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Building Software: Fixing Build Errors in Visual Studio


Building software is an essential part of the software development lifecycle. However, sometimes you may encounter build errors while using Visual Studio software. These types of errors can arise due to various reasons and can cause a lot of frustration for developers. In this pillar article, we will discuss everything you need to know about resolving build errors in Visual Studio.

Understanding Build Errors

Build errors are messages generated by the Visual Studio compiler when it encounters an error in the code or the development environment. These errors can be displayed in different formats, such as a red underline, a red exclamation mark, or a message box. Understanding these errors is crucial to solving them. Each error message comes with a code that describes the issue in detail. You can leverage the code to diagnose the issue and find a solution.

Identifying the Error

Before you can fix any build error, you must first identify the source of the error. Explore the build output to find the error messages generated by the compiler. The build output window can be found under “View” -> “Output.” Once you find the error message, make a note of the error code and read the error message carefully to understand the issue. Visual Studio provides an explanation of the error message and suggests possible solutions that you can try.

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Check Installation Prerequisites

Make sure Visual Studio and all its dependencies, such as SDKs, are installed correctly. You can launch the Visual Studio installer to check the installation status and install any missing component.

Clear the Cache and Rebuild the Solution

Sometimes, the build error can occur due to a cache issue. In such cases, clearing the internal cache and rebuilding the solution can fix the issue. To do this, follow the below steps:

  • Close Visual Studio
  • Navigate to the directory C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\
  • Delete all the contents in this folder
  • Open Visual Studio
  • Select “Build” -> “Rebuild Solution” from the main menu

Check for Dependencies Conflicts

Build errors can also occur if there is a dependency conflict. Each project in Visual Studio has a list of dependencies that it relies on. Conflicts can occur if different projects use conflicting versions of the same dependency. To check for dependency conflicts:

  • Open the “Solution Explorer” window
  • Select the project that is causing the issue
  • Expand the “References” node
  • Look for any reference conflicts and resolve them.

Check for Syntax Errors

Syntax errors can cause build errors. Visual Studio is designed to highlight syntax errors when detected. If you see a syntax error, fix the error and try building the solution again.

Use Build Output to Find the Error

The Build Output window provides a detailed log of the entire build process. You can leverage the information in this output to identify the error. You can also use the “Error List” window to navigate to specific errors within the Build Output window.

Contact the Community

If none of the above methods help fix the issue, the last resort is to contact the community for assistance. You can approach the following resources for support:

  • Visual Studio GitHub
  • Visual Studio forum
  • MSDN forums
  • Stack Overflow


Build errors can be a hassle, but if you follow the guidelines in this article, you can easily fix any build errors in Visual Studio. Always make sure your dependencies are up to date, and your installation is correct. Remember, code errors and syntax issues can cause build errors, so keep an eye for these, and leverage the Build Output and Error List window to diagnose issues. Lastly, don’t hesitate to seek support from the community if you can’t fix the error.

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