FIX: C1024 or C1083 Error When INCLUDE Set to Root Directory

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Article ID: 97809 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q97809
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An attempt to compile an application fails and Microsoft C/C++ generates one of the following messages. For version 8.0:
fatal error C1083: Cannot open include file: 'stdio.h':
Permission denied
For version 7.0:
fatal error C1024: cannot open include file 'stdio.h'
The application compiles correctly in Microsoft C version 6.0 for MS-DOS.


The INCLUDE environment variable specifies the root directory of a drive and a required header file is located in the root directory. This occurs most often when the MS-DOS SUBST command creates a drive letter for a subdirectory on a drive.


To work around this problem, edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT file to replace the backslash character (\) in the directory specification with a forward slash character (/). For example, the modified SET statement would appear as follows:
   set INCLUDE=C:/ 
For a drive letter created with the SUBST command, omitting the backslash character entirely also works. For example:
   set INCLUDE=M:


Microsoft has confirmed this to be a bug in the products listed at the beginning of this article. This bug was corrected in C/C++ version 9.0, included with Visual C++ 32-bit Edition, version 2.0.


Perform the following two steps to demonstrate this problem.

  1. Copy STDIO.H to the root directory on your C drive.
  2. Enter the following at the MS-DOS command prompt:
       set INCLUDE=C:\ 
       cl TEST.C
If your C/C++ INCLUDE directory is C:\C700\INCLUDE, the error also occurs if you enter the following at the MS-DOS command prompt:
   subst M: C:\C700\INCLUDE
   set INCLUDE=M:\ 
   cl TEST.C
The compiler uses the INCLUDE environment variable to specify the directories it searches for header files listed in the #include statement.

The MS-DOS SUBST command can be used to substitute a drive letter for a directory path. For more information on the SUBST command, please refer to your "MS-DOS User's Guide and Reference" manual. Also note that the online help for MS-DOS version 6.0 states "Do not use the SUBST command when you are running Windows."

Sample Code

 * Compile options needed: none

#include <stdio.h>

void main (void)
   printf("Hello World\n");


Article ID: 97809 - Last Review: July 5, 2005 - Revision: 2.1
  • Microsoft C/C++ Professional Development System 7.0
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.5 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 1.0 Professional Edition
kbbug kbcompiler kbfix KB97809
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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