Last week a co worker of mine who wanted to remain anonymous, ran into the weirdest problem. She tried to use the “find in files” option in Visual Studio 2005 and even though the searched expression was out there in one of the files, she got the following result: “No files were found to look in. Find was stopped in progress.”

You can close Visual Studio, restart your computer or jump three times on one leg, but the problem remains. This is a very strange and odd bug, but fortunately there is a solution: press Ctrl+Scroll Lock and everything gets back to normal. If it doesn’t work, try to press Scroll Lock and than hit Ctrl+Scroll Lock again. I have no idea why or how it works, but the fact is that it does solve the problem, if anyone knows what happened here, please leave your comment and share your knowledge with us.

This is one of my shortest posts ever, but it might turn out to be very useful at harsh times…

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121 Responses to “How To Solve: "No Files Were Found To Look In. Find Was Stopped In Progress"”

  1. Shankar Maru

    Said on September 4, 2008 :

    thanks man, I was having this problem for a while…..thanks a lot

  2. PHenry

    Said on September 4, 2008 :

    I too have ran SMACK head first into this problem too! And the CTRL+ScrollLock works (sometimes takes one or two smack backs to get it to convince VS to work properly but it does work). Why? I have NO idea neither but would be very interested to read WTF?

  3. tom

    Said on September 18, 2008 :

    My visual studio seems to crash when i do crtl+f :( no reason why

  4. Random

    Said on November 4, 2008 :

    Thanks! That did the trick. Oh Microsoft, thanks for this POS.

  5. Fer Fig

    Said on November 6, 2008 :

    Thanks! solved the “problem” for me too…
    This is weird one!!!

  6. J

    Said on November 10, 2008 :

    Funny, I’ve been using VS2005 for years now and never had this problem… until just a few minutes ago! Luckily a quick question to Dr. Google pointed me to the answer here (and to a couple of dozen other sites!) Curious that the “problem” has been around since at least 2005 and yet nobody has yet been able to say *why* it happens…

  7. Dashut

    Said on November 24, 2008 :

    Pressing: Pause/break button (near the Scroll Lock button) solved it for me…

  8. Jagadhees

    Said on November 25, 2008 :

    Thanks a lot.

  9. sri

    Said on December 4, 2008 :

    Thank you a lot. It just works. The search is too important.

  10. Chad

    Said on December 18, 2008 :

    Control + Scroll Lock didn’t work for me this time. I think it did on prior occasions. This time, Hitting Pause 10xs in fast succession why I cursed Bill Gates loudly fixed the problem. Yes, I hold the ex CEO personally responsible for this longtime bug

  11. Ashesh Deep

    Said on February 4, 2009 :

    Thanks dude. It really solved my problem. I saved my time.

  12. Miguel

    Said on February 6, 2009 :

    Amazing tip. Worked for me. Thanks a lot!

  13. paul woods

    Said on February 6, 2009 :

    Amazing – the Pause/Break button worked for me.
    Thanks for the help

  14. Reva

    Said on February 26, 2009 :

    Thanks a lot. Ctrl + ScrLk worked for me.

  15. Homsa

    Said on March 15, 2009 :

    Thanks a lot ! Pause/Breake worked fine for me too!

  16. Jonathan

    Said on March 17, 2009 :

    Dashut’s suggestion of pause/break worked for me, the ctrl-scroll lock / scroll didn’t. Maybe this tip should be added to the article? Thanks!

  17. Paul

    Said on March 30, 2009 :

    I just encountered this for the first time this morning. Bizarre problem and an equally bizarre solution. Thanks!

  18. Soshan

    Said on April 5, 2009 :

    Ctrl + Pause Break worked for me.
    Ctrl + Scroll Lock didnt!

  19. Neo

    Said on April 9, 2009 :

    Hey ctrl + Scroll aslo work for me cheers!!


  20. Neo

    Said on April 9, 2009 :

    oh I forgotut to add the ver don’t surprise itz VS 2008 :( That’s not good

  21. Fitzroy

    Said on May 20, 2009 :

    This problem annoyed me a lot in the past and I could never remember what I did to fix it. Your tip is the answer – thanks a lot

  22. Sheetal

    Said on May 21, 2009 :

    Thanks ….for the post !!!!

