Microsoft KB Archive/112008

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PRB: Visual Workbench Hang or Time-out Waiting for WINTEER.EXE


The information in this article applies to:

  • The Visual Workbench
    • Microsoft Visual C++, versions 1.0, 1.5


An attempt to build an application under Microsoft Visual C++ version 1.0 or version 1.5 may fail. The system may hang, appear to hang, or generate the following message:

Internal Error: Timed out waiting for "<path>WINTEER.EXE" to
start. Please contact Microsoft Product Support Services.


WINTEER.EXE is an application that supports communication between applications designed for the Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS operating systems. Because the Visual Workbench runs with Microsoft Windows while the build tools run with MS-DOS, WINTEER launches tools and returns their messages to the Workbench. If WINTEER cannot launch a tool or cannot communicate with the tool, a time-out occurs.

This error may occur if the WinExclusive parameter in your SYSTEM.INI file is set incorrectly, or if other errors occur during the build. It may also occur if the AllVMsExclusive parameter is set to TRUE in SYSTEM.INI, even though the WinExclusive parameter is set correctly. See the text below or the README.WRI file for additional information about WINTEER.


This error can occur if the WinExclusive flag is set incorrectly. Your SYSTEM.INI file should contain a line as follows:


You can use the Microsoft Windows Control Panel to check this value. In Control Panel, choose 386 Enhanced from the Settings menu. Clear the check from the Exclusive in Foreground setting if a check is present.

If the Exclusive In Foreground check box is cleared, change the properties of the Visual Workbench icon to include the /V option switch (the text below provides the complete procedure). This switch places the WINTEER session into a visible window. The text below provides additional Visual Workbench switches that may help you to debug the error.

If the computer is on a Novell network, problems could be caused by a mismatch between the network drivers and the network shell. The network drivers are loaded in the MS-DOS AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Their version can be determined by typing "nver" or "netx I" from the MS-DOS command line. The network shell is part of the Windows configuration. Its version can be determined by viewing the Windows setup.

If the problem persists, Visual Workbench may be conflicting with the installed video driver. Use the Windows Setup program to change the video driver to one of the default drivers provided with Windows to determine if the driver is causing the error.


The WinExclusive option determines whether the foreground application receives all processor time. The parameter is a Boolean value; if it is set to a nonzero value (ON), no MS-DOS application will run while an application developed for Windows is in the foreground. Because WINTEER is designed to run in the background while the Visual Workbench runs in the foreground, WinExclusive must be zero (OFF). According to the Windows Resource Kit, the default WinExclusive setting is off.

Once you have verified that the WinExclusive option is correct, if the problem persists, edit the program item for the Visual Workbench in the Visual C++ program group in Program Manager. Perform the following five steps:

  1. Select the Visual C++ icon.
  2. Choose Properties from the File menu.
  3. In the Program Item Properties dialog box, the command line contains a command such as:


    (The specific path will be different if you installed to a drive or directory other than the default.)

  4. Edit the Command Line property to specify the /V option switch on the command line. Given the default command line in step 3 above, the command line appears as follows:

          C:\MSVC\BIN\MSVC.EXE /V 

    The /V switch creates a window for the WINTEER session.

  5. Choose OK.

If the error persists, the Visual Workbench supports the following options, which may help to address the problem:

   Option  Purpose
   ------  -------

   /R      Specifies that the Visual Workbench invokes WINTEE instead
           of WINTEER. WINTEE uses memory less effectively, but it may
           demonstrate different behavior than WINTEER.

   /C      Specifies that the Visual Workbench compacts memory before
           it uses any tools. This option can slow execution.

   /M      Specifies that the Visual Workbench runs WINTEER each time
           a build starts. This option can slow execution. 

Additional query words: 1.00 1.50

Keywords : kb16bitonly kbprb
Issue type : kbprb
Technology :

Last Reviewed: May 8, 2001
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