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.
“Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) is a Help program that has been included with Microsoft Windows versions starting with the Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system. However, the Windows Help program has not had a major update for many releases and no longer meets Microsoft's standards. Therefore, starting with the release of Windows Vista and continuing in Windows 7, the Windows Help program will not ship as a feature of Windows. If you want to view 32-bit .hlp files, you must download and install the program (WinHlp32.exe) from the Microsoft Download Center,” Microsoft stated.
WinHlp32.exe is available for download here.