We want to use Visual Studio for development of plain Windows desktop applications within a restricted environment (i.e. at no time we have an internet connection). We have been working with 2017 Community, but we now learned that this requires an internet connection from time to time because the license "has gone stale". Developing on an online computer and then deploying on an offline computer is not possible since the application depends on special hardware.

Can the Community Edition be used purely offline? If not, the Professional Edition? For this older project we prefer 2017, but may consider to migrate to 2019.

We are only interested in a clean solution, no cracked versions or illegal hacks.

Thank you!

1 Answer 1


I believe you could install VS on a Virtual Machine and take a snapshot as soon as you have signed in successfully. If you get to a point where the software no longer functions without a license check, then you can revert to the snapshot. You would probably want your code on a separate virtual disk or it will be easy to accidentally wipe everything. Version control is going to be a challenge in an offline environment that you should start thinking through now.

I would imagine that you would have greater success finding a solution with Professional/Enterprise version. The Community edition is not aimed at corporate developers, and if your company has > 5 developers, you might be breaching the EULA already and need to buy commercial licenses immediately. If you're a startup, Microsoft has some programs that will hook you up with software, but most of it is Azure-based which doesn't help you.

I would think that with the Enterprise license, Microsoft would be willing to help you deploy a Key Management Server solution. KMS is used for volume licensing with Windows and Office, or rather was used prior to Office 365 and the cloud era), but it would allow you to validate your license in a Microsoft-approved manner. If you have a client success manager or sales engineer you can reach out to, that is likely your best bet to learn about options.

You could also look into JetBrains Rider, which can use a text-based license. It's more geared towards .NET Core, however, so it might not meet your needs.

Are you at liberty to discuss the HW limitations in greater depth? I am wondering if there are CI tools which could help you deploy. If all else fails, there's always Sneakernet to deploy data.

  • Thanks Scott for your time. We want to program standalone hardware with a PC platform. As this is challenging and time-consuming enough, we want to spend as little as possible effort on KMS or Azure or virtual disks. We found a potential solution, which I will publish here once we know for sure that it will work (in a month or so). If not, we will consider your suggestions. And yes, it is not Community edition based.
    – Eca
    Jun 25, 2019 at 14:02

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