How to resolve errors opening currentsettings.vssettings in the final release of VS 2005

I have heard from a few customers who have run into some strange behavior in the Visual Studio IDE after uninstalling previous beta versions and installing the final release of Visual Studio 2005.  They have reported seeing issues including (but not necessarily limited to) the following:

  • Visual Studio shows an error message stating that it cannot open "C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Settings\currentsettings.vssettings" for writing

  • Launching Tools | Import and Export Settings... and choosing any of the radio buttons results in an error message stating "Error 1: Reset/Export/Import was interrupted by the user".

  • Keyboard shortcuts fail to work correctly in the Visual Studio IDE

For the customers I have worked with so far, the following steps have resolved this issue:

  1. Close all instances of the Visual Studio IDE

  2. Click on the Start menu, choose Run and type cmd

  3. Type "%programfiles%\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe" /resetuserdata (this command assumes that you have installed VS 2005 to the default path, so you will have to modify this command line if you installed to a non-default path)

  4. Wait 1-2 minutes for the devenv.exe process to finish.  You can use Task Manager to verify that the process has completed

  5. Restart the Visual Studio IDE


Comments (35)
  1. Kazi says:

    Thanks, this post saved my life 🙂

    There were no keyboard shortcuts in RTM, after uninstall beta2/install RTM, but this post helps me out, my problem is solved.

    Thanks, thanks, thanks.


  2. Luke says:

    Hooray!!! It’s fixed!

    I had all of the problems that you mentioned. (No arrow keys, no backspace key, no delete key…) It rendered the IDE useless. 🙁 I tried the /ResetSettings switch, but to no avail. /resetuserdata solved all my problems.

    Thank you, thank you!


  3. Ron Cicotte says:

    Well now I’ve done it. After reading your instructions I thought I might be able to resolve a problem I have been having with VS 2005. I have been developing some new web sites and simultaneously developing a console application in C# to process the iis web logs from my web server. Twice in the last 2 weeks I have re-install VS in order to restore the web templates normally available when selecting File | New Web Site option. It seems that when I am working on both a console application and web apps that after some period of time the New Web Site dialog begins to display the same templates as those presented when selecting File | New Project

    I have reported the bug and Microsoft has Validated it . I have found a poor but manageable workaround. : I can create a new web site by selecting Create a Web Site from the Getting Stared selections on the Start Page. This is a very poor alternative for several reasons:

    1. Using this option automatically names the new web site WebSiteN where N is the next number in the numerical sequence.

    2. It places the new web site in the Visual Studio 2005WebSites directory where is the path where VS was installed. If you use the default installation option this will be under the C:documents and setting My Documents which I personally find inconvenient.

    3. This option creates only the App_Data directory and the default.aspx document. There are no options to tell it to create Web.config or Web.sitemap files. You will have to create these yourself after the site is created.

    I came across this blog while looking for a better solution. I decided to try using the reset settings command provided. ERROR ! The result was that now the Visual Studio Installed Templates available are those associated with BI projects: (Analysis Services, Report Server Projects, etc.). I can get to the templates for other kinds of projects through the File | New Projects option because it provides a panel for changing the project category except for web projects. Soooo! Now the File | New Web Site option displays templates for BI projects. To make matters worse the Getting Started panel on the Start Page no longer displays the Create Web Site option so I can no longer use that workaround.

    Am I am doomed to the painfully slow re-installation process or can you recommend something else? Do you have any insight into the cause and solution for the bug? or at lease a simpler work around?

    Why does MS think that Web Development projects need to be isolated from other kinds of projects? It would have been so simple to have a link to Web templates from the New Projects dialog since every other kind of project is presented there. I love the new environment and I am migrating everything to VS 2005 but sometimes progress involves some steps backward.

    Thanks for any insight you can offer.

  4. Finn says:


    You’re a lifesaver! 😉 I’ve spent (too) many hours uninstalling and installing, removing various left-overs from by beta 2 installation.

    … I was about to reinstall my computer!

    Thanks a lot!!!

    Best regards,


  5. Hi Ron – I am sorry to say I don’t have much experience with the issues that you are describing so I’m not sure what kind of workaround to suggest here.

