian says:

    Even better, in 2020 you won’t be running it on your PC at all, but rather on the cloud, and performance will be determined by how many broadband connections you have coming into your home/business.

    Note: For best performance, Microsoft recommends having at least 25 broadband connections. Please consult the National Broadband Distributuion Office branch closest to you if you need help determining how many connections you have, or how you can qualify to obtain more.

  20. Beau says:

    Just thought I should point out that pigs actually run quite fast.

  21. Nick D says:

    please vote the below issue up (to disable accidentally dragging windows & detaching them – who on earth would want this????)

    https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/feedback/details/593822/please-provide-an-option-to-disable-floating-windows-or-to-lock-a-windows-as-not-floating

  22. Darren Balforte says:

    @ Beau
    3 legged pigs run fast? I really dont want to know how you tested that….

  23. Johnathon Cotner says:

    You people are crazy. If your vs is running slow.. then your os is also running slow.. For programmers you guys are really dumb. While it’s true vs loads times are longer than with express versions (Think about it, that ide only loads configurations for 1 language, as with vs you can have different setup’s per language), overall it’s about as snappy as vs6 on my whimpy Pentium dual core lappy. As far as linux coding goes. QtCreator is excellent. Qt overall is excellent. But even the creator of C++ himself is fond of VS2010 .. C++Ox compliance (whistles). (of note, also, the new intel compiler is C++ Ox compliant, and not a bad compiler either, i use it integrated with VS

  24. cary abramoff says:

    vs 2010 is bloated stuttering schizo environment & i’m an mcsd.net with 20+ years experience with all things msft.

    i have made a vow this is my last c#/asp.net app and I will find a way to code exclusively in jquery hereafter.

    the worst part of all is watching the msftard link jockeys try to offer help for all performance issues. if you follow the thread, weeks go by, beards are grown, nothing is remedied, and it always ends with, “did ya try to rewrite your registry in hebrew while juggling chainsaws jerky boy? please let me know if i can be of further service. SUCKAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

    Just an opinion you realize.

    ps- i am only reading this cuz i’m bored while my dell poweredge with 12 gigs of RAM and dual cpu mega whatever cores squirms helplessly while vs takes 10 minutes to unfreeze.

  25. cary abramoff says:

    ps- i have a macbook too. WTF? spinning donut POS. claustrophobic windows. tard browser features. egyptian hieroglyphs for hotkeys?

    I am hoping Chrome becomes the OS du 2012 and all future dev is done in JQUERY and all compilers go the way of the dinosaur.

    Database? How bout turning NAS into a database. I would gladly code my own RI rather than lose decades to the not responding hell that is VS development.

    oh.. any maybe one day IE will support HTML5 file API. WTF? c’mawwwwwn.

  26. Deus says:

    Took a day to install? Mine took only 20 minutes, mate. It’s pretty much on part with VS2008 in term of performance. So before you blog VS2010 is a pig, better check your pc specs. It could be running Pentium II with 256 MB of RAM.

  27. greg says:

    I urge anybody reading this to follow David Berg’s post above. I have tried everything else until I found his post. I went through each step and after disabaling the hardware acceleration (STEP4 :Uncheck ALL checkboxes) … and also setting the spaces thing (Step 2), i had a massive improvement

  28. greg says:

    Me again – well the performance increase lasted exactly 20 mins and now its back to be impossibly slow – unable to work with it anymore and keep my sanity. Clearly there are major bugs in the system.

  29. Holi says:

    Even now, over 1 year later, with the Release and SP1, the Studio is still very buggy and un-handy. Visual Source Safe integration is quite useless and probably was designed for one specific workflow.

    In some cases, only putting the caret/cursor from one line to some other line by mouse takes up to 20 seconds!!! (no CPU load or disk usage at that time). Probably it’s not a good idea to use .NET framwork for programming VS2010 too much; native is still quite more performant.

    What is still very good amongst many other products is the debugger, now with very useful in place information; the objects get resolved very well.

    Some nice features unfortunately – although stolen from other products (i.e. eclipse) – are only available through PowerTools but then again make the whole app quite slower.

