Catastrophic Failure in Visual Studio 2103 ( SetSite failed for package [DesignerPackage] )

I’ve been away for a couple of days, switched on my development computer, answered a few emails and then started Visual Studio 2013 to do some urgent work for a client.

I was faced by a barrage of message boxes stating that various tools and libraries could not be loaded and mentioning something about a recent update (recent update – as far as I was aware I hadn’t made any recent updates).

The project I was working on appeared to load (Unit Test runner was displayed) but nothing in any of the other panels or windows, and VisualHG seemed to recognise the project. Close and re-open a couple of times and exactly the same messages.

Tried to run the Test Runner and got the message:

ReSharper Failed to build required projects

The build could not be started. Catastropic failure (Exception from HRESULT: 0X8000FFFF (E_UNEXPECTED))

So I decide to re-boot to see if that clears things. It’s then that I see the Update icon on the Shutdown button. So, for some reason Windows has partially updated itself without telling me and screwed up VS2013! Nice one MicroSoft!

Checked ActivityLog.xml and it had loads of RED Errors – mostly MicroSoft items.

After the re-boot VS2013 was still totalled, and a quick bit of browsing found this:

The ResetSettings parameter process did not work.

As I write this I’m running Repair on VS2013 (watching paint dry)…. Cancelled it because it was taking so long at the Preparation stage.

Later: It took about 30 minutes to complete the cancellation process but reported 93 of 96 items updated at the end and requested a reboot of the PC. After doing this VS2013 opened as though it had been just updated BUT it opened and displayed the projects and seemed to be working ok.

Luckily I had not attempted to run VS2012 before the reboot. When I did – it worked and loaded the project ok.


1) Be aware of when Windows has started one of it’s updates – if it’s halfway through it’ll screw up your Visual Studio if you try to run it.

2) If one version of Visual Studio is messed up – DO NOT TRY TO test another version of Visual Studio before the update has been completed !



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