Visual Studio Profile

Fri, October 9, 2009, 04:51 PM under VisualStudio
Visual Studio 2005 introduced the concept of profiles (which still exists in VS2008 and VS2010). You first experience that through the annoying dialog you see the first time you launch VS asking to bucket yourself into one of General, Project Management, VB, C#, C++, F# and Web.

TIP: Click on each one of the options in the list to read the description on the right that gives insight into what will happen.

Once you choose your label, you get default settings that the product teams decided around default window & toolbar layouts, order of choices in the New Project dialog, menu configurations and keyboard shortcuts.

I guess I was used to the configurations of VS.NET 2002 and VS.NET 2003 so I did not embrace this VS2005 feature. FYI, I always pick General, which largely represents the settings that the early version of Visual Studio had and the one that caters better for developers programming in more than one language.

The profile concept gives the product teams the power to say things like (NOTE: I am making up these examples!) "you are a VB developer, I don’t think you need the Threads window shown by default" or "you are a C# developer, you have no use for the Object Browser" and so on. As a developer, I'd rather see everything. Moreover, most settings that are pre-chosen can be changed via the Tools->Options dialog so why try and bucket me, just try to educate me more about how to configure things. In any case, that is probably the saving grace for the feature: you can override and change most of the decisions made on your behalf. This is another reason you must navigate every option in the Tools->Options dialog, which I always advocate to new VS users. Besides creating, you can also persist your own settings via the Tools->Import and Export menu and can even create macros attached to toolbarbuttons for switching fast between them.

To reset VS completely (which includes asking again for a profile choice when you start it next time), from an elevated VS command prompt type: devenv /resetuserdata (warning: all your preference settings will be lost, so back them up). Try the various profiles (with your existing projects) to see what you may be missing…