Windows Visual Studio


This is my first post – nothing exciting – probably more of a rant.

I used Microsoft’s Visual Studio (VS) for about a year to add modules to several C++ projects that involved 1553 communications protocol. Prior to that I’d mainly coded C++ using NetBeans as the IDE with the Cygwin GNU compiler – both in Windows and in Linux. So it took a little while to get used to VS but I got settled and used to it.

But after using it for a year here are the kinds of things that made me not want to use it in the future …

1) Migrating from one version to another – from say VS 2013 to VS 2015, can be a huge pain and a lot of work. It shouldn’t be this hard and I learned from the forums that many others have gone through this nightmare. As an example, there was a library called atl (or something like that) that was used in one of the DLLs – in the newer version the library had changed names and so I had to dig to find what the appropriate library would be for the old code calls.

2) Sometimes it “just breaks” and you have to uninstall and then reinstall it. That can be a major undertaking – the uninstall process can take hours and even go overnight. Even then there are many lone files and directories that are left on your hard drive.

3) I’ve left a project set alone for a month – mind you that it would successfully build before I walked away, but when I came back and performed a build, the compiler would start coughing up errors (libraries / files not found, etc.). This was an installation that was untouched – in fact I’ve never had this happen before with Java or C++ projects (with other IDEs) in the past. I suspect that a Microsoft system update impacted the VS installation or else Microsoft directly updated the installation without my knowing and induced errors.

And there are other stories to tell but suffice it to say that my experience has been that VS is buggy and fragile at best – and I hope to never work with it again in the future. My preference would be to use NetBeans / Cygwin or QT Creator to build C++ projects.

Yesterday I decided to remove several VS versions from my home tower – I’d forgotten about the nightmare of uninstalling these things. After it was chugging for an hour and the hard drive wasn’t doing anything, I decided to see if there was a better way. Thanks to the forums, I downloaded a package called “TotalUninstaller” – a zip file which contained several utilities, ASCII files and executables. I ran one of the executables from the Command (DOS) window and it methodically removing the majority of all of the versions of VS on my Tower – but the process took about 2 1/2 hours (my hard drive was constantly at 100%). I also downloaded VS2010_Uninstall-RTM.ENU.exe to get rid of VS2010 – yes I know that’s old but there were old libraries supporting some of the newer code (not my doing). This is what it looked like when it was done …


Anyway – if you can avoid using Visual Studio, you’ll be happier and more excited about your coding projects. The birds will chirp, the angels will sing, and life will be good again.


Published by Joys and Sorrows of Coding

Originally my degree was in Aerospace Engineering but I started coding in school and was hooked. In those days it was FORTRAN and reverse Polish notation on my hand-held HP 41-CV computer. Later I learned C, Pascal, Matlab, Java, C++, HTML and Python. Now I'm learning Android (Java) with Android Studio. The main IDEs that I use are NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA, and Android Studio.

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