Visual Studio UI Toolbox disappeared

I can’t recall if it was right after the initial installation, or if I hit any whatever key-combination to hide it, or closed it by mistake: The UI toolbox in my Visual Studio 2012 was not visible. First, I did not care because I didn’t needed it. But the point in time came when I needed it – and still it was not there. Neither a ‘Toolbox’ item in the View menu.

I searched the internet, did a repair, did a toolbox rebuild, reset the window layout, and was close to un- and reinstall it. Then, after searching again, I found a posting for VS 2008 SP1. It says one can use the CTRL+ALT+X key to show the toolbox window. Fortunately, the key combination worked for VS 2012 too! The toolbox window was back again 🙂 This saved me several hours of non-productive installation time.

Soon, I added the Toobox command to the ‘View / Other Windows’ menu to make sure I will not lose it again.

And in case you need to rebuild the toolbox content, you can do this:

1. Close Visual Studio;

2. Open the “c:\Users\\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0″ folder and remove all the .TBD files;

3. Start regedit;

4. Find the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\ToolboxControlsInstaller_AssemblyFoldersExCache” and “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\11.0\ToolboxControlsInstallerCache” keys;

5. Remove everything from these keys leaving them empty;

6. Run Visual Studio again and wait until it recreates all items in the toolbox. This might be a lazy rebuild, started when you open a UI control in the editor.

(found this list here:

2 thoughts on “Visual Studio UI Toolbox disappeared”

  1. I had the same problem with all the items in my toolbox disappeared. I tried the suggested method Devenv and others, but they didn’t work except displaying the toolbox. I finally figured out. If you are able to display the toolbox, place the mouse cursor inside the tool box and select the “Choose items…”. This will bring up a dialog box for you to selective choose the toolbox items for your component (i.e. .NET Framework Components, and others.) Then place the mouse cursor inside the toolbox again and select “Show. item”. I tried this several times (after resetting the toolbox) and it works all the time. Hope this will help your situation. Victor Nguyen (LM, MOT, HON, NASA, GS)

  2. Hi, I had the same small problem of a suddenly missing toolbox in VS 2013.
    Yes, CTRL+ALT+X worked to bring it back but in my case
    apart from selecting it again from the View menu, you can also fix this problem and any more general problems of this nature by resetting the environment via
    Tools -> Import and Export Settings, while also making a backup of current settings.

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