Visual Studio Express (VSE)

What Does Visual Studio Express (VSE) Mean?

Microsoft Visual Studio Express is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and a freeware version of Visual Studio. This package can be considered as a learning IDE for students, hobbyists and newcomers to Visual Studio programming.


Visual Studio Express includes the following components (products):

  • Visual Basic Express
  • Visual Web Developer Express
  • Visual C++ Express
  • Visual C# Express:
  • SQL Server Express
  • Express for Windows Phone

Techopedia Explains Visual Studio Express (VSE)

VSE has a number of limitations. Each of the VSE products lack certain features and/or have reduced functionality, e.g., no publishing of self-developed websites, reduced refactoring capabilities and no attaching debuggers. In addition, SQL Server Express is limited to one physical CPU, 1 GB buffer pool memory limit, no data mirroring and/or clustering, no workload throttle and no Server Agent background processes.

In short, VSE is good for those who are new to .NET development, but you need the real thing to do any “real” development.


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Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.