Installing and activating for ALL USERS - Automatic Install

this document is valid for visual micro versions August 30th 2015 + (visual studio 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2022)

Share Arduino Board Packages and Files Between Users

To allow multiple users of the same machine to access the same boards and toolchains, ensure that the Arduino IDE in use in Visual Micro is configured in "portable" mode.


In short this means using the ArduinoIDE .zip to unpack into a folder, accessible to all users, then creating a folder named portable below that location. 

The board manager in both the Arduino IDE and Visual Micro will install toolchains below that location instead of the user\app_data location. 

Further information on the Portable Setup

Enterprise and Educational users can configure Visual Micro to Automatically Activate the software without user intervention.

Override any of the user registry keys that Visual Micro normally uses for settings.

For example the location of the Arduino IDE folder can be specified globally for the machine, whereas normally users would enter the path when the first run Visual Micro.

Under normal use, during activation of the debugger, Visual Micro will create a settings.xml in [users\user_name\AppData\Local]\VMicro

The settings.xml can also optionally be in the windows CommonApplicationData folder which is normally [C:\ProgramData]\VMicro.

  1. To automatically activate a visual micro license key on a pc, add the two properties shown below (AutoRollout and LicenseKey_10001) to the settings.xml and save it to the common program data folder [C:\ProgramData]\VMicro
  2. In addition to manging auto registration, the settings.xml can be used to provide default values for any/all "Tools>Options>Visual Micro" settings

These settings can normally be found in the windows registry HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Visual Micro\Options.

The registry settings are grouped into sections such as "Locations".

You can see below an example of how the settings.xml can use the same structure by adding a <key> tag within a <section>


Note Icon Note:

For VS2017/VS2019, use the LicenseKey_10001 XML property.
For VS2022 use the LicenseKey_10002 XML property instead of LicenseKey_10001.

Settings.xml (example, items in bold recommended, all settings are optional)



  <LicenseKey_10001>enter a debugger license key here</LicenseKey_10001>


    <key name="Contributions Path" value="D:\Shared Contributions" />



    <key name="Arduino 1.6.x Application" value="D:\Arduino\arduino-1.6.5" />

    <key name="Arduino 1.6.x Sketchbook" value="" />

    <key name="Arduino 1.0.x Application" value="D:\Arduino\arduino-1.0.6" />

    <key name="Arduino 1.0.x Sketchbook" value="" />

    <key name="Arduino 1.5.x Application" value="D:\Arduino\arduino-1.5.8" />

    <key name="Arduino 1.5.x Sketchbook" value="" />

    <key name="Intel 1.5.x Application" value="D:\Arduino\arduino-1.5.3_Intel.1.0.3" />

    <key name="Intel 1.5.x Sketchbook" value="D:\MyArduino\IntelSketchbook" />

    <key name="Teensy Application" value="" />

    <key name="ChipKIT Application" value="" />

    <key name="Energia Application" value="" />



tip: all settings are optional. Each Application can have a different SketchBook folder. The default sketchbook folder, if not provided, is read from the Arduino Ide config. Remember that "sketchbook folder\libraries" is where user libraries must be located (or below the Arduino Ide folder for core libraries).

Configuring Contributions Paths

tip: May 2014 the contributions path is where board and library managers store index files (.json) and downloaded files (zips,tar etc). It is also where the installed/expanded hardware packages are stored (such as SAM etc.). The current default, for Arduino 1.6.4, is based below user folder (normally "c:\users\[name]\appdata\roaming\arduino15"). The default is not suitable if different users, such as students, logon to a single pc. In that case the "contributions path" is used to override the default allowing all users to share the same downloaded/installed toolchains. The files in these folders can be copied and/or moved freely. Unwanted index/staging or packge files can be removed manually but will no longer be available to the code editor until re-install.

Activating for All PC Users

tip: users who would like their Visual Micro debugger to activate for ALL USERS of a machine can move the settings.xml from the "users/...../vmicro" folder to the "common program data/vmicro" folder

Note Icon Note:

If the Settings.xml exists in the users/ folder, this has priority over the settings.xml in the common data folder.

Disable Automatic Update Prompts

So that users do not see a "new version available" notification dialog (when Visual Micro starts for the first time after a new release). Switch off "Tools>Options>Visual Micro>System>Check for updates". Clicking yes or no on the dialog, if it appears, does not immediately install a new version. This means that the notification is entirely harmless but might not be desired.