Supplement: The WSH Bug

You’ve checked out the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) URL ( and decided to give WSH a try. You download and install it and try to run one of the small sample scripts. To your surprise, you get the error you see in Screen A. You refer back to the documentation and are disappointed to read, "Microsoft Internet Explorer version 3.0 must be installed in order to use Windows Scripting Host. WSH relies on the Visual Basic Script and Java Script engines provided with Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0."

Unfortunately, your company uses America’s other favorite browser. You’d prefer not to load an additional 20MB browser on every workstation to use a 1.5MB scripting engine.

As it turns out, the problem has nothing to do with JScript and VBScript engines. WSH includes both. The problem is a dependency on urlmon.dll and shlwapi.dll—DLLs that WSH does not include. Urlmon.dll is the OLE 32 Extensions for Win32 DLL that provides support for URL monikers. Shlwapi.dll stands for Shell Lightweight Utility Library, which provides additional URL support.

Both wscript.exe and cscript.exe are linked to urlmon.dll, which is linked to shlwapi.dll. When you execute either WSH execution host, it attempts to load these two libraries whether or not your script uses URLs. You can verify this scenario on a machine that doesn’t contain Internet Explorer (IE) or Internet Information Server (IIS) if you type cscript.exe or wscript.exe at a command prompt without a script argument. You can also graphically view the dependency tree using the Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Resource Kit Dependency Walker utility.

Microsoft has confirmed this DLL problem is a bug that the company will address. In the meantime, if you want to use WSH, and IE is not an option, you can copy the two DLLs to the %SystemRoot%\system32 directory and restart your machine. Or you can install IE 3.0 or later and then uninstall it, which fails to remove the two shared DLLs.

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