Microsoft KB Archive/216109

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How to troubleshoot MSDN library run-time, installation, and uninstall problems

Article ID: 216109

Article Last Modified on 12/27/2005


  • MSDN 2003 Universal Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q216109


This article describes steps to troubleshoot MSDN library run-time, installation, and uninstall problems.


The following are some troubleshooting steps that may fix a number of MSDN library problems:

  1. Before you install the MSDN library, make sure there are no programs running in the background such as antiviral software. It is also very important for all MSDN Libraries to be closed during the installation of a new MSDN Library. If not, changes made to HHCOLREG.DAT can be lost and the new MSDN Library may not function. It is a good idea to also temporarily remove any programs from the Windows Start menu, and then reboot.
  2. Rename the Hh.dat file. To do this, exit the MSDN library and then rename the Hh.dat file that resides in your Windows\Help directory. Launch the MSDN library. The Hh.dat file is re-created every time you rename it and launch MSDN library.
  3. Examine the registry. To do this, start Regedit.exe or Regedt32.exe and look for the following key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\HTML Help Collections\Developer Collections\0x0409\0x035efac10

    The 0x035efac10 subkey is not unique. You will have a different value after installation. Make sure that the Filename subkey has the path set to the proper collections file. The collections file takes different file names depending on the version of MSDN library; for example, Msdnvs98.col for MSDN 6.0, Msdn830.col for MSDN October 1998, and Msdn900.col for MSDN January 1999.

    If the path is not set properly, make the changes and launch MSDN library again. Please make sure to exit from MSDN library before making changes to the registry.

    If you don't want to modify the keys, then rename the HTML Help Collections key, reinstall the MSDN library, and follow the steps in item number 1. If the installation is successful, new registry keys will be created.
  4. Test the MSDN library installation. The MSDN library is based on HTML Help, which depends primarily on two files, Hh.exe and Hhctrl.ocx.

    Open any MSDN file with the .chm extension in Internet Explorer; if the MSDN file opens successfully, then Hhctrl.ocx is working properly.

    Hh.exe can be tested by opening a command prompt and going to the drive:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio\MSDN98\98OCT\1033 directory.

    For MSDN Oct 98, type the following:

    hh.exe msdn830.col

    For MSDN 6.0, type the following:

    hh.exe msdnvs98.col

    This should launch the MSDN library. The path name for the 1033 directory may vary depending on the MSDN library installation directory.

    When you get errors involving HTML Help, manually uninstalling and updating the HTML Help components should fix the problem. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    201420 How To Manually Uninstall and Update HTML Help

  5. Manually uninstall and then reinstall the MSDN Library.For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    240350 How To Manually Uninstall the MSDN Library

  6. Reinstall the product within which MSDN is being used, such as Visual C++ 6.0. MSDN problems may also be caused by an unsuccessful installation of the product being used in conjunction with the MSDN library. In such cases, it may be possible to launch the MSDN library from the shortcut menu on the desktop or from the Start menu on your task bar, but not from the product.

    For example, if you are using Visual C++ 6.0, from the Tools menu, click Options and click the Help System tab. Your Preferred Language and Preferred Collections fields should not be empty. For example, the Preferred Language could be English and Preferred Collections could be MSDN Library - January 1999 (12/2/98). If these fields are empty, the most likely cause is an unsuccessful Visual C++ installation, and therefore you might try reinstalling Visual C++ 6.0 and then the MSDN library.
  7. MSDN uses the HTML Help technology, which is dependent on Internet Explorer technology. There could be situations where MSDN exhibits unexpected behavior, due to problems with your Internet Explorer installation. There may be situations where you need to uninstall and reinstall Internet Explorer. Please see the REFERENCES section below for information on uninstalling and reinstalling Internet Explorer.
  8. MSDN library Setup may freeze on Windows NT and Windows 95/98.

    If MSDN library Setup.exe stops responding, perform a flat install. In a flat install, copy the CD-ROM bits to the hard drive and then run Setup; for a typical install, copying CD 1 bits will be sufficient. By specifying "setup.exe /G filename" you can create a log file of the setup process.

    If Setup continues to freeze, then restart the computer in VGA mode for Windows NT and Safe Mode for Windows 95/98 and rerun Setup. This behavior maybe due to the display device drivers or a damaged CD-ROM.
  9. If the keywords in the Index tab disappear, then you may want to copy just the files with the .chi extension from the MSDN CD-ROM 1 to the hard drive location where the MSDN library has been installed (or in other words, overwrite the .chi files).
  10. Please note that "Favorites" will be lost if another version of MSDN library is installed on a computer that already has the library installed. There is no way to move the Favorites to newer installations.

Note If these steps do not resolve the problem, try to log on to the computer as a different user or as the administrator to the local computer to make sure that a corrupted user profile is not causing this problem to occur.


For more informationabout problems with Internet Explorer, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

176667 "Installation is incomplete" error message when you try to install Internet Explorer 4.0 on a Windows 95-based computer

174867 Errors installing Internet Explorer

175610 How to manually remove Internet Explorer 4.0


Keywords: kbhowto kbtshoot KB216109