Visual Studio 2010 bug: NullReferenceException when opening any file, caused by a docked add-in tool window

Here’s an issue I’ve been struggling with: it seems that by accessing a certain property of a docked tool window of an add-in, an exception is thrown somewhere inside Visual Studio 2010. It’s caught internally, and the exception message, Object reference is not set to an instance of an object, is shown whenever I was trying to open any file (code or otherwise).

Here’s the offending code (this OnConnection method belongs to a C# Add-in code, it’s pre-generated when you create a new Add-in for Visual Studio):

public void OnConnection(object application, ext_ConnectMode connectMode, object addInInst, ref Array custom)
  _applicationObject = (DTE2)application;
  _addInInstance = (AddIn)addInInst;

  const string guidString = "{7CAB9543-0A69-4971-B154-01BC2DAAE2ED}"

  object dummy = null;
  var windows = (Windows2)_applicationObject.Windows;
  var buggyWindow = windows.CreateToolWindow2(_addInInstance, Assembly.GetExecutingAssembly().Location, typeof(WindowControl).FullName, "Buggy", guidString, ref dummy);

  buggyWindow.Visible = true;

  if (buggyWindow.LinkedWindowFrame.LinkedWindows.Count == 1)
    // does not matter what happens here.

It seems that accessing the window’s LinkedWindowFrame.LinkedWindows property causes a corruption when the add-in is docked, which will manifest itself upon attempting to open a file.

I submitted this issue to Connect, including steps to reproduce.

Update: It seems that the issue was fixed! Microsoft will include the fix in the next Visual Studio 2010 update!