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Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 crashes with "The application cannot start." dialog (WinDbg output attached) by bwt


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Type: Bug
ID: 499244
Opened: 10/21/2009 2:09:28 PM
Access Restriction: Public
User(s) can reproduce this bug


Opened VS2010 Beta 2 (Premium Edition) for the first time. Tried moving some panes around. Then I tried to create a new C# WPF project and Visual Studio crashed. Upon restart it told me that a Modal Dialog is open and it cannot start. I decided to close all apps and reboot. Now, when I try to start Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2, it attempts to start but fails giving me a "The application cannot start." error and the VS window pops up with only a black background. I tried doing a "devenv /ResetSettings", but the problem continues to persist. I am going to reinstall and see if that will fix this issue.

Uninstalling and reinstalling Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 did not resolve this issue - the application still fails to start with the "The application cannot start." dialog.

devenv /reset from the command line displays:

Microsoft (R) Visual Studio Version 10.0.21006.1.
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved.

The evaluation period for Visual Studio Trial ends in 251 days.

The application cannot start.

WinDbg output of a devenv.exe app start (demonstrating the problem) is attached to this report.

### I figured out the cause of this bug at least for my specific case, see the Workarounds section for details, which may or may not apply to your startup issue!
### "Steps to Reproduce" have been updated with the simplest way to produce this error from a fresh VS2010 Beta 2 install

IMPORTANT NOTE: It seems that VS2010 Beta 2 has a problem with non-True Type/Open Type fonts being used for editing. If you change your font to a non-True Type/Open Type font such as Terminal or Courier (not Courier New), you will not be able to open/edit files source files. VS2010 may also fail to start, forcing you to reset it back to its initial state.

This is a HUGE GAFFE in this release, since very many developers depend on crisp pixel aligned raster fonts for development. The Visual Studio editor absolutely MUST support such fonts, as it has from its inception.

Apparently, Microsoft has decided to no longer support raster fonts in Visual Studio. Therefore those of us that use Courier, Terminal, or Fixedsys for editing are effectively forced to use a TrueType font like Consolas.

Since this decision is final and based on the fact that VS 2010 is transitioning to WPF, at the very least, the ability to control inter-line spacing should be present to enable users of raster fonts such as Terminal, to continue to have a relatively high line count on the screen.

VS 2010, as of Beta 2, inserts a gratuitous amount of space between lines of text. In fact, if a font such as Consolas 8 pt. is selected and code is copied from VS 2010 Beta 2 and pasted into MS Word 2007, one can see that VS 2010 is adding some 25% of additional space over what is present in MS Word. This greatly reduces the vertical line count per screen. If vertical line-space control cannot be added for the RTM, at the very least vertical line-spacing should be reduced by at least 20% to coincide with the reasonable spacing between lines in MS Word. This will greatly increase code readability, because the user will be able to get the same line count using Consolas 10 pt. as he does now with Consolas 8 pt.
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Posted by sholodak on 12/16/2009 at 3:38 PM
If you are running on Vista or Win7 and typically run Visual Studio as an Administrator, be sure to run the devenv workaround from an elevated command prompt

32-bit: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe /resetuserdata
64-bit: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe /resetuserdata

Otherwise, be sure _not_ to run it in an elevated command prompt.
Posted by Tatworth on 12/4/2009 at 2:32 AM
When will the next VS2010 (Beta3 or RC1) will be released?
Posted by Microsoft on 11/6/2009 at 12:05 PM
Hi KonamimanMSX, mgoldshteyn, and other readers,

There are two issues with similar symptoms, and it looks like different commenters are hitting one or both of them. I'll try to clarify:

1.) The Editor issue Sean described is a problem with raster font settings. VS 2010 and WPF 4.0 do not support raster fonts, but Beta2 has a bug where instead of falling back to the default font (Consolas for English systems), the editor will fail to load. This usually allows VS to launch but gives the error message "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" when opening a file, though it can sometimes give the error message "The application cannot start" when launching VS. The workaround is to go to Tools->Options->Environment->Fonts and Colors and change any raster or bitmap font settings to a TrueType font. Running "devenv /resetuserdata" will also resolve the issue, though it will reset all of your settings to the defaults and therefore change more of your preferences than is necessary to fix the problem. You can read more about this issue at the link Sean provided: http://blogs.msdn.com/visualstudio/archive/2009/10/27/VS-2010-Beta2_3A00_--Workaround-for-Raster-Font-Settings-Issue.aspx.

2.) There is a separate Shell issue that can happen without raster font settings. This usually gives the error message "The application cannot start" when launching Visual Studio. The workaround is to run "devenv /resetuserdata". You can read more about this issue at http://blogs.msdn.com/visualstudio/archive/2009/10/29/how-to-fix-the-application-cannot-start-error.aspx.

