NI-VISA 20.0 for Windows Readme

May 2020

This file contains important information about NI-VISA, including supported platforms, new features, information about bug fixes, and known issues for NI-VISA 20.0.

Note: The Measurement Studio VisaNS .NET class library is being deprecated and superseded by an IVI-compliant NI-VISA .NET API. Refer to the New Features section for more information.

If you plan to use LabVIEW NXG, refer to LabVIEW NXG Support and Considerations.


Supported Operating Systems

Supported Platforms

Application Software Support

Installation Instructions

Product Security and Critical Updates

New Features

Known Issues

Bug Fixes

Accessing the Help

Finding Examples

LabVIEW NXG Support and Considerations

Automating the Installation of NI Products

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

NI-VISA Drops Support for Windows 7 (32- and 64-Bit), Windows Server 2008 R2, and All 32-Bit Windows Operating Systems in 2021

Legal Information


NI-VISA is the NI implementation of the Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), a standard for configuring, programming, and troubleshooting instrumentation systems comprising GPIB, VXI, PXI, Serial, Ethernet, and/or USB interfaces.

Supported Operating Systems

NI-VISA 20.0 for Windows supports the following platforms:

  • Windows 10/8.11/7 SP12 x86, x64
  • Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP12 x86, x64
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R21, 3
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP13
  • NI Real-Time Phar Lap ETS
  • NI Linux® Real-Time

While this distribution targets all of these platforms, you can run setup.exe only on the Windows variants.

NI Software Drops Support for Phar Lap ETS Real-Time Operating System in 2022

NI Software will drop support for Phar Lap ETS Real-Time Operating System starting in 2022. Versions of this product that ship after May 1, 2022, may not install or execute correctly on this operating system. For high-level information on the support roadmap for Phar Lap and its replacement, NI Linux Real-Time, please visit To find out what hardware is supported on PXI controllers running NI Linux Real-Time, please visit

1 NI software installs VC2015 Runtime and .NET 4.6.2. Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2 require Microsoft updates to support these items. Refer to Microsoft KB2919442 and KB2919355 for more information about how to install these updates.

2 NI software is signed with a SHA-256 certificate. Windows 7 SP1, Windows Embedded Standard 7 SP1, and Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 require Microsoft updates to support SHA-256. Refer to Microsoft KB3033929 and KB3125574 for more information about how to install these updates.

3 NI-VISA does not support the Windows Server non-R2 editions.

Note  Refer to NI-VISA Drops Support for Windows 7 (32- and 64-Bit), Windows Server 2008 R2, and All 32-Bit Windows Operating Systems in 2021 for information about future OS support.

Note  In 2016, NI-VISA dropped support for Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and installations of Windows 7 without any service packs. NI-VISA 20.0 will not install or run on an unsupported OS. You cannot deploy or distribute applications that use NI-VISA 20.0 to an unsupported OS. Additionally, after installing NI-VISA 20.0, you cannot use any installers built on this computer with any version of LabVIEW, LabWindows™/CVI™, NI TestStand™, or Measurement Studio on an unsupported OS.

For more information about the changes to our OS support for 2016, visit

Note  Support for Windows 32-bit operating systems may require disabling physical address extension (PAE). To learn how this might affect your system and what actions you might need to take, visit

Supported Platforms

NI-VISA currently supports the frameworks and programming languages shown in the following table.

Windows 10 32-bit
Windows 8.1 32-bit
Windows 7 32-bit
Windows 10 64-bit
Windows 8.1 64-bit
Windows 7 64-bit
Server 2016
Server 2012 R2
Server 2008 R2
LabVIEW RT (Phar Lap ETS) NI Linux Real-Time
Remote Client
Remote Server
ENET Serial
VISA Interactive Control
NI I/O Trace
1Support limited to PXI and PXIe targets.


  • On 32-bit Windows, NI-VISA supports the WINNT and GWINNT frameworks defined by the VXIplug&play Systems Alliance and the IVI Foundation. On 64-bit Windows, NI-VISA supports the WINNT, GWINNT, WIN64, and GWIN64 frameworks.
  • The VXIplug&play Systems Alliance developed the concept of a framework to categorize operating systems, programming languages, and I/O software libraries to bring the most useful products to the most end-users. A framework is a logical grouping of the choices that you face when designing a VXI system. You must always choose an operating system and a programming language along with an application development environment (ADE) when building a system. There are trade-offs associated with each of these decisions; many configurations are possible. The VXIplug&play Systems Alliance grouped the most popular operating systems, programming languages, and ADEs into distinct frameworks and defined in-depth specifications to guarantee interoperability of the components within each framework. To claim VXIplug&play compliance, a component must be compliant within a given framework.

