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Visual Studio 2015: Attempt to open Tools ... Extensions results in dialog "The input source is not correctly formatted"

    Question

  • This started happening today March 13, 2017.  I uninstalled every Visual Studio edition that I have, and removed the keys: HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio/14.*

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio/12.*

    I did not remove HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio/10.*

    I then reinstalled only VS 2015 Enterprise Update 3, and the same symptom happens.  I cannot open the Extension manager, it always gives the dialog "The input source is not correctly formatted".  

    I do not even have a project open at the time, I just start VStudio and try to open Tools ... Extensions and Updates.

    It is odd this started happening after a Windows Update this weekend, but I have not added any extensions to VStudio for a month.

    Monday, March 13, 2017 7:22 PM

Answers

  • Finally resolved.  This time after uninstalling, I removed more registry keys plus I found where VS Extensions are installed, and they are not removed during uninstall, so I removed those as well.  After that and reinstalling it worked.  So I don’t truly know if it was the registry keys or the file system extensions, and I would guess the extension folders somehow correlate to registry keys and one should delete them both.

     

    I removed these keys in regedit:

    HKLM/Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio

    HKCU/ Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio

    HKCU/ Software/Microsoft/vshub

     

    and removed these folders:

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\VisualStudio

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\vshub

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\VSCommon

     

    And now I get extension manager dialog instead of “input source is not correctly formatted”.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:18 AM

All replies

  • Finally resolved.  This time after uninstalling, I removed more registry keys plus I found where VS Extensions are installed, and they are not removed during uninstall, so I removed those as well.  After that and reinstalling it worked.  So I don’t truly know if it was the registry keys or the file system extensions, and I would guess the extension folders somehow correlate to registry keys and one should delete them both.

     

    I removed these keys in regedit:

    HKLM/Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio

    HKCU/ Software/Microsoft/VisualStudio

    HKCU/ Software/Microsoft/vshub

     

    and removed these folders:

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\VisualStudio

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\vshub

    rmdir /s/q c:\users\xxxxxxx\appdata\local\Microsoft\VSCommon

     

    And now I get extension manager dialog instead of “input source is not correctly formatted”.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:18 AM
  • Hi C_Mike_Rains,

    Welcome to the MSDN forum.

    I'm so glad to hear that your issue is solved and thank you for your sharing.

    BTW, could you please mark your reply as answer? That will help other community members who meet the same issue to easier search this useful workaround, thank you for your support.

    If you have any other issue about VS IDE, please feel free to let me know.

    Best regards,

    Sara


    MSDN Community Support
    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if not. This can be beneficial to other community members reading this thread. If you have any compliments or complaints to MSDN Support, feel free to contact MSDNFSF@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017 2:51 AM
    Moderator
  • Not so lucky here, I cannot get rid of the issue as i cannot reinstall the software.

    Visual studio 2015 update 3 comunity edition. I also started getting this error today.... 

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017 3:05 AM
  • Hi cescarpa,

    Welcome to the MSDN forum.

    >> Visual studio 2015 update 3 community edition. I also started getting this error today.... 

    Have you install any windows update or any extension in VS 2015 recently? Please open the VS community 2015 installation location, usually locates C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE and run the command: devenv /safemode: run the VS as safe, if it works fine that means the installed extensions may be corrupted the VS, please go to Tool—Extensions and Updates… and remove all installed extensions one by one to find the culprit.

    If you already uninstall the VS 2015, please try to download and use the Visual Studio Uninstaller tool: https://github.com/Microsoft/VisualStudioUninstaller/releasesto remove any remaining of VS 2015.

    Best regards,

    Sara


    MSDN Community Support
    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if not. This can be beneficial to other community members reading this thread. If you have any compliments or complaints to MSDN Support, feel free to contact MSDNFSF@microsoft.com.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:57 AM
    Moderator
  • I am getting this error as well... whenever I click Tools, Extensions I will get this error "The input source is not correctly formatted".

    This happens after Windows asked me to reboot after a Windows patch was installed, not sure if this is related or pure coincidence.

    I did installed Visual Studio 2017 enterprise last week.. don't know if it was due to this as well.


    • Edited by Rosdi Kuat Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:16 AM
    Thursday, March 16, 2017 6:14 AM
  • Hi Rosdi,

    Welcome to the MSDN forum.

    >>This happens after Windows asked me to reboot after a Windows patch was installed, not sure if this is related or pure coincidence.

    It looks like you and C_Mike_Rains meet the same issue after install windows update. Please go to Control Panel-Programs and Feature-View installed updates and uninstall the windows patch that you recently installed, then reboot the computer and test this again. If the VS 2015-Tools-Extensions and Updates works fine as before, that means this newly windows patch caused this issue, please share the detail name of this specific update, thank you for your support.

    Best regards,

    Sara


    MSDN Community Support
    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if not. This can be beneficial to other community members reading this thread. If you have any compliments or complaints to MSDN Support, feel free to contact MSDNFSF@microsoft.com.

    Thursday, March 16, 2017 8:10 AM
    Moderator
  • Just fixed this in my VS2015 Update 3 build by doing the following;

    1. Delete C:\Users\someuser\AppData\Local\Microsoft\VisualStudio\14.0\Extensions folder

    2. From an elevated command prompt: devenv /setup


    If it ain't broke - break it!

    Sunday, March 26, 2017 8:36 PM
  • I would think that running Visual Studio Repair after deleting these keys and folders would also work.
    Monday, March 27, 2017 4:25 AM
  • If you can't reinstall Visual Studio, I would try Repair on Visual Studio from Programs and Features, after deleting the extension folder.
    Monday, March 27, 2017 4:29 AM
  • Hi C_Mike_Rains,

    Thank you for your sharing and that will help other community members.

    Best regards,

    Sara


    MSDN Community Support
    Please remember to click "Mark as Answer" the responses that resolved your issue, and to click "Unmark as Answer" if not. This can be beneficial to other community members reading this thread. If you have any compliments or complaints to MSDN Support, feel free to contact MSDNFSF@microsoft.com.

    Monday, March 27, 2017 6:55 AM
    Moderator