HOWTO: Get rid of a Visual Studio add-in

Author: Carlos J. Quintero (Microsoft MVP) Applies to: Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2002
Date: February 2006   Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003
Updated: March 2013   Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
      Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
      Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
      Microsoft Visual Studio 2012

This article describes how to get rid of a Visual Studio add-in which was not uninstalled properly (or no uninstaller was provided).

More Information

To manually remove a Visual Studio add-in from your system, you must follow these steps:

  • Locate the installation folder of the add-in. Do not delete the files yet.
  • To remove the add-in from the Add-In Manager:
    • If the add-in uses COM registration (any Visual Studio version), using RegEdit.exe delete the following registry key:




      where <version> can be:
      • 7.0 for Visual Studio .NET 2002
      • 7.1 for Visual Studio .NET 2003
      • 8.0 for Visual Studio 2005
      • 9.0 for Visual Studio 2008
      • 10.0 for Visual Studio 2010
      • 11.0 for Visual Studio 2012

    • If the add-in uses XML registration (only Visual Studio 2005 and higher), locate and delete its .AddIn file in any of the folder listed in the "Tools", "Options" menu, "Environment", "Add-In / Macros security" section. To know the actual (without placeholders) folders for your Windows operating system, see INFO: Default .AddIn file locations for Visual Studio add-ins
  • To remove the COM registration for add-ins using it, open a Visual Studio Command Prompt ("Run...", "Programs", "Visual Studio .NET", "Visual Studio .NET Tools", "Visual Studio .NET Command Prompt") with admin rights and type:

    cd <full name of the folder of the add-in>
    regasm.exe /unregister <addin.dll>

    You can also skip the cd (Change Directory command) and use the full path of the dll in the second command.
  • To remove the commands of the add-in you have several approaches:

    • For Visual Studio 2005 or higher, open a Visual Studio Command Prompt and type:

      devenv.exe /resetaddin <Namespace.Class>

      where <NameSpace.Class> is the namespace and class of the add-in, typically in the form MyAddInName.Connect. You can guess this name going to the "Tools", "Customize..." menu, "Keyboard" button and searching the list of commands, since all the commands of the add-in start with "Namespace.Class".
    • For any Visual Studio version, you can go to the "Tools", "Customize..." menu, "Commands" tab, "Add-Ins" section, and drag the command(s) of the add-in over some toolbar. Once you have closed the dialog, if you click on the button created from a command on the toolbar, you get an error dialog from Visual Studio because the add-in for that command is no longer available, and offering you the chance of deleting the command.
    •  You can create and execute the following macro in the Macros IDE:
      Language: VB.NET   Copy Code Copy Code (IE only)
      Public Sub DeleteAddInCommands
         Dim command As EnvDTE.Command
         For Each command In DTE.Commands
            If command.Name <> "" Then
               If command.Name.StartsWith("MyAddInName.Connect") ' Customize this value for the add-in
                  Call command.Delete()
               End If
            End If
      End Sub
  • Finally you can delete the add-in files from the installation folder. Don't forget to delete also the add-in assemblies installed in the Global Assembly Cache (GAC), if any.

Related articles

Go to the 'Visual Studio Extensibility (VSX)' web site for more articles like this (Articles section)