Visual Studio 2015: Change Default Location for Projects

This is just one of those little pet peeves I have regarding setting up development environments.  For some reason, the default location for your VS project files is under your user folder’s documents location.  Usually something like:

C:\users\{loginID}\documents\visual studio 2015\Projects

Which is of course a horrible place to put it for a number of various reasons.  If there is one thing I’ve really learned over the years it is that you don’t store work product on your system drive.  Always keep your system drive as clean as possible and your data and work product on a separate drive (This of course also makes it much easier when upgrading to a new OS or computer or figuring out what data needs to be backed up).

So one of the first things I do when I’m setting up a new development machine or VM is to configure my Visual Studio environment to use a different location for my files – usually on some data drive.

There are of course a ton of other options for Customizing Development Settings in Visual Studio.  If you haven’t looked at it in a while, I highly recommend reading through Microsoft’s page as you’ll see they’ve added a lot of nice-to-have features over the years.

Now, as for changing the default value of your project folder location, to access this dialog box, click Tools / Options expand Projects and Solutions, and click General.

From there you’ll see right there at the top “Projects location:”

And that’s where you can change it to a more appropriate path that is not actually on your system drive.

Projects location

Sets the default location where new projects and solution folders and directories are created. Several dialog boxes also use the location set in this option for folder starting points. For example, the Open Project dialog box uses this location for the My Projects shortcut.

 

There are a lot of other items in the Projects and Solutions, Options Dialog Box that you may want to also review – even if you’ve been using Visual Studio for years – because sometimes a few simple check marks in the right place can vastly improve your development experience.