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Visual Studio
VS 2010+

Visual Studio 2010 Visual Experience

Visual Studio 2010 was the first version of Microsoft's integrated development environment to use Windows Presentation Foundation for its graphical rendering. This allows richer graphics and animations with hardware acceleration but can cause problems.

Visual Experience

Visual Studio 2010 introduced the use of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for the rendering of all text and graphics in the integrated development environment (IDE). This allows the IDE to be graphically richer, as can be seen by the additional use of colour gradients and animations. The new technology increases the possibilities for extensions to the IDE to decorate your code and provide advanced design surfaces. WPF also supports hardware acceleration, which allows much of the additional graphical processing to be handled by the video card, rather than the CPU.

Although the enhanced visual experience is generally positive, it can be problematic on slow computers, virtual machines or remote desktop connections. On computers that use video cards with poorly written drivers, it is possible that the IDE will not render correctly. Some developers may also find the enhancements distracting. For these reasons, it is possible to disable some of the extra visuals.

To view the current visual experience settings, open the Tools menu and choose Options. If the General page within the Environment section is not displayed, select it from the tree at the left of the dialog box. The Visual experience section should now be visible, as shown below:

Visual Studio 2010 Visual Experience

There are three options that can be enabled or disabled:

  • Automatically adjust visual experience based on client performance. By default, this option is enabled. If enabled, Visual Studio examines the performance of the computer that you are using and automatically sets the values of the other two options. If you wish to manually adjust the other settings, uncheck this checkbox.
  • Enable rich client visual experience. This option controls whether animations are used within the IDE and allows gradients to be switched on or off. This option should only be disabled if the performance of Visual Studio is poor or if you dislike these effects.
  • Use hardware graphics acceleration if available. When this checkbox is ticked and the video card supports it, hardware acceleration is used for rendering the IDE. This option should be disabled if Visual Studio does not render correctly due to poor WPF driver support.
21 June 2011