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


fafhrd

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772
#1
The Windows 7 download for WinHlp32.exe passes validation and downloads ok, but since it is a windows update, not an executable installation, it does not recognize Windows 8 RP as a valid OS for installation.

Is there a workaround that anybody knows about?
 

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fafhrd

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#3

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
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    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP COMPAQ Presario CQ57
    CPU
    AMD E- 300 APU with Radion HD Graphics 1.30GHz
    Motherboard
    inbuilt
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    4GB
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    Seagate ST9500325AS
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    pretty good
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    BT Infinity Unlimited - 80 up 20 down =70/16 really
    Browser
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    no Start menu modifications
    Upgraded with no issues to 8.0 and to 8.1

SIW2

Well-Known Member
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5,360
#4
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.
 

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fafhrd

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772
#5
Thanks Simon, - I did not realize where the WinHlp32.exe you said to replace was located - I thought it might have been in the downloaded msu. I also had not realized that there was an 11Kb "WinHlp32.exe" (presumably to redirect any traffic targeted at the old windows 32 help engine) located in the Windows folder. Even more confusing, why is there a winhelp.exe (presumably win16, since it cannot recognize long folder names) that works there?

Why on earth does Microsoft put a non-functional stub in Windows 8 WinHlp32.exe, where they could just as easily put a real executable? Sheer bloody-mindedness?

Thanks again for the help - I guess from the date that it is the XP winhlp32.exe in the zip?
 

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System One

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    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
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    HP COMPAQ Presario CQ57
    CPU
    AMD E- 300 APU with Radion HD Graphics 1.30GHz
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    4GB
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    Seagate ST9500325AS
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    BT Infinity Unlimited - 80 up 20 down =70/16 really
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    no Start menu modifications
    Upgraded with no issues to 8.0 and to 8.1

Keithuk

New Member
Posts
19
#7
Sorry this is an old thread but its still related.

I write programmes in VB and I use the old Windows help files *.hlp which I make myself but they don't run a Windows systems after Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. You need to download updates from I cannot open Help that was created in the Windows Help format (WinHlp32.exe)

I downloaded the correct files and run these on Vista 32bit and Win7 32bit and they work as they should but when I try to install Windows8-RT-KB917607-x64.msu on Windows 8 64bit it says This update is not applicable to your computer.

You can't rename winhlp32.exe to winhlp32-old.exe it won't let you as its probably in use.

Any suggestions?
 

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SIW2

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5,360
#8
Can't rememember exactly what I did. I expect you need to take ownership before renaming.
 

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Keithuk

New Member
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19
#9
Thanks for the reply.

I am the owner and only Administrator.
 

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fafhrd

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772
#10
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! :sick:
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP COMPAQ Presario CQ57
    CPU
    AMD E- 300 APU with Radion HD Graphics 1.30GHz
    Motherboard
    inbuilt
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Sound Card
    High Definition Audio on-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    notebook
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    Seagate ST9500325AS
    Google drive 15GB
    Skydrive 25GB
    BT Cloud
    PSU
    external 20v
    Case
    Laptop
    Cooling
    pretty good
    Keyboard
    inbuilt
    Mouse
    touchpad
    Internet Speed
    BT Infinity Unlimited - 80 up 20 down =70/16 really
    Browser
    Chrome Canary usually
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    no Start menu modifications
    Upgraded with no issues to 8.0 and to 8.1

fafhrd

Active Member
Pro User
Portsmouth Hants

Posts
772
#11
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! :sick:
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP COMPAQ Presario CQ57
    CPU
    AMD E- 300 APU with Radion HD Graphics 1.30GHz
    Motherboard
    inbuilt
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Sound Card
    High Definition Audio on-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    notebook
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    Seagate ST9500325AS
    Google drive 15GB
    Skydrive 25GB
    BT Cloud
    PSU
    external 20v
    Case
    Laptop
    Cooling
    pretty good
    Keyboard
    inbuilt
    Mouse
    touchpad
    Internet Speed
    BT Infinity Unlimited - 80 up 20 down =70/16 really
    Browser
    Chrome Canary usually
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    no Start menu modifications
    Upgraded with no issues to 8.0 and to 8.1

fafhrd

Active Member
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Portsmouth Hants

Posts
772
#13
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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    HP COMPAQ Presario CQ57
    CPU
    AMD E- 300 APU with Radion HD Graphics 1.30GHz
    Motherboard
    inbuilt
    Memory
    4GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    ATI
    Sound Card
    High Definition Audio on-board
    Monitor(s) Displays
    notebook
    Screen Resolution
    1366x768
    Hard Drives
    Seagate ST9500325AS
    Google drive 15GB
    Skydrive 25GB
    BT Cloud
    PSU
    external 20v
    Case
    Laptop
    Cooling
    pretty good
    Keyboard
    inbuilt
    Mouse
    touchpad
    Internet Speed
    BT Infinity Unlimited - 80 up 20 down =70/16 really
    Browser
    Chrome Canary usually
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender and Malwarebytes
    Other Info
    no Start menu modifications
    Upgraded with no issues to 8.0 and to 8.1
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    win 8

IownAmoneyPit

Canadian Loonie X 2
VIP Member
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Posts
680
#15
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 [DEL]but for some reason the official M$ download for a Win 8.1 64 bit machine woks fine[/DEL].
 
Last edited:

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#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.
 

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System One

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    Windows
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    Lenovo
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kaicho

New Member
Posts
1
#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 Computer

System One

  • OS
    8.1

1nd1g0

New Member
Posts
3
#20
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'.
 

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System One

  • OS
    win 8.1
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