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Visual Studio Subscription Support2020-11-18T15:08:37-08:00

Visual Studio Subscription Support

Frequently asked questions

Search the FAQ to find answers to common support questions about subscriptions, accounts, and billing. Use the buttons on the right to switch between subscriber and administrator.

The administrator webpage has all your updates, videos and important links. Then, written guidance on being an administrator is in our documentation.

If you are a Super Admin you can add or remove other Super Admins or Administrators. Administrators can only add or remove subscribers and will not see the Manage Administrators tab in the Admin Portal.

To manage administrators:

  1. Select the Manage Administrators tab at the top of the page on manage.visualstudio.com.
  2. To add, select Add and type the name and email address of the person you would like to add, select the appropriate agreement from the drop down menu, select the language that they should receive their welcome email in, and select Super Admin.
  3. To remove, simply select the person you would like to remove and select Delete.

Cloud subscriptions are managed by administrators who are assigned to the Azure subscription used to purchase the cloud subscriptions. The owner of the subscription is automatically assigned as the first administrator.

To assign more administrators:

  1. Connect to the Azure Portal at portal.azure.com
  2. Sign in with the account you used to purchase the Visual Studio Cloud subscriptions.
  3. In the left navigation pane, scroll down to  Cost Management + Billing.
  4. In the My subscriptions  list, choose the Azure subscription that you used to make the purchase.
  5. Click Access control, which is located near the top of the list in the left navigation pane.
  6. Click the  Add tab at the top of the page.
  7. In the fly-out pane on the right, click on the name of the subscriber you wish to make an administrator.
  8. Click on the  Role drop-down at the top of the pane, scroll down, and select  User Access Administrator.
  9. Click  Save.

Learn more about administration of cloud subscriptions.

You can assign subscriptions to your end users one at a time, or using the Bulk add feature to quickly and easily upload a larger number of subscribers at a time.

To assign subscriptions individually:

  1. Select the Manage Subscribers tab at the top of the page on manage.visualstudio.com
  2. Select Add and type the name and email address of the user you'd like to assign a subscription to.
    1. If your organization is using Azure Active Directory the name field will search to find people in your current directory. You can select from the search results, or add someone manually.
  3. If you want the subscriber to have access to software downloads when they sign into the Visual Studio Subscriptions Portal, make sure to leave the downloads toggle enabled in the Download settings section.
  4. Complete the Communication Preferences section so that we know what language to send your subscribers assignment email in.
  5. If you'd like to add any notes associated with the assignment, please use the Reference selection.
  6. Select Add at the bottom of the fly-out panel to complete your subscription assignment. Your subscriber will receive an email and can begin using their Visual Studio subscription immediately (there is no activation needed from your subscriber).

To Bulk assign subscriptions:

  1. Select the Manage Subscribers tab at the top of the page on manage.visualstudio.com.
  2. Select Bulk add, download the Excel template, and save a local copy.
  3. All fields are required, with the exception of the Reference field.
    1. Ensure that none of the form fields contain commas.
    2. Remove spaces before and after form fields.
    3. Ensure names do not contain extra spaces between two-part first or last names (for example, if a person has a two-part first name such as 'Maggie May', it should be typed as 'MaggieMay').
  4. Return to manage.visualstudio.com, select Bulk add, and upload your saved copy of the Excel template.
  5. When the upload is successful you will see a confirmation page, and your subscriber list populated with your new subscribers. Your subscribers will receive an email and can begin using their Visual Studio subscription immediately (there is no activation needed from your subscribers).

Read more information about assigning subscriptions in the Visual Studio Subscriptions Administrator portal to learn more about quickly and easily assigning subscriptions. Learn more about managing Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions.

What is the GitHub Enterprise setup process?

GitHub Enterprise is set up and managed separately from Visual Studio subscriptions. Following a Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise purchase, a GitHub Enterprise account setup process is initiated in parallel with (but separate from) establishing an agreement in manage.visualstudio.com. Establishing this GitHub Enterprise account may take some time.

After your company has set up a GitHub Enterprise account, subscribers who have been assigned Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions will receive an email from GitHub notifying them that their Visual Studio subscriptions have been linked. After subscribers receive this email, they can reach out to their GitHub organization administrator to receive an invitation to the appropriate organization.

