Microsoft KB Archive/37418

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Article ID: 37418

Article Last Modified on 11/21/2006

This article was previously published under Q37418


The error "Cannot open response file" can occur if "Make EXE File..." in QB.EXE Version 4.50 invokes the Segmented-Executable linker (which does not come with QuickBasic). QuickBasic versions earlier than 4.50 do not create a response file for the linker, and link successfully without giving this error message. (Note that QuickBasic Versions 4.00 and later require at least Version 3.61 of the linker to handle the /EX (EXEPACK) option.)

To properly create an .EXE file from within the QuickBasic Version 4.50 environment, you must first make sure that the linker found by QuickBasic (either in your search path, or in the executable file path specified in QuickBasic) is the Overlay Linker Version 3.6x.

If the linker found is a version earlier than 3.61, or a Segmented- Executable linker such as the one supplied with Microsoft Basic Compiler Versions 6.00 and 6.00b or with Microsoft Basic PDS Version 7.00, there may be complications in using "Make EXE File..." from within the QuickBasic Version 4.50 environment. Basic PDS 7.00 comes with the QBX.EXE environment, which contains all of the functionality of the QuickBasic 4.50 environment. Microsoft does not recommend using QB.EXE 4.50 or earlier with Basic PDS 7.00.


The following is a summary of workarounds for this problem:

  1. Use the Overlay Linker Version 3.6x.
  2. If the response file is found, the .EXE file can be produced by pressing ENTER at the "Definitions file:" prompt. If the response file is NOT found, try renaming your Basic source file, changing it by a factor of 1 in length (that is, if your source file is an even number of characters long, make it odd, and vice-versa).
  3. Compile and link your program from the DOS command line.


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a bug in Version 4.50. We are researching this problem and will post new information here in the Microsoft Knowledge Base as it becomes available.


In QuickBasic Version 4.50, the link step of the .EXE file creation is performed with the use of a response file. (A response file can be used to supply the input to the linker, such as object modules, output file name, extra libraries, etc.) QuickBasic creates a temporary file (~QBLNK.TMP) that contains all of the information required by the four prompts of the linker (object files, .EXE file name, list file, and libraries), then tells the linker to use this file for a response file.

This causes a problem with the Segmented-Executable linkers, because these linkers have a fifth input prompt (definitions file). Since the response file does not satisfy this prompt, the linker waits for you to enter a definitions file. You can press ENTER at this prompt, and the linker will complete its task.

In addition to asking for a definitions file, the Segmented-Executable linker has another difference from the Overlay linker. If a response file is inadvertently supplied with a four-character extension (for example, RESPONSE.ABCD), the Segmented-Executable linker stops with a "Cannot open response file" error message. However, the Overlay linker truncates the filename to a three-character extension (for example, RESPONSE.ABCD becomes RESPONSE.ABC), and then looks for that file.

Under some circumstances, QuickBasic Version 4.50 generates an invalid file specification for the response file (specifically "~QBLNK.TMPD", which has an illegal fourth letter, D, on the name extension). Because of the differences between the two linkers, the Overlay linker ignores the appended "D" on the response file, and correctly produces an .EXE file. However, the Segmented-Executable linker gives a fatal error, "Cannot open response file", and aborts.

Additional query words: QuickBas buglist4.50

Keywords: KB37418