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Thread: Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

  1. #1

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    Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

    Recently, some functions such as ShellExecute/ShellExecuteEx are showing a blank page. Many other functions show up fine, including Shell functions. I am using Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit with automatic updates turned off. Last update applied on March 20 this year. I know that IE is used to display these pages. IE version is 11.0.9600.19377. Here is what I tried to fix it:

    1. Apply all Windows Updates, and restart, and repeat until there are no more updates.
    2. Reset IE Options from the Advanced tab. I don't use IE at all, I use Firefox.
    3. Lowered IE Security options just in case it's the cause.
    4. Temporarily turned off my Anti-Virus software.
    5. I close MSDN and reopen it after each change.

    Any other ideas?

  2. #2
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    Re: Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

    I can confirm the aforementioned topics indeed display nothing. My OS is very similar: Win 7 64-bit with updates disabled as well. The only relevant updates I have are SP1, April 2016 Convenience Rollup (also known unofficially as SP2) and KB917607. My IE version is 8.0.7601.17514 (I never updated IE as I use a different browser as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by qvb6 View Post
    Any other ideas?
    Well, you could install both MSDN Library - October 2001 and the MSDN Library Visual Studio 6.0a that came with VB6. MSDN Library - October 2001 has a MSDN Library - Collection Settings that allows the developer to select which of the two is the default help in the IDE.



    BTW, if you view the source of those blank topics, you'll see that the associated help files are not really missing nor have empty content. I have no idea why they don't show up.

  3. #3

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    Re: Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

    Thanks for the help. Spy++ shows that the window class is "Internet Explorer_Server", so it's using IE to view the help. Yes, right clicking and using "View source" shows the HTML source. I tried to enable script debugging and display notifications about every script error, but I didn't see anything. The search continues...

    Edit: Article KB917607 that you mentioned impacts HLP files, while MSDN Library - October 2001 is using CHM files. They are found here:

    C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\MSDN\2001OCT\1033

    Shell functions are listed inside SHELLCC.CHM.
    Last edited by qvb6; Jun 14th, 2019 at 04:18 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

    Some progress: Saving the HTML source into a text file with HTM extension, then opening it in IE, shows the text with a warning: Internet Explorer restricted this page from running scripts or ActiveX controls. When I click on "Allow blocked contents", the text disappears and I get a blank page. I have disabled Protected Mode, and some security settings without effect. I will try to disable more options until I find the cause.

  5. #5
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    Re: Blank pages on some functions in MSDN Library - October 2001

    As far as I can recall this issue has existed for a very long time. It may go back all the way to Windows 95, or it might only be an issue when a version of IE later than 4.x is installed, I can't really tell. I'm almost certain that both Win2K and WinXP exhibited the same thing though.

    I doubt it is caused by blocked content security settings but something more complicated. There are other pages that show fine and contain script snippets that still work.

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