Windows 10: Can't read older *.hlp files on Windows-10 Solved

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  1. Posts : 118
    Windows 7 Home Premium x64
       30 Dec 2016 #81

    gerboise said: View Post
    worked like a charm except I had to change the owner of the original winhlp32.exe file to
    Administrators first. I used the winhlp32.exe file suggested in another message.
    I now have my offline help back in Office 97 under Windows 10.
    Office 97 is SO twentieth century and running it on Win10 is very appalling

    I run no less than either MS Office 2007 on any of my Win10 PCs - file formats for O2k7 are incompatible with Office 97 & earlier.

    Microsoft revised support KB article 917607 in late October 2016 to note the following:

    The Windows Help program is not supported in Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 or later versions of Windows Server. The Windows Help program is available for Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1 only.

    Microsoft strongly recommends that software developers discontinue using the Windows Help application. Software developers who ship programs that rely on .hlp files are encouraged to transition their Help experience to an alternative Help file format, such as CHM, HTML, or XML. For more information see the MSDN article While Microsoft develops future Help technologies, we encourage Help authors to continue using HTML Help 1.4. HTML Help 1.4 is included in Windows versions starting with Windows 7.
    I don't think MS will ever develop an updated winhlp32 app for Win10. Anyways none of my apps use the old HLP files.
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  2.    30 Dec 2016 #82

    Hahaha. "Help not supported". What makes this funny is that the word "support" is a synonym for "help". Hence, Help is not helped.

    Microsoft got jokes.

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  3. Posts : 1,461
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       09 Jan 2017 #83

    Bree said: View Post
    Microsoft removed the ability to read .hlp files because .hlp format has an inherent security risk, it's possible to craft a malicious .hlp file. Is no one else concerned about this? I am, that's why I convert the .hlp files I need into the safe .chm format, as I described earlier.
    Can't read older *.hlp files on Windows-10
    Apart from 'proof of concept' demonstrations that show it is possible to craft a malicious .hlp file, I think anyone would be hard put to find an example of any real world exploit using Windows help files.

    The .CHM format is just as, if not more vulnerable as .hlp - to being crafted in such a way so that it can run malicious payloads from an external URL. In fact, the Cryptowall ransomware malware used exactly this method in 2015, described in the Bitdefender report at Cryptowall Makes a Comeback Via Malicious Help Files (CHM) HOTforSecurity

    However, there is nothing insecure in running help files in either .hlp or .chm format if the help files are supplied with bona fide software.

    erpster4 said: View Post
    Office 97 is
    erpster4 said: View Post
    SO twentieth century and running it on Win10 is very appalling

    I had to
    when I read this. I didn't realise there were such ageist snobs about.

    When you have been happily using an Office suite for 20 years, why change? The only difference between running Office 97 now and under Windows 98 on a i486 dx2 66, is that it flies on a modern machine.

    Office 97 runs perfectly well on Windows 10, 32 or 64-bit (except for the .hlp files without applying the fixes stated earlier in this thread), and is much faster than recent office versions in use, and can utilise the Office 2007 file converters for office if needed.

    I would challenge anyone to distinguish a printed document created in any version of Office from any other.
    Last edited by Fafhrd; 09 Jan 2017 at 03:16.
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  4.    13 Feb 2017 #84

    To only OPEN help files - but not as called from context help in software- just the files individually - you can create an association with the old win32hlp that you extract somewhere. But to enable context help there is no apparent solution but file replacement.
    Last edited by Axel Morisson; 13 Feb 2017 at 05:55.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5. Posts : 1
    Windows 10; Windows XP SP2
       4 Weeks Ago #85

    Mystere said: View Post
    Why not just convert the .hlp file to PDF? There are a number of tools to do so, but I don't know of any free ones.
    Context sensitivity, in two words.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    2 Weeks Ago #86

    Kissing the ground that this forum walks on. I'm using several old programs (Eudora 7, for one) for which the context help was broken, and I've sort of been thinking that was my problem. But today this fix solved the help access for an up-to-date tool that was really important to my career. And bonus: Eudora context help works just fine. Very happy.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    2 Weeks Ago #87

    Hi there

    Why not load an XP Virtual machine and then convert all your .hlp files to xml / html or anything else that can be accessed by W10.

    If you can find an XP .iso you can create the VM -- you have 30 days without needing a key before it stops working - I'm sure there are loads of places to find an XP .iso.

    Use VBOX or VMWARE player (both free) to create the VM.

    I find for any of these old formats using a VM to access / convert legacy file is still the best way by far to do this than mess around extracting "unofficial and unsupported" old .exe files and compromising your system.

    On modern hardware with an SSD you can create an XP Guest in about 10 mins !!! - you don't need to install anything other than the bog standard install and then from within the VM install VM additions if using VBOX or VMWARE tools if using VMware --this will fix things like proper Video resolution etc.

    Here's an XP Virtual Machine running on VMware (old Icelandic version) which can access Windows 10 files and files from 2 NAS boxes (Samba servers running CENTOS 7) (and of course the other way round too so file transfer not a problem).

    Click image for larger version. 

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