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Installing local help doesn't work RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    Hope this is the correct forum to post below question...

    I installed Visual Studio C# Expess Edition 2010 and I want to have local help iso online help.  So, I changed the settings from "online" to "local", using the Help Libary Manager and selecting Install Content from Online.

    Installation was done locally, in C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\HelpLibrary, but when I press F1 when on an item to get help about that item, I still get the message "The topic you requested could not be found in local help.".

    If I then select "Check online for your topic at:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/query/dev10.query?appId=Dev10IDEF1&l=EN-US&k=k(NAMESPACE_CSHARPKEYWORD)&rd=true" on the error page (suggested as an alternative), then this works.  But that's not what I want, in the end...

    Am I still missing something?


    Best rgds, --Geert
    • Moved by CoolDadTx Sunday, May 9, 2010 8:44 PM Moved to devdocs (From:Visual C# IDE)
    Sunday, May 9, 2010 7:18 AM

All replies

  • Hi Geert

    I imagine Express is a web download which means local help must be downloaded using Help Library Manager (see VS 2010 Help menu).

    If you downloaded a full DVD ISO (1-2GB) then you can point HLM to the \ProductDocumentation\ folder on the DVD to install all local help.

     

    So options to install documentation:

    1) HLM > "Install content from online"

    2) HLM > "Install content from disk" then browse to the \ProductDocumentation\ folder.

     

    http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/faq/init

     

    I'm curious to see how you get on. Have not tried Express version yet.

    Rob

     


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Monday, May 10, 2010 3:25 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Rob,

    Following your advice, I selected the option "Install content from disk".  After pointing to the location of the .msha file, a new dialogue box popped up, but I couldn't select any "Add" option in the box shown.  Also, the "Update" button was grayed out, I could only select the "Cancel" button.

    It's anyhow strange that I can download all the files (took quite some time) and then cannot install it locally...



    Best rgds, --Geert
    Tuesday, May 11, 2010 6:03 PM
  • So it shows you a list of books but no add links?
    That usually means you've already downloaded the content.

    If you run HLM and select the last option "Remove content" do you see a heap of stuff installed?

    Maybe not all F1 help is installed with Express.  I've not used Express.
    Try running HLM > "Install content from Online" to get some more content.
    Especially all the content labeled VS and C# and VB


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:44 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Rob,

    So it shows you a list of books but no add links?
    That usually means you've already downloaded the content.

    Indeed, that's what I did first. I downloaded the content form the web (that is what took quite some time) and then I did what you proposed: selecting "Install from disk".

    If you run HLM and select the last option "Remove content" do you see a heap of stuff installed?

    I do, everything seems to be installed, since I clicked "Add" for all possible installations that were shown, after I installed from the web.

    I also did a complete removal using "Remove content" and then re-installed everything from the net, using "Install from the web".  Just to see if a second installation would change anything.

    However, when I again selected "Install from disk" after I did the web installations, the situation remained the same. I couldn't select "Add" for none of the items installed.

    A pity I can't post screen shots over here, it would make it more clear...

    Maybe not all F1 help is installed with Express.  I've not used Express.
    Try running HLM > "Install content from Online" to get some more content.
    Especially all the content labeled VS and C# and VB

    I've done this. Also running the update possibility, but I got the message that my stuff was up to date and no new/changed items were available.

    I will remove the complete VS EE installation (including framework etc) and try a fresh re-installation.  Let's see how this goes...


    Best rgds, --Geert
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 5:27 AM
  • A pity I can't post screen shots over here, it would make it more clear...

    You can if you host the images on another site.

    Well from what you say it should work. Is it a quirk with your system or Express I don't know.

    It would be interesting to explore the help (find out what is viewable) using something like H3Viewer (free) which has a full TOC. (although not all help files will attach themselves to the visible TOC).

    http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/

    Rob


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:03 AM
    Moderator
  •  

    Hi Rob,

    Don't know what happened, but I prepared a series of screen shots to show you the way I installed the helper packages.

