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Sorry, I don't have an answer but I observe that behavior too. I suspect that it has something to do with me a) renaming the projects and/or b) copying the projects onto a different disk. I did both.
Now my parent.hhp file has this [MERGE FILE] section:
But, like you, sometimes it adds the extra listings and sometimes not. I haven't figured out what triggers the overwriting of or adding to my parent .hhp file. I've poked around to ... to try and find out how to get rid of that info so it won't add it. But no luck yet.
Thanks to anyone you can answer this!
I found a partial solution to the problem of completely incorrect files being included. If you are having problems with the path being hard coded, I have yet to find a solution, but suspect it is something to do with source control (MS Visual SourceSafe in our case).
Anyway, back to the incorrect files:
If you open the .xpj file, at the bottom of the file you may find a section starting with the tag [mergedhelpfiles]. You can delete all the incorrect chm files and subfolders here.
I'm not entirely sure if the section is necessary, because another "master" project doesn't have this section. When I have a free moment, I plan to create test projects with and without this section to see what the difference is.
Hope this helps at least partially.