Curious bug with VS Code and Windows PATH.

Hey y’all.
Small little (fluff) post of not much importance.
Just how a curious Windows bug robbed me of 4-5 hours’ worth of free time. ^^

The start

It’s no secret that I like vi.

I won’t try to evangelize, or tell you why it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the pinnacle of human intellect, a minimalist’s haven, the embodiment of KISS, or that it cumulates all that is good and just in the Open-Source community.

I’ve been working with Golang for a few weeks, on my familiar Linux+Vi combo, and following Jon Calhoun’s excellent gophercises. He uses VS Code with some Go extensions, and things like automatic import handling, or function definitions, made it appear appealing.

So I thought to myself, why not, let’s take a shot developing on Windows! I haven’t used an IDE in years. It can’t be that bad!

Trouble on the horizon.

I already had a portable copy of VS Code installed on my computer (Portable Apps make Windows 15% more enjoyable). I happily fired it up, got to the Extensions tab, and installed the official Go extension from Microsoft.

After reloading VS Code, and ensuring the extension was installed, I (naively) tried to open my main.go file.

Alas, a foe appeared.



I thought of various scenarios that could cause issues, so I tried case-by-case examination.

  • Should I just reinstall my extension?
  • Is it any other extension that caused the problem?
  • Is it that I’m running a portable version?
  • Should I delete the %appdata% contents regarding VS Code (each time I did a change)?
  • Should I try just setting it up via the installer, like a it like a normal human being?
  • Should I try the 32-bit version?
  • Should I try the insider edition?
  • Should it be started as administrator?
  • Should it be in a different paths, and not contain spaces?
  • Is it some Electron issue, or that I don’t have Chrome installed?

Of course, nothing worked, and it kept appearing.

Extension Host terminated unexpectedly. Code : 3221225477 Signal null

There were a lot of people reporting the same in GitHub issues. For measure, the error code provided over 15k results, on Google.

After searching countless of similar issues, with users mainly saying

“Have you tried turning it on and off?”

lo and behold…

mawenzy, had a comment, buried among (literally hundreds) of others, providing a probable solution.

The thing is, I’ve been working with the Windows console for some weeks. I have never had an issue with this. I don’t know if I should have caught it, but I wouldn’t think to look there by myself, until much later on.

On one of the “components” that make up the Windows 10 %PATH% from the GUI, there was a stray ; *in the end one line. I removed it and everything worked perfectly. Put it back and nothing worked again.*


Well, off to write some Go code (as I originally intended). I’ll probably spend some more of my free time (when I find some), banging my head against the wall to see why this happend, and probably report back here.

See you soon (with something better).

Written on July 25, 2018