Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

WinHlp32.exe-How can I enable Legacy Windows Help system on Windows 8

  1. #11

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Quote Originally Posted by fafhrd View Post
    The Owner is "Trusted Installer" - you need to take ownership, gain full control permissions and either rename or delete the unhelpful little 11kB waste of space and replace it with the 261kB winhlp32.exe in the zip file that Simon has kindly made available.

    We'll probably have to do it over again if we upgrade to Windows 8.1!
    I was right! - The 8.1 upgrade wiped out the working XP version of Winhlp32.exe and replaced it with the stupid 8.1 version of the stub file!!!

    Irony of it all Microsoft has put the 8.1 version of the download for the MSU installer of the modified winhlp32.exe here: Download Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 8.1 from Official Microsoft Download Center -and the bloody installer still fails to install with a "not compatible" with this version error.

    The XP version from the zip file again worked fine, once I had removed the trustedinstaller's grasp on the stub file and deleted the it.

    I am going to leave it as solved, but it is just another example of Microsoft cutting support to legacy software - and that of other manufacturers as well as older Microsoft programs.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12

    Posts : 19
    Windows 8 64bit

    That Windows 8.1 update is the same as my link This update is not applicable to my computer.

    I cannot open Help that was created in the Windows Help format (WinHlp32.exe)
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #13

    Portsmouth Hants
    Posts : 772
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center

    Quote Originally Posted by Keithuk View Post
    That Windows 8.1 update is the same as my link This update is not applicable to my computer.

    I cannot open Help that was created in the Windows Help format (WinHlp32.exe)
    It is actually an updated windows update - Windows 8.1-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows 8.1-KB917607-x86.msu, as opposed to the
    Windows8-RT-KB917607-x64.msu or Windows8-RT-KB917607-x86.msu available at the time of your earlier post - yet the newer updates still have the same problem.

    I have a feeling that if you select English USA as the default language, instead of EN-UK, the update will work OK, then change your language back. Still, there are all the mui files that may need updating. Utterly frustrating!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #14

    Easiest solution:

    Get the XP version of winhlp32.exe (earlier in this thread, or just copy from an XP machine - you must know someone with such a machine).

    Place it in a location of your choosing.

    Associate .hlp with this copy. (In win8 FileTypesMan from NirSoft will do this nicely).

    Works for me.

    BTW, if you wish to replace the win8 stub winhlp32.exe in C:\Windows, and have been unable to delete or rename it, boot from a linux live CD, navigate to the file from there & delete it. Linux won't complain and it's probably easier than jumping through microsoft's hoops...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #15

    Posts : 679
    Windows 7 Pro x 2/Windows 10 Home/10 Pro/Windows 10 TP

    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Rename winhlp32.exe to winhlp32-old.exe.

    Then put the exe from the zip file in my previous post into the windows directory. Job done.
    This works like a charm for x86 and x64 Win 8.1 machines to fix the error but for some reason the official M$ download for a Win 8.1 64 bit machine woks fine.
    Last edited by IownAmoneyPit; 01 Dec 2014 at 05:29.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #16

    Works on Windows 10 too!

    Thank you all so much for this thread. I am running Windows 10 technical preview and I have a super old (circa 1998) application that has the old-style help files. There is no "official" Microsoft solution yet (maybe never?) but this thread (and the download) allowed me to get it going. One thing that I don't think has been mentioned, at least not clearly... You should give ownership of the existing winhlp32.exe file to administrators AND THEN give administrators FULL CONTROL so that you can rename it to winhlp32-old.exe and copy in the new downloaded version into the Windows directory.

    Thanks again... This thread is great, even if it is quite old.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #17

    Posts : 1

    Quote Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
    Did you try renaming the 11kb winhlp32.exe, then drop this into your windows directory Attachment 7190
    Thanks for the download. After 12 months of using W8/1, I finally get to use Corel Draw7 and WP8, without having to install a VM.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #18

    Posts : 1
    Windows 8.1 64 bit

    Thanks for this help! It has fixed the issue for me nicely. What a palaver! Thanks for nothing Microsoft!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #19

    Thank you for this post. Deleting the winhlp32.exe installed in Windows dir, replacing with download supplied here and associating .hlp files with new winhlp32.exe worked perfectly. Just a note on how to take ownership of original winhlp32.exe file... Right click>properties>security tab>advanced>change... Enter 'Administrators'>ok>apply>ok>ok... Go through 'group/user names' > edit > full control ... apply. Close and delete your file.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #20

    Posts : 3
    win 8.1

    As an alternative to changing permissions on the 'WinHlp32,.exe' file you can simply use 'unlocker'.

    Once you have installed 'Unlocker' just Right Click on 'WinHlp32.exe' > Select 'Unlocker' > Choose to 'Rename' or 'Delete'.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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WinHlp32.exe-How can I enable Legacy Windows Help system on Windows 8

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