WINHLP32 - Do we have to go through this again?

On every version of Window since XP, we have had to tolerate the absence of winhlp32.exe.  Eventually, Microsoft would create an install file, specific for the version of Windows you needed winhlp32.exe for.

The question is - WHY?  Microsoft will let us run the older programs, but do not want us to use HELP for these programs?  A little silly, eh?

So, Microsoft maintains, currently, SIX different installs for winhlp32.exe:

Now, we have to wait until Microsoft decides to make one for Windows 10.  Microsoft, why not just replace the stub in C:\Windows with a functional winhlp32.exe?  Why make us wait?  It serves no purpose for you to deny us winhlp32.exe.  It serves no purpose for you to continually create install files for winhlp32.exe.

Now, you want to make us wait, yet again, for the privilege of using HELP for these older applications.  Well, we do not have to.

For the users who need winhlp32.exe, just get a copy from an XP system.  It is located in c:\windows.  Then, on Windows 10, boot to the command prompt, go to the windows folder, and replace the stub with winhlp32.exe from the XP system.  Problem solved  - until you run sfc /scannow.  This is yet another annoyance caused by Microsoft not wanting us to have a functional HELP for older programs.

Time to make things easier, for the user, and for you Microsoft.


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Last updated August 14, 2018 Views 91,028 Applies to:

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I have seen many related posts on this and other forums elsewhere. I couldn't agree more, there are lots of good older programs out there and waiting for a new version of winhlp32.exe with each passing operating system to run them is a pain for sure. Somewhere, I have read it was removed for system security reasons, but I sooner have it in place so I can an older program. Upgrades to a particular program is not always option and if it is, it may not have the same features or functionally of the older version.
Not now, my friend! I installed Win10 TP, and this problem is present. I try install *.msu for Win 8.1, but this, naturally, doesn't work. May be developers include winhelp32 for Win10 in installation image?
The *.msu files have been specific for each version of windows since Vista. I have not seen anything for Windows 10 yet.
winhelp32 for Win10 , i tried winhelp32 for Win 8 , but did not work on windows 10 any help to use it on windows 10
Unfortunately, winhelp32.exe is very specific to the operating system version. One has not been developed for windows 10 yet. The story goes that Microsoft took it out of Windows going back to Vista for security reasons. We, the users, are supposed to upgrade to newer versions of programs to get around that issue. I rather have the compatibilty than being forced to upgrade my programs.

I agree wholeheartedly - Microsoft should fix the problem of winhlp32 reliant programs not being supported.

The program I'm trying to get the Help file to run in is a bagpipe music writing program. This is a real niche type of market and there aren't many programs out there to chose from. I can't force the program owners to upgrade their program so I'm at the mercy of Microsoft who appear to be uninterested in fixing this problem.

The program itself is absolutely brilliant but it requires users to input tunes in a code which means that you regularly use the help function to find the applicable code.

Here is a solution (thanks to Komeil Bahmanpour):

Go to his site:


I needed a solution in order to get help working for Delphi Studio Architect on Windows 10.
Komeil's install.cmd file didn't work as is (its pre Win10) so I simply modified it.
Unpack the download (Install.cmd, winhlp32.exe, winhlp32.exe.mui) to a new directory. Edit the install.cmd and add the following two lines to the 'settings' section:

set WindowsVersion=7
goto :BypassVersionError

(yes, 'WindowsVersion=7' is correct.) Save the file and execute as administrator.
All should go without error. Delphi help, and every other help file I've tried, now works exactly as it should!

Thank you!Fine!

You're welcome. Glad you found this useful.
I will certainly make sure I keep a copy of this fix!
I will tidy up my rather crude hack of Komeil's Install file (I rushed in order to see if it would work!).
It may also be worthwhile keeping an eye on Komeil's site - he may well update the installer to include Windows 10.
Credit goes to Komeil of course.

Thanks is definitely in order!

This fix appears to be of a universal nature. I'll need to try it on my other windows 6.x versions next time I get around to re-installing them. 

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