Following the release to manufacturing of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft is slowly setting in place all the software pieces that traditionally accompany new client and server platform releases. An illustrative example in this regard is the WinHlp32.exe download. The utility is designed to enable users running Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to access Help files, easily identifiable after the “.hlp” file name extension.

According to KB917607, titled “I cannot open Help files that require the Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) program,” “At this time, there is no WinHlp32.exe download available for Windows 7 or for Windows Server 2008 R2. However, separate downloads for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will be offered after the RTM versions of these products are available to public.”

However, Microsoft has failed to wait for the October 22, 2009 general availability deadline of Windows 7 and already released the 32-bit (x86) flavor of WinHlp32.exe. Before Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, the Redmond-based company allowed third-party developers to include WinHlp32.exe with their Windows programs. This is no longer the case, and the utility is now available exclusively as a standalone download from Microsoft. WinHlp32.exe is set up to integrate with both the 32-bit and the 64-bit editions of Windows 7, as well as with the exclusive x64 version of Windows Server 2008 R2. More »

Just like their precursors Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2 do not feature Windows Help by default. Windows Help is a program designed to allow end users to access Help files. Microsoft has discontinued the integration of WinHlp32.exe into Windows after the release of Windows XP.  Instead, the application is available via the Microsoft Download Center as a standalone download. At this point in time, the Redmond company has informed that Windows Help will come to Windows 7 only after the next iteration of Windows will be released to manufacturing.

“There is currently no WinHlp32.exe download available for Windows 7. However, a download will be available after the RTM version of Windows 7 is released,” the software giant stated. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 users are now able to grab the Windows Help bits in order to access .HLP files. Windows Help is only offered as a standalone program from Microsoft, and is no longer available to third-party developers to be included and distributed with their software products. But this is only valid for Vista and Windows Server 2008. Windows 7 users will have to wait after the operating system’s RTM in order to grab a copy of Windows Help tailored to the operating system. More »