  23. dashesy

    Said on June 2, 2009 :

    thnx man it worked!!! I hate the fact that I have to use crappy Microsoft products, Eclipse is far superior with Alt+Ctrl+G.
    I think the bug appeared first when I stopped a build (using ctrl+break).

  24. EMiller

    Said on June 22, 2009 :

    Very weird, but nice to have a solution!!

  25. Jason Hodges

    Said on June 24, 2009 :

    Um, HOW THE HECK did you figure that out?!!! Thanks a ton!!!

  26. FedUpWithMS

    Said on June 24, 2009 :

    VS2008 – Pause/Break multiple times worked for me, Ctrl ScrLk and the other options didn’t (this time, though they have in the past)

  27. Goofs

    Said on June 30, 2009 :

    Jeezaloo!! I got the same problem, And your site came up in Google search.
    Thanks a bunch.

  28. Ben

    Said on July 2, 2009 :

    Thanks, man! I was having that bug at work on several computers for years now… I didn’t bother to post a bug report on Microsoft website because other reports I posted were closed as “can’t reproduce” (like one for which they said it was surely caused by my keyboard…)

  29. PlaneDownstairs

    Said on July 7, 2009 :

    VS 2008
    Ctrl + Pause/Break worked for me.
    Ctrl + ScrollLock didn’t.
    Pause/Break didn’t.

  30. Russ

    Said on August 9, 2009 :

    That is some troubling voodoo magic.

    But thanks, it works.

  31. Mani D

    Said on August 21, 2009 :

    This is grt, Shagar!!

  32. Revan

    Said on September 9, 2009 :

    I didnt understand what is relation with the scrolllock but it do worked for me. thanks al lot

  33. eli

    Said on October 29, 2009 :

    Thanks a lot!!!!

  34. Fezzik

    Said on November 19, 2009 :

    That worked for me in Visual Studio 2008. I wish I knew why this trick works.

  35. Pete

    Said on November 26, 2009 :

    None of the above worked for me, however… I eventually realised I’d had several instances of visual studio with different solutions open the day before, and in one of those instances I’d changed the file types setting to perform a search of specific file types within a folder.

    I’d then spent the rest of that day using the other open instances of visual studio, happily searching as normal. But when I closed all the solutions at the end of the day, clearly the changed file types setting was saved for *all* solutions, and so the next morning when I opened up one of the other solutions I suddenly found every search produced the ‘No files were found to look in.’ message.

    Obviously this is my fault and not a bug! But in case other people do like me and search for the error message then sit fruitlessly trying every combination of ctrl, scroll-lock and pause/break: check the file types first :)

  36. crazy joe

    Said on December 2, 2009 :

    Had to hit Pause/Break 17 times.

  37. Jiti

    Said on December 2, 2009 :

    Thank goodness for your post and google to lead me to it!

  38. laol

    Said on December 4, 2009 :

    Pause/Break worked for me on VC++ 2008 Express
    thanks a lot

  39. Ani

    Said on December 24, 2009 :

    Cool tip – gets you back in the game!!

  40. Arjun Dsouza

    Said on January 6, 2010 :

    Surprisingly for me, I have been working on VS since 2005 and got this problem only now. Thanks for posting the solution. A very rare issue, indeed!

  41. Darshan Kapadia

    Said on January 14, 2010 :

    Thanks a lot it works

  42. prognostic

    Said on January 26, 2010 :

    Thanks!! It probably occurs by accidentally hitting either the Scroll Lock or Pause-Break. Building my project takes a while, and I wanted to stop it with a Ctrl-Pause. Either my finger slipped off the Ctrl button and I simply hit Pause, or I hit the Scroll Lock. Either way, I just hit Pause twice and Find In Files is working again!

  43. Phani Kiran

    Said on March 10, 2010 :

    I think ctrl+scroll lock is a shortcut to some feature on vs05

  44. Garf

    Said on March 19, 2010 :

    Very helpful. Thanks a lot.

  45. ken

    Said on April 8, 2010 :

    Thanks a lot! Ensured my frustration was present for only a very short while.

  46. Jonathan Lam

    Said on April 9, 2010 :

    Wow what the crap, that worked for me, in VS2008! Thanks!

