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Opening A Compiled Help File

How to open a Compiled Help File (.CHM) if the file does not display content

By: Kelly Ford On: 09/29/2009

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I still create compiled help files for most of DNNDev.com's modules, including XMod and XMod Pro. The primary reason for this is to provide a single-file solution that has a clickable table-of-contents and topics that can link to one another. However, security changes at Microsoft make compiled help files tricky to open for some people. Here's how to open them.

For security reasons, Windows looks at compiled help files (.chm) as a potential threat and, thus, blocks your access to them if you didn't create them on your computer. Usually this presents itself when you try to open the file. Windows may warn you that you are opening a file created on a different computer. Once you click OK, you see the table of contents displayed on the left but the right pane says that Navigation to the webpage was canceled".

(Click to enlarge)

There are two things to do to open our CHM Help Files:

  1. Make sure you are opening your Help File from your local machine and not from a network location.
  2. Right-click the Help File and select "Properties".
  3. The following dialog box will pop-up (or something similar, depending on your operating system)

    Unblocking the Help File
    (Click to enlarge)
  4. Click the "Unblock" button (the area is highlighted in yellow) and click OK.
  5. You should now be able to access the Help File.