Visual Studio 2008 Disappears From Screen When Loading Solution or Project

I started up Visual Studio 2008 and clicked on my Solution file AmazingSolution on the Start Page. Visual Studio started dragging up the solution and was just loading up a XAML file when it disappeared. Just disappeared.

This was about as expected as a nasty case of Sponteneous Combustion. Alice In Wonderland is one of my favourite books but when Visual Studio starts behaving like the Chesire Cat it’s a little perturbing…more so since I had just hacked the Registry to overcome the issue of Intellisense not appearing in XAML files after installation of Windows SDK.

My terror was complete. I had destroyed Visual Studio.

The paramedics were called, the Emergency Sacrifical Ferret put on stand-by and I ran a repair on Visual Studio, as Microsoft Connect recommended.

Then I rebooted, restarted Visual Studio and loaded AmazingProject. Visual Studio disappeared again. I slaughtered the Ferret and ordered a crate of Vodka in celebration of my impending sacking, but then checked the Event Logs. Glory! It contained a very useful entry:

.NET Runtime version 2.0.50727.3603 – Fatal Execution Engine Error (7A036050) (80131506)

and Googling that showed that Microsoft Connect have patch files for that very issue…Well, it was too late for the Ferret, but I HADN”T DESTROYED VISUAL STUDIO AFTER ALL!

To Summarize

1. The horrifying sudden disappearance of Visual Studio 2008 can be caused by a bug relating to the loading of XAML files. Check your Event Logs and if you see .NET Runtime version 2.0.50727.3603 – Fatal Execution Engine Error get the patch from Microsoft Connect at the link above. No Ferrets need to be slaughtered.

2. The unrelated problem of Intellisense disappearing from XAML files is caused by installing a Windows SDK after (on top of) Visual Studio 2008. This overwrites the registry key VS uses to locate the XAML Intellisense file. To fix that, run a Repair on Visual Studio 2008 or, if you’re feeling brave, hack the registry.

So What Happened To You ?

Sick of having no Intellisense in XAML I Googled the registry hack. At the same time I did a ‘Close All But Me’ in Visual Studio on a XAML file then closed Visual Studio. I then restarted Visual Studio to allow the registry hack to take effect, whereupon it did the Chesire Cat on me. It was simply a malevolent coincidence…perhaps a warning never to do a registry hack when a more polite known fix exists 🙂 (In this case the Visual Studio Repair.

Hey Bruce, chuck us another Ferret will ya ?

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