Can't find help project


I’m trying to compile Audacity, and, can’t get past the following step:

“Build the “help” project by enabling it in the MS Visual Studio
Configuration Manager (Build menu). This will download a copy of the
Manual wiki onto your machine and copy it to the correct place for
your build. If the local copy needs to be updated, run
and re-build the “help” project.”

Is this really required for a full build of Audacity? Can I just skip and still build this? Not that I don’t want the help one, but, I need to build fast.

Yes you can skip it.

Assuming you downloaded the Audacity latest development code, you can read the Manual for the development code online: .


Well then, compile.txt needs updating, because, it says: “1. Locally installed help is optional, but required for a full Release

I have already compiled a working build, but, am seriously frustrated with this completely carelessly written documentation.

I will write my own tutorial when I’ll have some time, so that other people can build it under 10 minutes which is what it should take, not 4 days due to poorly written documentation.

“Optional” means what it says, but I will try and tweak the text.

However in your case you are not making a build of Audacity for public release in an installer. If you were doing that, you should build “help”.

In fact you are explicitly forbidden from distributing an ASIO-enabled build of Audacity to anyone else. Please see .

Compile.txt assumes some foreknowledge or at least willingness to search and navigate other web pages. Otherwise it would slow down users who already have some experience in compiling programs and then they would be complaining.

You could also have looked at Missing features - Audacity Support .

Instead of suffering in silence you could also have asked here.

A volunteer has already written a tutorial with more handholding that includes help on the ASIO part of the job. See . Would that have helped?

You can never build in 10 minutes from scratch. It takes at least 40 minutes to install the correct SDK, Visual Studio, and then build both Widgets and Audacity - if you have done it before and know what you are doing.

If you have specifics about “carelessness”, please collect the specifics together and post them in a new topic in this board.


The problem is that “Locally installed help is optional, but required for a full Release build.” can also be taken as it is optional as long as one does not compile a full Release build.

I have already read and Missing features - Audacity Support before posting this, as well as searched pages and so on so forth, which just goes to prove that none of those are actually clear enough.

The argument that it would drag down advanced users is a non-argument for me. People who know more can just skip reading lines, and, move on to the next step.

It would be VERY nice if there would just be single building wikis based on different operating systems so that people can actually build faster.

Maybe you don’t believe this, but, it actually took me less than 10 minutes to build once I wrote my own documentation, simply due to processing power and computer performance.

I did not write that text, but I have already agreed to tweak it.

Then please make specific suggestions for improvement.

No. Developers and experienced users will just cry “un-necessary verbiage”. Research it if you don’t believe me.

There is case for a separate help-me-every-step-of-the-way document which would be of huge length, but that was what the hometownband page was aiming for.

Which is fine if we have an army of paid documentation writers and can monitor each document to keep it updated for Microsoft changes. Audacity is free software run by a small number of volunteers.

Proportionally, only a fraction of a percent of Windows users of Audacity compile Audacity. Our priority is on documenting usage of Audacity itself in the Manual.

We’ll look forward to your documentation for Windows XP and let you know if it is clear to us.

Yes, once you have installed Visual Studio and the SDK.


Naaaah, Visual Studio and the SDK take about 5 minutes of installing, I didn’t add that to the actual compiling time, as, well, one isn’t compiling during that time.

Also, installing is something anyone knows how to do, it’s the actual compiling part that takes time.

I’ve been making point and click .reg files for environment variables and so on so forth, will share once done.

I’ll volunteer to test your instructions.
I rarely use Windows at all these days and gave up trying to build on Windows when I kept running into bugs in the free version of VS, but I’d be delighted to follow detailed step-by-step instructions.

If you were attempting it on a virtual machine under Ubuntu, that could be the reason.

I thought was reasonably step like?


That was my first attempt.
I then tried it on a real, (but old) hardware with little more success. At that time I didn’t really have the will or inclination to persevere with something that appeared so convoluted and long winded on Windows, that could be done so easily on my preferred OS.

Let’s try step 1:

  1. Get Microsoft VC++ 2008 (this is the compiler you will need—it is free from Microsoft). You may get the 32-bit version (which will work on 64-bit) here:
    Microsoft VC++ 2008

Where exactly on that page do I click to download Microsoft VC++ 2008 ?

Make sure you get the service pack. 2008 was notorious for random linker errors before it.

BTW that’s a great guide.

I see nothing wrong with the links for VS2008 on , except that it’s a continual battle to keep the links updated as Microsoft remove download links to VS2008.

I have not installed VS2008 on Windows 8 yet but from numerous comments on Stack Overflow I believe it works. I assume you can use the version of Windows SDK advertised on .

The later “Windows SDK for Windows 8” doesn’t target Windows XP so it would not be any use to Audacity Team, and there are questions on the web (but no answers) as to whether “Windows SDK for Windows 8” supports VS2008.


Yes it sounds like lack of motivation or interest was the problem.

When I first did it I had VS2008 without SP1 but the first run of Windows Update after that offered me VS2008 SP1 and other fixes for it (as it says on Missing features - Audacity Support ).

Clearly the original link no longer exists and is redirected.

Again, the links on Missing features - Audacity Support are correct. It’s up to Ed to ensure his links are correct. I agree we should not link to Ed’s page until he rechecks it thoroughly.


Slightly off topic, but do you know the current status of the Microsoft Update for XP 100% cpu bug (Redirecting) ? It seems that they fix it then within a few weeks it breaks again.

This is Windows Update run in the web browser?

AFAICT from the end of that topic, the latest problem was that the update was choking trying to check legacy security updates for Internet Explorer which were irrelevant because the past updates were already cumulated into current updates.

So with the legacy updates deprecated, that problem should be fixed, and all should be OK assuming the user also has in place all other current IE fixes for issues that were causing their own hang.

I remember another gotcha now. Even if you download the VS2008 installer without SP1 which is itself only a few kb, the drive being downloaded to must have enough space to install VS even if you are not installing VS there. Otherwise, the installer hangs when you run it.


It also affects automatic update. Fixing the problem when it breaks is a pain, especially on single processor machines, because the computer just grinds to a halt as soon as the update service starts (which by default is automatic on start up). There are conspiracy theories about Microsoft doing it deliberately to drive users off XP, which don’t sound at all far fetched if you experience the problem first hand :imp:

Thanks for the heads up, Gale. I reworked the VC++ section improving the text and correcting the links.