It is very easy to forget that many people have development environments that do not have internet access.  In this day and age, it’s easy to install frameworks and IDE’s from the web.  Recently I wanted to start using Visual Studio 2017 for a project.  My environment is completely isolated from the internet, and getting access is not feasible.  So how was I going to get Visual Studio 2017 from the internet to a computer with no internet access?  In the past this was easy, just download an iso and either burn it to a disc or just copy and mount the iso.  With Visual Studio 2017 Professional edition’s total download size is 27.1 GB.

However, Microsoft does not provide this as a single download.  How did I get it?

Step 1: Start with a Windows computer that does have internet access

On this machine head to the Visual Studio download page.  Download the version of Visual Studio that you are going to use.  (Note: These instructions are for Visual Studio, not Visual Studio Code)

Step 2: Create a folder to hold all of the downloaded files

I created c:vs2017.  You can make any folder anywhere you can write.

Step 3: Run the following command

vs_professional.exe --layout "c:vs2017" --lang en-US

(“Create a network-based installation of Visual Studio”, 2017)

It will take a while, but all of the files will download to the destination directory.

Step 4: Copy the folder to a media to connect to the offline computer

I’ll leave this up to you to figure out.

Step 5: Install the certificates that are in the folder that you just copied over

If you do not install the certificates and just try to run the installer, you will be given the following error screen:

Option A: Install certificates using certmgr.exe

Run the following commands to install the certificates.  Obviously, modify paths as necessary to equal your environment.

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesmanifestSignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Code Signing PCA" -s -r LocalMachine CA 

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesmanifestSignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Root Certificate Authority" -s -r LocalMachine root 

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesmanifestCounterSignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Time-Stamp PCA" -s -r LocalMachine CA 

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesmanifestCounterSignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Root Certificate Authority" -s -r LocalMachine root 

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesvs_installer_opc.SignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Code Signing PCA" -s -r LocalMachine CA 

certmgr.exe -add -c z:vs2017certificatesvs_installer_opc.SignCertificates.p12 -n "Microsoft Root Certificate Authority" -s -r LocalMachine root

If you do not have certmgr.exe you can download the Windows 10 SDK ISO file from here: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/downloads/windows-10-sdk

When you have installed the SDK the certmgr.exe file can be found at C:Program Files (x86)Windows Kits10binx86certmgr.exe

Option B: Install certificates using certmgr.msc

Open certmgr.msc

Right click on Trusted Root Certificate Authority, choose All Tasks, and then Import.

Choose Next

 

Browse for one of the certificates that are in the certificates folder in the offline install directory

Choose next

Select next again, don’t change anything

Choose Next one more time

Choose Finish

Select OK and repeat for all 3 certificates

Step 6: Install Visual Studio as you would expect to

Now you can go to the vs2017 folder (or whatever you named it) and run the vs_professional executable.  Of course, if you downloaded enterprise or community, your executable will be named that.  From there you will be able to install Visual Studio offline.

As a note, all of these screenshots were taken in a VM using VMWare Fusion, but the Windows 10 VM had no network card connected, and was never connected to the internet.  This should have successfully simulated a completely offline development environment.

References:

Create a network-based installation of Visual Studio. (2017). Docs.microsoft.com. Retrieved 26 May 2017, from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/visualstudio/install/create-a-network-installation-of-visual-studio

Special considerations for installing Visual Studio in an offline environment. (2017). Docs.microsoft.com. Retrieved 26 May 2017, from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/visualstudio/install/install-visual-studio-in-offline-environment

4 Comments

  1. Well done! These are the simplest, yet most complete instructions I have found so far. One key point that is skipped over in some other instructions, is that when you run vs_professional.exe –layout, it automatically downloads the required certificates into a certificates subfolder. Then you just need to learn how to install them on your offline PC, which you describe in detail above. My biggest challenge now is to make all the required files available to the offline PC, which is not allowed to be connected to ANY network. I am reading this article now to learn how to download only the options/workloads that I really need: https://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToMakeAnOfflineInstallerForVS2017.aspx

    Thanks!

    Like

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