Application Software Support

NI-VISA 20.0 supports the following application software versions, including service packs. If you are not using NI application software, refer to Microsoft Visual Studio Support.

Application Software Versions Supported by NI-VISA
LabVIEW 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
LabWindows/CVI 2015 and later
Measurement Studio 2019 and later

Microsoft Visual Studio Support for the IVI-Compliant NI-VISA .NET Class Library

If you are using the IVI-compliant NI-VISA .NET Class Library, the .NET 4.6.2 Framework (minimum) is required. You can use the NI-VISA .NET Class Library with the Visual C# or Visual Basic .NET programming languages in any Visual Studio version that can target the .NET 4.0 Framework or later. You can use the NI-VISA .NET Class Library in 32-bit or 64-bit applications.

Microsoft Visual Studio Support for the VisaNS .NET Class Library

Note: The Measurement Studio VisaNS .NET Class Library is being deprecated and superseded by an IVI-compliant NI-VISA .NET Class Library. Refer to the New Features section for more information.

The following table lists the programming languages and Microsoft Visual Studio versions supported by this version of the VisaNS .NET Class Library. Earlier versions of NI-VISA support other application software and language versions. For more information on Visual Studio compatibility with earlier versions of VISA, refer to and enter the info code NETlegacydrivers. To find and download an earlier version of a driver, refer to

Programming Language Visual Studio Versions Supported by VisaNS
.NET Framework 4.0 Languages
(Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET)
.NET Framework 4.5 Languages
(Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET)
.NET Framework 4.5.1 Languages
(Visual C# and Visual Basic .NET)

Installation Instructions

Installing NI-VISA for LabVIEW

You can install all of your LabVIEW products—including NI-VISA—using the LabVIEW 2020 Platform media.

To request additional LabVIEW Platform media, visit


  • If Windows Update is enabled, the installation process might hang if Windows Update interferes with the installation of Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Run-Time. Visit for more information and steps to resolve this issue.
  • If you purchased this product with an NI Software Suite or NI Product Bundle, use the installation media that shipped with your purchase to install this product.

Before you install NI-VISA 20.0, NI recommends that you uninstall any versions of VISA prior to NI-VISA 2.0.1.

After uninstalling NI-VISA, some DLLs and executables may remain in the NI-VISA directories. To complete the uninstall process, you must restart your machine.

Note: The uninstaller application does not notify you when rebooting is necessary. If you plan to reinstall NI-VISA, you always should reboot the machine after running the uninstaller.

Installing NI-VISA for LabVIEW NXG

NI automates LabVIEW NXG installation using NI Package Manager. Visit to download NI Package Manager. Refer to the NI Package Manager Manual for more information about installing, removing, and upgrading NI software using NI Package Manager.

Agilent/HP Controller Support

NI-VISA now works with Agilent/HP GPIB and VXI controller cards. To use this feature, go into MAX, select Tools»NI-VISA»VISA Options, choose the Passports tab, and enable the NiVisaTulip.dll Passport. NI-VISA automatically finds and accesses any GPIB or VXI devices. However, NI-VISA does not configure the Agilent/HP hardware; you still must do that with the Agilent/HP I/O Config utility.

If you have both NI and Agilent/HP controllers in the same system, you must configure the cards at different system addresses, such as GPIB0 and GPIB1. If both vendors try to use the same interface address, NI-VISA reports an error from viFindRsrc or VISA Find Resources.

Creating and Digitally Signing Catalog Files

(Windows 8.1, Windows 10) If you generate an INF file using the NI-VISA Driver Wizard, you must create and digitally sign a Windows Catalog (.cat) file before you can install the INF file on a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 machine. For more information about digitally signing a .cat file for Windows 8.1 or later, visit

For more information about creating and signing catalog files, Microsoft has a Kernel-Mode Code Signing Walkthrough whitepaper that describes the details of this process. The generated catalog file should reference only the INF file.

Product Security and Critical Updates

Visit to view and subscribe to receive security notifications about NI products. Visit for information about critical updates from NI.

New Features

NI-VISA 20.0

Added support for LabVIEW NXG 5.0

NI-VISA 19.5

Added support for LabVIEW NXG 4.0

NI-VISA 18.5

Added support for LabVIEW NXG 3.0.

NI-VISA 17.5

Added support for LabVIEW NXG 2.0.

NI-VISA 17.0

Dropped support for GPIB-VXI controllers.

NI-VISA 15.5

Updated documentation for NI-VISA .NET API, available in your Users/Public/Documents/National Instruments/NI-VISA/Documentation directory.

Improved performance of viInXX and viOutXX functions.

