Breaking into the Visual Studio .SOU File

I’ll probably need to do this again one day, so I want to record how I did it…and it might help someone…

I wanted to check whether an absolute or relative file path was saved for a particular thing in the .SOU file. But, Notepad displays garbage when you force it to open a .SOU file.

Instead I opened another copy of Visual Studio 2010 (not a copy where this solution was open, tried that, it didn’t work). I created a new solution folder, and dragged the .SOU file into it.

I could not drag it onto the document surface, because someplace along the way I picked up a file association with Notepad – so Visual Studio was just one more mechanism to do the useless.

I selected Open With from the Right Click context menu and selected the binary editor.

Find did not work for me. I can think of a few possible reasons.

So, I selected from the first readable text in the binary editor to somewhere near the last readable text and did a normal Ctl-C copy. In other words, I used the binary editor to chop off the beginning and end of the file, and to put something sufficiently useful into the clipboard buffer. Notepad cooperated in displaying the text retrieved from the clipboard buffer with a normal Ctl-V paste.

This file is still a mess, not usable for any normal exploration. However, I could confirm that the file name I was interested in was only stored in absolute, not relative form.

Microsoft, please, pretty, pretty, please, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty please can we get readable formats for .sou and .user files?

One thought on “Breaking into the Visual Studio .SOU File”

  1. I second the motion for readable formats for these. I often find myself wanting to see/confirm which settings are for users and which settings will alter source controlled files like the csproj file. I’d kind of given up on being able to do anything with these — thanks!

    (By the way, your captcha isn’t loading in chrome for me)

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