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How to file a good bug using Visual Studio Feedback Extension

Thanks for connecting with us! We appreciate your willingness to report a problem in Visual Studio. Feedback from dedicated customers helps us improve the product for all users. When you submit your bug report, please use the following guidelines to help us determine how to fix the problem.

Note: If you want to suggest a new feature or an enhancement to an existing feature, please use the UserVoice website, which is monitored by Microsoft product architects.

Step 1: Install VSFT

Simply, install the VSFT extension from:

Step 2: Launch VSFT

To launch the Visual Studio 2013 Feedback Tool – go to Help/Feedback/Report a Bug

 VSFT Instructions

Alternatively you can start the tool from the system tray. The tool will be ready at the system tray after you launched it once. This is especially useful if you like to capture repro steps when Visual Studio requires a reboot.

VSFT Instructions

To launch the Visual Studio 2013 Feedback Tool – go to HELP menu and click Report a bug

VSFT Instructions

VSFT Instructions

Step 3: Sign-in

When the VSFT launches follow these steps to sign-in,

  • Review and accept privacy statement to advance to the “Sign-in” page
  • Note: if you check “Don’t show this dialog again and automatically sign in” option, next time you won’t see the initial sign-in dialogs.

VSFT Instructions

  • When you click on the “Next” button, you will be prompted a screen to log-in using your Windows Live ID. Note that to provide feedback in this way; you must have an active Internet connection and a Passport or Windows Live account. Once you're signed in, you can either submit a new feedback, or attach new information to one of your prior feedbacks.

VSFT Instructions

Step 4: File a New Feedback or Add to an Existing Feedback

You can file a new feedback or you can easily update one of your existing feedbacks with more information and attachments. If you choose to update an existing feedback you are asked to enter the feedback ID. Updating an existing feedback is quite straight forward and similar to submitting a new feedback experience. So, I will only go over submitting a new feedback. Note that when submitting a new feedback, you can select to file the feedback privately or publicly. You can always go to Microsoft Connect website to change your feedback privacy from private to public, or vice versa. When you submit a feedback publicly, others can also comment and vote on it and therefore it will have higher visibility by the Visual Studio team. Before submitting a new feedback, you can always search Microsoft Connect site to see whether the issue has been previously reported, and vote for it.

VSFT Instructions

Step 5: Select Feedback Type

By selecting the feedback type, you enable better data collection when you record the repro steps. More precise data helps us understand the problem more clearly. The bug type also helps us route the bug to the Microsoft developers who are best able to address it.

Available types:

  • Performance - A Visual Studio feature is slow,
  • Crash - A set of actions closes Visual Studio unexpectedly,
  • Hang - A set of actions causes Visual Studio to become unresponsive,
  • Other - Problems in other areas such as UI, APIs, language features, IntelliSense, or documentation.

VSFT Instructions

Step 6: Enter Title

Enter a title that helps us differentiate the bug when it appears in a list, so that we can group it with any related bugs, assign it to a developer more effectively, and resolve it more quickly.

Example: Imagine that you are submitting a bug because you tried to install Service Pack 1 and got a message that Visual Studio is not installed even though it is.

Helpful: Installed Visual Studio version not detected during Service Pack 1 setup.

Not helpful: Service Pack 1 problem.

Tip: Write the problem description first, and then distill it to create a title.

Step 7: Describe the Problem

In the body of the bug, completely but concisely provide the following information:

1. What you were trying to do and what actually happened.

Example: Consider the Service Pack 1 bug in the earlier example.

Helpful: When I run Service Pack 1 Setup, I get the message "No Visual Studio version is detected" even though I have Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Visual C++ 2010 Express installed on my machine. Even though I uninstalled both editions, and then first reinstalled Ultimate and then Express, I still get the message.

Not helpful: Service Pack 1 does not install on my machine.

Note: If the problem does not always occur, estimate how often it occurs in a given number of attempts, for example, 1 out of every 5 times.

2. The sequence of actions that produced the problem. This helps Microsoft developers recreate the bug and identify the problem. Don't assume that developers can infer some of the steps; include all of them. Also, include what you expected to happen and what actually happened.

Example: Assume that Visual Studio crashes when you use "Find all references" in a solution that has several Visual Basic projects.