    I can see the Create Web Site link on the start page in the version of VS 2005 installed on my computer. It is in the "recent projects" section in the top left of the start page. I am not sure why this would not appear on your system however. You may want to try running devenv.exe /ResetSettings and devenv.exe /ResetUserData and see if that helps. Also, I’m not sure which development profile you chose the first time that you launched Visual Studio or if that plays a role in what appears on the start page, but just for reference I chose the "general development" profile on my system.

    You may want to try to search on the MSDN forums ( for additional suggestions for workarounds.

    Sorry I’m not more helpful here. 🙁

  6. Chris Kushnir says:

    Your solution worked … too bad i wasted a couple hours searching and trying other things before finding this link … the solution is always in the last place you look. 🙂

    FYI this was on a fresh install of a new OS and apps. I believe the problem is a result of SQL Srv 2005 (or was it Office 2003 ?, can’t remember) installing a version of VS 2005 (Pro ?) before i actually installed the ‘actual’ (Team Dev Ed) version.

    My order of install:

    – Win 2003 Srv Ent R2 x32 w/SP1

    – Office 2003 w/ SP2

    – Frontpage, Project, OneNote, Visio (all w/SP2)

    – SQL Srv 2005 Ent

    – VS 2005 Team Dev Ed

  7. benny ottosson, sweden says:

    Thank You Aaron!!!

    After a month of absolutely waisting my time trying to figure out why on earth VS2005 hang, I finally found your site and the devenv.exe tip!!



  8. benny ottosson says:

    Hello again Aaron

    My success with VS 2005 didn’t last after a reboot… I’ve tried now to manually remove VS2005 following your guidelines and reinstalling again with no problem at all. But everytime I start VS 2005 (no matter what I’ve done before) and create a new C# project the program stops responding, with the title bar message ‘(not responding)’. Do You hava any idea?

    Thank You


  9. David says:

    Genius! Works perfectly. For the benefit of future Googlers: C# text source editor locks file, stops allowing edits, cannot press enter to create new line, cannot use backspace key, Edit+Copy menu works but Ctrl+C does not. Source code appears to be read only.

  10. Crispin says:

    I had a similar problem but it only appeared after weeks of using VS2005 (I never had the beta on this PC).  I tried all the above remedies and then did a complete re-install of VS2005 to no avail.

    The solution turned out to be:

    • close all instances of VS2005

    • go to "Visual Studio 2005" directory under My Documents

    • open “Properties” and untick (uncheck) the Read Only box and apply this to all sub-directories

    • rename this directory “Visual Studio 2005 – old” for later comparison

    • restart VS2005

    You get a warning prompt, after which it appears to adopt the settings of the last session.

    Only one day lost…


  11. Annie says:


    This solution sounds great, *but* when I don’t have the devenv executable anywhere that I can see. I did have the Beta on, uninstalled everything that I could find, reinstalled 2005 and now it is incredibly slow to open, close and do anything at all and complains that it can’t find the vssettings file.

    Any other suggestions?

  12. Annie says:

    Sorry, I did actually manage to find the devenv exe by searching through the registry, and this did the trick, although its still quite slow for loading and even moving between tabs on the options panel etc.

    Thanks anyway,


  13. Ken says:

    I have pulled my hair out over the same problem. Trying your suggestion of /resetuserdata didn’t work for me, but launching devenv.exe/? showed me a list of switches, one of which was /resetsettings.  That worked like a charm!

  14. Matt says:

    I had the same issue and I just bypassed the .sln file, opened the project itself, and rebuilt the solution file. It fixed it for me.

  15. Phill says:

    Thanks. I was about to reinstall when I found this.

    I had all my shortcut keys vanish, and the keyboard options page went to hell (no items in any lists, the control key entry box was just a regular text box). This happened right after installing the DX SDK April update (freshly installed computer, just WinXP, the windows updates, and VS.NET 2005 on it at the time).

    Of course, I’d have to reinstall the DX SDK to get syntax highlighting and all back, but that’s way less painful than reinstalling the whole of Visual Studio.

