How to: Open .hlp files on Windows 10

3 minute read

Windows 10 is a modern operating system, therefore it has few compatibility issues with older software. For example, Windows 10 can’t natively open .hlp files, but there are several ways to fix this problem.

How to open .hlp files in Windows 10?

Many programs come with their own help files, and some older applications use .hlp format for those files. This format was supported by older versions of Windows, but Windows 10 doesn’t have native support for it which means that you can’t open .hlp files on Windows 10. This can be a problem for certain users that use older software, but there is a way to circumvent this limitation.

Solution 1 – Copy winhlp32.exe from Windows XP PC

Windows 10 doesn’t have winhlp32.exe file that is in charge for .hlp files, and to fix this issue you can copy this file from Windows XP. If you have any old PC running Windows XP you can copy it from there, or if you have Windows XP installation disc you can set up a virtual machine with Virtualbox on your PC, install Windows XP and transfer winhlp32.exe.

You might be able to download this file online from third-party sources, but that file can contain malware therefore use extra caution and be sure to scan it with your antivirus.

Solution 2 – Install the winhlp32.exe

Many users reported that you can fix this problem by installing winhlp32.exe. To do that you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Download this archive.
  2. Once you download it, extract all files to your PC.
  3. Locate Install file, right click it and choose Edit.
    open-hlp-files-edit
  4. Notepad will now open. Locate Settings area and add these two lines:
    • set WindowsVersion=7
    • goto :BypassVersionError
      open-hlp-files-new-lines
  5. Save changes and close the file.
  6. Now right click Install file again and choose Run as administrator.
    open-hlp-files-run-as-admin
  7. Command Prompt will open and run certain commands. After the procedure is completed you just need to press any key to close Command Prompt.
    open-hlp-files-completed

After you’ve done that, just drag and drop an .hlp file to the winhlp32.exe icon in order to open it.

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Solution 3 – Convert .hlp files to PDF documents

Although .hlp files have their advantage, some users are suggesting that the best way to view those files is to convert them to PDF documents. This is a relatively simple procedure, but in order to do it you need to find a proper converter online.

Solution 4 – Use third-party solutions

If you want to open .hlp files on Windows 10, you can always use third-party solutions. We recommend FileViewer Plus, a universal file viewer for Windows that can open and display over 300 different file types.

In some rare cases, if FileViewer cannot display the native view of the file, you can use the Text and Hex views to inspect the file contents. These views let you see “inside” the file, providing valuable information, especially for unknown file types. You can even search for content stored in the file.

Windows 10 doesn’t have native support for .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.

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