My goodness, were’s gone my Properties window?!?

I had a funny half-hour this afternoon, when one of my colleagues took a new call from a customer whom had some troubles with the Properties window in his Visual Studio 2005... The customer reported a weird behavior within the Visual Studio IDE in particular with the Properties window, which was not available despite his attempts to display it both pressing the F4 keyboard shortcut and from the View > Properties Window menu command. Moreover this had the effect to remove the focus from the Visual Studio IDE but apparently nothing else was getting it, and there was a weird Format menu appearing and disappearing... smile_omg

It was kind of fun to see Stefano on the phone with the customer, listening to his description and his face getting more and more puzzled... smile_teeth Until after some quick research in our internal docs he found a reference to a similar problem, and after a quick test he triumphally called the customer back with the solution after just 20 minutes! thumbs_up

As I guess you know the Properties window (like other windows in Visual Studio) can be detached from the IDE and left float around the screen; the point here was that the customer somehow moved the window outside the desktop and it was not visible anymore... smile_omg How to get it back?

  • Press F4 (or the corresponding keyboard shortcut) to move the focus to the Visual Studio window you're hunting
  • Press ALT+- (ALT and minus key) to open the small window menu
  • Press M
  • Press ENTER
  • Now the window will be "attached" to the mouse pointer to move it around, but most important we can see it now! smile_angelDock it to the IDE if you wish



Quote of the Day:
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
--Winston Churchill

Comments (13)

  1. Michael Todd says:

    I remember something like this happening all the way back on Windows 3.0. It’s always been too easy for users to hide windows from themselves. "Alt-space-m and the arrow keys are your friend." <grin>

  2. Raj Kaimal says:

    How about Window – Reset window layout ?

  3. Alt+SPACE in this case does not work because it opens the menu on the main VS window, but I agree it is a useful trick to know 🙂

    Yep, Reset Window Layout does the same… sometimes the easiest solution is the one we don’t see… :o)

  4. JT says:

    Nice one – just after happening to me … after years of VS dev .. never happened to me until today .. Your method worked a treat ..Thanks

  5. Papa says:

    Thanks for the tip. I was very surprised when this happened. No matter how hard I pushed F4 it still wouldn’t work 🙂  I went for the reset window layout method. Thanks.

  6. josbleuet says:

    Thanks!!!!! helped me , using visual studio for about 10 years, first time appened. So you save me a reinstall of visual studio.

  7. Tim says:

    Thanks! This just resolved my issue. I had the same problem with Visual Studio 2008.

  8. Jake says:

    Brill! Just found the same problem involving VS2010 on a dual monitor machine, remoted onto by a single monitor machine. Nice one 😛

  9. Antoine Megens says:

    Thanks man! Had the exact same problem and feared I had to do a complete reinstall.

  10. (Faisal) says:

    Thanks very much, it really worked.

  11. Cosmin says:

    In my case restoring Visual Studio settings helped me get the Properties window back: (…/unable-to-access-properties-window-in.html)

  12. Ron Skufca says:

    Thank you so much. This just saved me.

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