Is there a way to change the extensions folder location for Visual Studio Code?

What I did – after installing Visual Studio Code for the first time, I checked the documentation and added at the end of ‘Target’ field of editor’s shortcut the following (there’s a space before the two dashes):


where DRIVERLETTER and VSCODE are the corresponding drive and directory where Visual Studio Code is installed. So mine looks like this:

"D:\Microsoft VS Code\Code.exe" --extensions-dir="D:\Microsoft VS Code\extensions"

Here is for the user data directory:

"D:\Microsoft VS Code\Code.exe" --user-data-dir="D:\Microsoft VS Code\settings"

Accessing the ‘Target’ field is done by right-clicking the shortcut and choosing ‘Properties’

Anyway, there’s a simpler solution to that problem – just use the portable version of Visual Studio Code. It works under Windows, Linux, and macOS:

Enable Portable Mode

Windows and Linux

After unzipping the Visual Studio Code download, simply create a data folder within Visual Studio Code’s folder:

|- VSCode-win32-x64-1.25.0-insider
| |- Code.exe (or code executable)
| |- data
| |- …

From then on, that folder will be used to contain all Visual Studio Code data, including session state, preferences, extensions, etc.

The data folder can be moved to other Visual Studio Code installations. This is useful for updating your portable Visual Studio Code version: simply move the data folder to a newer extracted version of Visual Studio Code.


On macOS, you need to place the data folder as a sibling of the application itself. Since the folder will be alongside the application, you need to name it specifically so that Code can find it. The default folder name is code-portable-data:

|- Visual Studio
|- code-portable-data

Portable mode won’t work if your application is in quarantine, which happens by default if you just downloaded Visual Studio Code. Make sure you remove the quarantine attribute, if portable mode doesn’t seem to work:

xattr -dr Visual\ Studio\

Note: On Insiders, the folder should be named code-insiders-portable-data.

UPDATE 14.12.2021

From Visual Studio Docs

Note: Do not attempt to configure portable mode on an installation from the Windows User or System installers. Portable mode is only supported on the Windows ZIP (.zip) archive. Note as well that the Windows ZIP archive does not support auto update.

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