CHM crashes when you click on links to PDFs/word on IE9 only

New Here ,
Jun 22, 2011 Jun 22, 2011

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Here's the situation:

CHM file is created with a few links to baggage objects, which are PDF files. I have links in both topics and direct from the TOC.

On PCs with Internet Explorer 8 or less installed, users are able to click these links and the PDF file opens.

On PCs with Internet Explorer 9 installed, the CHM file crashes (and worse still, takes the application the help was launched from with it).

The error message is: Microsoft HTML Help Executable has stopped working [Close Program].

I have tried creating a small project with links to PDFs, and word docs, both as baggage files and just external links, and the same thing happens. I have tested on multiple PCs (even a Vista PC that was OK when it had IE8 and not OK when I upgraded it to IE). I am running the CHMs off my PC, not off network drives.

Has anyone else seen this? I would have thought other people would have noticed this if it was a generic problem with CHM files and IE9, but I can't see anyone mentioning it in this forum or anywhere else on google. Which makes me think it's something I've done wrong...

One last thing, I output the file as webhelp and the links worked fine.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has a suggestion here.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Beginner , Jun 30, 2011 Jun 30, 2011

It has been reported and it really is a Microsoft problem. Linking to most any kind of embedded files cause the issue. The use of PDFs is very common when building a complex help system for distribution.  This issue has only been visible since the IE 9 has been in the recommended Windows Updates.  That covers the past two weeks.

Tom

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LEGEND ,
Jun 23, 2011 Jun 23, 2011

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You might want to try running the HTML Help Diagnostics tool. You can find it at:

http://www.helpware.net/htmlhelp/hh_diags.htm


  The RoboColum(n)   @robocolumn   Colum McAndrew

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New Here ,
Jun 26, 2011 Jun 26, 2011

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Thanks for the suggestion. I had tried that and not seen anything unusual on my PC, which is running windows 7.

I've since done the following on a Windows Vista PC, using my test help file with 1 link to a PDF and 1 link to a word doc.

- PC originally running IE8. Links open without problem.

- PC upgraded to IE9. Help file crashes when clicking the links.

- Removed IE9 from PC. Links working again. Ran MJs diagnostics.

- Upgraded to IE9 again. Links not working. Ran MJs diagnostics.

Diagnostics were identical when IE8 and IE9 were installed on the PC. So I don't think this is going to point out where the problem is. Unless someone can tell me what I'm looking for specifically. All the HTML help settings were correct.

I should also mention I'm on Robohelp 8.0.2.208.

Lastly, I tried setting open in new page for the links to PDFs and word. This time, on IE9, they didn't crash the program, but they came up with a "navigation to the webpage was cancelled" message in IE9. On IE8, the links looked like they were opening, but didn't open at all.

I'd really like to know if anyone else with IE9 has had problems with links to baggage files. If there's anyone with IE9, and perfectly behaving CHM files, I'd love to compare notes - i.e. how do you refer to them. My links just look like this: <p><a href="test.docx">test</a></p>

Is it something I'm doing wrong?

Thanks!

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 28, 2011 Jun 28, 2011

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I have seen this on several thousand installations. At first it was just Office 2010 and now it is Office 2007 and other files. We have uninstalled IE9 and blocked it from showing up in the Windows Updates.  Hopefully someone at Microsoft will issue a fix for the update soon.  Until then Firefox works well.

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New Here ,
Jun 29, 2011 Jun 29, 2011

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Glad to hear it's not just me. I'm surprised no-one else has reported this, although I guess linking to PDFs etc is not done so often.

So, does this mean we're assuming it is a microsoft problem, not something that is caused by the way Robohelp embeds baggage files? And are you aware if this has been reported to Microsoft?

Thanks

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 30, 2011 Jun 30, 2011

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It has been reported and it really is a Microsoft problem. Linking to most any kind of embedded files cause the issue. The use of PDFs is very common when building a complex help system for distribution.  This issue has only been visible since the IE 9 has been in the recommended Windows Updates.  That covers the past two weeks.

Tom

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New Here ,
Jun 30, 2011 Jun 30, 2011

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OK. Thanks. I reported the issue on an IE9 forum as well, and it wasn't clear from there whether it is the way robohelp generated CHMs are causing the problem (e.g. are the JS files used in Robohelp using some outdated method for calling the embedded files? or has IE9 broken something along the way?).

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ieitprocurrentver/thread/cd1a0b3c-366e-4959-88da-7b...

We don't have control over the PCs that our help file is installed on, so can't stop them from using IE9. So, even a registry hack would be a good solution until Microsoft fix the problem. Anyway, I guess I will try to go down the Microsoft path. Thanks.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 30, 2011 Jun 30, 2011

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All CHMs have to be created using the Microsoft Help Compiler, the authoring tool (RoboHelp) is there to make the task of producing the content easier and it feeds the content to the compiler. All authoring tools work that way.

If in doubt, you could try compiling a CHM using the compiler direct if you know how to do that or use the trial version of another product.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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New Here ,
Jul 03, 2011 Jul 03, 2011

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Thanks everyone for your comments. Peter, my only thought was that one of Robohelp's .JS files was causing the problem, not the actual compiler. But I've since found a help file not created by Robohelp with the same problem.

In any case, it has been reported on Microsoft's connect feedback site: https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/676951/kb2530548-ie-9-update-breaks-non-html-links.... I've added my vote that I can reproduce the issue. If anyone else is affected by this, I guess the path to go down is reporting this to Microsoft - perhaps they take more note of feedback with more votes? PS. you have to register with the connect site to add your vote.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 07, 2011 Jul 07, 2011

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Searching on "ie-9-update-breaks-non-html-links-in-chm-files" lead me to a thread with this line

"After installing the KB2530548 IE update, opening a CHM-internal non-html link (e.g. test.doc) crashes the calling application"

I wonder if uninstalling that update will fix this problem?


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Hello All,

We are having the same problem.  Specifically, on our QC machines that have Windows 7 and IE9 installed.  We open our CAD/CAM software, open the help, click any Captivate video link (.exe format), and everything crashes, including the CAD/CAM software!

We are continuing to test other types of links in the help (JS, image map, URL, email, etc), and will keep an eye on the Microsoft sites for a fix.  We have found that uninstalling IE9 fixes the problem, but that's not a viable workaround for our entire customer base.

I will also contact Microsoft and try to escalate this obvious and unacceptable IE9 bug.

Karen Graf

Senior Technical Writer

CNC Software, Inc.

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Have you tried uninstalling just the item I referred to? I realise it is not ideal but it is better than uninstalling 9 completely, assuming it works.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Hello Peter!

I have not tried that, only because I can't ask our tens of thousands of end users to use a technical workaround. Also, many of our larger clients have their computers locked down and have very limited administrative rights.

If we were a small company and only using the help internally, that might be a solution. However, we distribute and install our software on a retail basis, and we just can't ask our customers to rely on a IE9 bug workaround.

This is a huge issue for us because our CAD/CAM software (Mastercam) is a huge manufacturing application, and when it crashes, our customers not only lose extremely important data, but they also lose productivity time. Software crashes are release-stopper issues here at CNC. If Microsoft doesn't come up with a fix soon, I may have to pull out all our embedded Captivate videos. Ouch!

It's nice to "hear" from you again. I hope you and your family are enjoying good health and warm weather.

Karen

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Community Beginner ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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I tried uninstalling KB2530548 but it had no effect on the problem.  Thanks for the suggestion.

Tom

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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TOM

Thanks for that.

KAREN

Had that solution worked I would have said that you don't have much option but to tell customers who are contacting your Support that this is a Microsoft problem that has been reported and explain that you will be issuing new help that works around the problem. Meantime their only option would have been removing that patch. I agree it is far from ideal but if they have installed IE9, what else can you do but suggest solutions no matter how unpalatable.

We hit a similar problem when Microsoft blocked CHMs from running on a server. A company we had taken over used such help so we had to explain to large companies that in the short term the only solution was a registry edit on all machines. We didn't encounter the resistance expected.

