"Upgrading users should be able to ignore the viewer as before."
I'll miss CHM files. Yeah, it's all online, but not every device is online always. Plus the search facility on the online equivalents tends to suck.
The Windows 10 April Update has begun seeping out from beneath the Redmond bathroom door. As an antidote to the excitement of the new, let us take a moment to mourn the passing of the old. First on Microsoft's roll of honour was Groove Music Pass. The music service, which was loved by a niche of users, got a Spotify-shaped …
Unless the problem you need help with is the fact that you can't get online. I wonder how MS intends to deliver help files when your network connection has been rendered FUBAR due to the latest MS update?
I'll get my coat, it's the one with the recursive Catch 22 trap in the pocket containing the recursive Catch 22 trap in th
"There are still some situations" [snip] " and you would still like to have help available"
I've already tried these kinds of "cloud based only help" things before [read: DevStudio after 2010] and NEVAR want this kind of ABOMINATION *EVAR* *AGAIN*!!!
I don't need internet bandwidth choke points (or service outages) to get in the way of me doing work.
wasting spending time commenting on El Reg takes up too much of my time already...
> Most people have mobile Internet on their phone for when the PC is broken
Unless, of course, you (a) live somewhere with zero cellular signal, or (b) work somewhere where mobile devices are forbidden. Neither of which is as uncommon as you might think.
> Most people have mobile Internet on their phone for when the PC is broken
"Siri, I can't get online so the help key on my windows machine doesn't show me the help page I need. What would it have shown me if it did have an internet connection?"
Clearly a superior solution to wasting dozens, I say DOZENS of megabytes of offline documentation!
"Most people have mobile Internet on their phone for when the PC is broken, and wired Internet on their PC for when their phone is broken."
With a data plan that's all used up, or about to be once you've navigated through a maze of help options, none of which quite address the problem you are having.
The other advantage of CHM files is binding the lifetime of the documentation to the lifetime of the application. Windows is supposed to be the platform that cares about backward compatibility; the push to server-based everything — including help files — strongly undercuts that.
"once you've navigated through a
maze circle jerk of help options, none of which quite address the problem you are having."
fixed it. you're welcome. sometimes a local 'grep' gets you the answer faster than being jerked about by link-hell.
(ok it means installing Cygwin on a winders box, but I generally do that)
My phone's data connection goes through the cabinet as well? Damn. I should try to get them to route mine through the cabinet near my mum's place, I always get better speeds there.
And if the problem's in the cabinet, how much help is the Windows manual going to be?
Thus, we have a couple of desktops and a laptop (for travel). I only update them one at a time... just in case. Even still, I usually wait at least a week to see what issues occurred. But if I had only one, I'd be very reluctant to ever run an update....
>Unless the problem you need help with is the fact that you can't get online. I wonder how MS intends to deliver help files when your network connection has been rendered FUBAR due to the latest MS update?
>I'll get my coat, it's the one with the recursive Catch 22 trap in the pocket containing the recursive Catch 22 trap in th
The sad part is that that isn't even a joke. Wasn't it last year when MS put out an update that destroyed everybody's DHCP?
Unless the problem you need help with is the fact that you can't get online
Reminds me of the episode in Cheers where Woody is trying to set up the VCR. He's having difficulty but is delighted when he discovers that there is a "how to set up your VCR" VHS cassette included. Sadly I can't find the clip on YouTube.
Once, you hit F1 and got a relevant help screen. Not you hit F1, and an almost random page opens in a browser with very little, if any, useful information. Also both WinHelp and CHM had navigation features and a way to organize contents so you could explore them. Also, you had everything in a single file, instead of several ones, and there were no viewer compatibility problems.
Another example of how IT went backwards in the past years, cobbling up "solutions" using the wrong tools, and just making users experience worse.
I have yet to find Office's online help find anything relevant. It might as well not exist.
The "real" Office online help process appears to be: "Typing in a variable selection of keywords into google until a genuinely relevant online article pops up in the first page of search results. Bonus points are available if it's actually relevant to the version of MS Office you are trying to get help for.".
just tried it now, F1 doesn't do anything in my Firefox. It's as if I didn't press anything.
according to https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Tools/Keyboard_shortcuts
it only works in the developer tools now, and you have to press F12 or CTRL+SHIFT+i to enable that first.
