Error Message When You Start Windows Me Help: The File Helpctr.exe Is Not Found

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Article ID: 305666
IMPORTANT: This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
256986 Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry
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Symptoms

When you click Help on the Start menu on a Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me)-based computer, you may receive an error message similar to the following:
The file HELPCTR.EXE is not found

Cause

This behavior can occur if the Helpctr.exe file is missing from the Windows\PCHealth\Helpctr\Binaries folder on your computer's hard disk.

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use one of the following methods.

Method 1

Use the System Configuration utility (Msconfig.exe) to extract the original Helpctr.exe file to the Windows\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries folder on your hard disk. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Start your computer in Safe mode. To do this, restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key after your computer completes the Power On Self Test (POST), and then click Safe Mode on the Startup menu.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run.
  3. In the Open box, type msconfig, and then click OK.
  4. In the System Configuration Utility dialog box, click Extract File.
  5. In the Specify the system file you would like to restore box, type helpctr.exe, and then click Start.
  6. In the Restore from box, click Browse, and then browse to the C:\Windows\Options\Install folder, where C: is the drive on which Windows is installed, and then click OK.

    NOTE: Use C:\Windows\Options\Install if you installed a Windows Me retail product, or C:\Windows\Options\Cabs if your computer manufacturer installed Windows Me.

    Windows Me installs the cabinet files, by default, in the Windows\Options\Install folder. If these files are on your computer, you do not need your Windows Me CD-ROM because you can extract the Helpctr.exe from the appropriate folder on your hard disk.
  7. In the Save file in box, click Browse, and then browse to your C:\ drive (where C is the drive on which Windows is installed), and then click OK.
  8. Click OK to extract the file.
  9. Click Yes to the The destination folder C:\ does not exist. Do you want to create it? message.
  10. Click OK to the The file has been successfully extracted message, and then click OK to close the System Configuration Utility dialog box.
  11. Start Windows Explorer: Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer. Locate the Helpctr.exe file that you extracted to your drive C.
  12. Move the Helpctr.exe file to the C:\WINDOWS\PCHealth\HelpCtr\Binaries folder by right-clicking the Helpctr.exe file and selecting Cut. Navigate to the Binaries folder, right-click the folder, and then click Paste on the shortcut menu.
  13. Click Start, and then click Run.
  14. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.WARNING: If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.

  15. Locate the following registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths\Helpctr.exe
    In the right pane, verify that the key is set to the following value:
    C:\Windows\PCHealth\Helpctr\Binaries\Helpctr.exe
    If this registry entry does not exist, create a new entry. To do this, follow these steps:

    1. Locate the following registry key:
      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\App Paths
    2. Right-click App Paths, point to New, and then click Key.
    3. Type Helpctr.exe.
    4. In the left pane, click Helpctr.exe.
    5. In the right pane, right-click (Default), and then click Modify.
    6. In the Value data box, type C:\Windows\PCHealth\Helpctr\Binaries\Helpctr.exe, and then click OK.
  16. On the Registry menu, click Exit to quit the Registry Editor.

Method 2

Run Windows Setup to reinstall Windows Me, which will replace the missing Helpctr.exe file.

More information

For additional information about how to use the System Configuration Utility tool in Windows Me to extract a file that is protected by the System File Protection feature, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
265371 How to Extract and Replace a Protected File in Windows Me

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Article ID: 305666 - Last Review: June 19, 2014 - Revision: 2.0
Keywords: 
kberrmsg kbprb KB305666
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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