Microsoft Visual Studio Product Family Privacy Statement

Last updated: November 2014

At Microsoft, we’re working hard to protect your privacy, while delivering software that brings you the performance, power and convenience you desire. This privacy statement explains many of the data collection and use practices of Microsoft Visual Studio software products (together, “Visual Studio”). This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive list and doesn’t apply to other online or offline Microsoft sites, products, or services, including Visual Studio Online or other Microsoft developer services.

Visual Studio may enable you to purchase, subscribe or use other products and services from Microsoft or third parties with different privacy practices. Your use of other products and services is governed by their privacy statements and policies.

Collection and Use of Your Personal Information

When we need information that identifies you as an individual or that allows us to contact you, we will explicitly ask you for it. Any such information we collect from you will be used by Microsoft and its controlled subsidiaries and affiliates to provide the service(s) or carry out the transaction(s) you have requested or authorized, and may also be used to request your feedback about the product or service that you are using; to provide important notifications regarding the software; to improve the product or service, for example bug and survey form inquiries; or to tell you about new product releases.

Collection and Use of Information about Your Computer

Visual Studio contains features that transmit certain standard information from your computer (“Standard Computer Information”) to Microsoft. Standard Computer Information typically includes information such as your IP address, operating system version, browser version, your hardware ID which indicates the device manufacturer, device name, and version and your regional and language settings.

Information about the Visual Studio features that transmit data to Microsoft, including details about choices you can make to control certain features, is listed below.

Security of Your Information

Microsoft is committed to protecting the security of your information. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we store the information you provide on computer servers with limited access that are located in controlled facilities. Additionally, when we transmit sensitive personal information (such as a password) over the Internet, we protect it through the use of encryption, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol.

Disclosure to Third Parties

Except as described in this statement, information you provide that identifies you as an individual will not be transferred to third parties without your consent. We occasionally hire other companies to provide limited services on our behalf. We will only provide those companies the information they need to deliver the service, and they are prohibited from using that information for any other purpose.

Microsoft may access or disclose information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public. We may also disclose personal information as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of assets.

Data Location

Information that is collected by or sent to Microsoft may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country/region in which Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries or service providers maintain facilities. Microsoft abides by the safe harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data from the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

Changes to the Privacy Statement

We may occasionally update this privacy statement. When we do, we will revise the “last updated” date at the top of the privacy statement. We encourage you to periodically review this privacy statement to be informed of how Microsoft is protecting your information.

If you have questions about this privacy statement, please contact us by e-mail at vspriv@microsoft.com

Visual Studio Privacy
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington 98052 USA

Set-Up and Installation

Microsoft automatically collects limited information about the set-up and installation of Visual Studio, including information about the version and license status of Visual Studio, Standard Computer Information and data regarding the success or failure of the installation of the software. Microsoft does not use this information to identify or contact you. Microsoft uses this information to make improvements to our products and to understand how our customers are licensing our products.

Visual Studio Experience Improvement Program

The Visual Studio Experience Improvement Program (“VSEIP”) collects and transmits data to Microsoft about the performance, configuration, reliability, connectivity, and use of Visual Studio. This data does not intentionally contain personally identifiable information specific to you. However, some data could unintentionally contain information specific to you if it were present in the diagnostic material collected.

In most versions of Visual Studio, users may opt out of VSEIP by opting out pursuant to the instructions below. For pre-release versions of the software, users cannot opt out of VSEIP.

Use of Information:

We use this information to improve the quality, reliability, and performance of Microsoft software and services.

Choice/Control:

Participation in VSEIP is on by default but you may choose to opt out. The VSEIP setting in Visual Studio is a per machine setting, so opting in or out of VSEIP will do so for all users of the machine running the same version of Visual Studio. Note that for pre-release versions of the software, users cannot opt out of this data collection.

If you prefer not to participate, and you are not running a pre-release version of the software, you can turn off VSEIP at any time by:

  1. From the Help menu, select Customer Feedback Options
  2. To turn VSEIP off, click No, I would not like to participate.

