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PRB: HTML Help Shortcuts May Fail When You Use Version 1.4 or Later

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HTML Help supports a command named shortcuts. This command permits the user to run an executable file from a compiled help file. In HTML Help version 1.4 and later, some shortcuts may not work.

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This behavior is by design. This change in functionality was made to improve security.

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More information

The following are some of the reasons that shortcuts may not work:
  • The .chm file does not exist in the Local Machine zone. For example, the .chm file exists on a UNC path or on a mapped network drive.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer uses zones to specify different levels of security. The Local Machine zone is an implicit zone for content that is on the user's computer. Internet Explorer identifies content that is on a UNC path or on a mapped network drive to be in the Intranet zone.
  • The shortcuts have been limited by a group policy, either by the local computer or by a Group Policy Administrator for the domain.
    1. If no group policy exists (this is the default), shortcuts will work only if the .chm file is in one of the following directories (or in a subdirectory of one of these directories):
      Windows Directory\Help
      Windows Directory\PCHEALTH\HELPCTR
      NOTE: By default, on older operating systems (such as Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95), if the .chm file is in the Local Machine zone, all shortcuts work unless the help policy is set.
    2. If a group policy exists, either for the local computer or for an organizational unit to which the computer belongs, HTML Help observes the following rules:
      • If the policy does not exist, or if the policy is not configured, the default behavior is used (see part a of this list item)
      • If the policy is turned on, but no directories are specified in the policy dialog box, shortcuts do not work.
      • If the policy is turned on and there are directories specified in the policy dialog box, HTML Help verifies that the .chm file is in one of the specified directories (or in a subdirectory of a specified directory). If this is the case, the shortcut works.

Steps to Reproduce the Behavior

  1. Use HTML Help Workshop to create a test HTML Help project that contains one topic.
  2. Add a shortcut to the topic that runs Notepad.exe. To do this, follow these steps:
    1. Click Tags, and then click HTML Help Control.
    2. In the Specify The Command dropdown list, click ShortCut, and then click Next.
    3. In the text box labeled Text, type Notepad, and then click Next.
    4. In the text box labeled Program, type notepad.exe, click Next two times, and then click Finish.
  3. Compile the project into a .chm file.
  4. Create a network share on a different computer, and then copy the .chm file to that computer.
  5. On the first computer, start Internet Explorer.
  6. In the address bar, type the name of the shared path. For example:
  7. When the topic appears, click Notepad.

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For more information about group policies, visit the following Microsoft Web site: For more information about HTML Help, see the following Microsoft Developer Network article:

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Keywords: KB323180, kbprb, kbpending, kbhtmlhelp

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Article Info
Article ID : 323180
Revision : 8
Created on : 2/1/2007
Published on : 2/1/2007
Exists online : False
Views : 440