Health is good but warm weather? I got back from Iceland last week and it was warmer there.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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LEGEND ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Hi Karen

I think it would be perfectly acceptable to have in your software release notes or specs that if your customers are using IE 9, there are known problems.

Personally, I have to smile at the comment you made where you say "asking tens of thousands of customers to uninstall..".

I don't question that you say you have tens of thousands of customers. What I do question is that you believe all your customers always upgrade to the latest and greatest browser when it arrives. My own guess is that it will affect far far fewer than you believe because let's face it. Folks are lazy (myself included) and they just won't install newer versions of the browser.

One possible workaround I could fathom would be to install the PDF and other files separate to the CHM in a known folder location. Then create HTML pages that redirect to open the files and store those in the same location. Then create absolute links to where these pages reside. My thought is that this should remove the CHM from the picture entirely. Once they successfully open the external HTML page you are handing things off to the browser, no?

Cheers... Rick

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Thanks Rick!

We are already discussing the two options you've suggested. I may be able to insert a warning message at the top of each help topic that has a link to a Captivate video, and then announce the IE9 bug in the ReadMe and in an email to all our Resellers. I'll have to run that one up the pole at our next week's staff meeting, and then we'll run it by QC and the big dogs for approval. I really don't want to yank out all the videos.

I agree that many of our users probably won't upgrade to IE9 soon and most of those won't click the embedded Captivate video links, but even if a fraction of them do, imagine the Support calls!! I know my audience, and things won't be pretty if their software crashes. Heads would roll my friend!

Hopefully Microsoft will have a fix before our next release.

Karen

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New Here ,
Jul 14, 2011 Jul 14, 2011

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I agree with you, Rick; a lot of people are lazy.  But if Microsoft automatically includes it in their updates (I have to uncheck it every time I get one because it

- nor 8 - works with anything I have to use), we may have customers who are installing it and don't know it.  That's my concern, and I have a lot of PDF links in my help systems.

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Hi All,

I logged a formal bug on the Microsoft IE9 feedback site.

Here is the link if anyone wants to view it and/or comment on it.

https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/678862/embedded-links-in-chm-files-crash-applicati...

Karen

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Community Expert ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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It looks like only the poster can view the links to the Microsoft bug reports.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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New Here ,
Jul 08, 2011 Jul 08, 2011

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Sorry. I didn't realize that. I marked it as "public" so I thought others could view it. I have a screen shot of the summary if anyone wants to see it.

Karen

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New Here ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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Hi Peter and Karen,

You must have a microsoft connect account (which is pretty quick to sign up for) to view these feedback links.

There are now 2 connect reports for this issue:

Karen's: https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/678862/embedded-links-in-chm-files-crash-applicati...

Someone else's: https://connect.microsoft.com/IE/feedback/details/676951/kb2530548-ie-9-update-breaks-non-html-links...

I would recommend that anyone else encountering this problem clicks the 'I can too' link on both of these.

I'm not sure if there is any other way to report/escalate a problem with Microsoft.

Anita

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Community Expert ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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Yes I do have a Connect account. Whichever link I try, I get this message:

Page Not Found

The content that you requested cannot be found or you do not have permission to view it.


See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

@petergrainge

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LEGEND ,
Jul 10, 2011 Jul 10, 2011

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New Here ,
Jul 11, 2011 Jul 11, 2011

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Hi All,

Anita is correct. You must create a Microsoft Connect account with a Windows Live ID before you can log or view issues. Here is the link to begin that process:

https://login.live.com/login.srf?wa=wsignin1.0&wtrealm=connect.microsoft.com&wreply=https%3a%2f%2fconnect.microsoft.com%2fIE%2fSelfNomination.aspx%3fProgramID%3d4792%26pageType%3d1%26stoAI%3d10&wp=MBI_FED_SSL&wlcxt=microsoft%24microsoft%24microsoft

I found that it took some time to set up an account. There is a series of questions that you must answer, although benign in nature.

Karen

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