Fix “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” in Microsoft Visual Studio

Object reference not set to an instance of an object” is a common, well-known error and well-documented error in Microsoft Visual Studio Code luckily with many different possible fixes. The aforementioned error is referred to as a null exception error which occurs when we refer to an object that doesn’t exist or in other words, is classified as null. Therefore it is important to review your code and ensure that there aren’t any referred objects with a null value.

Object reference not set to an instance of an object error

However, there are other possible causes for this error rather than it being simply human error such as outdated Microsoft visual studio, outdated tools or extensions, or problematic files within the program. If the problem does not stem from human error then below are some simple solutions to try to fix the “Object reference not set an instance of an object” error in Microsoft visual studio.

Before we delve into any detailed and specific fixes it is a good idea to simply restart Microsoft visual studio and reboot your device to see if that fixes the issue.

Reset User Data

User data can be a potential cause for the “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” error and without knowing the specific content causing the problem we need to reset all user data, note that all of your user settings such as Visual Studio layout, linked Microsoft account or start page might disappear.

  1.  Open file explorer and key the following in the address bar
    Open Visual Studio through file explorer

2. Delete all the contents from the newly opened folder then open visual studio and your project to see if the error still persists.

Run Microsoft Visual Studio with Permissions

Another possible cause of the error can stem from a Microsoft visual studio’s lack of permissions, fortunately, though this has a quick fix, simply

  1.  Press the Win key and search for Visual Studio, then right-click on it and click open file location
    Go to Visual Studio File Location through windows search
  2. Right-click on “Visual studio code” and click Run as administrator
    Run Visual Studio as administrator

Update Microsoft Visual Studio

As more and more bugs become apparent Microsoft regularly rolls out updates for visual studio which fix common bugs and errors including “Object reference not set to an instance of an object error“, Thus ensuring that we have an up-to-date version of Microsoft visual studio is important to prevent this and any similar errors.

Although Microsoft Visual Studio prompts you with a new message if an update is available you can this method in case you close that message prompt.

  1. From the windows start menu open “Visual Studio Installer
    Open Visual Studio Installer
  2. In the installer, look for the edition of Visual Studio that you installed. If there is an update available for your current version there will be an option to “Update” Instead of “Modify”.
    Update to the latest version if available

Update extensions

Outdated extensions are known to trigger errors such as object reference not set to an instance of an object error so we need to update our used exertions.

  1. Open Microsoft Visual Studio and either open or create a new project.
    Open or create a project in visual studio
  2. From the top toolbar hover over overextensions and click manage extensions.
    Click on manage extensions
  3.  Click on updates, if your extensions have any available updates visual studio will notify you. Restart your PC after updates and check to see if the issue still persists.
    Update extensions if one is available

Install Microsoft ASP.NET and Web Tools

Microsoft ASP.NET, HTML/JavaScript tools, and more are designed to help in creating dynamic web pages, and in conjunction, they help to prevent errors such as “Object reference not set..”. Luckily Microsoft visual studio has a very easy way to install Microsoft ASP.NET and Web Tools.

  1. Open visual studio code and open an old or new project.
  2. From the toolbar on the top hover over tools and click get tools and features.
    Get tools and features
  3. From there check “ASP.NET and web development tools” then click modify on the bottom right.
    Pick web development tools and download
Zubyan Gul
Zubyan is a Professional PC Gamer and a Systems Analyst. He has written numerous batch scripts for task automation to make his and others life easier.

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Fix “Object reference not set to an instance of an object” in Microsoft Visual Studio

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