I am new to Visual Studio. I installed the Visual Studio Express 2015 (the free version from this website - visual studio all products). I don't understand why I need to sign in. I don't have access to the internet all the time. My question is - do I need to stay online forever to use Visual Studio, or is it optional?

Also, is the express version a trial version of Visual studio?

  • 2
    Even the fully paid for versions of VS2013 and higher require you to sign in periodically to "refresh your stale license", so yes, you need to sign in occasionally, but no you need not remain logged in at all times. Nov 13, 2015 at 13:43
  • Express or Community?
    – Dave
    Nov 13, 2015 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


No you do not need to stay signed in always. No Visual Studio Express is not a trial version. It simply limits the options of what you have in programming.

  • The first limitation is not being able to set an external executable as the “start action” when you debug. In Express, you can only run the debugger on an application project (console, UI, or web application). You can’t set a library project to be the startup project, nor can you attach the debugger to another process. This means that if you want to debug your unit tests, the unit test project must be an executable.
  • Visual Studio Express doesn’t support multi-thread debugging.

Source for the limitations: http://ludovic.chabant.com/devblog/2010/01/09/visual-studio-express-limitations-lead-to-bad-practices/

  • It's worth noting that the main benefit of signing into Visual Studio is synchronizing your settings between machines.
    – bubbleking
    Mar 21, 2023 at 15:21

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