The Answer Wizard and the Help Index tabs appear blank when you use Help in an Office program

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Article ID: 319956 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q319956
Important This article contains information about how to modify the registry. Make sure to back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify 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 use Help in a Microsoft Office program (click Microsoft program Help on the Help menu), both the Answer Wizard and the Index tabs may be blank.

CAUSE

This problem may occur if you have both Microsoft Office 2000 and Microsoft Office XP installed on your hard disk drive.

For more information about how to run multiple versions of Microsoft Office, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
290576 Running multiple versions of Microsoft Office

WORKAROUND

Warning Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.
To work around this problem and to prevent the Answer Wizard and the Index tabs from appearing blank, change the security permissions on the following two registry keys to so that you can have full control for the Everyone group:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpAWDlg\CLSID

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpKeyDlg\CLSID
To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Quit all your Office programs.
  2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.

    Note If your operating system is Microsoft Windows 2000, type regedt32 instead of regedit. The security settings are not available in regedit on Windows 2000.
  3. In Registry Editor, locate one of the following two registry keys:
    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpAWDlg\CLSID

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpKeyDlg\CLSID
  4. Right-click the selected registry key, and then click Permissions.
  5. On the Security tab, click the Everyone group, and then click to select the Full Control check box.
  6. Click OK to close the Permissions dialog box.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 7 for the other registry key that is listed in step 3.
  8. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor.

MORE INFORMATION

When you use Help with the Microsoft Office Assistant turned off (disabled), the Msohelp.exe file displays the Microsoft program Help dialog box with three tabs on the left and a display area on the right for the active help topic. If there are two versions of the Msohelp.exe file on your computer, and you do not have Administrator rights, both the Answer Wizard and the Index tabs may appear blank.

It is typical to have two versions of the Msohelp.exe file on a computer if there are different versions of Office programs installed on your computer. If a program that is from Group A in the following table is installed at the time as a program that is from Group B in the following table, the program that was most recently installed or repaired functions as expected, but the program that is from the other group experiences the problem that is described in the "Symptoms" section.

Collapse this tableExpand this table
Group AGroup B
Any Microsoft Office 2000 edition Any Microsoft Office XP edition
Microsoft Access 2000Microsoft Access 2002
Microsoft Excel 2000Microsoft Excel 2002
Microsoft FrontPage 2000Microsoft FrontPage 2002
Microsoft PowerPoint 2000Microsoft PowerPoint 2002
Microsoft Word 2000Microsoft Word 2002
Microsoft Project 2000Microsoft Project 2002
Microsoft Publisher 2000Microsoft Publisher 2002
Microsoft Visio 2000Microsoft Visio 2002
Both versions of the Msohelp.exe file reference a specific pair of registry keys, but the values of those registry keys will be different depending on the version of the Msohelp.exe file that is using the registry keys. When the Msohelp.exe file encounters an unexpected value in the registry keys, the Msohelp.exe file tries to rewrite the registry keys with the expected value. If the Msohelp.exe file cannot change the registry keys, both the Answer Wizard and the Index tabs appear blank.

This problem does not occur on computers that have Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) installed because the registry is not secure. However, on both Windows 2000 and Windows XP, general users do not have permissions to write to the following registry keys that are referenced by the Msohelp.exe file:
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpAWDlg\CLSID

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MsoHelpKeyDlg\CLSID

Properties

Article ID: 319956 - Last Review: April 17, 2006 - Revision: 1.6
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Office XP Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Office 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Access 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Excel 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Project 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Project 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Publisher 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Publisher 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2002 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visio 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Word 2000 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbhotfixserver kbqfe kbpermissions kbtshoot kbpending kbbug KB319956

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