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Andy Leonard

Andy Leonard is an author and engineer who enjoys building and automating data integration solutions. Andy is co-host of the Data Driven podcast. Andy is no longer updating this blog. His current blog is

SQL Server 2008 Management Studio - Function Keys

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Published Friday, August 8, 2008 1:17 PM by andyleonard

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AaronBertrand said:

Yes, I noticed the F8 functionality disappeared too.  You can use F8 to make it appear if it is currently closed, but you can not use F8 to make it disappear if it is currently open.

August 8, 2008 1:16 PM

andyleonard said:

Hi Aaron,

  I'm not able to use F8 with Developer Edition RTM. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

:{> Andy

August 8, 2008 1:27 PM

AaronBertrand said:

Did you close Object Explorer first?  Where is the focus when you try hitting F8 (after you've closed Object Explorer)?  Are you on x86 or x64?

August 8, 2008 1:33 PM

andyleonard said:

Hi Aaron,

  I did close it first. I tried F8 with Object Browser closed and opened - no effect. I an currently testing the x86 version. I wonder if it's different in x64...

:{> Andy

August 8, 2008 1:37 PM

AaronBertrand said:

I am on Vista x86.  It opens with F8 when it is closed, but you can't toggle.  I will try it later on Server 2008 x64 and Server 2003 x86, and see if there are any differences in behavior.

August 8, 2008 1:51 PM

andyleonard said:

I'm running Windows Server 2008 x86 in VPC. That may be the difference... odd though that the OS would affect this...

Thanks for the help Aaron!

:{> Andy

August 8, 2008 1:59 PM

AaronBertrand said:

I spotted a couple of Connect items about this.  Here is one that seems like your issue, though Microsoft couldn't reproduce it:

And here is one that explains my issue (F8 has become an on-only switch, instead of an on-off toggle).  They were aware of it in 2006, and put it on the list for Katmai, but it wasn't addressed.

August 8, 2008 2:02 PM

AaronBertrand said:

Maybe it is the VPC that is affecting it, not the operating system.  I am not using virtualization for any of the instances I've installed thus far.  (And maybe the other person who had this problem in RC0 was also experiencing this issue inside a virtual machine.)

August 8, 2008 2:04 PM

mrk said:

As a workaround to F8 not acting like a toggle for Object Browser window, you can close the Object Browser window using only the keyboard by hitting F8 to give it focus and Shift-Esc to close it.

August 11, 2008 3:59 PM

Lester said:

I have a question. If you close the summary tab in Management Studio 2005, how do you open it again?

February 11, 2009 10:46 AM

andyleonard said:

Hi Lester,

  I use View>>Object Explorer Details.

:{> Andy

February 12, 2009 5:40 AM

Edison said:


For some reason, sql management studio object explorer does not show up for me. It used to be there. I closed it a few days back. Now it doesn't show up when I press F8 or go to View->Object Explorer.

ANy ideas, guys? :((

February 15, 2009 9:59 PM

Kez Halls said:

Did you find an answer to your question Edison.  My object explorer has disappeared as well.  It makes ssms unusable.  I am on 64 bit

July 30, 2009 3:24 AM

Julie said:

This could be caused by corrupted Management Studio user data. The following worked for me :

1. %SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\Tools\  

(For SQL Server 2008 should be 100 instead of 90)

2. Backup and then delete the 'Shell' folder.  This folder will be rebuilt when you start SSMS. You will lose your connected server history, but you should retain recent files, etc.

September 9, 2009 11:51 AM

Scott said:

Deleting the Shell folder worked for me.  I can now see my Object Explorer in SQL Management Studio 2008.

Thank you!

September 17, 2009 4:15 PM

Rajaprabu said:

I too get expected result. Thank you

July 26, 2010 2:41 AM

Jim R. said:

Hi all, Thanks a lot Julie!!, i tried re installing sql server 2008 and nothing happen (Object explorer does not show).


September 30, 2010 4:03 PM

Doug Kelley said:

To bring back the Object Explorer use the following menu command: Window\Reset Window Layout

That worked for me!


June 25, 2013 2:56 PM

Michael S. said:

Practically everything on the SQL Server 2012 keyboard can be controlled by going to Tools / Options / Environment / Keyboard. Find the command you want (it even includes search function), "Press shortcut keys:" and click "Assign" button. Works well. Microsoft got this one correct!

August 28, 2013 1:45 PM

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