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Visual Studio Locator

build status: master build status: develop github release github releases: all nuget: all chocolatey: all

Over the years Visual Studio could be discovered using registry keys, but with recent changes to the deployment and extensibility models a new method is needed to discover possibly more than once installed instance. These changes facilitate a smaller, faster default install complimented by on-demand install of other workloads and components.

vswhere is designed to be a redistributable, single-file executable that can be used in build or deployment scripts to find where Visual Studio - or other products in the Visual Studio family - is located. For example, if you know the relative path to MSBuild, you can find the root of the Visual Studio install and combine the paths to find what you need.

You can emit different formats for information based on what your scripts can consume, including plain text, JSON, and XML. Pull requests may be accepted for other common formats as well.

vswhere is included with the installer as of Visual Studio 2017 version 15.2 and later, and can be found at the following location: %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Microsoft Visual Studio\Installer\vswhere.exe. The binary may be copied from that location as needed, installed using Chocolatey, or the latest version may be downloaded from the releases page. More information about how to get vswhere is on the wiki.


If you wanted to find MSBuild - now installed under the Visual Studio 2017 and newer installation root - you could script a command like the following to run the latest version of MSBuild installed. This example uses the new -find parameter in our latest release that searches selected instances for matching file name patterns. You can tailor what instances you select with parameters like -version or -prerelease to find specific versions you support, optionally including prereleases.

@echo off
setlocal enabledelayedexpansion

for /f "usebackq tokens=*" %%i in (`vswhere -latest -requires Microsoft.Component.MSBuild -find MSBuild\**\Bin\MSBuild.exe`) do (
  "%%i" %*
  exit /b !errorlevel!

You can find more examples in our wiki.


To file issues or suggestions, please use the Issues page for this project on GitHub.


This project is licensed under the MIT license.

Code of Conduct

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact with any additional questions or comments.