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Jan 2 / davidalpert

The correct way to uninstall Visual Studio packages (extensions)

So it turns out I was a bit premature when I declared victory in my last post, and although I was able to start Studio several times without receiving that pop-up error warning it started recurring today. I’ll go into detail, but the short version is, “Read error dialogs” and “the internet is your friend.”

Thanks to this post on the JetBrains issue tracking web site I learned that those registry entries I so cavalierly deleted are regenerated on startup from the package manifests dropped in the following location(s):

  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions
  • C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 11.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions

Buried in those folders (depending on which version of Studio concerns you) are extension-specific folders containing a pair of files as described here:

  • extension.vsixmanifest
  • vspackage.pkgdef

Here is a great pair of resources on Visual Studio Extensions (VSIX) and how they’re loaded that explain more about how all this works:

So removing the registry entries as I described is not enough; you also have to remove the manifest and package definitions.

Apparently there is a known issue in some of the ReSharper v7.1.25-related Jetbrains tools whereby some of the manifest and package definition files do not get removed properly. Removing them manually seems to do the trick, and the issue appears to have been fixed in ReSharper 7.1.1000 and dotCover 2.2.

Hat tip to Scott Hanselman for encouraging us all to look underneath the covers.

  • Eric L

    There are also a cache files that should be deleted in C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\Extensions

  • C Shea

    Thank you so much for posting this. I was having the opposite problem with Mighty Moose on Visual Studio 2013. Out of the box, there’s no support for VS 2013 in v1.0.47 of Mighty Moose Continuous Tests. The solution was to copy the extension.vsixmanifest file from VS 2012 at the location you identified in this post (the VS installation folder) and copy it to an analogous folder in VS 2013 install directory.

    This has allowed the extension to be found, loaded, and used.

    Thanks again for posting this.