I'd like to stress that both of these issues have been fixed since Beta2, which is why I'm resolving this Connect bug as Fixed. If anyone has further questions about either issue, commenting on the appropriate blog post will probably lead to a faster response, though you're of course welcome to comment directly on this Connect bug if you prefer.

Thanks to all of you for trying Visual Studio 2010 Beta2 and sending your feedback!

Brittany Behrens
Program Manager, VS Platform
Posted by MSX rules on 11/4/2009 at 4:41 AM
Please do not close this issue as "fixed". I had the same problem and it had nothing to do with raster fonts. I was able to add and edit solutions, projects and files for some days, and suddenly it failed with the "The application cannot start" error. It has happened twice to me.
Posted by Microsoft on 10/30/2009 at 11:39 PM
Hi mgoldshteyn (and other commenters on this thread)

Thank you for reporting this issue. Unfortunately, VS 2010 and WPF 4.0 do not support raster fonts and we were not blocking the scenario where a font preference was imported from VS 2008. To learn more about this issue and how to workaround it in Beta 2, please take a look at our blog post on the subject: http://blogs.msdn.com/visualstudio/archive/2009/10/27/VS-2010-Beta2_3A00_--Workaround-for-Raster-Font-Settings-Issue.aspx

Given that we've fixed it such that users can't get into this state in builds after Beta 2, I'm resolving this issue as fixed. If you have any more feedback on raster font support, please feel free to respond to the blog post.

-Sean Laberee
VS Platform Team
Posted by Paul Dolphin on 10/30/2009 at 1:38 PM
Had exactly this problem.
VS 2010 had picked up the raster font I used in VS 2008.
Changing the font name fixed it for me.
Posted by MSX rules on 10/29/2009 at 1:08 AM
Same problem here, and the devenv /resetuserdata. But now I have to reconfigure all tool windows and toolbars. :-(
Posted by MKPotluri on 10/27/2009 at 10:56 AM
ersheido, did you try "devenv /resetuserdata"? [making sure what you meant by /reset]
Posted by ersheido on 10/26/2009 at 6:16 AM
The workaround to reset the environemtn is not working for me. I'm on Beta 2 Professional. Just before the weekend, I was using it without any problems, put my laptop in Standby mode, and when I came back this morning, the battery was drained for some reason. I turned on the PC and tried to ope VS, but got the generic "Application Cannot Start" error immediately after the splash screen.

The command devenv /reset produces the same error ("The application cannot start.") for me, but on the command line.
Posted by Chaitrax on 10/26/2009 at 4:31 AM
@Strumpflohner, see the workarounds it might help you.
Posted by Strumpflohner on 10/23/2009 at 4:35 AM
It is the same issue in my case. I also opened a new Web project, moved out the Solution Explorer from the VS main frame and it crashed. Restarting it results in the error message. Also restarting my Vista (x64) didn't help. I was using VS2010 beta2 ultimate
Posted by Carlos MD on 10/22/2009 at 2:52 PM
It works to me too. Thanks a lot.
Posted by bwt on 10/22/2009 at 2:14 PM
MuraliP, your tip works as well! I have added it to the Workarounds section as an easier solution than manually editing the registry.

Posted by MKPotluri on 10/22/2009 at 1:59 PM
Have you tried "devenv /resetuserdata"? Persistence of the crash after reinstall makes me think it has something to do with your profile corrupted. /resetuserdata should re-create your profile for VS.
Posted by Carlos MD on 10/22/2009 at 10:09 AM
Same bug:
Opened VS2010 Ultimate beta 2 and tried some c# projects. Then Visual Studio hang up so i restarted the computer and get the "application cannot start" message. I uninstall Ultimate and install profesional version of beta 2. The problem was solve until VS2010 Profesional hangs. Then i have the same message againg. I have tried repairing options from control panel without success.
Please tell me something to solve this issue. Thanks
Posted by bwt on 10/22/2009 at 8:17 AM
This is a serious show stopper for people who want to try Beta 2. So, if you experience this problem, please vote this report up using the green up arrow at the top of the screen. Hopefully, MS will give this the attention it deserves and post a resolution to the problem.
Posted by ocozette on 10/22/2009 at 7:35 AM
Same bug:
Opened vs2010 beta 2 ultimate for first time. Creating a project c++. Editor say "it cannot test10.cpp" wich was created by wizzard (the file is on disk). Now, i try to open the created project instead of using create wizard, it cannot read the cpp, but it's not a file acl problem (opened it successfully with notepad).

I close gracefully all application, reboot and now I have "the application cannot start" when launching vs2010.

