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Viewing HLP (old Windows Help) Files in Vista

Download Squad has an article on .HLP files, the help files used in older software for Windows. Microsoft phased out Windows Help (or winhlp32.exe) with the release of Windows Vista, and in order to force developers over to the new format, Vista doesn’t even ship with a means to read those files. Since help for older programs is still important, when you try to open a .HLP file it fails, but Microsoft does have a viewer you can download in order to still use them.

You can download the viewer by going here. Validation is required, so pirated copies of Vista are plum out of luck, though you can grab a copy of winhlp32.exe from the Windows directory on any Windows XP machine, and it should work just fine.

As DSquad sarcastically points out about the download:

It weighs in at a hefty 601KB, so I can see why the company left it out.

September 13th, 2007 Posted by | Vista, Windows, XP | 3 comments

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  1. They removed it so that software developers (WinRAR is a good example until not so long ago) will not continue to use it. A negative side-effect was that it also removed context-sensitive help (the What’s this or ?) button available in dialog boxes which didn’t open the main help everytime.

    Comment by anonymous | September 11, 2007

  2. I can’t open CHP (compiled help files) at work. Would this program be the fix for this as well?

    – GoldCoaster

    Comment by goldcoaster | September 14, 2007

  3. GoldCoaster – chm is the extension used for Microsoft Compiled HTML Help … it seems to work fine on my Vista box.

    Comment by Jason | November 2, 2007

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