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How to Open 32-bit Help (.hlp) Files that Require WinHlp32.exe in Windows
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 and newer. 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) for 32-bit .hlp files in Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.
This is for when you try open an .hlp file in Windows, and you receive one of the following error messages in the Windows Help and Support window:
The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn’t 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.
Feature not included
Help not supported
To Install WinHlp32.exe to be able to open .hlp Files in Windows
1. Click on the link below to go the Microsoft site. At the Microsoft site, click/tap on the link for the Windows you have installed.
2. If Validation is Required before Allowed to Download
A) If you see a "Validation Required" message when you open the download page, then click/tap on the Continue button, and follow the on-screen instructions to validate your Windows. (see screenshot below)
3. Select the language of your Windows, and click/tap on the Download button. (see screenshot below)
4. Check the Windows#-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows#-KB917607-x86.msu box that is the same as your installed 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) Windows, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
5. Save the Windows#-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows#-KB917607-x86.msu file to your desktop.
6. Install the downloaded Windows#-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows#-KB917607-x86.msu file.
7. You should now be able to open 32-bit .hlp files using Windows Help and Support.
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.
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:
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.
On 32-bit editions of Windows, locate and then select the following registry subkey:
On 64-bit editions of Windows, locate and then select the following registry subkey:
On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click Key.
Type WinHelp, and then press Enter.
Click the WinHelp key.
On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Type AllowProgrammaticMacros, and then press Enter.
On the Edit menu, click Modify.
In the Value data box, type 1, click Hexadecimal in the Base area, and then click OK.
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