Top things a new Visual Studio Online account owner should know

Top things a new Visual Studio Online account owner should know

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With Visual Studio Online, I realized I have not installed an On-premise Team Foundation Server in a while.  The convenience of these online accounts always being available, having the server automatically upgraded, and of course access to services such as Cloud Load Test, Hosted Build and Application Insights takes it from an incredible inconvenience to a must have!

Regardless if you just created your Visual Studio Online account or have been using it for a while here are some tips to help you out:

· Create a Team Project

You now have access to a wide set of developer services, but before you start, most of the Visual Studio Online (VSO) services like source control or project tracking require you to create a team project in Visual Studio Online. You can create a new project from scratch or migrate an existing project. Other services, like Application Insights and Load Test, can be activated from your IDE. To learn how to start using these services, check out our get started guides.

· Manage access for your team members

Your VSO account comes with 5 Basic accounts so you can add team members who don’t have an MSDN subscription and ability to add an unlimited number of team mates if they have MSDN Subscriptions….BUT YOU NEED TO ADD THEM! –and obviously you don’t want use one of your 5 “free” basic accounts if they have an MSDN subscriptions. To manage users and their user plans in one place, go to your account's Users page: .


One of the frequently asked questions we see is:

If I allocated one of my purchased plans to user and later remove that later do lose my purchase?

NO! Removing a user doesn't remove their user plan from your account. You can reuse that plan for another user. If you bought that plan through Microsoft Azure and don't want to get charged for it at the next billing cycle, go to the Microsoft Azure Management portal to remove that plan from your account.

· Identify eligible MSDN subscribers on your team

If team members have eligible MSDN subscriptions, they can use Visual Studio Online as a subscription benefit. This means you don't have to assign them a user plan, but you do have to help us identify them first.

When you add team members on your account's Users page, use the Microsoft account (previously "Live ID") associated with their subscription and set them to Eligible MSDN Subscriber. They might have to wait a few hours to get their subscription validated, but after that, they can sign in and start working!

· Free stuff for your account

You get 5 free Basic user plans with each Visual Studio Online account, plus free monthly resources: 60 minutes for automated cloud-hosted builds and 15,000 virtual user minutes for cloud-hosted load testing. Eligible MSDN subscribers don't need user plans. You can see the use of these resources on your VSO account home page….A lot of people don’t realize we often make announcements here too!


· Add backup administrators

If you have a big team, it might help to have extra administrators manage projects and collections, configure iterations, and so on. To promote users to administrators, go here:


· Set YOUR Visual Studio Online owner account to an account you use!

This week I received an email from a team member and he was locked out of HIS OWN VSO ACCOUNT. The reason he was locked out is he had created the Visual Studio Online Account with a Microsoft ID, added his work account as an early adopter account forgot all about the ID he had created the VSO Account with. Had he changed the owner to his work account he would have received warning emails AND would have retained access!



· Need more user plans or resources?

Go to the Microsoft Azure Management portal and link your Visual Studio Online account to a Microsoft Azure subscription for billing. After you do this, you can buy more user plans, resources, or upgrade users.

Hope this helps!

Chuck and the Visual Studio Online team

PS: Don't see something specific? Please leave us a comment so we can add it. =)

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  • One question I've always had... what are the licensing costs to do an on-premise build server when using a free account? (and paid account)

    Some things we build are not actually in so we need an external component to make the build finish completely. Where/how can we setup an on-premise build agent and how much does it cost ?

  • What is the best way for our corporate end users to log bugs in our applications into VSO?  Does each user need to have a VSO account?   I recall there being a Work Item Only level of access where end users could log bugs into the on-premise version of TFS without having to have a TFS CAL.    

  • +1 for Bryans question. I'm also struggling to allow our customers to add bugs.


  • Is there any store of freely shareable code with basic functionality ?

  • Microsoft is really going above and beyond and providing something that seems to have value++. But this does leave me dubious. Did you really want newbies to be given a URL and do a project and get professionals to help?That seems a bit far-fetched to me. If that is indeed the case let me know, though...since I'm not sure if that's true...(and I might very well be totally off the mark) - by the way I'm always a bit confused on the Live...e-mail. Is that a sort of Yahoo? Last: I put in a new User Name (a clever one for sure) when I was on a  different computer and I totally have messed up my account with C# on line "Virtual Academy" - but that C# IS SHARP Indeed!

  • Eu achei muito complicado e o pior não tem em português, vocês acham mesmo que os brasileiros vão querer pagar por isso?

  • Please do help with step-by-step guide on how to put my existing project up on to VSO.  Am used to the onsite TFS bu don't seem to get the hang using this VSO.  Many thanks.  Any "dummies" book I can buy?  that will be fine too

  • So far so good, but is there any1 out there who has a Nokia 8-00 SDK to help me create a new iPlayer for Symbian Belle.

  • Great tool for developers.  I would like to see if you can provide some guidance on how to register other users to be able to submit Work Items as Bryan suggested.  We need our help desk users to be able to log bugs and view status.  Can this be done without using a TFS CAL?

  • I just discovered that you can use the "StakeHolder" license for our helpdesk and internal users to enter Work Items.  There is no limit to the number of Stakeholder licenses so this will satisfy the need to have others enter and view Work Items.

  • I am new to programing  how do I design an interactive website?

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