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

Jun 22, 2011 11:06 PM

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.

 
Replies
  • RoboColum(n)
    5,356 posts
    Oct 8, 2004
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 23, 2011 12:14 AM   in reply to neats28

    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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    Jun 28, 2011 7:38 PM   in reply to neats28

    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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    Jun 30, 2011 3:07 AM   in reply to neats28

    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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    Jun 30, 2011 10:42 PM   in reply to neats28

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2011 7:57 AM   in reply to neats28

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2011 4:50 AM   in reply to neats28

    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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    Jul 8, 2011 5:07 AM   in reply to Karen Graf

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2011 5:22 AM   in reply to Peter Grainge

    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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    Jul 8, 2011 5:29 AM   in reply to Karen Graf

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

     

    Tom

     
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    Jul 8, 2011 5:43 AM   in reply to pltwwhite

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2011 6:56 AM   in reply to neats28

    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-link s-in-chm-files-crash-application-on-computers-that-have-ie9-installed

     

    Karen

     
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    Jul 8, 2011 7:00 AM   in reply to Karen Graf

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2011 7:09 AM   in reply to Peter Grainge

    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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    Jul 8, 2011 7:23 AM   in reply to Karen Graf

    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

     

     

    Helpful and Handy Links

    RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

    Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

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    Jul 8, 2011 7:38 AM   in reply to Captiv8r

    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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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2011 2:47 PM   in reply to neats28

    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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    Jul 10, 2011 4:18 PM   in reply to neats28
     
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    Jul 11, 2011 1:33 AM   in reply to Captiv8r

    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.microso ft.com&wreply=https%3a%2f%2fconnect.microsoft.com%2fIE%2fSelfNominatio n.aspx%3fProgramID%3d4792%26pageType%3d1%26stoAI%3d10&wp=MBI_FED_SSL&w lcxt=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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    Jul 11, 2011 2:06 AM   in reply to Karen Graf

    Eventually got there. The questions are in a mandatory survey you have to complete before you can see the bug reports.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

    @petergrainge

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 14, 2011 10:57 AM   in reply to Captiv8r

    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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    Oct 11, 2011 11:29 AM   in reply to Peter Grainge

    Is there any update to this issue? Will Microsoft be fixing this?

     
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    Oct 11, 2011 1:16 PM   in reply to amyboosh

    Who knows? I have not seen anything and I am not aware of anywhere that tells you what bugs they are fixing.

     

    Have you posted it as a bug on Microsoft's site? It needs lots of people to complain.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

    @petergrainge

     
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    Oct 11, 2011 1:18 PM   in reply to amyboosh

    I have no clue.  All I could do was log it and remove all of our Captivate links before the next major release of our software went to market!  [SIGH]

     

    Karen

     
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    Oct 11, 2011 2:17 PM   in reply to Peter Grainge

    I replied to one of the posts on Microsoft's site, but I can post it as a bug as well and see what kind of response they will give at this point. Peter, do you know if there is a way to break the pdfs out from the chm and link to them directly in a folder? I am on RoboHelp 8. Do you know of any other work arounds? Thanks so much!

     
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    Oct 11, 2011 2:23 PM   in reply to Karen Graf

    Uhhhh, Captivate?

     

    Captivate things should work fine in RoboHelp. I thought the issue was with PDF and Word content?

     

    Cheers... Rick

     

    Helpful and Handy Links

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    Oct 11, 2011 2:30 PM   in reply to Captiv8r

    We produce our Captivate videos as .exe files.  When those embedded links were clicked on test machines with IE9 installed, they crashed the CHM and also the main application (not just the Help, but the CAD/CAM software)!......No warning about whether or not you want to save your work..….just plain closed up like a clam without saving.

     

    We had no time to do anything but yank all the links to the Captivate .exe files before we released our software.  I detailed this in my Jul 8, 2011 5:50 AM response to this thread, and that’s how I logged it with Microsoft.

     

    Karen

     
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    Oct 11, 2011 2:59 PM   in reply to Karen Graf

    Ahhh okay. I see now.

     

    Yes, if you are creating your Captivates as EXE format RoboHelp has no clue what it is.

     

    Out of curiousity, why are you using EXE format? Work around the function key issues?

     

    Cheers... Rick

     

    Helpful and Handy Links

    RoboHelp Wish Form/Bug Reporting Form

    Begin learning RoboHelp HTML 7, 8 or 9 within the day!

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    Oct 12, 2011 12:59 AM   in reply to amyboosh

    @amyboosh

     

    The only workaround I can think of is for you to put the PDFs on a webserver and create links to them. That assumes your users have internet access at all times.

     


    See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips

     

    @petergrainge

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 10, 2012 1:07 PM   in reply to Peter Grainge

    Has anyone been able to confirm that this has been fixed and in what version of IE 9? I remember seeing this happening for us, but now it appears to be fixed. (My co-worker tested it and found that in update version 9.0.9 there's no crash when opening an embedded PDF).

     
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