Visual Studio license expired: not what you want to see just before boarding a flight

While waiting to board I fired up Visual Studio 2013 thinking I might tinker with the game I am working on during the flight.


I got this unwelcome message. “Your license has gone stale.” This is because I have an MSDN version which apparently is no longer a perpetual license.

Thanks to what looks like a beginner programming error, I am also informed that the license will expire in 2147483647 days.

The other factor here is that I only use Visual Studio on this machine when travelling. Although my subscription is still in date, the software has to call home once in a while or it stops working.

Fair enough for Microsoft to protect its rights but I wonder if this could be fine-tuned.

5 thoughts on “Visual Studio license expired: not what you want to see just before boarding a flight”

  1. Tim,

    I work for an ISV and long-time Gold Certified Microsoft partner. As part of the “partner” deal, we are entitled to 35 Visual Studio licenses. Starting with Visual Studio 2013, these are now treated as 30 day trial licenses. The “sign in into Visual Studio” which is optional if you’ve got a regular license, isn’t for us. (Looks like the same sort of license that you’ve got)

    Which means that all of our developers need to get a Microsoft account, and get forced into providing our “partner” with their first and last names, gender, e-mail and zip code. Oh, and implicitly, who they work for of course, as we need to “associate” these accounts with our Microsoft partner account, and keep managing these associations. Needless to say, we’re reluctant to move from VS 2012 which we’re currently using, to VS 2013. Not only because of the sign-in required every 30 days (and the need to be online, as you’ve found out) but also due to the administrative overhead and privacy implications.

    In these days of increased data collection sensitivity, I didn’t expect this move from a company claiming to be different from the competition. (

  2. Yup. I hit this too. Just latest in long series of insults Microsoft have thrown at devs. I’d already started using WebStorm. This latest move by Microsoft to hold developers hostage has been last straw and I now use WebStorm for all my development.

  3. You can just click that “Change my product license key” link and drop in the key from MSDN to remove this requirement.

    Sucks for the flight / how it’s kinda hidden though.

  4. I assume the change was to allow you to sign in on VS2013 on any old machine and be able to use it, and hence the online validation. As David mentions above, you can get the proper key from your MSDN subscription and make it go away.

    I agree that Microsoft should have actually communicated this properly, though. Visual Studio from MSDN has been pre-keyed for ever, no reason we should expect that to change without being told.

    In these cynical times, any change you don’t happen to like gets portrayed as an attempt to grab your data or spy on you or hold you to ransom for more money. I don’t doubt there are plenty of people in Microsoft’s marketing department who would love to do just that – ditto Google’s and Apple’s – but I don’t think the VS team is that way inclined. I do think they are a bit crap at communicating why things change and good at getting defensive / shutting up when challenged. But this obsessive need to be on-message and then not reply to criticism until the next carefully stage-managed event was a hallmark of the Sinofsky and Ballmer days, and now we have an actual developer back in charge of the company again, perhaps it will change.

    It’s pretty obvious that Microsoft will not regain its credibility in the eyes of developers any time soon, though, which is sad, because their dev tools story – at least for Web – has never been better than it is right now. I despair when I see blog posts of people ‘defecting’ to other ecosystems and then telling us how much happier they are coding with vi and (shudder) JavaScript. Cutting off your nose to spite your face is the phrase that comes to mind.

  5. Yea i realize this post is four years old but I just hit the same problem with VS 2017 Express. I tried signing out of my account and in again but it makes no difference. Express is not free after all and i am stuck with a project that I need to publish but cant.

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