"Not you hit F1, and an almost random page opens in a browser with very little, if any, useful information."
This. I remember when MS help was awesome - full, clear and context sensitive in Excel for example. Now you get random links to websites that often don't exist anymore, along with lots of worse than useless "community content".
I won't miss writing them, Microsoft gave up on the format years ago and as a result writing CHM files is like building a web page for IE 4, with all the problems that come with that. Half the time I never knew what would work and what wouldn't. Local help files are cool and all, but the CHM format is terrible.
As a side note I no longer have to worry about local help files because I now write web applications. If you can't access the Internet then there is little point in being able to read the documentation. I have also noticed that most people don't care if their applications work without the Internet, and you know what that means. If the users don't care, the programmers aren't going to bother. Much to the chagrin of you crusty old IT types, I'm sure.
Local help files are cool and all, but the CHM format is terrible.
Well, CHM is a Compressed HtMl format. Maybe what we need is a new standard, call it CHMx or something.
The files would live locally on the PC, but a service like windows update could check every so often to see if a new version is available for download.
IF you click the I don't care options for privacy, Cortana now does things like offer you relevant coupons in Edge for the site you are visiting. For instance visiting Dell.co.uk I was offered some quite useful discounts.
And the asking is a little Cortana overly in the address bar, not a pop up and not otherwise intrusive unless you choose to select it.
So whilst it's an invasive feature it's also potentially useful and has been quite well implemented imo.
I won't miss the vulnerabilities in WinHlp32.exe
But what's wrong with using a browser to point to an index file on your hard disk? A few meg on an install DVD, and minor updates over the net? Search would suck, but at least it's searching a curated collection.
Vulnerabilities can be fixed (and should we talk about browser vulnerabilities, especially when accessing remote contents?), WinHelp was much more integrated with applications. Remember the help tooltips you could get by clicking the "?" icon in a dialog and then a control? That was a WinHelp feature no browser can deliver, and was removed. It was very handy to get quick help.
Moreover WinHelp was much faster to load and display the looked for content, sure, less features than actual web pages, but you didn't need to build applications into WinHelp.
It was also easier to write - without the complexity of HTML - which you don't really need - it was faster to write contents and focus on them, and no need to create indexing and navigation from scratch - they were built-in.
Would be some seriously badly written HTML with JS to stop working on any browser, we are talking Help pages, which should be simple HTML with a bit of CSS, and still work if the CSS is missing.
Even if the new standards are implemented and features were removed, these should still work in any browser.
Not to mention that, maybe, perhaps, the contents of your local help file might actually be relevant to the version at hand, rather than applicable to a Windows/Office/whatever version different than yours. Who knows, they might even update the navigation instructions to correspond to Windows' navigation choice of the week.
Am I being foolish here or are you? Or is it the article that is incorrect? I'm pretty sure that WinHlp32 is used to open .hlp files, .chm are handled by hh.exe. So if the article is correct, then its only really old help files that become unavailable, and those who what to can use .chm as usual. Personally I quite like .chm and Help and Manual makes it a breeze to create them.
CHM files live to fight another day; it's HLP files (their predecessor I think) that are being deprecated.
I wish they would get rid of CHM files; I'm a tech writer and still have to produce the bloody things. Static HTML 5 runs rings around them nowadays.
I've got thousands of old IT books, all helpfully published as CHM files. It's amazing how much space saving the format brings, and you can also hyperlink to the pages etc, far superior to PDF, and the thankfully dead XPS.
Did anyone ever find a genuine use for XPS files?
Groove had the essential functionality of being able to stream your own music files from OneDrive. As more and more underground bands either delay the release of their albums on streaming services or just keep them at BandCamp only all together, Spotify is pretty useless for me.
I switched to Google Play, which has somewhat similar approach, but instead of managing your own files you upload them to Google, which performs some matching algorithm which fails quite a lot. MS Groove was much superior in that regard.
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