Read more about managing Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions. Reference subscriber documentation for additional details on the GitHub Enterprise set up process.

Individuals who are assigned a subscription will receive periodic communications from the Visual Studio team, including an email letting them know they have been assigned a subscription. If these emails should be sent to a separate email address than that which they should sign into the  Visual Studio Subscriptions Portal or VS IDE you can add a notification email address when adding a subscriber, or when editing an existing subscriber.

You can export your subscribers from your previous agreement and add them to your new agreement using the Bulk add button.

Note: your subscribers will receive an email when the new subscription is assigned to them. Learn more about exporting subscribers and using the Bulk add feature. If you have more than 200 subscribers on your previous agreement our support team can assist you. Select Account, Subscription, and Billing Support and select your country/region. Depending on your location, support may be available via email, chat, or phone.

If you're not seeing the correct number of subscriptions for your agreement, you may have the wrong agreement selected in the portal. Click on the drop-down in the top left to see all available agreements. If you are still seeing an incorrect number of subscriptions our support team can assist you. Select Account, Subscription, and Billing Support and select your country/region. Depending on your location, support may be available via email, chat, or phone.

Subscriptions are always assigned using the best available end date. For example, if your agreement has orders with an end date of 6/20/2020 and another one with an end date of 6/20/2021 the first subscription to be assigned from those two available will end on 6/20/2021. If you have a trusted agreement in an overallocated state, the end date will be 3 years from the date the subscription was assigned.

SLP and MPSA agreements don't expire, however our portal currently requires an end date when provisioning the agreement. We currently use an end date of 20+ years in the future for each order under your SLP. If you have multiple orders under your SLP agreement from different days, they will have different end dates.

GitHub Enterprise is set up and managed separately from Visual Studio subscriptions. Following a Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise purchase, a GitHub Enterprise account setup process is initiated in parallel with (but separate from) establishing an agreement in manage.visualstudio.com. Establishing this GitHub Enterprise account may take some time.
After your company has set up a GitHub Enterprise account, subscribers who have been assigned Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions will receive an email from GitHub notifying them that their Visual Studio subscriptions have been linked. After subscribers receive this email, they can reach out to their GitHub organization administrator to receive an invitation to the appropriate organization.

Read more about managing Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions. Reference subscriber documentation for additional details on the GitHub Enterprise set up process.

If you are logged into https://manage.visualstudio.com/ and do not see an agreement you manage:

  1. Check if you’re signed in with the correct email address and tenant in the upper right-hand corner of the portal page header.
  2. Contact the super admin who added you as an admin to see what alias you should be using, if you were removed, or if the agreement has expired. If none of these simple solutions solves the issue, contact support to determine if you are in fact an admin on an agreement.

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The subscription is active and can be used as soon as it has been assigned from within the Visual Studio Administrator portal. Your subscriber can sign into the Visual Studio Subscribers portal or VS IDE right away, and will receive a welcome email letting them know the subscription has been assigned.

The Visual Studio Subscription benefits page allows you to see and compare the full list of benefits and software downloads included with a Visual Studio Subscription, based on subscription level.

The developers' assigned subscription levels identify which level of the Visual Studio IDE they have access to. For example, a Visual Studio Professional subscription does not have access to Visual Studio Enterprise. Make sure that you have assigned the correct level.

For the latest release

  1. Have your subscribers sign into the subscriptions portal at https://my.visualstudio.com/benefits.
  2. Locate the Visual Studio IDE tile in the Tools section and click on the Download link at the bottom of the benefit tile.
  3. They’ll be redirected to the Download Results page for Visual Studio to download the IDE.
  4. Follow the download and set up instructions.
  5. Using the email their subscription is assigned to, they’ll be able to immediately sign into the IDE after installation; no product key is required. Learn how to claim a product key for use in an offline environment.

Find older versions

Your subscribers can also search and download previous versions from the downloads page in the subscriptions portal at https://my.visualstudio.com.

Depending on what product your subscriber has downloaded it can either be activated by logging in using the email address tied to the subscription, or subscribers can activate it by claiming a product key from the Visual Studio Subscriber portal.

If your organization has an Enterprise Agreement for Azure, your developers can choose between the $50-$150 Azure credits or 50% off Dev/Test pricing. They cannot use both on the same subscription. For details on how to enable the Dev/Test pricing option for your developers, check out the video Help your subscribers get the most out of Azure.

