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Senior Member
Lone Wolf Staff
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 8,232

Old July 24th, 2010, 02:33 PM
Hmm. I'm surprised this issue never made it onto the forums. About once every 2 months, we have someone run into this problem and report it to technical support. I work it through with them to get them running properly.

I'm sorry you ran into this issue. It sounds like you spent a fair bit of time on this, and I wish you had simply sent a problem report to technical support or posted here earlier in the process. We could have probably gotten this resolved before you threw in the towel. At least this post will get the details officially onto the forums for anyone else who runs into it.

I'll start by asserting this is not an issue with Hero Lab - the culprit is something else on your computer. Hero Lab uses the standard built-in Windows API for accessing the internet. The same standard mechanism has been in use across all of our products for many years, and it works well on hundreds of thousands of computers. So the trick is in figuring out what is gumming up the works on your particular computer.

Since we use the standard Windows API for internet access, it means that every internet security product (McAfee, Norton, etc.) will intercept all the calls that Hero Lab makes. This creates an external factor for which many users aren't aware of the implications.

Sometimes, the issue is due to a bug in how the internet security product works, with the security product not maintaining 100% conformance to how the Windows API behaves. In order to insert their security logic, such products replace the standard built-in Windows functions that Hero Lab calls with their own versions. If the replaced version isn't 100% consistent with the behavior of the original function, it can fail and report an error incorrectly. This has occurred numerous times over the years. The problem miraculously corrects itself after a week or two - and the correction coincides with an update of the internet security product.

More often, the issue stems from the user needing to properly configure the internet security product(s) to allow Hero Lab through. The security tools automatically recognize major products (e.g. web browsers, Microsoft Office, etc.), so those products are implicitly allowed access to the internet. Other programs are blocked by default, so the user needs to go into the configuration settings of the security tool and explicitly allow those programs to get through. Hero Lab falls into this category.

The problem is that users are misled by this behavior. They assume all programs should be getting through to the internet since all the major ones are getting through. Consequently, they never think about the fact that Hero Lab is being blocked by default and needs to be explicitly allowed through.

A third possibility has also arisen, which is due to a change in a recent update to Internet Explorer. It turns out IE changed the settings to use a LAN proxy. This will generally make internet access fail for all programs, so it's not usually a factor when a problem is encountered specifically with Hero Lab. If this IE change affects you, let us know and we can outline the steps to correct it.

Now that I've provided some context, let's look at the diagnostic process. Obviously, the first thing to check is that you can access the internet from other programs. Assuming that works, the next thing to do is ensure that each internet security tool is configured to allow Hero Lab through. This includes Windows Firewall and any other tool (or tools) that might be installed on your computer, such as McAfee, Norton, etc.

If that doesn't solve the problem, the next step is to load the "Authoring Kit Sample" game system that is installed with Hero Lab. Once you're in, go to the Tools menu, then the Diagnostics sub-menu, and select "Check Internet Connection". This will run some diagnostics on Hero Lab's access to the internet in an effort to narrow down the problem. If the diagnostics don't help you identify and fix the problem, copy and paste the report into an email to We can then take a look at the report and hopefully uncover more details about what is going wrong.

If you need to send us the diagnostics report, you can still get up and running with Hero Lab, even though the product can't access the internet. You'll simply need to use your web browser to handle all the downloading until we can get the problem figured out for you. Here are the steps you'll need to know to accomplish this.

* Start by loading the Authoring Kit Sample game system.

* To activate your license...
1. Go to the License menu and use the Manual License Activation option.
2. When the wizard completes, switch to your web browser on the same computer to follow the final instructions given by the wizard.
3. Download the file into the specified location on your computer.
4. Restart Hero Lab. The license should now be activated.

* To download data files for game systems...
1. Go to the Help menu and select View Latest Updates on Website.
2. Download the game systems you want to use, making a note of where you saved them on your computer.
3. Now go to the Tools menu and select Import Files.
4. Navigate to one of the files you downloaded and select the file.
5. Then follow the instructions to complete the import process.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 for each game system you downloaded.
7. Now go to the File menu and select Switch Game System. The games you downloaded should now be available for use.

Hopefully, this will prove helpful to the next person that runs into this issue.
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