Providing Actionable Feedback & Bugs for the Microsoft Visual Studio and TFS Product Teams

Now that the new Visual Studio and TFS “11” Beta release is available for you to use for evaluation or even “Go-Live” in production, you’ll likely find some bugs or suggestions for rough spots in the product that might be able to be addressed before the final release.  Even so that feedback can be acted on in a subsequent patch, feature pack, or service pack so it’s always good to at least put it on the product team’s backlog.

The traditional way to provide feedback in the past for the Visual Studio 2010 release and before was to use Microsoft Connect for Visual Studio to file your bugs for the .NET Framework, Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, Microsoft Test Manager, etc.  It still is but now you have another tool in your tool belt to provide some great information for the product team that’s new for the Visual Studio “11” family release now in Beta.

Introducing the Microsoft Visual Studio “11” Feedback Tool available on the Visual Studio Extension Gallery.  It’s easy – after installing the extension you’ll get an option in the Help menu for “Report a Bug” which will start a nice wizard process that will create an awesome Connect bug for you.  You can use this wizard for anything you would normally create a bug for like the .NET framework, TFS, Visual Studio, Microsoft Test Manager, etc.

Report a Bug in Visual Studio 11

One of the awesome pieces of this tool and very important is that it captures all sorts of logs and valuable information to be used in helping reproduce the problem.  You can review all of those files before you submit the feedback to make sure you are comfortable with that data.  The Microsoft Connect item is also marked as “private” so that your details aren’t exposed to the public.  You can always go in to the Microsoft Connect site to change it to Public if you want it available for other people to vote it as something that is important to fix.  That’s not required though.

After you have started the tool, you can access it from the Windows Notification Area (aka System Tray) by clicking the tool’s icon.

Visual Studio Feedback Tool System Tray Icon

Here are some things you can also do to make your bug reports super stellar and give it some traction whenever someone looks at it:

  • What are the steps to reproduce your problem?  Be sure to give all the steps. Some things may seem extremely obvious to you but when you are looking at lots of bug reports, something obvious to you may not be obvious to them.  If the problem is intermittent, describe the best you can to provide what you can to help the person reading your bug report to attempt to reproduce it.
  • Provide screenshots in a logical manner and show someone what’s going on with annotations like .
  • Even better – you could always create a quick screen recording using a tool like Screenr (free) to show someone what’s going on.  Feel free to put the link inside your bug report.
  • Help the team understand how many people or the types of customers you think this would impact.
  • Are there any others with similar machine specs or environmental conditions that are experiencing this problem?
  • Provide some information about your environment and computer.  What versions of Visual Studio do you have installed including older versions?  Did you have a previous pre-release edition on your computer?  How did you get that one removed from your machine?
  • Is the bug preventing your business from functioning?  Honestly answer this.  Remember that not everything can be Priority 1.  If the bug is truly keeping your business from functioning, then I would file the Connect bug and note the ID number.  After that, pick up the phone for Microsoft Product Support Services and help them with understanding the severity.  You can provide the support technicians with the Connect ID and that can get them started with working through the issue.  Don’t file a Connect item though if it’s not a bug.  You can always call the Support team for non-bug issues to help you through your problems too so keep that in mind!
  • Any others that I might have missed that would be important?

If you want to take a look at all the other details about using the Visual Studio Feedback Tool, check out the documentation here:

If you have a feature request, instead of a bug report, then I would head on over to the Visual Studio User Voice site.  You’ll have the opportunity to create new feature requests and vote on those coming from other people.

Ed Blankenship

Posted in TFS | Tools | VSTS

(will show your gravatar icon)
Home page

Comment (Some html is allowed: a@href@title, b, blockquote@cite, em, i, strike, strong, sub, sup, u) where the @ means "attribute." For example, you can use <a href="" title=""> or <blockquote cite="Scott">.  

[Captcha]Enter the code shown (prevents robots):

Live Comment Preview