How to install local help content after installing Visual Studio 2010 RC

How to install local help content after installing Visual Studio 2010 RC

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After the Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate (RC) is installed, there is a button to install the documentation locally. If you have overlooked this option or chose not to install documentation locally and wish to do so later, you can follow these instructions.

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Browse to All Programs \ Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 \ Visual Studio Tools, and select Managed Help Settings – ENU (language may vary).
  3. If you’re prompted to set the local content location, change or accept the default and click OK to continue. You may be prompted to provide consent (UAC) for the action. If you are, click Continue or enter administrative credentials to continue.
  4. You will see a set of options. Click Find content on disk.
  5. Click the Browse button.
  6. Browse to the ProductDocumentation folder in the root of your installation media. For example, if your DVD drive is D:\, browse to D:\ProductDocumentation.
  7. Select the file HelpContentSetup.msha and click the Open button.
  8. Click the Next button.
  9. For each set of help content, click the Add link button.
  10. When you are finished making your selections, click the Update button.

You can now browse selected documentation offline. Additional documentation is available online through the viewer or MSDN.

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  • Thanks for the post Heath. It would be nice to have the option for installing the product documentation accessible on the initial installation screen as was the case in previous versions. The steps you described are not what a user would do when looking to install a missing component.

  • Thank you! This, was very helpful.

  • Alright, I got to the part where you install local help, and I accidentally clicked Next on the page where you put in the path. I need to install it on D drive, my OS drive (C:) is not big enough. Now I'm stuck, that field is disabled forever so I can't change the path from c:\ProgramData\<...whatever...>. What do I do now?

    Oh, this is on the RTM version by the way.

  • I chose not to install the documentation while installing Visual Studio 2010 RTM. Now that I want to install local help, I find that the path is set to the C drive. I can view the path in the Managed Help Settings window, but cannot change it.

    Before attempting to hack the registry, I found a possible solution that I have not had a chance to test yet. The command line used for unattended installs may enable the installation of help files to another location. See the section on "To create a Visual Studio 2010 Documentation unattend file (optional)" here:

  • The /content parameter will not override an existing Library location. The help files will be installed to the preset location.

    I also tried deleting the registry key for the Library location and setting a new path through the Help Library Manager. An invalid path error occurred halfway through installing the help files.

    I captured some of the details here:

  • The solution is here:

    search for 'Reset Local Library'

  • If you have already updated with VS 2010 SP1, can you simply install VS2010 RTM help? Or do you need to rerun SP1 after installing help? Or is there SP1 specific help?

  • @Glenn Picher, the Help 1.0 program was installed with RTM already. Content can be added later. SP1 will update the Help program to 1.1, so you should already have it. When you launch help, do you see 1.1 in the title or About box?

  • Thanks Heath,

    I Made use of the way you suggested to install local help content i.e product documentation which will serve a lot during development ! I just followed your instructions and all moved smoothly .

  • With Visual Studio 2010 Premium these instructions don't work.

    The "Find Content on Disk" does not exist as an option, and if I try to select the local help option, I cannot tell it where the MSDN is installed, and it fails to locate it or link it to Visual Studio 2010 IDE.

  • @Colin, sorry for the problem you're having, but you might have better luck posting your question to about using the Help Viewer.

  • I have a problem with installing local help. when I choose HelpContentSetup.msha and click next, I encounter this error: An exception has occurred.

    what's the problem?

    Thanks in advance

  • @Jhon, please see for help with the Help feature.

  • Excellent! Thanks a lot for this article.... This solved my problem!


  • when i click the "install from local files" and then show the right directory it says ""an exception has occurred . check the log file "

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