Helpful: Open a solution that has at least 4 Visual Basic projects. Go to one of the classes and choose "Find all references".

Expected: A list of references. Actual: Visual Studio crashed. Not helpful: Go to a class and choose "Find all references."

Step 8: Record a Repro

Often a repro report is invaluable to describe and decipher the issue. Please use this feature to send us actionable feedback. The record repro feature works differently depending on the feedback type you selected. Below I will go over each recording option. You can start recording simply by selecting a feedback type, and clicking on the “Record” button.

1. When "Performance" is the bug type:

When the Microsoft Visual Studio trace recorder starts, perform the actions that show the performance problem you want to report and then click on the "Stop Recording" button as soon as you experience the performance problem. Because the tool optimizes trace collection, you can run it for as long as it takes to show the problem, up to two hours. You need to stop recording as soon as the performance issue occurs, because the tool captures only the last couple minutes of your actions to optimize the trace collection. Note that, running the Microsoft Visual Studio trace recorder requires elevated user privilege.

VSFT Instructions

After you stop the recording, the tool takes up to two minutes to assemble the data and attach an ETLTrace.zip file to your bug report. The data includes information about Windows events and the Visual Studio code path.

VSFT Instructions

VSFT Instructions

2. When "Crash" is the bug type:

When the dialog box appears, select the running Visual Studio instance for which you want to show the steps that cause a crash.

VSFT Instructions

When the crash occurs, click on the "Stop Record" button. After you do this, two files are attached to your bug report - an AutomaticCrashDump.zip file that contains information about the crash and a ReproSteps.zip file that shows the repro steps. Repro steps are captured by Windows Problem Steps Recorder. Note that, you can pause the recording, and resume later, or for a specific step, you can add additional comments.

VSFT Instructions

VSFT Instructions

3. When "Hang" is the bug type:

The process for recording the steps that cause a hang resembles the one for crashes. The difference is, you can even collect a dump file after the VS hangs; start the VSFT either from the system tray or by starting a new instance of VS, select "Hang" as feedback type and click on the "Record" button. You will be prompted which VS to collect dump about, select the VS instance that hanged. VSFT collects a dump file regarding the hang, called MiniDump.zip, and attaches to your bug report.

4. When "Other" is the bug type:

When the problem step recorder starts, perform the actions that show the issue you want to report and then choose the "Stop” button. You can pause the recording, and resume later, or for a specific step, you can add additional comments. Once you’re done, ReproSteps.zip is added to your bug report.

VSFT Instructions

VSFT Instructions

Step 9: Check the Attachments

By now the VSFT tool has already collected some information about your computer (such as processor, RAM, available disk space, operating system) in DxDiagOutput.txt, Visual Studio installations and solution statistics in VSInfo.xml and SolutionFingerprint.html, and usage patterns about the latest Visual Studio instance in SQMExtensionsLogs.zip. You might have leveraged “Record” feature to capture repro steps and additional repro information, and possibly there is at least one repro report attached. Other than these files, please attach any files that may help us pinpoint the issue you are experiencing such a solution or code sample, or additional dump files, or screenshots.

Note that you may also add as well as remove files from the attachment list.

VSFT Instructions

Notes about attachments:

  • The total size of all attachments in a bug report cannot exceed 2 GB, and every uncompressed attachment must be smaller than 512 MB. We recommend that you assemble all of your attachments, compress them together into a .zip file, and then attach the .zip file.
  • When you attach screen captures, use .jpg files because they are relatively small and easier to upload.
  • Bug-repro recording is not available for Windows Server 2008.

Step 10: Submit

Once you're ready to send the feedback, click on the "Submit" button. You will be prompted with a new screen where you can find a link to the bug you have filed as well as receive an email from Connect services. You can make additional changes on Microsoft Connect site as well. For example, if you have filed your bug privately and would like to make it public, please use the link and make the changes. Note that once a bug is filed privately, other Visual Studio users cannot vote on your issue.

VSFT Instructions

Step 11: Sign-out

If you like to use a different account to submit a feedback, you can sign-out from your current account; go to the VSFT icon at the system tray, and click “Sign-out”.

VSFT Instructions

Thank you for your participation and we look forward to your reports!

The Visual Studio Team