[SOLVED] Visual Studio "Attach to Process": Available Processes list appears empty

The Quick Answer:

  • Open the "Attach to Process" dialog (For VS2012: Alt-D | P)
  • Open Task Manager (right-click taskbar | Start Task Manager)
  • Find msvsmon.exe, highlight it, then click End Process button
  • Go back to "Attach to Process" and click "Refresh" button

The Story Behind the Answer:

I don't know if this will apply to more than Visual Studio 2012, but if it does, fantastic; please let us know in the comments.

A few days ago, my Visual Studio 2012 went wonky and decided to not show me the Available Processes in the "Attach to Process" dialog in most cases.

Here is what it should look like:

Here is what it looks like when the problem occurs.  Notice how, if I hover inside it, it will show me the tooltip for the process I'm currently over.  This suggests the list is actually populated, and double-clicking on that spot will actually make the debugger try to attach to it.  The information is there; the questions are, "Is it white font on white background?" or "Is there some other kind of painting/rendering issue with the dialog box?"

Looking around the internet, I could not seem to find the right phrase to search to find help with this issue; until I finally stumbled upon this StackOverflow question that was as close as I could get.  One answer suggested renaming MSVSMON.EXE in the x64 folder and copying the x86 version to it.

Not feeling comfortable with that, I decided to experiment with a similar concept.  I opened Task Manager and saw that msvsmon.exe was a running process.  

I executed an "End Task" on the process, and was met with this error:
Going back to my already open "Attach to Process" dialog, I clicked "Refresh" and BAM! ... there appeared the visible list.

I have done this several times, each time resulting in success.  I hope it works for you!

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