    After installation, I first tried your h3viewer application (I absolutely don't understand why MS is not giving/using/advising this application to view the helper files, in stead of the web browser way they foresee now, your application really rocks !!!) in stead of the local disk content installation.

    H3Viewer works fantastic.  I really like this application and I would not know any reason why I shouldn't use that application in stead of the integrated help.

    Then, I tried to run the "Install content from disk", but again I couldn't select any "Add" link.  But then came the big surprise: now the help also works from within VS!

    And to be honest, I don't know why...  Is it because your application "cleaned the road" for the F1 of VS 2010?

    Anyhow, since I made the images, I can as well give them here.  If you have the time, pls. have a look at them (especially the "Install content from disk", which does not work as it should, I think...), but in the end I'm able to get the help files up and running, using both your application as well as the F1 help in VS 2010.

    And once again, thanks a bunch for your great application!!!

    Here are the screen shots (lengthy one...).  By the way, I see that I can't (or don't know how to) use "real" links for my images...


    1. Starting the installation:
      http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/1070/01hlm.png
    2. Setting up HLM:
      http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/4511/02settings.png
    3. Install content from online - nothing added yet:
      http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/1299/03installcontentfromonl.png
    4. Install content from online - added every package:
      http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/5348/04installcontentfromonl.png.
      87 packages selected in total
    5. Downloading packages:
      http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/3268/05downloadingpackages.png
    6. Downloading slowly progressing:
      http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/4662/06downloadingpackagessl.png
    7. Extracting the packages:
      http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/8391/07extractingpackages.png
    8. Directory content view while the packages are extracted:
      http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/6339/08dircontentwhileextrac.png
    9. Merging indexes (that took quite a lot of time!):
      http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/3115/09mergingindexes.png
    10. Finished the installation of the packages:
      http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/4608/10finishedupdating.png
    11. Used your H3Viewer first, prior to running "Install content from disk":
      http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/8459/11h3viewerafterdownload.png
    12. Attempt to try to "Install content from disk":
      http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/1466/12installcontentfromdis.png
    13. Here, you can see I can't "add" anything to the local disk:
      http://img7.imageshack.us/img7/2711/13installcontentfromdis.png

     


    Best rgds, --Geert
    Saturday, May 15, 2010 5:48 AM
  • Glad you liked H3Viewer. Mmm not sure that it would have done anything to make your F1 work.

    Strange.

    To make images work go into HTML edit mode and add your images as <img src="xxxx" /> mark up.

    ...

     So these screen shots looks good now. Can't explain why H3Viewer would kick it into action. It does nothing special except makes API calls.

    Rob

     

    Starting the installation:

    Setting up HLM:

    Install content from online - nothing added yet:

    Install content from online - added every package:

    87 packages selected in total

    Downloading packages:

    Downloading slowly progressing:

    Extracting the packages:

    Directory content view while the packages are extracted:

    Merging indexes (that took quite a lot of time!):

    Finished the installation of the packages:

    Used your H3Viewer first, prior to running "Install content from disk":

    Attempt to try to "Install content from disk":

    Here, you can see I can't "add" anything to the local disk:


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Sunday, May 16, 2010 2:24 PM
    Moderator
  • There was a post recently post with similar problem

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/devdocs/thread/6dbf5c20-a53d-49b2-ae1e-fb756f55f54e/

    He found that switching to online help mode; Pressing F1; Switching to Local help mode; Press F1
    actually fixed his problem.

    I don't think running H3Viewer fixed your problem -- There may be a small problem with initially setting "local mode" via Help Library Manager.

     


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Friday, May 21, 2010 3:32 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Rob, same problem and this has fixed it for me - switched to online help then back to local,

    Tom

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 10:28 AM
  • Thanks for confirming Tom. Sounds like a valid fix.
    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Thursday, July 15, 2010 12:40 PM
    Moderator
  • I'm having a slightly different issue with Help in VB Express 2010. Only recently installed.

    When I first went to the help, I got the choice of use only online or use local. I picked one. Local, I think. Big mistake.

