ENVI 4.6 or 4.6.1 Help does not work

Most commonly seen on a Windows x64 machine running Java 6 64-bit— ENVI and IDL (64-bit) both load fine, IDL Help loads fine, but ENVI Help does not start.

The problem is only partially documented by ITTVIS, here:

The fundamental issue is that ENVI 4.6 and 4.6.1 require an old version of Java to run the help files (5.0 Update 11 is mentioned).

SSC has had success getting ENVI 4.6 and 4.61 running on 64-bit Windows system with Java 6 64-bit, but the common issue is that ENVI Help does not start. There is no error message most of the time. IDL Help does start.

The reason that ENVI 4.6 and 4.6.1 Help does not run is that, not only does it require Java 5.0, it specifically requires Java 32-bit to be installed.


To correct this problem:

If attempting to start ENVI 4.6.1/4.6 Help on Windows fails with an error or you receive no response try the following steps. Note that administrative privileges may be required to complete these steps.

1. Download and install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 5.0 update 11 32-bit.

Note: If your system already has JRE version 5.0 update 11 32-bit (or later), proceed to configuring ENVI Help initialization file to use the installed Java version.

Note: 64-bit Windows may only have a 64-bit JRE installed, but not a 32-bit JRE. The IDL workbench, IDL Help and ENVI Help always require a 32-bit JRE. If you encounter the error “JVM terminated. Exit code=-1”, it may be caused by the missing 32-bit JRE. In that case, it will be necessary to install a 32-bit JRE on the system and then configure the help system as described below.

A compatible version of the JRE is a free download available directly from Sun Microsystems at:

2. Modify the ENVI Help initialization file to use the JRE installed on your system. You will need to modify the ENVI Help initialization file located in the envi46/help/eclipse subdirectory of your ENVI 4.6.1 or ENVI 4.6 installation. To do this, edit (using a plain text editor, like Notepad) the envihelp.ini file located at, for example:

C:\Program Files\ITT\IDL708\products\envi46\help\eclipse\envihelp.ini ( ENVI 4.6.1 )
C:\Program Files\ITT\IDL706\products\envi46\help\eclipse\envihelp.ini ( ENVI 4.6 )

and add the following two lines at the beginning of the envihelp.ini file:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.5.0_11\bin

where the second line should show the path to the actual directory that contains the file javaw.exe on your system.

After modification, the resulting contents of the “envihelp.ini” file might would look like this:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre1.5.0_11\bin