Windows Help in Windows 10

Discussion in 'Programmer's Corner' started by MrAl, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. MrAl

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 17, 2014

    Anyone get Windows API Help working in Windows 10 yet?
    For Windows 7 Microsoft published a patch file that allowed it to work in that op sys even though not natively supported.

    There is a 3rd party installer for Win 7 and higher (Win 10 also) author name "Komeil" but it does not allow the "Search" tab to show up for some reason and the search tab is a very useful feature of the help file.
    Anyone else have this problem or get it to work some other way?

    BTW this is to get other HLP files working too.
  2. MrAl

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 17, 2014
    Hello again,

    Since there were no replies i an wondering if anyone else here programs in Windows using the Windows API.

    I was thinking of making a custom Windows API Help program that would not be limited to a given Windows operating system.

    For a little history lesson, back in Windows 95 the Windows API Help would run no problem, and show various Windows API function calls and data structures and general programming ideas. They were simplistic yes, but did help many programmers that i know of.
    Fast forward to Windows 7 and maybe Win Vista, and Microsoft had the nerve to DISABLE the program code that allowed ANY help program (with .hlp extent) to run on the operating system. After a number of complaints MS came out with a patch that would allow these help files to run on Windows 7 also. Funny isnt it?
    Now fast forward to Windows 10 and i see no such patch and again MS decides to purposely block files that had been running for years on Windows, just because they have the .hlp extension.

    Now dont get me wrong, the original Windows API Help file is not the entire Windows API, but it's a large part of it that programmers have come to know and love. That means when they upgrade to Windows 7 or Win10 they get an error message that complains about the help file now saying how it is not up to the standards of MS anymore. Isnt that just so wonderful of MS?

    In Win7 they can download the patch, but in Win10 i see no such possibility except using a third party help runner that will get ALL of their hlp files running. The one problem though is that there is no search capability that works just fine in Windows 95 and Win7 with the patch.

    So to make a long story short [oh well guess it's too late for that now :) ] i was thinking of making a new help file that would run ON ANY SYSTEM from Windows 95 up to Win 10 and beyond. The reason this would work on any system is because it would use more fundamental operating system functions that must be able to work on any Windows system, so it would be impossible to block without blocking fundamental function calls that would not allow Windows to work properly, so MS would not be able to block it.
    Granted however, this would be ONLY for the Windows API help as making one fot any help file is possible but much more involved.

    So i guess i have to wonder how many people here or people you might know use the Windows API and maybe more importantly, how many use it off line. There is plenty of on line help (but MS chooses to change that at will too i should note) but many programmers want to work off line where they dont have access to the web yet or dont want to use that recourse for personal reasons.

    This programming endeavor will take considerable effort, having some 5000 entries plus various example articles so i have to wonder how many people will benefit from this. After all is said and done however, i think i will create such a thing for at least myself alone as i am tired of going through this every time i get a new op sys. The completed program will also be published free of charge of course as i would want low income programmers to be able to benefit also. Another interesting factoid is that it will be entirely extensible, so anyone can add to the help file with very little effort any time they feel like it, not requiring a special compiler to make the help file.

    Just to recap, this is mainly for the Win API help only not a general .hlp runner program but there have been a lot of complaints about that alone.

    Also, i wonder where the best place to publish such a thing would be. It will probably be upwards of 10 megabytes or so in size, uncompressed.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2018
  3. Alec_t

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 17, 2013
    Hopefully not, providing you can avoid any copyright issues which MS might otherwise try to invoke.
    A generous offer. I'm no programmer, but I'm sure plenty out there will be grateful.
  4. MrAl

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 17, 2014

    I dont think there would be any copyright issues because it would be a custom work from start to finish

    A generous offer, yes perhaps, but i feel sorry for some programmers who liked that file and even sorrier for people who use programs that need their .hlp file to know how to use their somewhat older program.
    Sometimes it seems that we are at war with Microsoft because of the way they do things sometimes. The way they changed the built in message box broke software for many Windows programmers. The funny thing is, they changed it long time ago but then changed it back, then changed it back to the other way again in another update of windows. I think it was win95 that had very limited width, then 98 i think had unlimited width, then win7 had limited width again. That's just nuts.
    But this API help file thing is interesting too so it's almost fun to do in a way.

    Also notable is MS is again changing their website to REMOVE many of the comments that people have left over the years. These were comments that helped use the Windows op system for programmers. My guess is that they dont want people to know how to use their system too well so they have to call for help.

    I noticed that they also changed the messaging system a little too. Before when i would drag an item onto a window that had drop files enabled it would send a certain message to the window even before it was dropped. Now, Win10, it does not send that message anymore. That's just plain dumb. If a program depends on that, it's just too bad when the user buys Win10.
  5. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    I sure would love to run the older .hlp files on W10.

    At my job we use Visual Basic v5 due to a huge code base written from the time VB5 was the brand new shiny toy in the chest.

    Online help is very slow that using a paper book almost 1000 pages long is faster.
  6. MrAl

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 17, 2014

    I recently found this link:

    I had tried solution #2 and it worked, but the 'find' tab that was in the original help file was gone, so there was no search capability. Everything else seemed to work however. That's the solution with the "Komeil" download path and after updating the file as noted there.
    You could try other solutions as mentioned, but i had not tried any of those.

    Good luck, and if you get anything to work please report back here the details on how you got it to run.