Upgrade or Uninstall of Office 2007 might cause VS 2008 Web designer to hang

Web Development Tools Microsoft

Update (5/3/2010)

In addition to the VS designer surface not loading, there are other actions that will cause a hang.  Working with CSS increases your chances of seeing this issue.  For example, bringing up the CSS Manage Styles dialog, the CSS property grid, or CSS Apply Styles dialog can all cause the hang.  Another case where you may reproduce the problem is if you have CSS code in your page, including <style> blocks, <link> tags, or bringing up CSS intellisense.  In those cases, pasting code or basic editing and formatting might hang VS.


With Office 2010 releasing, some of you might be upgrading to Office 2010 from Office 2007.  A plain uninstall of Office 2007 might also run into the issue described below.  If this is something you have done (or plan to do) and are running a 64-bit OS, please keep on reading. 

On machines with a 64-bit OS, uninstall of Office 2007 will break the VS 2008 web designer.  You will find that the VS designer won’t be able to load, and any attempts to switch to Design View will hang the product.  Note that 32-bit machines are not affected and neither are other VS releases.

The root cause of this problem is that Office 2007 and the VS 2008 web designer both share a component, 32-bit MSXML5.  When Office 2007 uninstalls or gets upgraded, MSXML5 is removed yet Visual Studio still needs it.

If you are affected by this issue, there are workarounds where you may not have to completely reinstall Visual Studio.  However, the steps are different depending on how Office 2007 got removed (uninstall vs. upgrade to Office 2010) and also if you have VWD Express or a full product.

Workaround if you upgraded to Office 2010 and have any version of VS 2008/ VWD Express:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs
  2. Select “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component

  3. Choose to “Change” the component 
  4. In the dialog that comes up, choose to Repair the component:


Workaround if you manually uninstalled Office 2007 (i.e. Add/Remove Programs) AND have a non-Express version of VS 2008:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs
  2. Uninstall “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component
  3. Reinstall “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component” –
    • You will need the VS install media: the product DVD or mount an ISO image
    • Go to WCU\WebDesignerCore folder and run WebDesignerCore.exe.
    • Setup does not have UI, so please simply wait about 5 minutes or watch msiexec activity in the Task Manager.
    • Verify that Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component reappears in Add/Remove Programs.
    • WebDesignerCore.exe installs RTM version.
  4. If your VS 2008 has been updated to SP1, you have to reinstall SP1 (download link here) to update the Web Authoring Component you installed in Step 3.

Workaround if you manually uninstalled Office 2007 (i.e. Add/Remove Programs) AND have Visual Web Developer Express 2008:

  1. Go to Add/Remove Programs  
  2. Uninstall “Microsoft Visual Studio Web Authoring Component
  3. Reinstall Visual Web Developer Express 2008/SP1
    (SP1 for Express is not a separate install thus the need to reinstall the entire product)

For more information, you can also visit the KB article here

Hope this helps!

Alison Lu | Visual Web Developer


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