I have reinstalled vs2010 with same problem.
Posted by Microsoft on 10/22/2009 at 3:35 AM
Thank you for your feedback, We are currently reviewing the issue you have submitted. If this issue is urgent, please contact support directly(http://support.microsoft.com)
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Posted by PCOOPER on 1/20/2010 at 10:24 AM
I followed Rhombicosidodecahedron 's recommendation to open visual studio by selecting a solution. I was able to open visual studio and it kept my editor settings (which were not default settings and default fonts). I did have to reopen different windows and reset much of the vs desktop.

Unfortunately, after I closed vs, I had the same problem again and had to reopen using the solution. I finally had to run the "c:\program files\microsoft visual studio 10.0\common7\ide\devenv.exe" "\resetuserdata" command and reset the environment in order to get vs working correctly.

Very disappointed that this is happen. The only positive is that vs seems to be running better now than it was lately, so possibly there was something happening for a while now that lead to this crash.
Posted by Rhombicosidodecahedron on 12/17/2009 at 9:49 AM
My Workaround (perhaps only for me - I don't know): Do not start Visual Studio directly - just with starting a project (e.g. from the JumpList "Recent" links) and then it works fine. By the way I also changed the code editor font (to Consolas).
Posted by JohnBaerg on 12/16/2009 at 11:15 AM
I ran "c:\program files\microsoft visual studio 10.0\common7\ide\devenv.exe" "\resetuserdata" and VS2010 then started fine.

Note that I did NOT change any fonts prior to crashing; I simply tried the new 'zoom' feature with <ctr><scroll wheel>, while in a .cs program.
Posted by Kevin T Connolly on 11/16/2009 at 10:44 PM
This happens when VS2010 exits abnormally (i.e. froze and got terminated). If you have another VS2010 open when it crashes, you can close the second one normally and it will write your settings, thus fixing the bug by accident.
Posted by bwt on 10/30/2009 at 7:10 AM
The issue is not with changing fonts - the issue is with the use of raster fonts, such as Terminal, Courier, and any of the other available smaller fixed-points fonts for writing code. Visual Studio always has and for the forseeable future MUST support raster fonts for editing.
Posted by ZhongJie Qiu on 10/30/2009 at 2:57 AM
devenv /resetuserdata really works.

It's the same problem that changing font.

Microsoft should fix it ASAP. Most programmers like change UI fonts.
Posted by Manimaran on 10/29/2009 at 5:20 AM
I ran command prompt as administrator and then used devenv.exe /resetuserdata . It took a while and then when I restarted vs2010 beta2 it worked. Note: I was running vs2010 beta2 on Win 7 Ultimate.

Posted by ersheido on 10/27/2009 at 11:01 AM
If you the environment reset option doesn't work for you, which was the case for me, you can delete the environment files manually by going to C:\Documents and Settings\XXX\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0

and deleting all the files (not the folders) in that directory (XXX is obviously your username)
Posted by Chaitrax on 10/26/2009 at 4:30 AM
I was also having the problem, if we created new project it would create, if we click on the file, it would crash/show error, thanks to @ocozette , i changd the font as he suggested, it work.. Vola.. thnks @ocozette.
Posted by ocozette on 10/23/2009 at 1:38 AM
I try "devenv /resetuserdata" and now i was able to start visual studio, but it say "cannot open file" for all c++ files I try to add to my (empty) new project.

Thanks to Goldshteyn post, I try to check my fonts setting, my font is 7 for case (probably inherited from my visual studio 2008/2005 configuration).

So i do "tools->options" subitem "environment->fonts and colors" and click on "use default" to restore default font and size. It not works immediatly, but after restart visual studio 2010, I was able to create new project or add file in project and view them.

Olivier Cozette.
Posted by bwt on 10/22/2009 at 2:13 PM
It appears that "devenv /resetuserdata" also fixes this problem, at the expense of fully resetting VS2010 to its original defaults, without having to make changes in the registry. Thanks to MuraliP for the idea.
Posted by bwt on 10/22/2009 at 2:01 PM
The startup error in my case was caused by changing the font to a raster font (i.e., "Terminal 6 pt"). This is what was causing my startup error. Apparently VS2010 Beta 2 has an issue with raster fonts being set for the editor at startup and fails to start if the font is not a TrueType font. I figured this out by thinking about what I did when VS2010 was operational and tried to piece together how to undo any configuration changes I made.

The fix consisted of going into the registry and changing the FontName value in:

FontName="Terminal" to FontName="Courier New"

I left the point size alone. This change was enough to get VS2010 Beta 2 to start normally. I hope someone at MS reads this and fixes VS2010 to be able to operate correctly when the user changes their Font in Tools/Options to a raster font (e.g., Terminal, FixedSys, Courier, etc...). Many of us (developers) prefer the fixed point raster fonts to true type fonts for sharp text at small point sizes.


Michael Goldshteyn
File Name Submitted By Submitted On File Size  
WinDebugOutput.txt (restricted) 10/21/2009 -
ApplicationCannotStartScreenshot.png (restricted) 10/22/2009 -