On my development machine, SQL server 2008 R2 was running fine previously. But after formatting OS and re-installing the OS and SQL server, it generates the following error when I want to start SQL Server Management Studio.

Error Message:

A problem was encountered initializing commands and menus. The merged file was loaded, but it contained no valid commands. Please run setup and select Repair.

Please note that I've executed setup and repaired successfully after getting the above error.

3 Answers 3


Instead of running repair, completely uninstall the client tools using setup, and then reinstall them from scratch. Make sure you also uninstall any add-ins or plug-ins that you're currently using in SSMS. Once you've installed SSMS from the media, then apply SQL Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. If you have Visual Studio 2010 also installed on your machine, make sure you've installed service pack 1 there before re-installing client tools.

FWIW, I've found the new features and enhancements in SQL Server 2012's version of Management Studio to be very beneficial, and have been using it as my only SSMS version since the early betas to manage 2005, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012 instances with no problems. RC0 is out so it may be worth trying that version too. It's a big download for just the client tools, but worth it IMHO. You can get it here:


  • Thank you for your reply. Yes, this is good idea instead. But, I can't find way to remove any tools using SQL Server setup. Meanwhile, from error log file, I found the probable error cause: "The SQL Server Network Interface library could not register the Service Principal Name (SPN) for the SQL Server service. Error: 0x54b, state: 3. Failure to register an SPN may cause integrated authentication to fall back to NTLM instead of Kerberos. This is an informational message. Further action is only required if Kerberos authentication is required by authentication policies."
    – Wasim
    Jan 16, 2012 at 17:27
  • Yes, I've removed the SQL tools, and then re-installed from the scratch. Thank you.
    – Wasim
    Jan 16, 2012 at 18:31

SQL Server Management Studio (2014) needs Visual Studio 2010 shell to run. You can re-install Visual Studio 2010 shell via the free download from Microsoft:


  • THANKS!!!!! I had to search for the VS_Setup.msi file on my machine but once it had that the shell finished installing.
    – MoMo
    Oct 7, 2016 at 23:19

SSMS Depends on Visual Studio 2010 IDE, which if not installed the SQL Server Setup will do, but if any version is present, the setup will ignore it, even at repair

Re Install, I figured that the SSMS needs Visual Studio 10 IDE to run, which I've removed by mistake after uninstalling VS 2010.

So, I Opened the Setup Media and searched for Visual Studio Setup. The .msi file ran quietly and Filled the missing parts, and the Management Studio Run OK.

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