I have recently installed Visual Studio 2010.

By default it has a nice layout, and when I open files, the tabbed windows for those files appear where I like them to appear: source code on the upper half of the screen, compiler output, test status, trace windows on the bottom half.

But, after a period of using it, I fat finger something, and then the window positioning logic goes haywire. One of the tabs gets undocked, and then after I redock it, nothing else operates like it used to operate. So maddening! It opens source code on the bottom, it opens other windows in unpredictable places. I undock and redock the windows where I want them, and the next time I open them, they go to the wrong place again. WTF?

Even the "start page" gets moved. This is what it looks like when I start up:

enter image description here

I know I can do the devenv /resetsettings thing to restore to the original, and I have done this (Several times), but really I would like to know:

  1. How is this happening? What am I doing to cause this behavior? How can I avoid it?
  2. Can I undo it - get it to behave sanely again - without stopping visual studio, and restarting with the /resetsettings switch? What are the magic mouse clicks to make it revert? I know it's challenging to describe UI gestures, but if you have hints, I'd love to hear them.

Does anyone else have this problem?

  • 2
    If you're running multiple instances of VS, the last one to shut down correctly is the one that saves its state. Just modifying the layout in a running instance is not enough to apply that to future instances. You need to start, set it up, and shut down. You also need to switch to the various contexts, such as debugging vs. editing (only two I know of actually). Not sure if this applies to you, so didn't make answer. "How is this happening?" I gave up trying to figure out why VS randomly goes insane a long time ago. Jun 20, 2011 at 3:49

1 Answer 1


Crazy Eddie's comment explains 'How is this happening'.

With regards to "how to undo it without stopping Visual Studio", try this:

"Window" --> "Reset window layout"

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