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Help Library Manager (Microsoft Help System 1.1)

Windows SDK - Windows 7/.NET Framework 4

The Help Library Manager application lets you manage the product documentation in the local Microsoft Help Viewer content store. You can find and install new content from the web or from media, go online to obtain updates for your offline content, and remove offline content. Help Library Manager also manages settings that let you customize your help experience.

Finding new content online and checking for updates to Microsoft content require a connection to the Internet. Help Library Manager uses the Background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) to download content for installation. If this service is not running on your computer, these features will not work. The Help Library Manager BITS jobs run with normal priority. If other BITS jobs are running on your computer, this may cause a delay in help content downloads. If Help Library Manager is started using the Run as feature, BITS will not be able to schedule jobs because the service is available only to the logged on user account. To work around this issue, open Help Library Manager with the user account that is currently logged on.

When performing potentially long-running actions, such as downloading and installing content from the web, you can click the Hide button to minimize the application while the installation is in progress. You can view previously installed offline or online content while content is being installed for offline use.

If Help Library Manager updates local content when the Microsoft Help Agent tray application is running, you should exit and restart the Microsoft Help Agent application after updates are complete. To exit the application, right-click the tray icon to view the shortcut menu, and then click Exit. The tray application will automatically restart the next time you access documentation.

The following sections provide detailed instructions about how to use Help Library Manager to manage Microsoft Help Viewer settings.

Setting Your Preference for Viewing Help Content Online or Offline

Microsoft Help Viewer works in two modes: online and offline. In online mode, you view the documentation that is available on the MSDN Library website. This requires an Internet connection. In offline mode, you can view the documentation that you have installed locally. To set your online/local help preference:

  1. Launch Help Library Manager.

  2. Click Choose online or local help or Settings. The next screen shows a choice of online or local help.

  3. Choose an option and then click OK.

Setting the Location for Offline Content

Content viewed in local (offline) mode resides on disk in the Microsoft Help Viewer content store, in a directory that you specify the first time you run Help Library Manager on a computer. Once this directory is set, you cannot move the content store. Here are some guidelines that you should consider when setting the directory:

  • Do not use removable media.

  • Do not use a network share.

  • Do not select a drive with limited free space.

  • Do not use a protected system directory, such as System32.

  • Do not use a file allocation table (FAT) file system if the computer is shared by multiple user accounts and some accounts should not have access to the help content.

Content is stored on a per-computer (not per-user) basis. If you place the store on removable media and the media is removed, Microsoft Help Viewer will not work. You should not use a network share, because Help Library Manager places a computer-wide lock on the offline content to protect against multiple users simultaneously updating the content. If the content can be accessed and shared by multiple computers, you can accidentally corrupt the content by having multiple users (on separate computers) update the content. Help Library Manager will grant read permissions to the directory to all users on the computer. Write permissions are granted to the Administrators security group and the HelpLibraryUpdaters security group. The user account that creates the local content store is added to the HelpLibraryUpdaters security group automatically. If an administrator on the computer is not a member of the HelpLibraryUpdaters group, they must start Help Library Manager by using the Run as administrator command or they will receive an error.

On FAT file systems, access to the content store cannot be protected by using access control lists.

The following sections provide detailed instructions for finding, installing, updating and removing content that is stored on your computer for offline viewing.

Downloading Content for Offline Use

Using Help Library Manager, you can download new Microsoft content for use in offline help. This service currently only provides a subset of the content found on MSDN online. This feature requires an Internet connection. The time required to complete this action depends on a variety of factors, including your Internet connection speed and other activities occurring on the client.

To find help content online and install it for offline use:

  1. Launch Help Library Manager.

  2. Click Install content from online. The next screen shows the available content organized by product, and content that is already installed.

  3. Select the content to install by clicking Add next to the content title. You can select multiple titles from the list.

  4. When you are finished selecting content to install, click Update.

Help Library Manager will install the content and report on its progress.

Installing Offline Content from Media

Help Library Manager uses a file called HelpContentSetup.msha to install content on your computer. This is an HTML file that identifies help content that can be installed locally.

To find and install help content from media:

  1. Launch Help Library Manager.

  2. Click Install content from disk.

  3. Navigate to the directory that contains HelpContentSetup.msha.

  4. Select the file and then click OK. The next screen shows the content available on the media, and any content that is already installed.

  5. Select the content to install by clicking Add next to the content title. You can select multiple titles from the list.

  6. When you are finished selecting content to install, click Update.

Help Library Manager will install the content and report on its progress.

Getting Updates to Offline Content

With Help Library Manager, you can check to see whether updates are available for the offline content that you installed previously, and download the updated content for offline viewing. (Note: This version of Microsoft Help Viewer does not update content that is not otherwise available to install from Online using Help Library Manager.)

Because content can be shared across products, you cannot get updates for a subset of the documentation you installed locally. All updates to the local content will be downloaded and installed.

Using this feature requires an Internet connection.

To find and install updates for your offline help content:

  1. Launch Help Library Manager.

  2. Click Check for updates online. The next screen shows all the content you have installed from Microsoft and any additional content you have installed in the current documentation set.

    Help Library Manager will check and display the update status for each piece of help content. This might take a few moments. The status area at the bottom of the screen shows the total size of the updates.

  3. Click Update to download and install all the updates.

Help Library Manager will install the content and periodically report on its progress.

Removing Content

You can remove all or part of your installed content. (Note: When removing content, the size of content selected for removal might be greater than the total size shown at the bottom of the screen. This is because content can be shared across product documentation sets or used in more than one place in the same documentation set. This shared content will not be deleted while it is still referenced by the Microsoft Help Viewer system.)

To remove help content from your machine:

  1. Launch Help Library Manager.

  2. Click Remove content. The next screen will show the content in the current documentation set.

  3. Select the content to remove by clicking Remove next to the content title. You can choose multiple titles from the list.

  4. When you are finished selecting content to remove, click Remove.

Help Library Manager will remove the content and periodically report on its progress.

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