  47. Vianney L

    Said on April 15, 2010 :

    I feel there is magic behind this but thx a lot.

  48. dev123

    Said on May 6, 2010 :

    Thank you!!

    Still hit this problem in VS 2010 (believe it or not they still haven’t fixed this!), and Ctrl+Scroll Lock fixed it.

    I believe Ctrl+Break will fix that also, but haven’t confirmed. The reasoning for that comes from when I looked up which command Ctrl+ScrollLock was mapped to (under Tools->Customize->Keyboard), and it was interpreted by VS as Ctrl+Break for some reason (which was mapped, by default, to Cancel Build.

    Go figure. (I’m talking to you Microsoft… GO AND FIGURE!!! :-))

  49. Ned Nedson

    Said on May 21, 2010 :

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    I just got a new keyboard and I wonder if that caused the problem that this “Control Scroll Lock” trick fixes.

  50. ShraddhaG

    Said on May 25, 2010 :

    Thanks, this worked for me.

  51. praz

    Said on June 21, 2010 :

    Thanks mate..

  52. Rajesh

    Said on June 24, 2010 :

    Excellent worked for me … Thanks a lot

  53. Anon

    Said on June 28, 2010 :

    The scroll lock dint work, but as Chad said, hitting Pause 10 times in quick succession worked. Din’t curse the CEO though, so I think that part’s optional.

  54. bigyes

    Said on July 1, 2010 :

    Excellent worked for me … Thanks a lot

  55. Nellie

    Said on July 9, 2010 :

    Thanks a million!

  56. Alex Blokha

    Said on July 16, 2010 :

    Didn’t help me. VS 2010. Ctrl + Scroll – no reaction, Ctrl + pause – no reaction. 10x Pause – no success…

  57. Alex Blokha

    Said on July 16, 2010 :

    And restart of Studio does not help…

  58. Sapna

    Said on July 23, 2010 :

    Worked for me too.. Thanks a ton :)

  59. mm

    Said on July 27, 2010 :

    Thanx a lot..!! i just ran into the problem..and the solution..:D

  60. Bhawesh

    Said on August 3, 2010 :

    Superb!! Thanks a lot!!

  61. philselmer

    Said on August 5, 2010 :

    Thanks! I can’t believe this bug has been around for 2 years!

  62. serge

    Said on August 12, 2010 :

    This has been dogging me for years. Glad I found this tip. The problem seems to happen if you press and hold the break or scroll lock keys (perhaps then when you press the ctrl key). Mine get stuck under a lip of my keyboard tray so I have this problem several times a week.

    I have now physically removed those keys from the keyboard so I don’t accidentally press them in Visual Studio any more.

  63. Amer

    Said on August 23, 2010 :

    thanks you very much,
    ctrl + scroll lock worked for me

  64. Antknei

    Said on August 27, 2010 :

    Worked first try. Thanks.

  65. SwDude

    Said on August 30, 2010 :

    Ctrl+Scroll Lock worked for me – thanks so much for finding and publishing this fix for this strange bug.

  66. Islamegy

    Said on September 6, 2010 :

    Very wired behavior, I just wonder how did you discovered the solution??

  67. Jt

    Said on September 17, 2010 :

    VS 2008. That’s the weirdet fix ever. Used ctrl-shift F to search and while searching hit paus/break a bunch of times. Not sure if CTRL was in there. Tried a couple of times. All good now.

  68. Dee

    Said on October 2, 2010 :

    Ctrl-ScrLk didn’t work, even after multiple tries, but Pause/Break did the trick. THANK you (and Google for allowing me to find you)!

  69. Pierre

    Said on October 5, 2010 :

    Neither Ctrl-Break nor Ctrl-Scroll lock worked for me (on VS 2010). But after some googling I tried Ctrl-C + Ctrl-Break and it worked. Thanks for sharing anyway !

  70. El Terrible

    Said on October 13, 2010 :

    I was sure you guys were kidding but I banged away on ^Break and ^Pause for a few seconds and now it works…..
    What the hell is this???

  71. Tony

    Said on November 9, 2010 :

    Thanks a lot, it worked at the first attempt !!

    However… how did you find this solution ?

