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Application settings in VB.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005

, 11 Jan 2006
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An article on using application settings in VB.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 to save the size and location of a form.

Introduction

A new feature of .NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 is the ability to save a user's application settings in a user.config file that is saved in the user's desktop profile.

Background

Until .NET 2.0, it was difficult to save a user's settings for an application. User settings had to be saved in the registry, in an .ini file, or in a custom text file. Now, it is possible to save settings for a user's application that will even move with them in a roaming desktop profile.

To view the non-roaming settings, open the user.config file located at %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\<Company Name>\<appdomainname>_<eid>_<hash>\<verison>\user.config.

To view the roaming user settings, open the user.config file located at %USERPROFILE%\Application Data\<Company Name>\<appdomainname>_<eid>_<hash>\<verison>\user.config.

Using the code

To add application or user settings to a project, right-click on the project name in the Solution Explorer window, and click Properties. Then, click on Settings in the left tab list.

Sample Image - AppSettings2005.jpg

When a setting is added to the Visual Studio designer, a public property is created in the My.Settings namespace. Depending on the scope of the setting, the property will be ReadOnly or writable. This allows you to programmatically change the user setting values and save them with the My.Settings.Save() method.

A second way to save settings is to enable the 'Save My.Settings on Shutdown' setting in the application. To do this, right-click on the project name in the Solution Explorer window, and click Properties. Then, click on Application in the left tab list.

Sample Image - AppSettings2005_save.jpg

To restore the last saved dimensions of a form, we set the size and location of the form from the user settings in the form's Load event.

Private Sub Form1_Load _
    (ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) _
    Handles Me.Load
        'Set textboxes and form name from application and user settings

        'Notice how the application setting property is ReadOnly
        Me.Text = My.Settings.MainFormText

        'Notice how the user settings are writable
        Me.Size = My.Settings.MainFormSize
        Me.Location = My.Settings.MainFormLocation

        Me.txtFormText.Text = My.Settings.MainFormText

        'Show the form now
        Me.Visible = True
    End Sub

In the form's FormClosing event, we save the form's size and location values to the current values.

Main form closing

Private Sub Form1_FormClosing _
    (ByVal sender As Object, _
    ByVal e As System.Windows.Forms.FormClosingEventArgs) _
    Handles Me.FormClosing
        Try
            'Set my user settings MainFormSize to the
            'current(Form) 's size
            My.Settings.MainFormSize = Me.Size

            'Set my user setting MainFormLocation to
            'the current form's location
            My.Settings.MainFormLocation = Me.Location

            'Save the user settings so next time the
            'window will be the same size and location
            My.Settings.Save()

            MsgBox("Your settings were saved successfully.", _
            MsgBoxStyle.OkOnly, "Save...")
        Catch ex As Exception
            MsgBox("There was a problem saving your settings.", _
            MsgBoxStyle.Critical, "Save Error...")
        End Try
    End Sub

Conclusion

You can use application and user settings for many things in .NET 2.0. Just remember that if you want to change the settings then the scope has to be set as User.

History

  • Second revision - Moved around text and image to make the article more readable. Added a Conclusion section.
  • Third revision - Updated user.config file paths, and added profile and auto save on exit explanation.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

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About the Author

itoleck
Help desk / Support www.swarmsoft.net
United States United States
Chad Schultz
13 years of Computer Information Systems experience
MCSE, MCAD, MCTS SharePoint
 
Blog: ChadSchultz.com

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionProblem with the Me.FormClosing Pinmembertomk650528-Jun-12 16:38 
QuestionHello how to make my.settings portable? Pinmemberleesong28-Feb-11 23:31 
GeneralTweaking the code to handle window sizing better PinmemberMartin Omander30-Sep-08 10:03 
QuestionHow do I change ConnectionString in app.config PinmemberLeif Thomsen23-Aug-08 2:57 
QuestionIs it safe? PinmemberDan'M27-Oct-07 0:32 
AnswerRe: Is it safe? Pinmemberdepmoddima2-Nov-07 1:00 
QuestionExpress Edition PinmemberFREEYO17-Jul-07 16:19 
Generalapplication settings in ToolStripMenuItem Pinmemberjhon edison20-Apr-07 19:25 
GeneralRe: application settings in ToolStripMenuItem Pinmemberctwalker16-Aug-07 5:30 
QuestionMy.Settings.Save for complex types? Pinmemberjerome51369-Apr-07 18:23 
GeneralRe: My.Settings.Save for complex types? Pinmemberemoreau18-May-07 8:30 
AnswerRe: My.Settings.Save for complex types? Pinmemberjerome513618-May-07 8:36 
AnswerRe: My.Settings.Save for complex types? Pinmemberjerome513618-May-07 8:37 
GeneralRe: My.Settings.Save for complex types? Pinmemberemoreau18-May-07 8:41 
QuestionIt's possible to have my.Setting from different classes? [modified] Pinmemberpapervegetal29-Mar-07 23:29 
Questionpersist settings between versions PinmemberThomas Fang18-Dec-06 10:19 
AnswerRe: persist settings between versions Pinmemberctwalker16-Aug-07 5:36 
QuestionWindows service is not reading the settings [modified] PinmemberSvenCPA11-Jul-06 1:35 
QuestionRe: Windows service is not reading the settings PinmemberUfiPhil20-Aug-06 18:20 
AnswerRe: Windows service is not reading the settings Pinmemberitoleck14-Sep-06 4:13 
GeneralRe: Windows service is not reading the settings PinmemberDaveBlack25-Jan-11 3:32 
GeneralApplication Bindings Pinmemberdotslashmartyn9-May-06 14:42 
QuestionHow to handle application version change Pinmemberdscemama1-May-06 4:36 
AnswerRe: How to handle application version change Pinmembermajze15-Sep-06 21:11 
Questionwhat about C#? PinmemberPaul Horstink29-Apr-06 2:29 
AnswerHoly Crap! PinmemberJohn Saccoccio9-Nov-06 8:26 
GeneralRe: Holy Crap! PinmemberRobert Jeppesen28-Mar-07 2:31 
GeneralVB Only Focus PinmemberJohnnySacks2-Apr-07 10:26 
QuestionReference to a non-shared member requires an object reference Pinmember7thgen3-Mar-06 5:18 
QuestionChanging the user.config location Pinmembertripix18-Feb-06 3:12 
AnswerRe: Changing the user.config location PinmemberKel_23-Aug-06 5:22 
AnswerRe: Changing the user.config location Pinmemberkrisg_198421-Jul-07 16:03 
GeneralC++/CLR Pinmemberaaronexodus11-Feb-06 12:59 
GeneralRe: C++/CLR [modified] Pinmembermolesmoke29-Aug-06 4:00 
AnswerRe: C++/CLR Pinmembermolesmoke31-Aug-06 8:12 
AnswerRe: C++/CLR PinmemberVTSpoon28-Oct-06 13:38 
GeneralRe: C++/CLR to serialize enum struct Pinmembersemmel7118-Oct-07 7:36 
GeneralAutoSaveSettings PinmemberAlberto Venditti13-Dec-05 5:43 
QuestionOn another computer PinmemberOfer Gal23-Nov-05 3:31 
AnswerRe: On another computer Pinmemberitoleck28-Nov-05 8:10 
GeneralRe: On another computer Pinmemberafrazier11-Jan-06 3:14 
GeneralRe: On another computer Pinmemberitoleck11-Jan-06 8:00 

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