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How To: Open .hlp files on Windows 10 (full guide)

This is a relatively simple procedure, but in order to do it, you need to find a proper converter online. There are many free converters online, so feel free to try any of them.

5. Use Command Prompt

According to users, you might be able to open .hlp files on your PC simply by running a few commands from Command Prompt. To do that, first you need to copy winhlp32.exe from a Windows XP machine.

Keep in mind that you need to copy the file from a 32-bit version of XP if you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows 10. The same goes for 64-bit versions.

If you copy winhlp32.exe from a 32-bit version of Windows XP to a 64-bit version of Windows 10, this procedure might not work.

The process itself is slightly complicated, so be sure to follow the instructions carefully. To fix this issue, follow these steps:

  1. Create a TEMP folder on your D drive. The location of the directory would be D:TEMP.
  2. Now copy winhelp32.exe to D:TEMP directory.
  3. Open Notepad and paste the following lines:
  • @echo off
  • set crtpth=%CD%
  • takeown /f "%windir%winhlp32.exe" >nul
  • icacls "%windir%winhlp32.exe" /grant *S-1-5-32-544:F >nul
  • copy /y "%crtpth%winhlp32.exe" %windir%
  • icacls "%windir%winhlp32.exe" /setowner "NT ServiceTrustedInstaller" >nul
  • echo.
  • echo Done.
  • echo.
  • echo Press any key to Exit
  • pause >nul
  • exit
  1. Now click on File > Save as.
    Can't open hlp files in Windows 8.1
  2. Set Save as type to All Files. Enter the desired file name as Win10-Hlp32-Fix.cmd. Select D:TEMP as the save location and click the Save button.
    How to open .hlp files in Windows 10
  3. Now you need to start Command Prompt as administrator. To do that, simply press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu and choose Command Prompt (Admin). If Command Prompt isn’t available, you can use PowerShell (Admin) instead.
    Convert hlp to PDF
  4. When Command Prompt starts, switch to D:TEMP directory and run: Win10-Hlp32-Fix.cmd If you’re not familiar with Command Prompt, you should be able to switch the directory using the cd command.

After running Win10-Hlp32-Fix.cmd the issue should be resolved and you’ll be able to view .hlp files on your PC. This is an advanced solution, so please read and follow the instructions carefully.

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Once again we have to mention that you’ll need a 32-bit version of Windows XP if you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows 10. The same goes for the 64-bit version.

7. Drag the desired file to the winhlp32.exe

According to users, in order to view .hlp file naturally on Windows 10, you need to copy winhlp32.exe from a Windows XP.

However, you might also have to change your security permissions and replace certain system files.

According to users, you might be able to avoid all this trouble simply by finding the .hlp file that you want to open and dragging into the winhlp32.exe file.

This will open the .hlp file automatically without changing your security permissions and you’ll be able to view the contents of the file.

8. Download winhlp32.exe from Microsoft

Microsoft decided to remove winhlp32.exe from Windows Vista since it didn’t meet its security standards, and since Vista this file wasn’t a part of Windows.

However, you can still download it if you want directly from the Microsoft’s website.

To do that, just follow this link to download winhlp32.exe. Once you do that, you should be able to open .hlp files using this application.

Keep in mind that this version is for Windows 8, but you should be able to use it with Windows 10 as well.

9. Download Windows 8.1 update and extract the file from it

This is an advanced solution, but it works according to users. This solution relies heavily on Command Prompt, so be sure to enter the required commands correctly.

If you’re not familiar with Command Prompt, you might want to skip this solution or read a quick tutorial in order to understand better how Command Prompt works.

To fix the problem with .hlp files, you need to do the following:

  1. Download Windows 8.1 update file.
  2. Start Command Prompt as administrator.
  3. When Command Prompt starts, run the following commands:
  • md ContentMSU
  • expand Windows8.1-KB917607-x64.msu /F:* .ContentMSU
    cd ContentMSU
  • md ContentCAB
  • expand /F:* .ContentCAB
  • cd ContentCAB
  • dir amd64*en-*.
  • cd amd64_microsoft-windows-winhstb.resources_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.20470_en-us_1ab8cd412c1028d0
  • takeown /f "%SystemRoot%en-uswinhlp32.exe.mui"
  • icacls "%SystemRoot%en-uswinhlp32.exe.mui" /grant "%UserName%":F
  • ren %SystemRoot%en-uswinhlp32.exe.mui winhlp32.exe.mui.w10
  • copy winhlp32.exe.mui %SystemRoot%en-uswinhlp32.exe.mui
  • takeown /f "%SystemRoot%winhlp32.exe"
  • icacls "%SystemRoot%winhlp32.exe" /grant "%UserName%":F
  • ren %SystemRoot%winhlp32.exe winhlp32.exe.w10
  • cd ..
  • dir *.exe /s
  • cd "amd64_microsoft-windows-winhstb_31bf3856ad364e35_6.3.9600.20470_none_1a54d9f2f676f6c2"
  • copy winhlp32.exe %SystemRoot%winhlp32.exe

After doing that, you should be able to run .hlp files on your PC. Keep in mind that this solution is rather advanced, and if you’re not careful you can cause damage to your Windows installation.

It’s worth mentioning that this solution works only with English version of Windows 10, so if you’re using a different version, you’ll need to replace en- and en-us with the correct parameters in the Command Prompt that match your version.

Windows 10 doesn’t have native support to open .hlp files, but if you have an older application that still uses those files you can try to avoid this limitation by using one of our solutions.

We’d like to hear your opinions on this issue so feel free to comment in the dedicated section below.

FAQ: Learn more about

  • What program can open HLP files?

You can view HLP files with the Windows Help Viewer, however this program is not supported by Windows 10, so check out our guide on how to open .hlp files on Windows 10.

  • How do I convert files to mp3?

In order to convert a video to an audio file you need a great software, that’s why you should see our list of the best mp4 to mp3 converters for Windows 10.

  • How do I convert a file to JPEG?

If you want to convert a screenshot or a png document to JPEG you can do it easily by following our user-friendly guide on how to convert files to JPEG.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in August 2016 and was revamped and updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

This post was written by Milan Stanojevic and was first posted to WindowsReport

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