  72. Anuj Man Bajracharya

    Said on November 15, 2010 :

    And that “Ctrl + Scroll Lock” answer was amazing, it worked for me as well… Thanks man..

  73. Pradnya

    Said on November 15, 2010 :

    Thanks !!

  74. Alex

    Said on December 30, 2010 :

    Wow :) It works but it is definitely voodoo magic!

  75. Gee

    Said on January 28, 2011 :

    Fix for this freaky problem for me was the Pause/Break.
    After it cleared it, I reproduced it by pressing Ctrl-Scroll Lock, and then toggled it back off again with Ctrl-Scroll Lock.

    This page justifiably belongs on the first hit for Google “visual studios no files were found to look in” – whew thanks

  76. Gaurav

    Said on February 24, 2011 :

    This solved the problem. Could anybody ascertain why we get into this issue?

  77. Dom

    Said on February 28, 2011 :

    Got that issue in VS2010 and it works, thanks

  78. Frank

    Said on March 3, 2011 :

    Thanks!! That was exactly the problem.

  79. Ram Megharaj

    Said on March 8, 2011 :

    It worked for me. Thanks alot

  80. Prathima Reddy

    Said on March 11, 2011 :

    WOoooWW …. It worked for me too .. Thanks a lot!!!

  81. subbu

    Said on March 17, 2011 :

    Thanks for the post.. encountered it and solved it with your suggestion.. kudos…

  82. Will

    Said on March 25, 2011 :

    It did not work initally, but I hit the Pause/Break button a few times in frustration and then did the search and then it worked. I think we all had food or something stuck in the keyboard causing the break key to be pressed. Also people hitting the Scroll Lock key may loosen what was stuck on the Pause/Break key. I think it just so happen the keys are next to each other which Break stops a search process.

  83. Ketaki

    Said on April 28, 2011 :

    I tried to pause the code while it was executing by pressing Ctrl + Pause/Break. I pressed it several times just to stop the code from compiling. I think that was the reason I started having this “Find was stopped in progress” problem. Or might be I pressed Ctrl Scroll Lock by mistake while trying to do that.
    But eventually Ctrl + Scroll Lock worked wonders..
    Thanks a lot.

  84. Deepak

    Said on May 6, 2011 :

    Awesome….how did u find this out….?

  85. Mahesh

    Said on May 10, 2011 :

    Cheers too..

  86. Vince P.

    Said on June 7, 2011 :

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve used your article twice in the last 6 months when VS 2010 started behaving this way. This is such a stupid defect; I can’t believe this is still there.

    Has anyone figured out WHY this happens? There’s got to be a semi-interesting story behind this one.

  87. cary abramoff

    Said on June 14, 2011 :

    Dude, this f@#$(& page R-O-C-K-S.
    I had froze in VS 2010 and had a build going but I wanted to just close VS. Got msg, “Build in progress blah blah,” and I kept pounding on CTRL+Break, Esc cuz it is frozen tardware.

    Anyway after the mushroom cloud cleared Find in Files was getting quirky as bug F#$(. It said, “find stopped in progress blah blah blah me!”

    Then I found this which is good for a serious chuckle,

    Poor guy was told to reinstall and go registry spehlunkin’ just to fix the find?? WTF’nF?

    I understand bugs come up but to fix find you let some supportard send you through your registry and reinstall and lose all your settings? c’mwawn now dave herman play me some rock n roll!

    Cary Abramoff, MCSD.NET

  88. Pak

    Said on July 13, 2011 :

    Damn!! It sure is some voodoo!!
    Thanks a lot!!

  89. Pankaj

    Said on July 19, 2011 :

    Thanks, it worked for me.

  90. Jeff Handley

    Said on August 26, 2011 :

    I wonder if that is somehow related to this hang when finding in files:

  91. Vinay

    Said on September 1, 2011 :

    Cltr + Scroll Lock and restarting visual studio has work for me. Cltr+ Scroll Lock alone didn’t help. Now I am happy that I can search using cltr+shift+f. Thanks alot!!


  92. T

    Said on September 2, 2011 :

    True! Thank you!

  93. amir

    Said on September 13, 2011 :

    thank you that did it for me

  94. nikhil

    Said on September 15, 2011 :

    great job :)

  95. Aditya

    Said on September 27, 2011 :

    It saved me. Though its hard to relate it to scroll lock.