NI-VISA 15.0

Added support for the industry standard API for VISA .NET as specified by the IVI Foundation in VPP 4.3.6. NI recommends this API for developing new .NET applications using NI-VISA. Support for the legacy VisaNS API will be removed in a future release. For more information about upgrading from VisaNS to the new VISA .NET API, visit

NI-VISA 14.0

Added support for NI Linux Real-Time x64.

Added support for viMapTrigger and viAssertTrigger on PXI resources to use PXI-9 compliant trigger managers if available.

Added support for viGpibControlREN on TCPIP resources that use the VXI-11 protocol.

Known Issues

You can access the software and documentation known issues list online. For a list of known issues with NI-VISA 20.0, refer to the VISA Known Issues page on

Bug Fixes

For a list of bug fixes for NI-VISA, visit

Accessing the Help

Refer to the NI-VISA Help, accessible from LabVIEW by selecting Help>>LabVIEW Help, for information about NI-VISA.

Finding Examples

Select Help>>Find Examples from LabVIEW to launch the NI Example Finder. LabVIEW examples for NI-VISA are located in the labview\examples\Instrument IO\VISA directory. You can modify an example VI to fit an application, or you can copy and paste from one or more examples into a VI that you create.

LabVIEW NXG Support and Considerations

The following sections detail considerations for using LabVIEW NXG with NI-VISA.

LabVIEW NXG Operating Systems and System Requirements

Software support for LabVIEW NXG differs in the following ways:

  • System requirements—Only 64-bit (x64) processors are supported.
  • Operating system—Only 64-bit operating systems are supported. Refer to the Supported Operating Systems section for more information.

Installing NI-VISA

NI automates LabVIEW NXG installation using a package manager. Complete the following steps to install NI-VISA for LabVIEW NXG.

  1. Visit to access the LabVIEW NXG download page.
  2. Click Download LabVIEW NXG.
  3. NI Package Manager installs, then automatically opens a download window.
  4. Select LabVIEW NXG Suite and click the green Install button.
  5. Select LabVIEW NXG 5.0 and NI-VISA.
  6. Complete the installer instructions to download LabVIEW NXG 5.0 and NI-VISA.


View context help in LabVIEW by pressing <Ctrl-H> and hovering over an object.

Search for items using the search bar in the upper right corner of the LabVIEW window. You can also view context help for the search results.

Additional documentation is available online at

LabVIEW NXG Examples

Launch LabVIEW and click the Learning tab.

LabVIEW lessons are located in the Lessons tab, and LabVIEW Examples are located in the Examples tab. Follow the instructions in the lessons and examples.

Automating the Installation of NI Products

You can automate the installation of most NI products using command-line arguments to suppress some or all of the installer user interface and dialog boxes. However, starting with the August 2012 releases (products using NI Installers version 3.1 or later), you may need to perform additional steps before or during a silent installation of NI software.

If the NI product you are installing uses Microsoft .NET 4.6.2, the .NET installer may run before any NI software installs and may require a reboot before the installation of NI software begins. To avoid a .NET reboot, install .NET 4.6.2 separately before you install NI software.

For more information about automating the installation of NI products, refer to Automating an Online or Offline Installer in the NI Package Manager manual.

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 10

Microsoft Windows 10 is the latest version of the Windows operating system and features significant changes compared to previous versions. Windows 10 introduces several new capabilities and also combines features from both Windows 7 and Windows 8. For more information about NI support for Windows 10, visit

Using NI Software with Microsoft Windows 8.1

When you install NI software on Microsoft Windows 8.1, you will notice a few additional tiles in the Apps view, including shortcuts to NI application software products such as NI LabVIEW, Measurement & Automation Explorer (NI MAX), and NI Launcher. For more information about NI support for Windows 8.1, visit

NI-VISA Drops Support for Windows 7 (32- and 64-Bit), Windows Server 2008 R2, and All 32-Bit Windows Operating Systems in 2021

NI-VISA will drop support for Windows 7 (32- and 64-bit), Windows Server 2008 R2, and all 32-bit Windows operating systems starting in 2021. Versions of this product that ship after May 1, 2021, will not install or run on these operating systems. For detailed information about NI operating system support, visit

For detailed information about NI application software product life cycles, visit and enter one of the following Info Codes:

Product Info Code
Measurement Studiomstudiolifecycle

Legal Information


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End-User License Agreements and Third-Party Legal Notices

You can find end-user license agreements (EULAs) and third-party legal notices in the following locations after installation:

  • Notices are located in the <National Instruments>\_Legal Information and <National Instruments> directories.
  • EULAs are located in the <National Instruments>\Shared\MDF\Legal\license directory.
  • Review <National Instruments>\_Legal Information.txt for information on including legal information in installers built with NI products.

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