    Now when I say view help, I get my browser coming up with a 404. And as to the suggestions on that page (http://127.0.0.1:47873/help/0-1876/ms.help?method=f1&query=msdnstart&product=VS&productVersion=100&locale=en-US) - my Help Library Manager has only:

    Set local content location

    Please select a location for your local content

    Library location:

    [text box] Browse...

    [OK]   [Cancel]

    Nothing else that's mentioned on the MS page is actually in that dialog box.

    I'm resourceful, and have been able to find useful information for my programming topics online, but nonetheless - Help! Would really like to be able to use the online help more directly.

     

    CoolWahad

    Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 7:14 PM
  •  

    I've never installed VS Express.

    404 does not concern me. It just means some help content is not installed.

    You can better see if there is any local help installed by downloading a standalone view like our free h3viewer
    http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/4c360395-6afd-4087-94ed-cbcbebe04a20

     

    Other thoughts

    A) Have you tried to switch between Local and Online help using Help Lib Manager?

    B) Have you tried download help using Help Lib Manager?

    My Notes here: http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/faq/init

    Rob 

     


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Friday, July 16, 2010 12:56 AM
    Moderator
  • I also had the similar issue with Local/Online help. Switching to online help and then local help solved the issue.

    Thanks for sharing this solution.

    Regards,

    SavindraSingh

    Friday, August 13, 2010 1:42 PM
  • Thanks for the feedback SavindraSingh

    Rob


    Rob Chandler http://Helpware.net
    Saturday, August 14, 2010 2:10 AM
    Moderator
  • I have tried the solution suggested (switching to on-line and back to off-line).  It has NOT worked for me.  There is definitely another problem here.

    Just to be clear, here is what I have --

    • Starting with the Help Library Manager, I have a few catalogs Local -- .NET Framework 4, Visual C#, Visual Studio (All) and Help on Help.
    • In the Help Library Manager, I have specified the path for the Help files to be - F:\C#\VS_2010\HelpLibrary.
    • In the directory F:\C#\VS_2010\HelpLibrary\content\Microsoft\store, I have 112 files.  One is named Development_Frameworks_21823146_VS_100_en-us_1.2.mshc .  There are many .metadata, .mshc, and .mshi files in this directory.
    • In the Help Library Manager, I have selected to use Local Help
    • When I open the help from the Start menu shortcut (Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation) the browser shows "The topic you requested could not be found in local help."  The browser title bar indicates a 404 error. 
    • The URL being displayed is http://127.0.0.1:47873/help/0-4008/ms.help?method=f1&query=msdnstart&product=VS&productVersion=100&locale=en-US

    I had made pictures for each bullet point, but I don't see a way to include images in my post.

    I've gone into the Help Library Manager settings window and changed the setting to use online help.  Then I open the help with the short cut and it goes to the internet.  Then I've gone back to the settings window and changed it to use local help.  Then I click the short cut again and again get the 404 error.

    HELP PLEASE

     

    Friday, February 4, 2011 1:41 AM
  • Please remove the # char from your path. This is a special char used for specifying bookmarks in a URL.
    So you are screwing up address URLs. (My best guess)

    To do this you will need to reset you store location

    http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/faq/init#TOC-Reset-the-Help-Store

     

    Rob

     


    Rob Chandler Help MVP http://Helpware.net http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/
    Saturday, February 5, 2011 1:39 AM
    Moderator
  • Rob,

    As you can see from these comments and comments in other threads, a lot of users don't like the VS2010 help. In a nutshell, it's awful compared to the VS2008 help. Can you convey the general sentiment to the VS2010 development team.


    Price Brattin, SQLServer & SharePoint 2010 MCP, Microsoft Dynamics SL Consultant
    Thursday, April 7, 2011 3:47 PM
  • Hi Price

    Did you know that VS 2010 Service Pack 1 is now available and has a brand new help viewer?

    <rant>

    There were a lot of angry responses to the VS 2010 RTM help. In particular the way it displayed help in a browser and did not provide a full TOC, full Index or bookmark support.

