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Peter Macej - lead developer of VSdocman - talks about Visual Studio tips and automation

How To Import/Export VS .NET 2002/2003 Settings

Unlike VS 2005, there is no Import/Export Settings function in VS .NET 2002 and 2003. This is really useful if you want to backup your IDE settings (fonts&colors, toolbars, external tools, editor settings etc.) for the case you'll need to reinstall Visual Studio. Or you might want to share IDE settings among all users.

There is a way for VS .NET 2002 and 2003 too. All important settings are stored in the registry. So all you need to do is save them to the .REG file and then load them. Run regedit and navigate to proper key. Then select Export from right-click menu to store the data into .REG file. You need to repeat this action for each key you want to save. Then when you want to restore the data, just double-click each .REG file. Or import it in regedit from File - Import... menu.

Interesting registry keys for VS .NET 2002:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.0\External Tools

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.0\FontAndColors

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.0\Text Editor

And the ones for VS .NET 2003:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\External Tools

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\FontAndColors

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\Text Editor

The meaning of those settings is obvious. You can additionally transfer other settings. They are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\USER_NAME\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.0\ folder for VS .NET 2002 and C:\Documents and Settings\USER_NAME\Application Data\Microsoft\VisualStudio\7.1\ for VS .NET 2003.

  1. Keyboard schemes. They are stored in .vsk files.
  2. Windows layout in devenv.xml file.
  3. Toolbox data in toolbox.tbd file.
  4. Object Browser data in ObjBrow.dat file.
  5. Various settings from e.g. external add-ins and packages in ExtGlobals.dat file.
  6. Toolbars layout and custom buttons in 1033/CmdUI.PRF file. Unfortunately, copying this file doesn't work.

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