Delete and return keys not working in Visual Studio 2005

I had some strange issues on my laptop with Visual Studio 2005 - the delete and return keys didn't work, which made it somewhat tricky to write code. I even resorted to copy and pasting a new line when writing code, which as you can imagine wasn't very productive.

After much investigation, I solved the problem. I believe it started because I had previously installed an early beta of Visual C# Express, and there were still registry entries and Application Data left over even though I'd uninstalled. What this meant was I couldn't save any VS2005 settings, and this in turn was causing the editor problems.

My solution was:

  • Delete any registry enries to do with Visual C# Express

  • Delete any directories in My Documents related to either "Visual Studio" or "Visual Studio 2005" (obviously be careful with this if you've got any code you want to keep in here)

  • Delete the contents of C:\Documents and Settings\<* user *>\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0

  • In VS2005, go to the Tools -> Import and Export settings… menu and Reset all settings

Other people appear to have had the same problem, but caused by something to do with Auto-hiding of windows capturing the focus when it shouldn't.

Some useful links that might help you if you're experiencing this:

Comments (6)
  1. Kelly Adams says:

    I can get the same symptoms out of VS 2005 Standard if I flip back and forth between Design and Source modes on an .aspx page with lots of controls too many times. Shutting down the IDE and restarting clears the effect for me. It’s a very strange behavior, and I first spent some time peering into my keyboard thinking that a foreign object (read: old bits of lunch) was holding down an Alt key or something.

  2. VSEditor says:


    I just came across this post and I was wondering if you are still encountering this problem when switching back and forth from Design and Source view.  If so, I’d be interested in investigating it further.  If you could email me at seanla @ microsoft . com, we can arrange to do a LiveMeeting to look into this further.



  3. albertpascual says:

    Thanks for the post, was useful

  4. Lately my Visual Studio 2005 is been having a few issues, the keyboard only response the space bar, every

  5. psouza4 says:

    I have this issue in MS VS2005 SP1 any time I click Design on a specific form in my project.  It’s not even a very large form either (though it was upgraded from a 2003 project).  Soon as I click on Design, it kills the keyboard and Design view never comes up.  It’s hosed from there and I have to delete all of those files to get it working again.

  6. Hisham says:

    thanks , this happened 2 times for me with visual studio 2005, i reinstalled it again but it didnt work ,i reset all settings  ,so it works fine now


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