    I think everyone was quite taken aback by the huge negative response to the RTM help.  Not many people know this, but the help team were well on track to delivering a full traditional Help Viewer experience. It was quite late in development when someone made the suggestion to deliver help in the browser.  The idea was appealing. There had been complaints in the past that documentation was locked into Microsoft technology (eg. in HTML Help we had only one viewer which was built around the Internet Explorer browser and ActiveX). So I can see how this idea of "an Open Help Platform" would look attractive. The mistake was introducing a radical change during the final stage of the project, without talking to their customers.

    Please show the help team some love.  I’m sure they will remember this painful lesson for some time to come.

    </rant>

    OK enough ranting.  The Service Pack 1 is now out and does deliver several improvements that customers were asking for:

    • A dedicated viewer done in C# and WPF.
    • Full TOC.
    • Full Index.
    • Full bookmark support.
    • Fast and responsive. Accurate F1.

    The following are on the radar and should be fixed in the next wave

    • F1 help for C++ projects (currently not so accurate I hear).
    • Content filtering (MS know this is important to customers but tell them again anyway).

    Also we have these improvements

    • Faster merge times than DExplore.
    • Merge no longer locks up Visual Studio as it did in DExplore (VS 2002/2003/2005/2008).
    • Help application is independent of Visual Studio. This will become important as we move forward.
    • A Help SDK. All past MS Help systems were closed to programmers.
    • Alternative viewers. I've published H3Viewer which offers some extra features. I'm sure in time there will be more.

    Please try VS SP1 help and see what you think.
    IMHO the help team have done a great job in responding to feedback. And filters I know are still high up on the To Do list.

    If you still have concerns about help. The help team are very open to receiving direct feedback.
    They do respond to all serious posts to their blogs. You can leave a public comment under
    an appropriate blog entry or click the link that says "Email me".

    Rob (moving forward)


    Rob Chandler Help MVP http://Helpware.net/ http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/



    Friday, April 8, 2011 2:50 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Rob,

    I empathize with the help development team and understand the frustration of having to deal with management that does not understand how to manage very well. I understand their pain. Why management wanted to change from something that worked well to something that does not work well is a mystery.

    Regarding the help in VS2010-SP1, that’s the only help I have seen and it did not work well for my install. I just acquired VS2010 and installed it and then immediately installed SP1. I assume you mean help viewer 1.1. I installed the as per the instructions but it still did not work correctly. Well, maybe it was working correctly and I did not know how it was supposed to work. It would not do context sensitive help and there was no index of topics. At first it pointed to a folder where the help topics were installed but it told me that I did not have proper access to that folder. What? So I had to move the info in the folder to a folder I created. Who knows?

    IMHO, the Help Viewer 1.1 was not close to being as useful as the VS2008 help dialog.

    I changed the default help viewer to H3Viewer and it’s better.

     


    Price Brattin, SQLServer & SharePoint 2010 MCP, Microsoft Dynamics SL Consultant
    Friday, April 8, 2011 3:32 AM
  • Thanks Price,

    And thanks for allow me to rant :-)
    So this is good feedback you should send in. A good place for feedback and bugs is 
    https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio

    All Help Viewer feedback goes directly to the Help Viewer (LEX) team (but you may have already done that).

    Weird about the help store folder. I'm assuming you just took the default path and installed help from the DVD.

    I flip between HV1.1 viewer and H3Viewer. Good to know you and others are still finding H3Viewer useful.

    Out of interest.. and lets compare HV 1.1 viewer to DExplore, what do you feel is lacking.
    Do you think it's just getting used to the new packaging? Or do you have specific issues?

    Rob


    Rob Chandler Help MVP http://Helpware.net/ http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/
    Friday, April 8, 2011 6:26 AM
    Moderator
  • >Weird about the help store folder. I'm assuming you just took the default path
    > and installed help from the DVD.
    Yes, I installed help from the DVD, which I created from the iso download. The install dialog did not ask for a path. I just clicked install help from the button that appeared after the software install succeeded.

    >Out of interest.. and lets compare HV 1.1 viewer to DExplore, what do you feel is
    > lacking.
    I don’t know anything about DExplore – your mention is about the first time I heard the term. But I don’t want to use online help if that is how DExplore works. I spent too much time in airplanes and airports where internet connections are a pain to use.