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A Microsoft Account (MSA) is a personal email account owned by an individual to access Microsoft services when an organization is not using a managed tenant for Microsoft 365 or Azure Active Directory. A work account is one owned by the organization that issues it and is used to access services on Microsoft 365 or Azure Active Directory tenants. For complete information about the differences between MSAs and work accounts, see 'Learn about the differences in using MSAs (Microsoft Accounts) vs. Work Accounts (Azure Active Directory or Microsoft 365) and how this may impact your organization'.

Adding an alternate account allows your developers to access some of their Visual Studio subscription benefits (VS IDE, Azure DevOps and Azure) with a different identity than that which the subscription is assigned to. This doesn't provide a copy of subscription to the other account; it only provides the ability to access the two benefits with the alternate account. Read more about Visual Studio Subscription identities.

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The process for renewing subscriptions depends on how they were purchased.

Retail: For subscriptions acquired through the Microsoft Store, connect to the Microsoft Store's business software section, and scroll down to the Visual Studio section to see the available subscriptions. Be sure to select the renewal subscription level and activate it here.

Cloud subscriptions: If you're using cloud subscriptions, you don't need to renew them. They renew automatically until you cancel them.

Learn more about buying cloud subscriptions.

Volume Licensing: To renew subscriptions purchased through Volume Licensing, please contact your reseller. Find a reseller in your area.

When you cancel a Visual Studio cloud subscription, you are canceling automatic renewal. The subscription continues until its normal renewal date and then simply expires. At expiration, the Visual Studio subscriber can no longer use Visual Studio or any other benefits from the subscription.

With monthly cloud subscriptions, cancellations take effect the first day of the next month. If you only cancel some of your monthly cloud subscriptions, be sure to remove users on the first of the next month to ensure that the correct people continue to have active subscriptions assigned.

For annual cloud subscriptions, cancellations take effect the first day of the month following 12 months from the original purchase, or 12 months from the last annual renewal charge. For instance, if you bought a Visual Studio Professional annual cloud subscription on January 3, 2018 then it remains active until February 1, 2019 when it automatically renews for another year. If you cancel at any time between then and February 1, 2020 then the subscription will expire on February 1, 2020. There is no rebate for canceling part way through the subscription year with annual cloud subscriptions.

See our How charges are processed topic for additional information about cloud subscriptions.

Visual Studio subscriptions are available for purchase through a variety of channels, including Volume Licensing, the Visual Studio Marketplace, and Microsoft Store.

Compare subscription benefits and pricing to understand the benefits of each Visual Studio subscription. Check out the subscription benefits page for more help deciding which subscription is right for you.

Microsoft Store

Retail Visual Studio subscriptions available through the Microsoft Store include:

  • Visual Studio Enterprise
  • Visual Studio Professional
  • Visual Studio Test Professional Each of these subscriptions offers the option to make an initial purchase or to renew an existing subscription. Renewal pricing reflects a significant discount and is only available for existing subscriptions. To qualify to renew subscriptions at the discounted renewal price, subscriptions should be renewed before they expire.

Visual Studio Marketplace

With monthly subscriptions, you can rent Visual Studio and Azure DevOps without a long-term contract. Billing is handled through your Microsoft Azure subscription. If you don’t have an Azure subscription yet—it’s free to set up and you can do this while you make your first purchase.

Read more about monthly Visual Studio Subscriptions billing.

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To access a subscription, you should sign in with the email address to which the subscription is assigned. In most cases the subscription was assigned by your work or school, so you will want to use your work or school email and credentials to sign in to the Subscriber Portal.

If you're not sure what your work email or AAD credentials are, you should reach out to your network administrator. For privacy reasons, Microsoft is unable to provide information about credentials.

If your subscription was provided to you by your work or school, you can reach out to the administrator(s) on the agreement for assistance. You can use the 'Contact my admin' form directly from the Subscriptions Portal. For more information, check out our Contact your subscriptions administrator article.

Information about your subscription is available in the Subscriber Portal. Connect to to see a list of your subscriptions and to view information such as expiration dates and support information. For retail subscriptions, you can also renew your subscription from that page.

