Monday, August 4, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 Feature Pack: Manifest Problems

If you install the Visual Studio 2008 Feature Pack, be aware that the manifest handling in the release is buggy, to put it politely. It's very easy to end up with the manifest requiring both the RTM DLLs (9.00.21022.8) and the Feature Pack DLLs (9.00.30411.0). This can cause weird, untraceable errors at runtime. I blogged about this problem before, but in that case it was caused by changing from a Beta build to the Release build.

There's a helpful blog post about the problem in the Visual C++ Team Blog.

The important point is that there are two #defines that force the manifest to point to the newer DLLs:


There's a single #define that does the same thing, but it's broken in the Feature Pack. [9/7/2008 - It's fixed in Service Pack 1. Thanks "anonymous"!]


The blog points out that defining the explicit BIND macros is not always the right thing to do.

This problem bit me because I was following the directions in this blog post, which call for making copies of certain directories from Debug_NonRedist. In a system where the CRT and MFC DLLs have been installed, there are pointers in the registry from the old versions of the DLLs to the new versions, so everything "just works." However, when using the Debug_nonRedist directories, these redirect pointers don't exist. Since the manifest was calling for the old versions of the DLLs, the application wouldn't open.

If you get error c101008a, either Rebuild All or delete all of your "xxx.exe.embed.manifest" files and build the solution.