The case of the blank Visual Studio properties window — part 2

Earlier this year I suffered from a case of a Visual Studio properties window that appeared to get “stuck” in the middle of developing an application. It would show up blank and the only way to get it to work was to fix the project and restart Visual Studio (not just close and reopen the solution). For more details, please read the first article.

Blank Properties window in Visual Studio

Although I haven’t written about it, after applying the solution from the first article, my problems weren’t entirely over. Every once in a while, the properties window would get stuck again, and after tweaking the .xsd file a little or reverting it to a previous revision, I could get it to work again. But I never got the feeling that I really understood what I was doing. It would just work sometimes, or not. I even got hesitant to make any changes to the dataset, unless absolutely necessary. But it only happened on that single solution.

Until last week. In an entirely different solution, all of a sudden the properties window was blank again. It’s subtle, you don’t always notice immediately and because of that I could not simply undo the last the thing I did. This solution contained a dataset file too, so after cursing a little (I admit) the first thing I did was revert that and reapply the changes one by one. But this time, that didn’t work. I reverted the dataset to points way before the property editor got broken but still nothing. It was starting to look like the dataset file being the solution was not a generic one, but just the solution for that first project. This time, it was something else. Lees meer over dit bericht

The case of the Visual Studio blank properties window

I experienced the strangest thing with my installation of Visual Studio 2008 last Friday. In the middle of developing a Windows Forms application, I noticed that the Properties window had stopped working. It was still there, just blank, and so was the dropdown above it where the components usually reside.

Update 19-12: This blog post will be revised soon. I have since experienced this same error under different conditions which had a different solution.

Update 20-12: This blog post is superseeded by this one. I have now found a generic strategy to follow if this situations occurs. The solution presented below was probably a one-time fix that will most probably not help you. Please read the new article.

Blank Properties window in Visual Studio

This was not just with the current file, but for all files in my solution. It would not even display the mainly informal properties of the current file selected in the Solution Explorer. Closing the solution and re-opening it did not help. Hiding the properties window and re-showing it did not help. Google led me to several suggestions, most of them telling me to execute a command in the Visual Studio command prompt (devenv /setup) would fix things. Nope, not for me. Starting VS in safe mode to eliminate plugins. Still blank. Even other solutions I opened now had a blank properties window. Oh dear. I was now getting worried that I broke something very serious in my VS installation.

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