    Thanks again,


  16. I have had serious problems with the IDE crashing and even refusing to start at all (‘missing components’ !!!). After trying your simple suggestion (which is not even currently being suggested on the MS forums that I can find) my system has come back flawlessly. Thank you

  17. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! My arrow keys/pgup/pgdown/home/end/enter/backspace etc were not working in code view! The "devenv.exe /resetuserdata" WORKS!

    I even uninstalled vs pro 2005 and reinstalled it from scratch and still my keys did not work.

    And I did not have the beta vs 2005 Pro installed but I did have vb express and c# express, and sql express beta’s installed before I got vs 2005 Pro (Final).

    Finnally i can start coding again!

  18. Rizwan says:

    Thanks all my keys are working now!

  19. d says:

    Woohoo! Great post. I had a message saying "the automatically saved settings file currentsettings.vssettings" couldn’t be written, amongst the other problems. Thanks Aaron!

  20. lbmouse says:

    To benny ottosson:

    I had the same problem with VS 2005 not responding after starting and trying to create a new project.  Resetting the current user settings didn’t work.  My problem was that my company defaults our "My Documents" to a network drive and VS 2005 defaults Project directories to a sub-dir off of there.  Try to change the Project location and Project/Item templates location settings of VS 2005 to a local drive. (Tools | Options | Projects and Solutions).  Don’t forget to copy the corresponding Project location and Project/Item

    templates directory to the new directories you specified.

  21. Damon Cole says:

    I have found that if I open my VS Solution and find that my Enter, Backspace, and arrow keys don’t work, there is a less painful way of restoring normal functionality than "devenve.exe /resetuserdata".

    Just create a new text file and then delete it. (I.e., Ctrl-N, select Text File, then delete the file from the active project.) This method is still infuriating, but at least it doesn’t obliterate one’s user settings or require one to close all intances of VS.

    My system is:


    VS 2005 Pro

    MSSQL 2005 Express

  22. Where to get Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0 Where to download the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable

  23. dillonp says:


    I’m wondering if you can help me – I’m in a real fix. I’m getting the error message "Cannot start this program because the Resources directory or one of its sub-directories is missing". I was using a registry cleaner (I know, a little learning is a dangerous thing!) and it seems I screwed up. I’ve tried Restore and reversing the changes I made with the cleaner (jv16) but that didn’t solve it.

    I’m using XP Home.

    Much appreciate any help.


  24. Hi Dillonp – I’d suggest trying to repair Visual Studio to see if that helps resolve this.  If that doesn’t help, then uninstalling and re-installing it might help as well.

  25. jjamjatra says:

    I’ve spent almost 2 days researching a problem with VStudio2005 on a machine that recently had .Net Framework 2.0 SP 1 installed on it. I’ve documented the problem(s) in several posts elsewhere:

    All of these posts are my attempt to describe various symptoms with Visual Studio 2005 SP1 on a server. Could the recent install of .Net Framework 2.0 service pack 1 have caused these strange symptoms with Visual Studio? I notice also that Control Panel now displays 9 "sub-entries" for this service pack. Unusual?

  26. Hi Jjamjatra – I’m sorry, but I’m not familiar enough with the errors you’re encountering while developing your web applications to know for sure whether or not the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 could cause this type of issue.  You may want to ask this question on one of the MSDN forums at to see if anyone there has any additional ideas/suggestions.

    If you’d like, you can try to uninstall the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and re-install the original .NET Framework 2.0 product from to see if that helps.

    The .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 contains a series of patches that are applied behind the scenes during installation, so the 9 sub-entries are normal and expected if you have the .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 installed on your system.

  27. dearmikelee says:

    Man.. it worked!

    Thanks for your info

  28. says:

    And years later…  this is still the only solution I came across on the Internet!

  29. Thanks! Works even on VS 2010 says:

    still years later. thanks for posting.

  30. Shivprasad Koirala says:

    When you come to mumbai , we can have a beer….worked for me

  31. maya says:

    Great.. Really helped out

  32. yantaq says:

    I worked on vs2010 too

  33. Calvin Cho says:

    Year 2013 – works for VS 2012 too

  34. Hari says:

    Thanks a lot !

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