Cloud subscriptions purchased through the Visual Studio Marketplace renew automatically, so if you're using a monthly or annual cloud subscription, you don't have to worry about it expiring until you cancel it.

Adding an alternate account to your Visual Studio subscription allows you to access the subscription benefits, like Azure DevOps and Azure, with a different identity than that which the subscription is assigned to. In the past, this functionality was available only if your Visual Studio (VS) subscription was assigned to a Microsoft Account (MSA).We have extended this functionality for work or school accounts in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

This doesn't provide a copy of subscription to the other account; it only provides the ability to access the two benefits with the alternate account.

For all subscriptions, you can add a 'work or school account' so you can use that account with your benefits that require a login (VS IDE, Azure DevOps, and Azure).

Adding an alternate ID is easy. Connect to https://my.visualstudio.com/subscriptions, click on 'Add alternate account', enter the email address and click 'Add'. For more information on using alternate identities, check out our Alternate identities article.

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The software downloads available depends on the subscription(s) you have. If you have more than one subscription, the downloads for the highest level subscription are visible from within all of your subscriptions. This makes it easy to get the downloads you want without switching between subscriptions.

Check out this list of the downloads available by subscription level. For more information about downloads, see the following articles:

Activation isn't always required for a product. In some cases, a single key can be used multiple times. In general, if a product key is required, you'll be asked to enter it during the installation process or on first use.

You can obtain product keys in two places:

  • When you download a product you can click on the 'Get Key' link listed next to the product you're downloading.
  • You can also find keys on the Product Keys page in the Subscriber Portal.

For more information about obtaining and using product keys, please see these articles:

To have access to your product keys after your subscription expires, you need to export your claimed keys before the subscription expires. After it expires you will not be able to retrieve your keys.

To export your keys, simply click on the Export all keys link at the far right of the Product Keys page. An .xml file entitled KeysExport.xml will be created, and you'll have the option to open or save the file. You will need to open the file with an application capable of handling .xml files. For example, you can open the file as a read-only workbook in Excel. The file will contain any keys you've claimed, as well as any 'static' keys that are automatically claimed for you.

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Available benefits vary by subscription level and are subject to change. To see which benefits are included for each subscription level, please visit https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/benefits/. You can select the subscription you're interested in, and then see which benefits are available in the various categories - Tools, Azure, Software and Downloads, Services, Training, and Support.

Just as the types of benefits vary, so do the methods for activating and using them. For example, many of our benefits are provided by partners and the processes for setting up accounts, installing software, and using online resources vary widely.

For each benefit available in the Subscriber Portal, we've provided articles that include information such as which subscriptions include them, as well as steps to activate the benefits.

Check out our documentation to learn more (click on 'Subscriptions' in the left nav pane, and choose 'Benefits').

Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions are managed in two parts: 

  • The Visual Studio subscription (Enterprise or Professional) 
  • GitHub Enterprise 

When you are assigned a Visual Studio with GitHub subscription, you'll receive an email letting you know that your Visual Studio Subscriptions administrator has assigned a subscription to you. At that point, you are able to view available subscription benefits at https://my.visualstudio.com/benefits. This includes the GitHub Enterprise benefit.

GitHub Enterprise is managed by a GitHub administrator, separately from Visual Studio subscriptions. When your company has set up a GitHub Enterprise account, you will receive an email from GitHub notifying you that your Visual Studio subscription has been linked and the benefit tile will update. Setting up this account may take some time and is dependent on your company completing the setup process. After you receive the email, you can reach out to the appropriate GitHub organization administrator to request an invitation to their organization and/or repo.

When an invitation is sent from your GitHub org administrator, you will receive an email from GitHub and the benefit tile will update again.

After you accept the GitHub org invitation, the appearance of the benefit tile at https://my.visualstudio.com/benefits will change from “Pending” to “Activated” and you can now start using GitHub Enterprise.

Read more details on the GitHub Enterprise set up process.

Visual Studio with GitHub Enterprise subscriptions are managed in two parts: 

  • The Visual Studio subscription (Enterprise or Professional) 
  • GitHub Enterprise 

When you are assigned a Visual Studio with GitHub subscription, you'll receive an email letting you know that your Visual Studio Subscriptions administrator has assigned a subscription to you. At that point, you are able to view available subscription benefits at https://my.visualstudio.com/benefits. This includes the GitHub Enterprise benefit.

