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Reinstalling Help and Support Center in Windows XP

Published: Jan 2005
Updated : Sep 2008
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Did you accidentally remove Help and Support (PCHealth) using a third-party uninstaller, or does Help and Support fail to start due to missing files? You may use the following steps to completely reinstall the Help and Support Center:

Step I Restore missing Help and Support Files

1. Click Start, Run and type %windir%\INF

2. Locate the file pchealth.inf, right-click and choose Install

There will be two files namely PCHealth.INF and PCHealth.PNF. You'll need to right-click on the INF file (identified by a text pad and Gear icon in it) and choose Install. Note that the .INF suffix is not shown in Windows Explorer unless the Hide extensions for known file types setting is disabled in Control Panel / Folder Options / View tab.

3. In the next step, you'll be asked for the Windows XP CD (to extract dataspec.xml and many other files). Insert your Windows XP CD and point to the i386 folder in the CD. The i386 folder is usually located at the root of the drive for retail Windows XP CD. (DriveLetter:\I386)

4. Click OK. This restores missing Help and Support files.

Editor's note: The PCHealth.INF installation routine is not complete, as it does not register Help and Support completely, nor does it create the helpsvc service and other registry keys. At this point of time, nothing may happen when you start Help and Support, or it exhibits an error message mentioning the Help and Support service is missing.

Step II - End the Help and Support services

Click Start, click Run and type Taskmgr and click OK. This opens Task Manager. Click the Process tab. Terminate the following processes if running:

  • helpsvc.exe
  • helphost.exe
  • helpctr.exe

Step III - Reinstall Help and Support

Click Start, click Run and type cmd.exe, and click OK.

In Command Prompt, type the following commands one by one and press {ENTER} after each line. Alternately, you can copy the commands below to Notepad, save the file with .bat extension (e.g. helpfix.bat) and run it.

net stop helpsvc
cd /d %windir%\pchealth\helpctr\binaries
start /w helpsvc /svchost netsvcs /regserver /install
start /w helpsvc /register
start /w helpctr /regserver

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