Friday, March 16, 2007

WinHlp32.exe not included in Windows Vista

Last week I finally was giving the go ahead to upgrade my Work PC from Windows XP Pro to Windows Vista Business. Everything went find with the install but it wasn't until a couple of days ago I needed to open a .hlp file when I received this message.
Clicking on the "The Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) program is no longer included with Windows operating systems starting with Windows Vista" link takes you to KB Article 917607.
In the article it says says that
The WinHlp32.exe technology is officially obsolete, starting with the Windows Vista release. The WinHlp32.exe technology will not be supported in its current form in future Windows releases.
The funny thing is that the 16bit version of Windows Help (Winhelp.exe) is included with Vista. You would have thought that it would have been the program not included.
The WinHelp.exe program is a version of Windows Help that is designed for 16-bit .hlp files. The WinHelp.exe program is included with Windows Vista.
One other thing to note is if you are creating .hlp files with your application
Also, third-party programs that include .hlp files are prohibited from redistributing the Windows Help program together with their products.
But you can can download WinHlp32.exe from the Microsoft Download Center at
Which is what I did and after installing the update I went back and tried to open the .hlp file. Now I received the following error message not just once but actually 6 times.
The reason being is that by default you can't access .hlp files which reside on network shares. All that I needed to do was to add the following (DWORD32) key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WinHelp\AllowIntranetAccess = 1 to the registry.
Opening up the .hlp file from windows explorer works a treat but when I try to use the help file in a program to be able to jump straight to a topic the following error message pops up.
This is due by default macros are not enabled by default so to enable them I needed to go back into the registry to add the following (DWORD32) key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WinHelp\AllowProgrammaticMacros = 1.
So after all that I can now use my old officially obsolete 32bit Help files in Vista.
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