Rob Kraft's Software Development Blog

Software Development Insights

Are you missing the controls in the toolbox for Visual Studio 2008?

Posted by robkraft on December 21, 2007

I downloaded Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition (C#), installed it, and rebooted my computer.  Then I immediately went to create my first WPF application in VS2008.  I was challenged initially by the lack of controls available in my toolbox.  All of the controls were disabled.  So I went to Tools, Choose Toolbox Items, and enabled the few I wanted to start playing with (in the WPF components tab).  However, they were still disabled.
I exited Visual Studio, restarted Visual Studio, and all the controls were now available, and have been ever since.  I don’t know why they weren’t there the first time I ran the product.

Another possible reason that the controls are not enabled is simply that you need to click on the XAML form.  If your mouse is in the raw XAML window, the controls will not be enabled.

11 Responses to “Are you missing the controls in the toolbox for Visual Studio 2008?”

  1. Anthony said

    Thanks Rob – I’m new to VS and this was baffling me. Did what you said – closed my little “Hello World” project and re-opened – and the controls suddenly became active in the toolbox. Big relief. Thanks again.

  2. Randall said

    I could not get the MS Chart control to appear in the toolbox when I started VS 2008 today.

    Checkbox in the Tools > Choose Toolbox Items… dialog was checked, but still did not appear in toolbox.

    Eventually, I hit the reset button in that dialog.

    Problem cured.

  3. Pavan said

    I am using:
    Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
    .Net Framework 3.5 w/ sp1
    Windows XP w/ sp3

    I am only able to access HTML toolbox controls through visual studio. All other controls are greyed out and inaccessible.

    I have tried resetting the toolbox controls through visual studio.
    I have tried deleting the toolbox cache files in local settings.
    I have uninstalled all versions of visual studio and the .net framework and reinstalled only vs2008.

    After trying all these steps, I am still unable to access any of the other toolbox controls. Any help would be appreciated.

  4. hrbek said

    Try login as real Administrator, all shall be ok.

    • Pankaj C Parwani said

      I have login as Administrator , and all tools are visible… But what if I have to try for my I have to work in pc connected to Network..

  5. Moshe Rubin said

    For what it’s worth, I experienced the same problem after porting my Win32/C++ app to Visual Studio 2008: the Dialog Box toolbox icons were enabled, but the icons in all other toolboxes were disabled (I specifically wanted to drag-and-drop the NumericUpDown control to a dialog).

    The reason turned out to be that my app was a native code project, not CLR. Apparently only the Dialog Box toolbox controls can be used in a native code project — to use any other controls I would need to upgrade my app to a CLR project. Until that time the other controls will remain disabled.

  6. raghuram said

    no perfect answer available

  7. I had the same problem, and tried closing the window like you said, but in 2010 it asked if I wanted to stop debugging, I said no and stopped it manually. The controls reappeared. Duh.

  8. RazDevver said

    what I did:
    open the ‘visual studio 2008 command prompt’
    type ‘devenv /resetskippkgs’
    the dev.environment opens
    goto Tools > Choose Toolbox Items
    click on ‘Reset’, wait a while and then click ‘OK’

    • Deepak said

      Go to tools -> Import and Export settings -> Wizard will be opened choose Import selected environment setting click next you will find sth similar to this

      C:\Documents and Settings\deepak.kumar2\My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Settings\VWD Express

      A file will be selected by default, change this file either in VWD Express folder or in Settings folder

      this name will be sth like CurrentSettings.vssettings now click next and close

      now go to tools-> Choose toolbox items -> select WPF Component tab now choose any control from the available list

      Deepak Kalra

  9. Mike said

    I tried all the things here (and a whole pile of other stuff from other sites) and NONE of them worked – I can see the controls but they are greyed out. I’ve made sure I have the XAML control focussed but they still never become available. No amount of resetting the toolbox, restarting or anything I’ve tried lets me select the controls for WPF…… %$*& it!!!
    Thanks goodness I will be using VS2011 after early May when I move to a new job!

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