    On another note, I had 2-3 different projects open on multiple visual studio window, I was only facing the problem with one particular project and not with other two.

  96. Jayanthi

    Said on October 6, 2011 :

    thx u saved me a lot of time…

  97. Ajeesh

    Said on October 18, 2011 :

    Thanks that works ;-)
    I had used ctrl + break and file-type find yesterday.
    Not sure which of the above caused it, but ctrl+ScrollLock was the solution.

    PS: I always wondered how useless the Scroll Lock key was. Redemption time :-)

  98. Peggy Moore

    Said on October 26, 2011 :

    And I just ran into it with VS 2008 for the first time. The trick worked! Bizarre. Thanks.

  99. Jai

    Said on October 26, 2011 :

    Thanks, now working well.

  100. Onno

    Said on October 31, 2011 :

    Visual Studio 2010. I tried all the things in this thread no joy. Then I found another solution in another thread:

    Close Visual Studio.

    In regedit, delete the following key:

    \HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\[VS VERSION NUMBER]\Find

    Open VS. That worked for me.

  101. jorge

    Said on November 25, 2011 :

    incledible, it works.

  102. Karan

    Said on December 8, 2011 :

    Awesome :) It works..

  103. Sanket Rane

    Said on January 13, 2012 :

    Just type CTRL+Shift+F, then under ‘Find Options’ heading, change the file type(i.e. ‘Look at these file types’) and set it to either ” or ‘*.*’

  104. Niraj Patel

    Said on January 19, 2012 :

    It worked for me.. Thanks

  105. Sandeep Lohani

    Said on January 23, 2012 :

    Worked for me!! thank you!!!

  106. Doug

    Said on February 14, 2012 :

    This is driving me crazy.

    Tried everything, still can’t get it:

    1) All of the key combos CTRL-C, CTRL-Break, CTRL-Pause/Break, Pause/Break, etc….. many, many times. Didn’t work.

    2) Removed the \HKCU\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\[Ver Num]\Find key, then restart VS. Didn’t work

    3) New KB. Didn’t work.

    4) Reboot. Didn’t work.

    Please help.

  107. marius

    Said on February 23, 2012 :


  108. Fabrício Costa

    Said on March 12, 2012 :

    This worked for me in Visual Studio 2003!! Thanks!

  109. cadudria

    Said on April 3, 2012 :

    ctrl-scroll worked for me. thank you!!!

  110. FxM

    Said on April 21, 2012 :

    Holy F___ it worked for me. You are a VS 2010 genius.

  111. Huseyin

    Said on May 1, 2012 :

    what a genious. It worked in 10 seconds…

  112. Koushal

    Said on May 23, 2012 :

    how’d u find it..!!
    Worked like a charm for me.

  113. Mike

    Said on May 26, 2012 :

    Worked in Visual Studio 11 Beta… thanks!

  114. HoppingYop

    Said on August 30, 2012 :

    VS 2010
    Pause/Break worked for me.
    Ctrl + ScrollLock didn’t.

    Thanks to everyone for sharing this information.

  115. Sachin

    Said on October 23, 2012 :

    Tonnes of Thanks, it worked.

  116. Bob

    Said on February 19, 2013 :

    The fix that keeps on fixin. It (Ctrl-Pause/Break) worked for me in VS 2010. Thanks!

  117. Stan

    Said on March 5, 2013 :

    PauseBreak is the fix! This should be documented.

  118. Anurag

    Said on March 18, 2013 :

    Nothing solved this problem for me – restarting the computer, pressing Ctrl+Scrlk, Alt+Break, Ctrl+Scrlk numerous times while VS2005 app had the focus didn’t work either.
    Finally deleting this registry key worked for me:

  119. Nate

    Said on April 1, 2013 :

    Worked great for me. Thanks a bunch!

  120. Stian

    Said on July 1, 2013 :

    Worked perfectly in VS2012/W8. Thanks :)

  121. Anonymouse

    Said on January 29, 2014 :

    Still there in VS2012 but it only seems to randomly fix the issue (the current search will randomly cut off with the ‘Find was stopped in progress’ message.

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