Did you ever try to open a .hlp file under Vista? I did, and got this error message: "Why can't I get help from this program?" And the amazing answer was Microsoft simply shipped Vista without the Windows Help program. They must have realized that this was not so smart since many software vendors use the hlp format for their help files and documentation. You can now download WinHlp32.exe.

I never liked the Windows Help program and wonder why it never was improved. But this statement on the download page is somehow funny:

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, the Windows Help program will not ship as a feature of Windows. If you want to view 32-bit .hlp files, you must download and install the program (WinHlp32.exe) from the Microsoft Download Center.
(My emphasis)

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So is Microsoft offering now a tool for download that no longer meets Microsoft's standards?

  1. steve 16 years ago

    Just an excuse for their lack of ability to actually update the program to standards.

    M$: “oh damn, we forgot to update the help program… ok, just talk to the PR department, and they will take care of it”

  2. Yeah, it is really strange. I really wonder if they just forgot it.

  3. ManiacD 16 years ago

    The funny thing is they still include the 16 bit version of the Windows Help Program (winhelp.exe) but they excluded the 32 bit version (winhlp32.exe).

    You would think it would have been the other way around.

  4. You’re right, that’s indeed funny.It seems that at least the 16 bit version still meets Microsoft’s standards.

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