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Microsoft KB Archive/103712

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Knowledge Base

Article ID: 103712

Article Last Modified on 12/2/2003


  • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2.1
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 4.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q103712


After a CD-ROM install, a Custom install of only the Help files or Books Online renders the online documentation unavailable. In Visual C++ versions 1.0 and 2.x, if the App Studio, Visual Workbench, Build Tools, Technical Support, or Index option is selected from the Help menu, the following error message will be displayed:

The file <helpfile> cannot be found.

The <helpfile> is one of the following:


In Visual C++ version 4.0, upon opening the Microsoft Developer Studio, the following error message will be displayed:

Cannot open auxiliary information file. The title may be improperly set up.

This error message also appears when the Contents and Search options are selected from the Help menu.


When installing just the Help files or Online Books, Setup copies only a subset of the online documentation files to the destination drive, assuming that certain files have already been installed. Setup then sets the help file search path to be that of only the current destination drive and directory. This directory does not contain all the necessary files.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a bug in the Microsoft products listed at the beginning of this article. This bug was corrected in Visual C++ version 4.1.


There are three ways to work around this problem:

  • Append the CD-ROM help path using Visual Workbench's Options directory. Select Options, then choose Directories and append a semicolon followed by the CD-ROM help directory to the Help Files Path section.

NOTE: This workaround is not available with Visual C++ version 4.0 because there is no Help Files Path option in the Directories Tab of the Options dialog box. -or-

  • For Visual C++ version 4.0, perform a Custom install of at least the Microsoft Developer Studio and the Books Online. For Visual C++ versions 1.0 and 2.x, do a Custom install of Visual Workbench and App Studio. This will install the help files to the hard drive. -or-

  • For Visual C++ version 4.0, copy all files from the \MSDEV\HELP directory on the distribution CD to the %MsDevDir%\HELP directory. (MsDevDir is an environment variable the points to the directory in which Visual C++ version 4.0 is installed.) For Visual C++ versions 1.0 and 2.x, copy the Help files listed in the SYMPTOMS section above from the CD to the HELP directory on the hard drive.


With a CD-ROM installation, no Help files are copied from the CD to the destination drive. The help file search path correctly points to the CD-ROM drive.

Setup does not check for a previous CD-ROM installation. So, when performing an online documentation only installation, Setup does not append the new help files search path to the existing one. Instead, it merely sets this path to that of help files in the destination directory.

Additional query words: kbVC400bug 1.00 2.00 2.10 4.00 4.10

Keywords: kbbug kbfix kbsetup KB103712