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Here is something that I stumbled upon that I think was a big loss: HTML Help [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Compiled_HTML_Help]

It's unfortunate that Microsoft didn't work toward making it an open source standard for documentation. We'd have avoided every other documentation having it's own format, style, etc... Plus you get the whole documentation in a single file, not worrying about broken stuff, missing images, broken links, etc...






I remember when you could bypass the login prompt and open a web browsing session by going to HTML Help. If I recall correctly you could run executables from the resulting browser's address bar too.


Windows 98 was single-user, the login prompt was used only for network connections if I remember ?

hah yes, and because the help viewer is a process that inherited the permission of the parent, if you ran the help viewer from an admin app (like novel netware!), you get full admin privileges to execute anything!

I think that was still a bug in Windows XP.

With Windows 10 you can boot from a DVD/USB and replace system files in the Windows directory related to the accessibility options. The accessibility options are available at the login screen and are ran with admin privileges. Then you simply click the button to start the accessibility options and bam you've changed the administrator password.

Are you kidding me? It was not unfortunate. Microsoft was the biggest opponent of open formats.

MS tried completely shut down and end open internet based on open standards. Their Blackbird project attempted to make create completely closed alternative MSN (The Microsoft Network) with closed publishing, search and software. Instead of Wikipedia, we would check out things from Microsoft Encarta.


Instead of Wikipedia, we would check out things from Microsoft Encarta.

It's funny you bring that up. I just noticed yesterday that MS Word now has a Wikipedia button: https://imgur.com/a/zbcLZGj Things change!


Think about how screwed up the modern web is (both security wise and complexity / bloat wise), and then realize if the format hadn't evolved to include all of that then help designer would still go with their own thing.

I'm a huge chm fan but I for one don't want out of update electron apps to open everytime I look up something. And then they would still go online to find up to date stuff anyway.


Yeah, we had an intenal kind of wiki with a .chm document, long before wiki was a thing. So easy, a single file, simple.



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