Blog‎ > ‎

Language Packs for Microsoft Help Viewer 1.0

posted May 25, 2010, 8:49 PM by Robert Chandler   [ updated Aug 29, 2011, 12:59 PM by Robert Chandler ]
Let's look at how to install VS 2010 local help in different languages. 

We'll also see how H3Viewer let's you display F1 help in any language.

Downloading Language Packs

Grab Alexander Kozlenko's download utility from codeplex.

Once installed you can start downloading MSDN local help in different languages. 

Make a separate folder for each lanuage.

Run the downloader app (requires .NET Framework 4)
  1. Select a Language
    Choose a language from the "Filter on locale" drop-down.
  2. Set the Download Location
    Hit the "Store files in" browse button to set the target folder.
    Important: Download each language pack to a new folder.
  3. Hit the Download Button
Repeat for each required language.

Note: I downloaded all Russian help but it would not install because of missing mshc file. So I edited the book XML file and removed that problem reference. Installed OK. German was OK. Still trying to get Japanese.

Downloading with PackageThis.exe

Microsoft have a open source project called PackageThis which uses MSDN web services to download any portion of MSDN online that you like and package it to a .CHM, .HxS or .MSHC help file. You can even download the C# source and play with it. 

Download PackageThis from VS Gallery.

Creating Foreign Language Catalogs

To create a Russian catalog:
  1. Make a copy of the installed "Help on Help" file. See **Missing File Error** below
    Copy C:\Program Files\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\MSHelp3_1_??-??.cab
      to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\
  2. Create the catalog by running...
    "%programfiles%\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\HelpLibManager.exe" /product VS /version 100 /locale ru-ru /brandingPackage dev10.mshc
  3. Once Help Library Manager opens click the "Install content from disk" link
    and browse to the Russian folder you downloaded. Select the .msha file and install. etc.
  4. Close Help Library Manager (which is currently running in ru-ru context).
Repeat for other language downloads.

H3Viewer - F1 Help in the Select Language

Grab H3Viewer.exe build 43. This can display non-English help.

Make sure H3Viewer is your default viewer (see H3Viewer options menu).

In H3Viewer select say the Russian catalog. If you now press F1 in English VS, H3Viewer will show the Russian version of help (if it exists). If it doesn't exist you will get the default language help.

Known Problems & Fixes

Help Viewer 1.0 bug: Changing Catalog wont change the Index.

This problem is fixed in VS 2010 SP1 (Help Viewr 1.1).

In VS 2010 RTM Help there if you try and view another help catalog (this possible with H3Viewer), the index shows the last catalog. To fix this simply kill off the Help Library Agent tray application (right click the Agent icon in the tray and select Exit). When Agent restarts (you access help next) the index information will be correct for the currently selected catalog.

Missing File Error: Accessing foreign language catalogs

Try and create say a Russian catalog without a file and you'll get the error...

'missing file error: MSHelp3_1_ru-RU

or in Help Viewer 1.1 (VS 2010 SP1)

'A file required by Help Library Manager is missing: MSHelp3_1_ru-ru.
To fix this problem, repair your Microsoft Help Viewer installation.

Do not repair help. This is a known problem with Help Viewer 1.1.
The is "Help On Help", which is added automatically to all new catalogs.
The problem occurs because Visual Studio 2010 only installs one language version of this file...

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\

To fix the problem simply make a copy of this file, and rename the copy using the new locale id.


1. To create a Russian catalog with English VS, make a copy of this file in the same folder...

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\

2. Rename the copy to...

C:\Program Files\Microsoft Help Viewer\v1.0\

If you have French Visual Studio installed then copy to etc.
Copy whatever is installed in your program files folder.

Locale ID Codes

Default MS Locales: 
  • zh-tw, zh-cn, en-us, fr-fr, de-de, It-It, ja-jp, ko-kr, ru-ru, es-es. See Language and Branding
"Help On Help" is automatically added to every new catalog you create. 
  • for an English catalog
  • for a German catalog
  • etc.

Help Library Manager: "Check for updates online" command

Note that once you have more than one language catalog, the HLM 1.0 command "Check for updates online" window shows updates for all your language catalogs. Mine lists English updates, followed by Russian, then German (see screen capture below).