Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Help (.hlp) Files - Cannot Open in Windows 7 Fix

Help (.hlp) Files - Cannot Open in Windows 7 Fix

How to Open 32-bit Help (.hlp) Files that Require WinHlp32.exe in Windows 7
Published by Brink
29 Jan 2011
Published by

How to Open 32-bit Help (.hlp) Files that Require WinHlp32.exe in Windows 7

information   Information
Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) is a Help program that has been included with Microsoft Windows versions starting with the Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system. However, the Windows Help program has not had a major update for many releases and no longer meets Microsoft's standards. Therefore, starting with the release of Windows Vista and continuing in Windows 7, the Windows Help program will not ship as a feature of Windows 7. If you want to view 32-bit .hlp files, you must download and install the program (WinHlp32.exe) from the Microsoft Download Center below.

This tutorial will show you how to install and uninstall WinHlp32.exe (KB917607) in Windows 7.

For more information, see:
Download details: Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 7


I cannot open Help files that require the Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) program

Note   Note
When you try open an .hlp file in Windows 7, you receive the following message in the Windows Help and Support window:

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isnít included in this version of Windows. However, you can download a program that will allow you to view Help created in the Windows Help format.

To Install WinHlp32.exe to be able to open .hlp Files in Windows 7
1. Click on the link below to go the Microsoft site.
Download details: Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 7
2. If Validation is Required before Allowed to Download
A) Click on the Continue button and follow the on-screen instructions to validate your Windows 7. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Validate.jpg
Views: 3710
Size:  27.7 KB
3. Click on the Download button that is the same as your installed 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) Windows 7, and save the file to your desktop. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Download.jpg
Views: 3688
Size:  32.1 KB
4. Install the downloaded Windows6.1-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows6.1-KB917607-x86.msu file.

5. You should now be able to open 32-bit .hlp files using Windows 7 Help and Support.

To Uninstall WinHlp32.exe (KB917607) from Windows 7
1. Open Installed Updates in Programs and Features.

2. Click on KB917607 to uninstall WinHlp32.exe. (see screenshot below)
Help (.hlp) Files - Cannot Open in Windows 7 Fix-uninstall.jpg
3. When it's finished, you can close the Installed Updates window.
That's it,


18 Jun 2012   #1

7 ultimate
Problem using WinHlp32.exe - asks to copy file to new drive

Hi Brink, O wonderworking sage.

Running W7Ultimate with basically everything on the D drive, (apart from some old data on C). I downloaded and installed WinHlp32.exe but when I right-click on the file I want to open and say Open with WinHlp32.exe, I get the response "Cannot display this help file. try opening the help file again, and if you still get this message, copy the help file to a different drive, and try again." I copied the .hlp file to a USB key and tried again and it worked, opening the file correctly. OK, but why ? It seems an unnecessary bit of flummery.
More seriously, WinHlp32 does not itself allow one to save the opened file (one might want to re-read it - indeed with this one, which is about analysis of a large academic database, it will be essential), so by right-clicking on it, I saved it back from the USB key to the desktop. Is this really necessary ? Even after reading the description on Wikipedia of how .hlp files are organized, I cannot see the purpose of all this.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Jun 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise

Hello adj,

It may be a issue with you having everything on D instead of C and when you ran the WinHlp32.exe file to install it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2014   #3

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64

Great to put that here...just to mention that registry settings had to be made:

"The following list shows the known functionality regressions from previous releases of WinHlp32.exe. The following known issues apply only to the version of WinHlp32.exe that is discussed in this article."

By default, the following macros are disabled in Windows Help:
  • ExecFile
  • RegisterRoutine
  • ShellExecute
  • ShortCut
  • Generate
  • Test
  • ExecProgram
However, all other macros in .hlp files will function as they did in past releases. Therefore, if an .hlp file that depends on these macros is opened after you install Windows Help for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2, some functionality of the file may not work correctly.

  1. On 32-bit editions of Windows, locate and then select the following registry subkey:

  3. On 64-bit editions of Windows, locate and then select the following registry subkey:
  4. HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft
  5. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
  6. Type WinHelp, and then press Enter.
  7. Click the WinHelp key.
  8. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  9. Type AllowProgrammaticMacros, and then press Enter.
  10. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  11. In the Value data box, type 1, click Hexadecimal in the Base area, and then click OK.
  12. Exit Registry Editor.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Help (.hlp) Files - Cannot Open in Windows 7 Fix

Tutorial Tools

Similar help and support threads for2: Help (.hlp) Files - Cannot Open in Windows 7 Fix
Windows 7 Tutorial Category
I can no longer open Zip files from IE on my Windows 7 Browsers & Mail
Windows can't open EXE files Software
Solved Windows 7 cannot open .zip files General Discussion
Solved .exe files will not open in Windows 7 64 bit General Discussion
Solved How to open Windows cbs.log files ? Performance & Maintenance
Can't Open Certain .EXE Files In Windows 7 General Discussion
Can't open old Windows help files General Discussion

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

© Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:35 AM.
Twitter Facebook Google+

Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33