Powertoys in the VSSDK


I received an email asking for a little more information on what exactly the Event Toaster Powertoy is and does. First, a little background information…


What gets installed with the Visual Studio SDK?


When you download and run the VSSDK install package, there are actually 3 MSI packages that get run:



  1. Core SDK (Samples, docs, assemblies, etc…)

  2. VS Powertoys

  3. Innovasys HelpStudio Lite

The ‘Core SDK’ is required and is all the basic stuff you would expect in a SDK. The other two components are presented as options to install at the end of the Core SDK installation. They are entirely optional and not required to develop VSPackages. However, HelpStudio Lite could be very beneficial to you if you’re attempting to integrate help content.


So then what are the Powertoys?


The powertoys we ship are a series of add-ons which add small new features to Visual Studio. As of the July 2006 CTP, there are two Powertoys: Indexed Find and Event Toaster. Note that unlike the package samples, the Powertoys are installed to the main VS hive. We plan on adding more power toys to the SDK over the coming months.


What does Indexed Find do and how can I use it?


Indexed Find is a tool that uses the Indexing Service built into Windows to provide fast text searches over files in a directory. This is especially helpful for searching over folders with a lot of source code (e.g. the Managed Package Framework sources that are shipped with the SDK).


What is Event Toaster and how can I use it?


After installing the power toys, you may notice that every time you launch Visual Studio 2005, a small toaster icon appears in the system tray. This is the notification icon provided by event toaster. This power toy allows you to perform an action (e.g. playing a WAV file, showing a balloon, running a VS macro, etc…) when a given event happens in Visual Studio. The options can be configured from the standard Tools-Options dialog under Powertoys/EventToaster/General. You can also disable the event toaster from here.


Comments (5)

  1. davidacoder says:

    Any chance that the PowerToys will be available as a seperate download? And that for example the TFS PowerToys are included there as well? It is sort of redicioulus that I have to download the VS SDK to get offline support for TFS. 260 MB download and install for a tiny, tiny little toy that has absolutely nothing to do with VS extension programming…

  2. aaronmar says:

    Hi davidacoder, Right now, the Powertoys included in the SDK are meant to spur more people to check out VS Extensibility. The TFS Offline tool is included in the VS 2005 SDK, but is not really part of the powertoys collection that I’m referring to. I agree that since this provides essential functionality to working with TFS from a laptop (or any other machine that is occasionally connected), it should probably be available as a separate download. I’ll pass this feedback on to the Team System team.

    As for other powertoys, there are plenty of powertoys being shipped separately that you can get at the Powertoys blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/powertoys/

  3. cristipotlog says:

    How can I disable the tray icon also?

    The check-box in the Tools-Options dialog only disables the notifications, but the annoying tray-icon is still there.

    Please let me know if there is any chance of disabling it.

  4. aaronmar says:

    Hi Cristi,

    Looking at the source code for the powertoy, it seems that the only way to disable the icon is to remove the event toaster package entirely. :(

    If you want to do this, you can in one of two ways:

    1.) Uninstall all the powertoys.

    2.) Delete the package registration only for the event toaster by running the following command:

    "reg delete HLKMSoftwareMicrosoftVisualStudio8.0Packages{139f0cf3-9b20-44cc-861c-420d7a396b57}"

    This is ugly, and still leaves the package partially installed, but it will eliminate the icon. :)

    -Aaron