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Integration with Express Editions of Microsoft Visual Studio

Article ID: KB100026Published: June 26, 2012


Express editions of Microsoft Visual Studio are lightweight versions of the Microsoft Visual Studio product line. Express editions were conceived beginning with Visual Studio 2005. The idea of Express editions, according to Microsoft, is to provide streamlined, easy-to-use and easy-to-learn IDEs for users other than professional software developers, such as hobbyists and students.

As a consequence, a lot of Visual Studio features are hidden by default in Express editions to create an illusion of simplicity for beginners. One of the hidden features is the ability to manage build configurations for projects and solutions.

Under the hood, every Visual Studio project has two build configurations: Debug and Release.

  • Debug configuration is used during development. Developers can step through the code, watch the variables, fix the code and so on. This is very handy from developers' point of view and this is used in Express editions by default
  • Release configuration is used for publishing. Program code gets optimized, debug information gets stripped out. This is good for software customers, as they do not need to debug the code. The Release configuration is hidden in Express editions by default

Eazfuscator.NET performs obfuscation only when the project is built in Release configuration. The project configuration can be selected using the Visual Studio user interface shown below:

Build configuration selector in Visual Studio

Express editions of Visual Studio, however, keep that selector hidden by default. This may prevent Eazfuscator.NET from being activated. To overcome that limitation, advanced build configurations should be explicitly enabled in Visual Studio Express editions.


Please follow the instructions below to enable advanced build configurations in Express editions of Visual Studio. Instructions depend on a Visual Studio version:

  1. Go to Tools β†’ Settings menu and select Expert Settings item:

    Expert setting in Visual Studio 2010+ Express

  2. After that, you will find the following drop-down in your IDE at the main toolbar:

    Build configurations in Visual Studio 2010+ Express

  3. Select Release configuration, then start a build.


This article applies to:

  • Eazfuscator.NET 1.1 or higher
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005–2017 Express