Performance Improvements in Visual Studio 2008

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In this in interview Cameron McColl, a Developer on the Visual Basic Team, shows us what kinds of performance improvements were made in Visual Studio 2008. He walks us through a set of scenarios that suffered from performance issues and then shows us the same scenarios in Visual Studio 2008 describing what was happening and how they fixed the issues

0:00 – 1:45

Intro / History


Stepping in the IDE


Too Many Errors in the Task List


Favorite Fix


IDE Locks Up on Large Solutions


Editor Delay with Large Web Apps


Rebuild All on Large Web Apps



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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Nice video, enjoyed that.  Tthought it was presented very well!
  • User profile image
    Please Please Please tell me that you fixed the performance problems around the help system Smiley  I still cringe every time I have to hit "F1" because I know the IDE is going to lock up for the next 3 minutes
  • User profile image
    How about with C++ applications?  My C++ solution is about 43 projects with > 5000 files.  Its top level project is a DLL that gets loaded into MS Office applications.  Attaching the debugger to the executable is very, very slow in VS2005 (before and after SP1), especially when using a symbol server.  Most importantly it blocks the IDE until the debugger is attached.

    Earlier versions (e.g., 2003) at least did not block the IDE while attaching the debugger.  This allowed you to browse files, set breakpoints, and do other tasks while waiting for the attach to complete.  Sometimes you would even cancel the debugging session BEFORE the attachment was complete if you realized that another change was desired before actually debugging the solution.  None of this is possible anymore because of the IDE block.  I think I've wasted more time with this performance issue than any other (except for maybe the C1023 errors that occur for some unexplicable reason after retrieving code changes from other users in TFS).

    Has this been improved of fixed?  I plan on trying 2008 Beta 2 in the near future.
  • User profile image
    I have these problems in VS 2005. Will these fixes make their way to VS 2005 which I will have to use until VS 2008 is released?
  • User profile image
    And my god!  The Intellisense file went from OK to absolutely effing huge in 2005.  There's nothing like starting up a project, seeing the "updating intellisense" and knowing that you might as well just wander off into other peoples meetings for an hour or so.
  • User profile image
    Hi simdoc,

    I can't really speak for the C++ improvements too much although I understand that they made some significant improvements to Intellisense for 2008.

    I would highly recommend you try out your solution with the Beta2 release now that it's available. If you still see performance issues please contact the C++ performance team directly at

    Cameron McColl
  • User profile image
    Hi offwhite,

    Unfortunately we can't make any promises about which performance improvements will be ported back to VS2005.
    However we are addressing this on a case by case basis and we may have some hotfixes soon that address some of these issues.

    I'll try and post an update to this when I have more info.

    Cameron McColl
  • User profile image
    Hi rsclient,

    Since you are referring to an Intellisense file I'm going to assume you mean C++.
    The performance improvements listed above refer to Visual Basic and I'm happy to report that for VB the Intellisense story is much improved. We have move some of the expensive first time loading of Intellisense off the UI thread and onto a background thread. This results in a much more responsive UI (the way it should be).

    As for C++, try out the VS2008 Beta and if you still see performance issues with Intellisense let them know at

    Also just a reminder to folks reading this. You can report VB performance issues at and C# performance issues at

    Cameron McColl
  • User profile image


    Have you fixed the following large project issues:
    1. compiler crashes!!
    2. compiler actually compiles.. and not crash at run time for a linking/syntax error..
    3. go to sleep thread problems with multi core processors
    4. IDE Lockup with VSS
    5. IDE freeze when VSS updating ( > 30 minutes)..
    6. Have the WAP type IDE bugs been fixed, i.e broken sync with designer files, publishing bugs ( wrong files  vss2, debug etc problems).

    All of 1 to 5 were reported before VS 2005 release date!, but have not been fixed in SP1...

    So what about vs 2008..
    Also based upon vs 2005 experience when is vs 2008 SP1 due for release.. One would never again take a x.0 release of any MSoft product..



  • User profile image
    Hi [C]

    We've fixed a large number of compiler crashes and many other product issues for VS2008.
    I can't promise that all your problems have been fixed BUT I can promise that if you encounter any them (or even new VB related product issues) that we will investigate them.

    I suspect you will be pleasantly surprised by the improvements in VS2008. If you do try the product and find any issues please contact us at

  • User profile image
    When is VS 2008 sp1 schedule to be released?
    I have one WPF project and it references 38 dll.
    My VS 2008 locks up.Embarassed
  • User profile image
    I'm not sure of the official release date but I would love to help track down the source of the lockup.
    If you would like to get help resolving this issue please feel free to contact me at

    Cameron McColl
  • User profile image
    Based upon the very poor vs 2005 experience we now have a company policy of never taking on any MSoft product until SP1.

    And in fact due to the falling level of quality accross the board and minimal user advantages we have decided to skip whole releases, vista for example ( XP suits us just fine), will stay with 2003 servers..
    Based upon our testing vs 2008 has not fixed the fundermantal flaws in the ( have not even bothered to fix the known problems)  so we plan to skip vs 2008 and re-assess the next release..

  • User profile image
    I am glad they addressed so many errors but scared of the types of errors which were missed, let alone not released to VS2005.  The SP1 in vs2005 did not address the performance issues as much as I had hoped for... 

    I think the team should test large project development much more before release OR put in timers to be able to record performance which can be turned on and off for their feedback.

    I "still" have daily crashes in VS2005 and project IDE delays which account for 10's of hours a week lost.  I hope vs2008 fixes this because I miss the old vs2003 IDE.  fingers crossed

  • User profile image
    I am pleased to report that sufficient enough fixes have been resolved to VS2008 to make the upgrade worthwhile from VS2005.  It does not resolve all the performance issues but with large solutions (12+ projects; tested with both web-apps and win-apps) the IDE does not crash daily now.

    I still found loading web pages in the solution painful at best;especially  with custom controls, taking 1-2 minutes to load - but can be somewhat curbed if Source View is set as default.  I hope they continue to focus on the performance.

    If you are upgrading and previously merged web app projects together for rapid developement which you ran them on a single WebServer in debug mode - you will now need to set them staggered on different ports.  It appears VS2008 prevents the binding of multiple web projects to the webserver but it will work.

    All devs upgrading will need to install this patch in order to get the benefits the dev speaks about in this video though.  It is a must install.


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