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Eliminate Visual Studio Project Clutter

I'm constantly creating simple projects to test out some idea or as part of reviewing a new tool. By default, as soon as you create a new project, Visual Studio automatically saves the project file and, well, everything else. After awhile, I end up with 142 projects with dummy names ("TestTool", "TestTool1", "Experimental", "Experimental1", and so on).

You can turn off this behavior so that projects aren't saved until you tell Visual Studio you want them saved (you will be asked when you exit the project). Go to Tools | Options and under Projects and Solutions | General uncheck the "Save new projects when created" option.

This doesn't work for all project types (it has no effect on ASP.NET or Silverlight projects, among others, for instance). Fortunately, it's easy to tell whether it works on the project you're creating: You won't have the Location textbox at the bottom of the New Project dialog. Don't Panic! You'll get a chance to save your stuff when you leave the project. Or, if you've done everything you need to do with the project, to not save your stuff later.

For any project that you do want to keep, though, it would be a good idea to do a Save soon after starting the project. If you don't do a save and Visual Studio crashes, you may not be able to recover your project.

Do you have a Visual Studio tip, you'd like to share? Send it to me at phvogel@1105media.com.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 04/05/2011 at 1:16 PM


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