    To be very productive, I think one still requires VisualAssistX.

  30. Alen says:

    Is it only VS2010 Ultimate beeing so slow or same with VS2010 Pro?

  31. Law says:

    Visual studio 2010 seems to be a step backwards from 2008. 2008 was significantly faster and more stable. Visual studio reliably hangs for 3+ minutes whenever I open a xaml file (and yes, this still happens even if I have designer mode disabled). VS 2008 never had that problem. Also, go to definition is also dreadfully slow, it can take up to 7 minutes in some cases.

  32. Telerik has just release Kendo UI beta. Telerik’s Ajax & SL suite made .NET life very good minus the intrinsic quirks in ASP.NET development. But now that Amazon has matured S3/Cloudfront and the JQuery UI is quite mature; Kendo UI finally offers to lead us out of .NET hell.

    If only there was an infinitely scaling cloud database (SimpleDB .. not!) developers could actually be LOVING LIFE rather than stealing the sailor’s cursing spotlight.

    JQuery UI- Kendo UI- JQuery – HTML5 – Amazon S3 & CloudFront: This is a very bright future and alternative to .NET hell.

  33. David says:

    Where to start? There is no excuse for bad performance. “Get a better PC” is always a stupid argument. If I buy a new PC, I don’t do so to waste the extra CPU power on badly written software. I want the extra power for something useful.

    There is no doubt that Visual Studio is getting slower over time. This is not surprising if native C++ is being replaced by managed code (the same thing has happened to SQL Server, which is now horribly bloated and slow).

    However, I’ve got to say that VS2008 is faster opening and shutting down than VS6. And its performance is an improved over the horrible VS2005. My main gripe is how many things get broken in the new versions, for example:

    - Edit and Continue (broken for C++ since at least VS2005; fails to show error messages)
    - Intellisense (horribly broken for C++ since VS2005; frequently fails and works badly with precompiled headers)
    - Compiling sources with headers on a network (broke because of impossibly slow performance in VS2005; haven’t tried it since)

    Class view is almost totally unusable in VS2008 because it takes so long to parse the source files (sometimes half a hour), and then the tree view is prone to extremely erratic behaviour. To be fair, the tree in class view has been behaving weirdly since VS6.

    As for why we don’t change to another platform, well that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? It would require a huge investment of time, and that would only be justifiable if things got much worse. Microsoft should be careful, though. Many people are accumulating resentment about their slow and bloated software, and they may one day reach breaking point. Once they leave, they’ll be no winning them back.

  34. David says:

    Incidentally, all this means that I’m no hurry to upgrade these days. Microsoft has made it clear that it doesn’t care about C++ and is intent on pushing .NET bloat into everything.

    So I can be fairly sure that new versions like VS2010 will have more of what I don’t want, and won’t fix the bugs I care about. So why bother upgrading?

  35. David says:

    I wonder whether ClassView has improved any in VS2010. Using VS2008 has reminded me that not only does it take an age to update, but it stops updating altogether once you start debugging. The result is, it’s 13:43 and I still haven’t got ClassView!!!

  36. Lasse says:

    I would discourage from upgrading to Visual Studio 2010. Since it is such a slow pig and things that has always worked – such as for example remapping the key F2 to jump to next bookmark – doesn’t work anymore.

    The compilers are fine, but the GUI is shamelessly horrible in my opinion. Stay away from it if you’re not sure that you need it!

  37. rigo says:

    i recommend to use VS 2008, it’s better than VS 2010

  38. fatlab says:

    I agree its a pig although I think you are being generous!

    I recently Converted a large vs2008 project to vs2010.
    It runs fine on vs2008 and is pretty snappy on my quad core i5 desktop with a SSD system disk.
    vs2010 constantly stops to think and freezes with a busy cursor while I am trying to work.
    Every 2 or 3 times I compile the project I get: “fatal error C1001: An internal error has occurred in the compiler.” with no useful information indicating how to solve the problem. If I restart it goes away for some time!?

    I am running out of hair!

