How to Restrict the Shortcut and WinHelp Commands in HTML Help

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Article ID: 810687 - View products that this article applies to.
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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
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.

SUMMARY

With features in HTML Help, you can run executable programs from a help (.chm) file. The Shortcut command is used to run an executable program that is external to the Help file. The WinHelp command is used to run Winhlp32.exe to display a Winhelp (.hlp) file. This article describes how to restrict the Help files that are allowed to use the Shortcut and WinHelp commands.

MORE INFORMATION

HTML Help has implemented a new system policy (available for Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, and Windows XP systems) that is named "Restrict potentially unsafe HTML Help functions to specified folders". You can use this policy to specify which Help files can use the Shortcut and WinHelp commands. You can also use the policy to completely disable the commands on the system. To do this, you must be the system administrator on the computer. The "Restrict potentially unsafe HTML Help functions to specified folders" policy does not show up in the Group Policy editor graphical user interface (GUI).

Important Note Only folders on the local computer can be specified in this policy. You cannot use this policy to enable the Shortcut and WinHelp commands for .chm files that are stored on mapped drives or that are accessed through UNC paths.

The patch from Security Bulletin MS02-055, Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 or Windows XP Service Pack 1 must be installed for this policy to work correctly. For more information about this patch and how to download it, visit the following Microsoft Web:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS02-055.mspx
When a user tries to use one of the commands in a Help file that does not have permission, nothing happens. The command is not executed, and no error message is displayed.

To enable the commands for the default help file locations, add or modify the following registry value:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System\

Value name: HelpQualifiedRootDir
Data type: STRING
Value data: %windir%\help;%windir%\pchealth\helpctr;%program files%


To enable the commands for the help files in only the C:\myhelpfile folder, add or modify the following registry value:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System\

Value name: HelpQualifiedRootDir
Data type: STRING
Value data: c:\myhelpfile


To disable the commands for all Help files, add or modify the following registry value:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System\

Value name: HelpQualifiedRootDir
Data type: STRING
Value data: leave empty


To enable the commands for more than one folder, use semicolons (;) to separate the folders, add or modify the following registry value as in this example:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\System\

Value name: HelpQualifiedRootDir
Data type: STRING
Value data: c:\myhelpfolder;%windir%\help


Note In the value data, you can use an environment variable such as %windir% if the variable is defined on the system. For example, %programfiles% is not defined on some early versions of Windows.

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Article ID: 810687 - Last Review: December 1, 2007 - Revision: 6.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
Keywords: 
kbhowto KB810687

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