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Windows Help not included in Windows Vista

September 19th, 2007 at 09:03am

32 Bit Windows Help does not come with VistaAmong the annoyances that I keep finding in Windows Vista is this little gem. The Windows Help application (WinHlp32.exe) is not included in Windows Vista. This is the program responsible for opening 32 bit .hlp files, used in such applications as Microsoft Office 2000, which I prefer over the current incarnation of Microsoft Office for a number of reasons. Trying to get help from such a program brings up the rather unhelpful window shown on the right, the most infuriating part of which is, that applies for the help tooltips (pictured below) where you click the “?” button and then click on an object to get information about that object.

32 Bit Windows Help tooltipsOfficially 32 bit .hlp files are obsolete and have been replaced by other help formats, and so it makes sense that they wouldn’t be supported any more…until you find out that the even more obsolete 16 bit .hlp files are supported as Microsoft decided to ship WinHelp.exe with Vista. The logic behind this decision is impossible to comprehend, however it does appear to be a rather strange and cynical attempt to force Vista users to upgrade to newer versions of various Microsoft products by making the old ones “troublesome” under Vista.

32 Bit Windows Help under Windows VistaThankfully WinHlp32.exe can be downloaded and installed from which will restore the full functionality of Windows Help (third picture), but I do have to ask Microsoft whether or not it was really worth breaking the “help” function of many existing applications for the sake of saving about a megabyte in a 10GB operating system? No? Well, then they must be trying to make people upgrade.

What a nuisance!


Entry Filed under: IT News,Samuel's Editorials

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  • 1. Pen 15  |  September 20th, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Simple solution is to become a genius at using Vista. No help file required!

  • 2. Samuel  |  September 20th, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    It’s not Vista I wanted the help file for, it was a particular function of MS Office 2000 that I haven’t used for about three years and wanted to check if it could do exactly what I wanted. It turns out that it could, and I was just overlooked the option.


September 2007

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