If you’ve installed the MSDN library on top of your Visual Studio, you’ve got a ton of documentation at your fingertips. In fact, way too much, at least in my opinion. Here’s how to get rid of some of it.
When I use the index, I find that many topics appear for which I have absolutely no interest. What the heck is Fox Pro, and why do I care?
The worst offender here is Windows CE. It seems to me that all of the documentation for C++ and .NET has been duplicated, stamped with the Windows CE brand, and included in MSDN. This means nearly everything I need to look up in the index has two entries, which are the same, except one says Windows CE on it, and is formatted worse.
The library comes with an impressive filter facility, but I can’t figure it out, and it looks like it would be a labor-intensive process. What I want is this: when a topic is presented, I want a menu pick that says Never Show This To Me Again (Or Any Other Topic Like It).
That menu pick isn’t available, so here’s how to do it yourself: when the topic appears, find its URL, either in the address bar, or in the properties panel. It will look something like this:
(This is “Flattening Algorithm” from the OLE DB Programmer’s Reference). The important part here is “oledb”. The help files are stored (for example) in c:\Program Files\MSDN\2004JAN\1033. The file in this case is oledb.hxi. Delete it (or if you are a scaredy-cat like me, rename it to .hxi_hidden).
Repeat this process for all the annoying topic areas you find. When you restart Visual Studio, it will notice that the help topics have changed, and spend a while rebuilding its uber-index. You won’t be bothered with those topics again.