    >Do you think it's just getting used to the new packaging?
    That may be it. I am so accustomed to using the help dialog in VS2008, SQLServer2008, etc that I can find what is desired very easily. The help in VS2010 does not appear to be as easy to use. Maybe I don’t know how to use it. Dunno.

    >Or do you have specific issues?
    One example: The inability to see all the values in the index pane is very unhandy. A person has to know how to spell the topic to get the items to show up in the index pane. Maybe I don’t know how to set it up but it seems to be a retrograde instead of an improvement.

     

     


    Price Brattin, SQLServer & SharePoint 2010 MCP, Microsoft Dynamics SL Consultant
    Friday, April 8, 2011 2:10 PM
  • Rob,

    Actually installing and using H3Viewer did do something...

    I am having problems with Help Viewer 1.1; documents are not displaying correctly and sometimes I get a view of an XML document with the "There is no content installed...". I tried uninstall and reinstall of VS2010 SP1, repair for Help Viewer 1.1, switching to online and then back to local... Nothing works.

    I downloaded the H3Viewer and installed, works OK. Help documents look and act correctly.

    Tried playing around some and found that the Help Viewer 1.1 does not appear to initialize the Help Library Agent correctly.

    Make sure Help Library Agent is not running. Launch H3Viewer, this starts Help Library Agent. Shut down H3Viewer. Launch Help Viewer 1.1, everything look OK.

    Make sure Help Library Agent is not running. Launch Help Viewer 1.1, this starts Help Library Agent, and contents not displayed correctly. Shut down Help Viewer 1.1. Launch H3Viewer, now contents not displayed correctly.

     

    Friday, April 8, 2011 9:23 PM
  • * Help Store Path

    From memory, when you get to the end of installation, you see that Blue "Install Documentation" button.

    When I click that (and this is installing help for the first time), I get presented with HelpLibraryManager to confirm\change my help store path...

    then you are asked to choose your help content from DVD

    So if you didn't get the offer to change the install path, it could mean that you had an old VS 2010 help system on this machine previously?

    So that may have been the problem. In future (especially if a Beta) I would delete the Help Library Store folder so you are starting fresh.

     

    * DExplore

    Sorry that DExplore.exe or Document Explorer application was the offline help viewer for VS 2002/2003/2005/2008.

     

    * Getting used to the new packaging

    It is a more modern layout. Remember you can open the HV 1.1 viewer from H3Viewer Page menu (with shortcut) key. Maybe it's just getting familiar with it. 

    From my observation the TOC / Index / Bmarks all work very similarly to past offline viewers.

     

    * Index 

    That's interesting... When I use index it lists all the entries. As soon as I type it takes me to the point in the list.. where it should be. And when I use the scrollbar I can view all entries. Behind the scenes it's cleverly loading and unloading visible pages from the help library store. 

    I just tried then. Initially I saw no items in the list until I typed something then the whole index became available. Maybe that's all you need to do? Since a list can have a million items+ I assume there is lots of optimization going on to keep performance up. When I restarted the viewer the index showed immediately this time. 

    Oh there's a small difference. As you use the scroll bar it does not update until you stop scrollling. Although I can get around that by using the mouse wheel to scroll.

    Rob

     

     

     


    Rob Chandler Help MVP http://Helpware.net/ http://mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com/
    Saturday, April 9, 2011 1:59 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello Rob,

    I would like to know if its possible to automatically install local help files created in sandcastle into microsoft help viewer 1.1 while installing an SDK into visual studio. SDK's installer should automatically install the help files. If such a solution exists please let me know how to implement it. Thank you.

    Friday, October 12, 2012 2:58 PM
  • Sorry I'm no expert in SC. But I know SC can produce offline help. Maybe try the SC forums??

    Rob Chandler Help MVP www.helpware.net | mshcmigrate.helpmvp.com | hv2.helpmvp.com

    Saturday, October 13, 2012 1:42 PM
    Moderator