GitHub Enterprise is managed by a GitHub administrator, separately from Visual Studio subscriptions. When your company has set up a GitHub Enterprise account, you will receive an email from GitHub notifying you that your Visual Studio subscription has been linked and the benefit tile will update. Setting up this account may take some time and is dependent on your company completing the setup process. After you receive the email, you can reach out to the appropriate GitHub organization administrator to request an invitation to their organization and/or repo.

When an invitation is sent from your GitHub org administrator, you will receive an email from GitHub and the benefit tile will update again.

After you accept the GitHub org invitation, the appearance of the benefit tile at https://my.visualstudio.com/benefits will change from “Pending” to “Activated” and you can now start using GitHub Enterprise.

Read more details on the GitHub Enterprise set up process.

Your subscription level identifies which level of the Visual Studio IDE you have access to. For example, a Visual Studio Professional subscription does not have access to Visual Studio Enterprise. If you’re not sure which level you're using, see the subscriptions available to you by checking the subscriptions page in the portal.

How to download and activate

  1. Sign in to the subscriptions portal. 
  2. For the latest release, locate the Visual Studio IDE tile in the Tools section and click on the Download link at the bottom of the benefit tile.
  3. You’ll be redirected to the Download Results page for Visual Studio, where you’ll have the opportunity to download the IDE.
  4. Follow the download and set up instructions.
  5. Using the email your subscription is assigned to, you’ll be able to immediately sign into the IDE after installation, no product key is required. Learn how to claim a product key if you’re in an offline environment.

Find an older version

You can also search and download previous versions from the downloads page in the subscriptions portal.

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If you currently have a retail subscription, there are two ways to renew:

Note: You must renew your subscription within 30 days of the expiry to qualify for renewal pricing.

Both monthly and annual cloud subscriptions renew automatically until you cancel them, so there's no need to take any action to renew them.

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Azure monthly credits provide you with the ability to explore and try various Azure services at no cost. Examples include:

  • Host a static website
  • Publish an ASP.NET site to Azure
  • Deploy a containerized website
  • Deploy a website to a virtual machine
  • Integrate your data and services using serverless backend
  • Deploy a Python web app

For more information about how you can use Azure credits, visit Monthly Azure credits for Visual Studio subscribers

There is no cost to use these credits. They are included in your Visual Studio subscription. When you run out of the credit that's allotted for the month, you won't be able to continue using it until it resets the next month.

To learn how to set up your Azure credits, please see the 'Activation steps' section of our Azure credit article.

Monthly Azure credits for Visual Studio subscribers are specifically for individual dev/test usage only. To run production workloads, you'll need to upgrade to a paid Azure subscription, such as pay-as-you-go pricing.

You must activate the credits using the email associated with your Visual Studio subscription, or your alternate account (for more information on using alternate identities, check out our Alternate identities article).

Azure subscriptions created via the Visual Studio Subscriptions benefit may be impacted by restrictions that aren't imposed on paid subscriptions. Certain geographies may not be available for creating VMs and Azure services, and certain service types may not be available. There may be a lower default quota than on paid subscriptions.

Credit pooling is not available. This benefit is intended for personal use by the Visual Studio subscriber.

The monthly Azure credit for Visual Studio subscribers is for development and testing only and does not carry a financially backed SLA. We reserve the right to suspend any instance (VM or cloud service) that runs continuously for more than 120 hours or if we determine that the instance is being used for production. We are making this capacity available to Visual Studio subscribers on a best-effort basis; there is no guarantee of capacity availability.

The monthly credit does not apply toward purchase of the following services:

  • Support plans
  • Application Insights
  • Visual Studio subscriptions
  • Azure DevOps
  • Visual Studio App Center
  • Third-party branded products
  • Products sold through the Visual Studio Marketplace
  • Products otherwise sold separately from Azure (for example, Azure Active Directory Premium)

To purchase these services, you'll need to remove your spending limit and provide a credit card for billing.

You can learn more about how your Azure credits work by visiting our Monthly Azure credits for Visual Studio subscribers page.

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Please note that we are experiencing longer than expected response times for customers seeking support. We appreciate your patience as we work to handle all inquiries as quickly as possible.

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