You can turn off VSEIP from Release Management for Visual Studio by:

  1. For Release Management Server for TFS, Microsoft Deployment Agent, navigate to the product configuration screen and click the “ About” button.
  2. In the “ About” window, to turn VSEIP off, unselect the checkbox “Join the Visual Studio Experience Improvement Program”
  1. For Release Management Client for Visual Studio, navigate to Settings under the Administration tab in Release Management Client for Visual Studio and click the “Edit” link.
  2. To turn VSEIP off, unselect the checkbox “Join the Visual Studio Experience Improvement Program”

Visual Studio Online

The new connected Integrated Development Environment (IDE) uses your Microsoft account or other supported identity to connect to your Visual Studio Online profile, including your Visual Studio Online account. The first time you start Visual Studio, you supply your credentials. Based on that authentication, Visual Studio finds and applies your license and synchronizes your settings (such as fonts, language preference, and keyboard settings) across all of your devices. For more information, see Synchronized Settings in Visual Studio.

Once you log into Visual Studio Online, you will be automatically connected to Visual Studio Online in the future via an authentication token when you open Visual Studio.

Through the new Notification Center, you will be provided with notifications about licensing, updates and subscription status. No information that identifies you as an individual is collected. For additional information about Visual Studio Online, see the Visual Studio Online Privacy Statement.

Choice/Control:

Users of the Visual Studio Express editions and users interested in extending a Visual Studio Professional, Premium, or Ultimate trial edition beyond the initial trial period will be required, after a period of time, to create and connect to a Visual Studio Online profile in order to continue using the software. If you do not wish to create or connect a Visual Studio Online profile then you must buy a full version of the software with a product key, if available, or discontinue use after the initial trial period expires.

Users who purchase a full version of the software and apply the provided product key, where available, can use the software without creating or connecting to a Visual Studio Online profile. Some features that require a Visual Studio Online profile, such as synchronizing settings between devices, will not be available until you choose to create and connect to a Visual Studio Online profile.

Connections to the Internet

Visual Studio has several features that utilize connections to the Internet to help you be more productive. For example, Visual Studio connects to RSS feeds, checks for updates, connects you to help online and allows you to view and download extensions, development tools and code samples via connections to the Internet.

During the process of connecting to the Internet for these features, your IP address, your version of Visual Studio and any search and filter parameters supplied by you may be transmitted to Microsoft or any third party servers you choose to interact with.

These features may be controlled by you via either an option in a Visual Studio menu or by making a choice as Visual Studio shows you possible downloads and updates. Many of these settings can be found by selecting Tools|Options and then navigating to the relevant section.

You will be notified of any available updates to Visual Studio and any other installed components via the Notifications Window. Updates are installed when you choose to install them.

For Visual Studio Help, to change the content setting from the Visual Studio IDE:

  • Under the Help menu, select Add and Remove Help Content.
  • The Help Viewer will launch.
  • From the Help Viewer:
  • Select the Viewer Options icon in the Viewer toolbar.
  • Check or uncheck Go online to retrieve content and check for content updates to enable the desired behavior.

Enterprise features for Administrators:
As an Administrator you can:

  • Disable online operation for Help Viewer.
    • Online operation for the help client is enabled by default. Disabling online operation will disable the ‘Online’ radio button on the Installation Source section of the Manage tab. Therefore, the Help viewer will not prompt the user to go online at first run.
  • Disable Content Manager
    • This removes the ability for users to initiate their own Online Content installations and updates.
  • Define a default content source by overriding the default Online Content package service provided by Visual Studio installation. For more information, see the Administrator Guide.
  • Turn off Gallery feeds. See the documentation page entitled ” How to – Manage a Private Gallery by Using Registry Settings” for detailed instructions.

Feedback Features

There are several optional features Microsoft uses, such as ‘Report a Bug’ or ‘Send a Smile,’ to collect your feedback. Different features are used to capture different types of information. All of the information collected via these features is used to improve the existing product.

IntelliSense for JavaScript

What This Feature Does:

To improve IntelliSense during JavaScript development, Visual Studio can download remotely referenced files. This may happen under two scenarios: (1) The user downloads a project from the Internet that references a remote file; or (2) the user adds a reference to a remote file.

Information Collected, Processed, or Transmitted:

Visual Studio will transmit the web request for the referenced file to the referenced web server, and download the referenced file from the web server.

Use of Information:

The referenced script that is downloaded is used to improve JavaScript IntelliSense.

Choice/Control:

You can enable Project files that contain web references to download the remote files by:

  • Navigating to the Tools menu
  • Select OptionsText EditorJavaScript
  • Select IntelliSense
  • In the available options check the Download remote references.