MS Help 2.0 Hack!

Maybe this has been blogged before, but I couldn’t find it.

If you’re like me, you miss the simplicity of .HLP and .CHM files, where a simple double-click opens the help file. As you know, Microsoft has been deploying any help that relates to Visual Studio .NET in the MS Help 2.0 format, which is not so friendly.

Ok, so here’s my problem, if you obtain help files, like from the Visual Studio Team System prerelease documentation, and you want to just read through it, you can’t just double-click on any of the files:

So my hack goes like this: (you must be on a Visual Studio .NET/2005 machine)

  1. Open the .vrg file with notepad (_VsEnt80_reg.vrg in the above example).
  2. Look for the “Filename”= section of the file (“ms-help://ms.VsEnt.v80.en” in the above example).
  3. Copy the entire ms-help://xxxxxx path to the clipboard (ms-help://ms.VsEnt.v80.en in the above example).
  4. Drop to the command prompt and run the following, pasting in the above path.

       “C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedHelpdexplore.exe” /helpcol ms-help://ms.VsEnt.v80.en

  5. Create a batch file, command file, or shortcut and you’re set!