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How to: Invoke the Command-Line Compiler 

You can invoke the command-line compiler by typing the name of its executable file into the command line, also known as the MS-DOS prompt. If you compile from the default Windows Command Prompt, you must type the fully qualified path to the executable file. To override this default behavior, you can either use the Visual Studio Command Prompt, or modify the PATH environment variable. Both allow you to compile from any directory by simply typing the compiler name.

When compiling from the command line, you must explicitly reference the Microsoft Visual Basic run-time library through the /reference compiler option.

NoteNote

The dialog boxes and menu commands you see might differ from those 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 Visual Studio Settings.

To invoke the compiler using the Visual Studio Command Prompt

  1. Open the Visual Studio Tools program folder within the Microsoft Visual Studio program group.

  2. You can use the Visual Studio Command Prompt to access the compiler from any directory on your machine, if Visual Studio 2005 is installed.

  3. Invoke the Visual Studio Command Prompt.

  4. At the command line, type vbc.exe exe /imports:Microsoft.VisualBasic,System sourceFileName and then press ENTER.

    For example, if you stored your source code in a directory called SourceFiles, you would open the Command Prompt and type cd SourceFiles to change to that directory. If the directory contained a source file named Source.vb, you could compile it by typing vbc.exe /imports:Microsoft.VisualBasic,System Source.vb.

To set the PATH environment variable to the compiler for the Windows Command Prompt

  1. Use the Windows Search feature to find Vbc.exe on your local disk.

    The exact name of the directory where the compiler is located depends on the location of the Windows directory and the version of the .NET Compact Framework installed. If you have more than one version of the .NET Compact Framework installed, you must determine which version to use (typically the latest version).

  2. From your Start Menu, right-click My Computer, and then click Properties from the shortcut menu.

  3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment Variables.

  4. In the System variables pane, select Path from the list and click Edit.

  5. In the Edit System Variable dialog box, move the insertion point to the end of the string in the Variable Value field and type a semicolon (;) followed by the full directory name found in Step 1.

  6. Click OK to confirm your edits and close the dialog boxes.

    After you change the PATH environment variable, you can run the Visual Basic compiler at the Windows Command Prompt from any directory on the computer.

To invoke the compiler using the Windows Command Prompt

  1. From the Start menu, click on the Accessories folder, and then open the Windows Command Prompt.

  2. At the command line, type vbc.exe /imports:Microsoft.VisualBasic,System sourceFileName and then press ENTER.

    For example, if you stored your source code in a directory called SourceFiles, you would open the Command Prompt and type cd SourceFiles to change to that directory. If the directory contained a source file named Source.vb, you could compile it by typing vbc.exe /imports:Microsoft.VisualBasic,System Source.vb.

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