Troubleshooting Visual Basic Express

Although Visual Basic Express makes programming easy, you might have to resolve problems that occur as you create your applications. As you work through the Visual Basic Guided Tour or go on to write your own programs, you may be able to find some help here if you run into problems.

A Lesson in the Guided Tour Doesn't Work

As you work through the lessons in the guided tour, you may find that your program doesn't run or that it doesn't behave the way that it should. In most cases, errors occur because you skipped a step or mistyped the code.


When entering code for a guided tour lesson, use the Copy Code button in the Help topic, and paste the code into the Code Editor—it's easier than typing it, and you are less likely to make a mistake.

It is also possible that, due to late-breaking changes in the product, steps or code in the lesson may be wrong. The online versions of these topics are periodically updated, so a corrected version of the topic may be available online.

To correct errors in a lesson

  1. Go back to the step in which the program last worked, and carefully follow each remaining step.

  2. Review any code that you entered and make sure that it exactly matches the code in the lesson.

  3. Press F5 to run the program.

    If the program still doesn't run or behave as expected, check to see if an updated version of the topic is available. For more information, see "I Can't Access a Help Topic" below.

I Can't Find a Command or Option

The options available in dialog boxes, and the names and locations of menu commands you see, might differ from what is described in Help, depending on your active settings or edition. To change your settings, choose Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Working with Settings.

I Can't Access a Help Topic

The Help files that are included with Visual Basic Express are a subset of the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions, which is in turn a subset of the full MSDN Online Library. During installation you had the option of installing the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions—if you chose not to install it, consider doing so now.

You can also install either the full MSDN Library or the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions by downloading it from the MSDN Download Center Web site.

Links to topics that are not included in the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions will display the Information Not Found page, but you can still access the topics that the links refer to by searching in the MSDN Online Library.

  1. On the Help menu, click Search.

    The Search Page opens.

  2. In the search box, enter the text that was displayed in the link, and then click Search.

    A search is performed and the results are displayed.

  3. Select the MSDN Online tab on the right-hand side of the Search page.


    If MSDN Online is not displayed, your Help system may not be configured for online access. For more information, see "How to: Enable Online Access" below.

  4. Click the topic title that most closely matches the text of the original link.

    The topic is downloaded and displayed.

Pressing F1 Doesn't Work

Pressing F1 anywhere in the IDE should display context-sensitive Help. Even though not all topics are included in the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express Editions, if you are connected to the Internet, you can access any Help topic in the full library using F1. If you do not have online access or you chose not enable online Help, some help topics may not be available using F1.

You can change you Help options at any time as described below.

How to: Enable Online Access

The first time you access help from Visual Basic Express you are prompted to choose how online Help is configured. The choices are to try and find the online version of a topic first, to try locally installed Help first and look online if it isn't found, or to use local Help only.


If you have access to the Internet, you should configure Help so that it checks online Help first—if a newer version of a topic is available, you will always have the most up-to-date information if you search for the topic or use F1.

You can change you Help options at any time as described below.


To access online Help, you must have an active connection to the Internet, and any proxy server or firewall must be configured to allow access to the MSDN online library.

To enable online access

  1. If it is not already open, open Visual Basic from the Windows Start menu.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Options.

  3. In the Options dialog box, select the Show All Settings check box.

  4. Expand the Help node under Environment, and then click Online.

  5. In the When loading Help content box, click either Try online first, then local, or Try local first, then online.

    You should now be able to access online Help.


    When you click a link in a local topic, it will not automatically take you to the online version of the topic. If you receive the Information Not Found page, you can search for the title of the topic to retrieve the online version of the topic.

My Database Isn't Reflecting Changes

A local database file can be included as a file in a project. The first time you connect your application to a local database file, you can choose between creating a copy of the database in your project or connecting to the existing database file in its current location.

If you choose to create a copy of the database, depending on the file settings, it is possible that a new copy of the database is being created each time the project is run, overwriting the version that contains your changes. For more information, see How to: Manage Local Data Files in Your Project.

See Also


Additional Information About Data Access Errors

Troubleshooting Data Types (Visual Basic)


Resources for Troubleshooting Integrated Development Environment Errors

Other Resources

MSDN Library for Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions