Microsoft didn’t wait for the October 22, 2009 Windows 7 RTM deadline and yesterday published Windows Help program (WinHlp32.exe) for Windows 7. A genuine validation is performed before the download can be initiated. Further information about the removal of the Windows Help Program is provided at the Microsoft Knowledgebase.
This replaces my temporary solution which I’ve patched together four months ago.
Before Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft allowed third-party developers to include WinHlp32.exe with their Windows programs. This is no longer the case, and the utility is now available exclusively as a standalone download from Microsoft. WinHlp32.exe is set up to integrate with both the 32-bit and the 64-bit editions of Windows 7, as well as with the exclusive x64 version of Windows Server 2008 R2.
“Windows Help (WinHlp32.exe) is a Help program that has been included with Microsoft Windows versions starting with the Microsoft Windows 3.1 operating system. However, the Windows Help program has not had a major update for many releases and no longer meets Microsoft's standards. Therefore, starting with the release of Windows Vista and continuing in Windows 7, the Windows Help program will not ship as a feature of Windows. If you want to view 32-bit .hlp files, you must download and install the program (WinHlp32.exe) from the Microsoft Download Center,” Microsoft stated.