Derik Whittaker



Visual Studio and Orphan Child Window–How to Fix the Issue

Ok, I have a love-hate relationship with Visual Studio some times….. Ok, many times.  Today was not exception.  I was in the middle of writing code (yes I still do that from time to time) with a detached code window when I decided it would be a great idea to update some of my existing Visual Studio Extensions.  So I went ahead and updated a few of them.  Of course updating these required that I restart VS, so I did.  Oh boy was this a bad idea.  When VS reopened my screen looked like below:


You may notice that in the above picture this is a little window which is darker than the main chrome of VS.  This is that detached window which was up when VS shut down.  What was really odd was that this window did not have any title bar chrome or a close button.  I could resize the window by dragging the edges but I could not move it.  I also was not able to drop a new code window on top of this in order to get the chrome to appear.  I even tried to shut down VS and restart it… No dice.  In all I tried the following which did NOT work

  • Close my existing project and re-open it – NO DICE
  • Restart Visual Studio – open to the original project – NO DICE
  • Restart Visual Studio – open to NO project – NO DICE
  • Reset Windows Layout – Windows –> Reset Window Layout
  • Reset all Settings via the import/export wizard (did a setting backup first) – No Dice
  • Reset all settings via the command prompt
  • Re-imported my settings, taking ALL options – No dice
  • Re-imported my settings, this time removing ONE key setting (see picture below)Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner


Notice I unselected ‘Window Layouts’, this seemed to work.  I have to say this was very painful and killed 15-20 minutes of my day.  Hell if it were not for my trusty co-worker (form softies who knows ALL the VS tricks) I may still have this damned orphaned window up and.

Till next time,

Posted 08-12-2011 5:37 AM by Derik Whittaker



PilotBob wrote re: Visual Studio and Orphan Child Window–How to Fix the Issue
on 08-12-2011 10:19 AM

I expect "Rest Window Layouts" in the windows menu would have fixed this... I need to use that every now and again.

Derik Whittaker wrote re: Visual Studio and Orphan Child Window–How to Fix the Issue
on 08-12-2011 11:40 AM


I need to update the post because I DID try that and it did not work.

Michael Silver wrote re: Visual Studio and Orphan Child Window–How to Fix the Issue
on 08-12-2011 4:06 PM

Thanks for sharing this.  I haven't been bitten by it yet, but collectively you just saved hours and hours of developer time.

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