MS Help Technology Posts RRS feed

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  • I'll start the ball rolling...

    We've always had a dedicated group for help/doc programmers and authors. I'm not convinced that moving such a core widely used MS technology to a general group is a good idea.

    But I may be wrong!! My preference would be to reopen DevDocs and keep it in better shape than before (we let it turn into a general bucket mess). 

    Every Windows software based company in the world uses MS Help technologies in some form. As Microsoft scale back on desktop technology support it is now more important than ever to properly support this MS technology that now spans ... WinHelp (.hlp), HTML Help (.chm), MS Help 2.x (.hxs, VS 2002/3/5/8 help), Help Viewer 1.x (VS 2010 help), Help Viewer 2.x (VS 2012 help) -- by providing a proper dedicated forum. These technologies will be with us for a long time to come.

    Rob Chandler Help MVP | |

    Friday, January 18, 2013 4:14 AM
  • Mr. Chandler,

    I've posted a thread in the VS Setup and installation forum titled "vs2012 help is displayed as raw html".  The MVP who has engaged me appears to have run out of suggestions.  And since this involves simply getting help to display properly, and havng seen some of your posts in the now archived help forum, I thought you might be able to shed some light on the topic.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rob Fritz


    Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:09 PM
  • Hi,

    the thread mentioned can be found at

    And to come back to the main topic: In my eyes this is another good example that the move didn't really work. You simply disconnected the people interested in the help system / help content and people with related problems are lost inside the msdn forums (and do not find this forum!)

    But I fear that the decision is a final decision and that we cannot expect any change on this topic so we have to get our best out of it.

    With kind regards,


    Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:04 AM
  • Yes good point Konrad

    Rob Chandler Help MVP | |

    Friday, February 1, 2013 4:42 AM
  • Hello Mr. Chandler,

    Currently running into problems with distribution of desktop applications that use ".hlp" file format which is no longer supported in current windows versions, have converted to ".chm" format, but that format also is not acceptable on intranets. 

    What is current Best Practice? Should all ".hlp" & ".chm" files be converted with a utility like MSHC Migration Utility? How are the files then viewed in off line mode? Microsoft Help Viewer? If so, Can Help Viewer be packaged with the application for distribution? Does it need to be? is Help Viewer built into Windows 7, Windows 8? What if application is run on older versions of Windows XP, Vista? Will the converted files and Help Viewer work in those environments. Your thoughts on these these issues is greatly appreciated as I search for the best path forward.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013 12:13 AM
  • Hi,

    Maybe Ican help you in this issue.

    From my personal view, the hlp files are still the best solution. The help viewer is also available for windows 8 (it wasn't from the start but it is available now).

    Maybe this link will help you further:

    With kind regards,


    Saturday, February 2, 2013 7:21 PM
  • Yeah agree stick with .hlp (uses can download MS WinHelp exe) or .chm. There is no other choice for general help (unless VS is installed).

    Sounds you want it to work on a server.

    .chm help can be installed on a local server but you need to tweak the local registry to make help open.

    If you converted to CHM then you can take one more small step to Uncompressed help (AKA WebHelp).

    You just upload you HTML and image content to your web server with a some navigation files.

    Checkout ESRI's web help created using FAR HTML 5. FAR creates Navigation and Frame file so you can have a Help type of experience. Other vendors do similar things. (German) (English) (Spanish) (French) (Japanese) (Simplified Chinese)

    So jwpquinn there is some ideas for you.


    Rob Chandler Help MVP | |

    Monday, February 4, 2013 2:08 PM
  • Due to a reorganization of the forums (a good thing) the "DevDocs" forum is now closed (marked readonly). MS help technology related discussion now go here in this general forum. 

    I'd like to here your comments here (below) or in Feedback and Suggestions area.


    Rob Chandler Help MVP

    I agree with what you said Rob plus if they bring back the forum it should be for discussing msdn help problems too such as bad references or problems with outdated or improper links on msdn. I think msdn help is in need of help especially in the com arena because some msdn documentation is listed to a file I no longer find or improper references. Mostly, circular references that lead to no where.

    Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. - "Sherlock holmes" "speak softly and carry a big stick" - theodore roosevelt. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering - Yoda. Blog -

    • Edited by The Thinker Saturday, July 27, 2013 10:54 PM edit 3
    Saturday, July 27, 2013 10:53 PM