Legacy WinHelp stopped working after series of Windows updates

I installed Windows8.1-KB917607-x64.msu (WinHelp standalone installer) several months ago and it's been working just fine. Unfortunately, following the latest round of Windows 8.1 updates that have occurred in the past three weeks or so, WinHelp refuses to load legacy help files now, and when I try to re-install the update, I'm told that it's already installed and the updater quits. I have no idea which Windows Update update caused the issue, but it's a major problem for me. I don't have time to methodically uninstall and reinstall every update since November in hopes of removing the right one. Even if I did find time, then suppose the uninstalled update is an important security update that really should remain installed?? Isn't there some way that the KB917607 update can be uninstalled so that I can try to re-install it in hopes of getting things working again?

This kind of stuff is unbelievably frustrating. Microsoft urges everyone to install updates to keep Windows secure and reliable, so you install them and stuff just stops working. It's ridiculous.

I'm a Windows developer and have also posted this question in the MSDN community, but have received no assistance there. Until I can get WinHelp to work on my development system again, I'm unable to update any of my applications' help files.

Please advise on how I might get this fixed.

 

Question Info


Last updated February 21, 2018 Views 592 Applies to:

* Please try a lower page number.

* Please enter only numbers.

* Please try a lower page number.

* Please enter only numbers.

Hi,
 
I can understand how frustrating it is when things do not work as expected. I will assist you on this.
 
The issue might occur if the feature to open the Help for a particular program which was created in Windows Help format, is corrupt in the computer.
 
I suggest you perform the following steps and check if those help to resolve the issue.
 
Step 1: Uninstall the update KB917607
 
Uninstall the update KB917607 from Windows update. Please refer the link mentioned below to uninstall the update.
1. Press Windows + C, click Search, and type control.
2. Now click on Control Panel and type Windows Update in the Search.
3. Now click Windows Update, on the left side, at the bottom of the window, click the Installed Updates.
4. In the next window, scroll down and click the update KB917607. At the top of the window, click Uninstall.

Step 2: Reinstall Windows Help program

 
Reinstall WinHlp32.exe from the link below and check if it helps.
Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 8.1
 
Hope this information is helpful. Please get back to us if you need further assistance.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

I had done all that already, but I did it again, just to make sure. The update appears to uninstall as expected, and re-installation of the update also seems to work fine. Unfortunately, any WinHelp-created file that I try to open results in the following message:

=====================================

Why can't I get Help from this program?

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1. For more info, go to the Microsoft Support website.

=====================================

Thanks for the response, but what now?

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hi,
 
Thank you for your reply. I did a research on your issue and found that you may uninstall the update KB3000850 to open the old help files.
 
Note: The November 2014 update rollup KB3000850 includes performance and reliability improvements. This November update rollup also includes all previous updates since the previous image update in April 2014. This is a convenient single step to bring Windows clients and servers up to date. Unlike our April update, the November update rollup is not required to be able to continue to receive security or other updates.
 

You also may check:

November 2014 update rollup for Windows RT 8.1, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2

https://support.microsoft.com/kb/3000850

Hope this information helps. Please let us know the status of the issue.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Thanks very much for following up on this issue. The problem was corrected by uninstalling the KB3000850 update. Unfortunately, I'm already noticing at least one new issue that I have not had prior to having to deal with the WinHelp problem.

Specifically, after uninstalling the update, I can no longer reach at least one of my network printers using the HP native driver for Windows 8.1. However, I have been able to reach the printer the UPD for the same printer, so this may not actually present much of a problem.

My biggest concern now is the number (66 as I count) of updates that were included in the KB3000850 rollup, and the fact that all of those updates have now also been uninstalled, some of which dealt with pertinent security issues.

Do you have any idea which specific update caused the WinHelp problem, or am I going to have to manually install each of those 66 updates from the rollup until I encounter the problem again?

Thanks again.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hi,
 
Thank you for letting us know the status of the issue. I understand the inconvenience you are experiencing.
 
Here you can apply divide and conquer method to find out which update is causing the issue. So, you can select half of all of the updates and install it and check if you are able to open help files. If you can open then for sure the update which is causing the issue is not among those. Thus you can find out
which update is causing the issue.
 
You also may perform System Restore to an earlier point of time in which the computer was working fine instead of trying the method mentioned above. You may refer the section, "Restore your PC to an earlier point in time" link mentioned below to perform that.
How to refresh, reset, or restore your PC
 
Please feel free to post if you need more assistance, we will be glad to
assist you.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hi Soumya...

I was wondering when a fixed version of KB917607 would be made available that works with KB3000850 / November Update?  As of right now, the November Update is more important to me, but I'm in a "mutually exclusive" situation and I shouldn't have to pick and choose...

As of right now, I'm unwilling to remove the November Update, yet do need to get the old "Winhelp" .HLP functionality back.

And to confirm "hfox"'s problem, uninstalling and reinstalling KB917607 with the November Update installed does not fix the problem.  It appears to uninstall and (re)install successfully, but continues to show the "Why can't I get Help from this program?" error...

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

I had also tried uninstalling / reinstalling and doesn't work.

When will MS patch the KB3000850 patch?

Like "hfox", in my job is really important to read the old .hlp files. My question is in http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-desktop/kb917607-stop-working/4583b48e-552f-4236-a5c2-821f7216e9cd

If we comment and "vote" on both thread, maybe MS listen to us.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Hello, again, Soumya,

It has now become VERY apparent, all around the web, that Microsoft introduced a number of problems to Windows 8.1 users with the KB3000850 update, including but not limited to breaking KB917607 which provided support for creating/viewing WinHelp .hlp files. Of course, the solution to this very serious problem is to do one of two things: 1) Keep KB3000850 installed (which contained 66 separate updates) but give up ever being able to view .hlp files, or 2) Remove KB3000850 (and all of its 66 separate updates, causing any number of unknown problems in the future) so that .hlp files will work again.

Just to be clear, neither of these solutions is a reasonable alternative for the end user.

When is Microsoft going to fix this problem?

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Same prob. here... when a patch patches another patch wrongly and makes necessary for another patch. Do you copy? :D

My scenario were:

- KB3000850 were already installed before I attempted to install KB917607 

KB917607 reported 'succesfull' install - although not changed anything: winhlp32.exe file size remained unchanged 

Obviously, KB3000850 takes precedence over KB917607.

So, hurry up Microsoft, and patch the patched patches!

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

Same over here. I chose not to uninstall 66 updates and instead view the .hlp-file at an old PC.

Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.

* Please try a lower page number.

* Please enter only numbers.

* Please try a lower page number.

* Please enter only numbers.