  39. kraft says:

    I had this problem for well over a year on a verrry large .NET site I was working on.

    I was able to make it go away finally by doing the following:

    1. Removing tons of non-essential files that I had used as “one-offs” for backup purposes.

    2. Further a large portion of “middle-tier” .net c# classes that had dependencies through inheritance were optimized.

    I don’t know what your codebase is like but I program fast and tend to quickly create multiple version of source code by using “Save As” so that

    myImportantClass.cs becomes
    myImportantClassBackup.cs right before I make a change that I may wish to rollback.

    After a while I end up with a large # of these.

    What I am trying to convey is that my freezes turned out to be a direct result of a large multitude of files that VS needed to ensure were compilable.

    When I refactored as explained and further moved most of my middle tier to a separate project that I compile into a DLL and reference that way the problem disappeared permanently.

    My experience is where there are a great deal of inheritance dependencies the interminable “hanging” is VS 2010 trying to ensure you are not f@$#(&@#$ s$)(^T up :))

    So the bottom line is don’t ask it to think too hard or you might hurt its wittle head!

  40. quidproms says:

    VS2010 Ultimate with TFS is just fine by me. I don’t see any slugglishness compared to VS2008. Improvements in intellisense and javascript debugging are an example of the advancements. The profiler is wonderful compared to what was around in VS2005 and prior; it helped me find spots to edit to result in a 10x speed-up in an app. …. I don’t see the point of picking on MS anymore. The days of evil empire are gone. MS seems to be truly committed to quality whereas before it was just market share. In my line of work (science, academia) I’m an outcast because I’m not Java centric. But given the best of IDE in the Java world seems to be Eclipse, I’m happy with visual studio. Visual Studio reminds me of the halcyon days of using the IDE on the SGI Indigo.

  41. Doug says:

    It uses WPF and WPF has extreme overhead because it uses a ridiculous amount of reflection in its operation. If you look at the module list of devenv.exe, it loads practically every DLL on your machine. With a huge solution open (millions of lines of code, over 100 projects) it takes over 380MB of memory. Linking that project with link-time-code-generation, link.exe reaches 3GB and only uses one core on my 6-core (12 thread) core I7 990x extreme @ 3.6 GHz with 24 GB of RAM, and takes a 2 or 3 minutes to link.

    That said, if you have a machine with excessive horsepower, and boatloads of memory, and you aren’t running into the many bugs, it really is a great IDE.

  42. John says:

    Yeah VS sucks. Microsoft should hire jetbrains to developer their IDE’s. Intellij is incredible for java. Resharper .net code better than anyone could imagine. The intellisense features are way more advanced. Ohh the plague of the .net world.

  43. Worst IDE ever absolutely the worst. I have used a ton of JavaScript and Web IEDS and this is just the worst. If it was up to me (not my team) I would use a text editor.

  44. Richard says:

    I’m finding VS 2012 to be even worse: Resharper is the only thing which lets me put up with it.

    Xcode has some issues, but at least being sluggish is not one.

  45. Johnzo says:

    The real question is – just what would it take to get businesses to start dumping microsoft products? Is there any level of performance below which people will say “enough is enough”? When a product as pathetic as this, in the 21st century, is pushed, does anyone say “time to cut our losses”? When I spend 95% of my time playing microsoft system admin to figure out why a dead simple problem is not working, and 5% of my time developing, there is something very wrong. In 1986, I could write a report or input program in a matter of MINUTES on a mainframe. I recently spent 3 hours trying point an SSRS report to a different database! Something that would have been done in less than a minute in 1986. This is not business software. This is hobbyists’ software.

  46. S says:

    I’m beginning to think I’ve made a terrible choice of construct app. My program uses databases. Enough said. VB10 is full of buggy behaviour when trying to edit datasets in the dataset designer. It’s made an already difficult job impossible and ramped up the frustration factor to boot.

    No more of this visual basic crap. I’m thinking about learning a new language and going in a different direction entirely. I wouldnt wish Visual Basic on my worst enemy.

  47. S says:

    Not only is it a pig – its a pig with swine flu. Avoid like the, errr plague.

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