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How to troubleshoot failure to install Document Explorer 2005 during VS 2005 setup

How to troubleshoot failure to install Document Explorer 2005 during VS 2005 setup

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I have heard from several customers who have run into problems installing Visual Studio 2005 because the component named Microsoft Document Explorer 2005 fails to install and Visual Studio setup quits when that happens.  I wanted to give a bit more information about what this component is and where logging information can be found to attempt to track down why this installation might fail.

Document Explorer 2005 is a redistributable package that delivers the 8.0 version of dexplore.exe.  This is the help viewer that is used by Visual Studio 2005, and by other products such as the Windows SDK.  In previous versions of Visual Studio, dexplore.exe was installed as a part of the main Visual Studio MSI or as a part of the MSDN MSI, but in VS 2005, it was separated into its own standalone package, and it is installed as a prerequisite before the main Visual Studio MSI.

The setup for Document Explorer 2005 uses the same external UI handler as the .NET Framework 2.0 redistributable and SDK (described in more detail in this blog post and in this blog post).

Visual Studio 2005 setup runs the setup package for Document Explorer 2005 in silent mode.  In cases where this package fails during Visual Studio 2005 setup, you can run dexplore.exe directly from the folder <VS install disc>\wcu\DExplore\ in order to see the error message that is being generated.

This package creates the following log files in the %temp% directory on a system:

  • dd_dexploreui*.txt
  • dd_dexploremsi*.txt

In both of these cases, the * in the name of the files is a randomly generated ending to ensure that each time you run setup it will create a unique file and not overwrite existing log files.

If you do not get any useful error information by running the setup package directly, it can be useful to examine the contents of these log files.  In particular, you can search for the string return value 3 in dd_dexploremsi*.txt and that will usually lead you to the error that causes the setup package to fail.

If you have trouble locating error information, please contact me or leave a comment on this blog post and I will try to help.


  • My computer has just been running like treacle, and I noticed that dexplore was using 99% CPU - but I didn't even have the help browser or Visual Studio open. Any idea why? I just killed it in the end - would that hurt?


  • Hi Samuel - I haven't heard of this issue before, but it is possible there is a bug in dexplore.exe. Killing it should not be a problem in this scenario. If you are able to consistently reproduce this issue, I encourage you to report a bug at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/ so the team that owns that file will be able to take a look.

  • I ran into problems installing VS2005 after the .NET 2.0 runtime had already been installed. I uninstalled the 2.0 runtime and the VS2005 install went smoothly.
  • Do you know about this trouble in Delphi 2005 Architect?
  • Hi Edwin - What kind of trouble are you seeing with Delphi 2005?  I am not sure I understand what problem you are having or how it relates to the topic of this blog post.
  • A while ago, I posted an item regarding a possible cause and resolution for 1935 or 2908 errors during...
  • I had the same problem, but with the Visual C++ Express 2005 edition, by a downloaded ISO file. Unfortunaly, this CD image doesn't contain the 'DExplore' folder, so I'm unable to reinstall it.

    I tried to find the redistribuable package, but didn't found it. How can solve this problem ?

    Note: I've currently a complete setup of Visual Studio.Net 2003, could the dexplore from 7.1 interfer with the new one ?
  • Hi Richard - The Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition does not require Document Explorer to install or run correctly.  It sounds like you might be running into a different error than the one described in this blog post.  Can you please provide some more detail about exactly what error(s) you are seeing and I can try to help figure out how to fix it?
  • Of course :-)

    When I launched the installation process, I had several message boxes saying: 'The Application Data folder for Microsoft Document Explorer could not be created' (I guess for each sub-msi execution), but VCEexpress installation finished.

    When I start VCExpress, I've the same message (in fact, each time I want to access the StartPage or  an help document).

    The installation created a folder named Help8 in my 'Microsoft shared' folder, which contains dexplore.exe, and I've the same message when I launch it.

    Thanks for support
  • VS 2005 Pro a no-go on Vista64 Feb ctp. Same deal:  Windows Document Explorer.  dd_exploreXXXX file shows Error 1935: error during installation of assembly 'Microsoft.VC80.ATL, type="8.0.50727.42", etc.  WHat is rweally interesting is that many of the logged lines say "(x86)" which should not be the case on my 64bit AMD machine running Vista64.

    And you can't use any Add/Remove programs in Vista because thsi program does not show up in the list of "user" programs OR in the Advanced Windows programs list.

    The machine is a dual boot of XPPro32 and Vista Feb CTP.  Just for laughs I tried installing VS2005 and forcing the install path to the D: drive instead of the C:\ drive and it worked.   But remember that the D:\ drive under the Vista boot is actually the xp32's root drive (due to the virtualization of drive letters in a multiboot setup). Even odder is that when I do that I definietly get "(x64)" folders created in the XP32's Program Files folder.

    I don't know how anyone is able to run VS2005 on a "pure" Vista64, it simply will not install for me.  Going back to what works, will check on Vista again AFTER it is RTM ;-)
  • Hi Richard - I am not sure what would cause the error you describe, because Document Explorer is not a prerequisite for any of the Express Editions.  You might want to use the steps listed at http://blogs.msdn.com/astebner/archive/2005/12/16/504906.aspx to manually remove and attempt to reinstall Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition.  I'm sorry I'm not able to be more helpful here.

    Hi Smith - I have not heard of any issues installing VS 2005 on any recent Vista 64-bit builds.  I will try this out on my test machine the next time I have a 64-bit build installed and see if I can figure anythough out.  I'm sorry for the inconvenience that this has caused.  I hope it won't cause you to give up on future beta builds of Windows Vista.
  • my error code is 2908, could someone post the potential cause again? thanks
  • find this error message during installing Microsfot Document Explorer 2005:

    "MSI (s) (AC:6C) [15:54:37:715]: Executing op: ComponentRegister(ComponentId={8E3A9B11-FBB5-4D8A-8B51-4A7A5FFB8717},KeyPath=C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSEnv\PublicAssemblies\Microsoft.VisualStudio.VSContentInstaller.dll,State=3,,Disk=1,SharedDllRefCount=0,BinaryType=0)
    The installer has encountered an unexpected error installing this package. This may indicate a problem with this package. The error code is 2908. The arguments are: {54A515BC-5DCD-4125-A877-357359D2D717}, , "

    However I don't even find any dir of "\PublicAssemblies" under "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSEnv\", Can someone enlighten me the cause of this? thx
  • found it! the .net framework 2.0 screwed up on my system, reinstalled 2.0 rtm 50727, then the problem is fixed. thanks.
  • Hi when i´m trying to deploy Vs2005 I get this application event error.

    the description for Event ID ( 0 ) in Source ( .NET Runtime ) cannot be found. The local computer may not have the necessary registry information or message DLL files to display messages from a remote computer. You may be able to use the /AUXSOURCE= flag to retrieve this description; see Help and Support for details. The following information is part of the event: .NET Runtime version 1.1.4322.573- Config parser error: Error parsing C:\WINDOWS\system32\URTTemp\config\machine.config
    Parser returned error 0x80070003.

    then directly after i get this one.
    Product: Microsoft Document Explorer 2005 -- The installer has encountered an unexpected error installing this package. This may indicate a problem with this package. The error code is 2337. The arguments are: , ,

    For more information, see Help and Support Center at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/events.asp.

    can you help me?
    best regard
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