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How to set the startup program for debugging a project for the entire team

You surely have set the startup application for a project countless times:


But that setting goes your user options file, the rest of the team doesn’t get to reuse the setting. And what if you repave your machine or start working on a new virtual machine and just got the sources from source control? You have to re-set this value again and again.

Turns out that this setting goes to a file named after your project file plus the “.user” extension. This file is just a fragment of an MSBuild file, and would look something like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Project ToolsVersion="4.0" xmlns="">
  <PropertyGroup Condition="'$(Configuration)|$(Platform)' == 'Debug|AnyCPU'">
    <StartProgram>C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe</StartProgram>
    <StartArguments>/rootSuffix Exp</StartArguments>

And because this just plain MSBuild properties, you can copy the entire PropertyGroup to your main project file, delete this .user, and check-in your change. From now on, everyone on the team will have this setting enabled, and you will have it too if you get a clean environment eventually :)



  1. Thank you. Super helpful. I had spent time with procmon finding the file, now it is clear how to make the team successful without having everyone do this.

  2. The above settings appears to be for Visual Studio 10.

    I use Visual studio 2005 and the .user option file contents looks totally different.

    I tried merging the contents from this file to the main project setting file in every possible way but it doens’t work. Any help would be really appreciated.