So I have Visual Studio 2003 running on Windows 7 - yeah I am aware it isn't officially supported - and no, unfortunately I can't change that situation :-(

For the most part it works OK but I have a specific problem, that I can't figure out. The application hangs if you do a project wide search (Ctrl - Shift - F) for a string.

I have a reasonably powerful machine and all the other heavy tasks like compiling and debugging all work fine. It also works if I restrict the search to the current document (Ctrl - F). I am running it as administrator and VS.NET 2003 SP1 has been applied.

The size of the project does not seem to be a problem since a colleague is also experiencing this issue for a single project solution containing 5 pages.

I am currently using Windows Search as a work-around and I was wondering if there is something I missed that I should try.

PS: I have asked this question on stack overflow as well - but I suspect this might be problem with Windows 7 OS - so I thought I'd cross post it here as well.


I got the answer on Stack Overflow where I had cross posted this question - You can get the search to work by disabling the Aero functionality. I wrote a blog post on all the tweaks I had to do on Windows 7 to get VS.NET 2003 to work.


have you tried not running it in windows 7? There is a special XP mode component (basically a local virtualization running XP) for exactly reasons like that ;) You can install it on windows 7, then install visual studio within that, then ru it ;)

  • Are you talking about using Windows Virtual Machine product ? Or is it the compatibility setting you get when you right-click on the shortcut to the executable ? – Nikhil Mar 11 '10 at 8:26
  • A special version of Virtual PC - it is called Windows 7 XP mode or so. Look it up on the Microsoft Website. Specifically done for compatibility problems. – TomTom Mar 11 '10 at 9:00
  • I can't install the virtual machine on windows 7 due to administrator policy - something about performance... So that option is not available for me :( – Nikhil Mar 11 '10 at 9:00
  • Thanks for the suggestion though - it might be useful to someone else with the same problem :-) – Nikhil Mar 11 '10 at 9:01
  • Then ell your adminsitrator to get lost, talk to your boss and otherwise look for a new job. You can not hae 2003 based software and at the same time tell people not to use the only proper tools to get the work done ;) I would basically give my boss my resignation and attach the administrative policy as reason. – TomTom Mar 11 '10 at 9:36

If you want to search across a project or a solution to work then you need to tweak the compatibility settings . You can do this by right clicking the shortcut to launch VS.NET 2003 and selecting properties, choosing the “Compatibility” sub-tab and then checking “Disable Desktop Compositing” as well as “Disable Visual Themes” .(I got this tip from an answer to a question I posted on Stack Overflow).


  • 1
    This added no additional information. – Ramhound Apr 6 '12 at 13:55

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