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I have this dilemma right now. I have been running Visual Studio on my desktop and on my laptop for about 2 years now. I keep changing settings or adding new add ons to one or the other then having to copy the settings over to the other computer.

This has gotten very annoying and I am trying to come up with a solution. Here is what I have thought of doing so far. I was thinking about only installing Visual Studio on my laptop so that I still have the portability to program where ever I go, but then while I'm at home just remote desktop into my laptop, or something of that nature.

I was thinking about doing a kvm switch so I can just directly link up to my laptop but I have a dual monitor set up and my laptop only has one vga port.

I'm not sure of the performance issues trying to remote into my laptop would be, but I would expect it to not be that much of a problem. Do you guys have any other ideas?

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migrated from Jan 12 '10 at 2:15

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Seems like you're doing an awfully big job ... over a settings file. What is there that you change so often anyways ? – Rook Jan 12 '10 at 2:40

Why even have a desktop at all?

At work, we all have laptops with docking stations. The laptops are kitted out to the max to ensure they can run all the development tools and a virtual machine as well and, when we plug into the docking station, we get access to a "real" keyboard and humongous monitor.

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A desktop has a number of advantages: faster CPUs, more memory, fast disk and bigger displays (e.g. two 24" screens). As well as being better ergonomically for extended use. – Richard Jan 12 '10 at 8:35
@Richard - true, but you can drive two screens from a docking station and plugin in a standard keyboard and mouse. A high end laptop will have enough memory and an fast enough CPU and you can always buy an external hard drive too. – ChrisF Jan 12 '10 at 9:49

I did it before and it just works. No performance issues there. The only issue is that you'll be working on a single monitor with Visual Studio not two, because remote desktop can just use one screen for current versions.

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I have a couple ideas, one more leveragable than the other:

  1. Create a development virtual machine You could create a virtual machine that has your development environment setup the way you want it. The VM could be put on an external drive that you simply plug in to either your laptop or desktop. Available virtualization software that you can use include VMWare Server or VirtualBox. Both should do the job just fine, but both your laptop and desktop will need to have the horsepower to run a virtual machine. I favor this option though over #2 below.

  2. Remote Desktop / VNC This might be tricky, especially since you'll need to have a reliable network connection to the internet, and keep your desktop running 24/7. Basically you setup your desktop to allow remote connections, and use your laptop to remote in from the internet. Security, and network performance, keep this option from being a reality though. If you are interested anyway, look up VNC software or use Microsoft Live Mesh ( Live Mesh might be the way to go, since it takes the pain out of setting up your network to allow for this connectivity.

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One problem with Visual Studio (possibly others) is that when viewed with TightVNC or UltraVNC, the tooltips and intellisense boxes do not display. :( – JYelton Apr 15 '10 at 20:17
So I was thinking about doing the VM route but I am now wondering about performance. Would the bottleneck be the data transfer between the external drive and the main computer? if so would this affect the performance of debugging a 3D program? such as an xna game? Because when I do remote desktop, and run the 3D program, the frame rate drops to like 10 on the program. – Chris Watts Oct 17 '10 at 0:43
@Chris - I do know that with a VM running, you can get pretty good framerates. With VMWare Fusion, I can actually play World of Warcraft through it just fine on my MacBook Pro surprisingly. So that can be an indication that you can debug XNA games in a virtual machine. The limiting factor that I see when I run VS2010 virtually is the hard-drive, which is running the host OS (Mac OS X) as well as Windows 7). A separate HD would definitely show an improvement in debugging and disk-intensive app's, but if you don't have that option a single HD would be fine too. – ajawad987 Oct 19 '10 at 16:17
@JYelton - Yeah I agree. I've tried VNC and remoting in and didn't like the experience at all. Setting up a virtual machine works well though. – ajawad987 Oct 19 '10 at 16:18

I haven't tried it for VS settings, but I use Live Mesh to sync bookmarks and development projects across multiple machines. It works very well.

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Read the following about the new RDP client version 7 supporting multimonitor.

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Trade your desktop in for a good docking station for your laptop, then you will have the dual display setup, bigger keyboard & mouse while at home, and still have the flexibility of traveling. One machine, one setup to maintain.

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