Patch to reinstall Help Center

I have been having trouble with helpctr, normally giving me the message "helpctr has caused an error in kernel32 and will now close" as soon as I open helpctr, but occasionally waiting until I try one other feature within helpctr before I get an error message.  I have posted before and gotten TEMPORARY relief.  

I also posted the problem to a newsgroup and received from a member a patch (bat file) which he said a microsoft tech had written for him to reinstall the helpctr.  I copied the patch and placed it below.  Can anybody tell me what this code will do and whether or not it will possibly help my helpctr problem?  

rundll.exe setupx.dll,InstallHinfSection PCHealth.Install 132

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LeeTutorConnect With a Mentor retiredCommented:
I think it is probably a good idea for you to wait for other expert input on this (although I'm not sure how many experts participate in this topic.)  In the meantime, you can find several dozen sites at the search engine and entering "reinstall Windows over itself" (including the quotation marks) as the term to search for.  Note that a number of application developers recommend this as a way of getting rid of certain problems (I wasn't able to find anything mentioning Netscape and WordPerfect Office, however.)  And the following is a quotation from one of the more interesting, and in my opinon, trustworthy information sources about Windows on the web.
This is about reinstalling Windows 98 over itself, but it probably applies to WinME too:

Question: I was under the impression that you can't install Windows 98 over itself, but I read in your article, Windows Wisdom - Five Painful Truths, that you can. I have updated several times from the Windows Update site. Can I still reinstall Windows over itself? --Chuck McCall

Answer: Chuck, yes you can reinstall Windows over itself. It's preferably to do so while Windows is actually running. It is also possible to do this at the DOS level (in Windows 9x), but that method can cause lots of new problems, both with hardware drivers and long file names.
     Be warned, though, even reinstalling over running Windows can get you into trouble. And there are two strategies. Windows will prompt you when it is about to overwrite system files that are newer on your hard drive than they are the Windows CD you're installing from. If your reason for reinstalling is because you suspect you have bogus system files, then you'll probably want to follow the first strategy: To let Setup install over those newer files on the hard disk. But, desirable newer system files that may have been installed since Windows was installed -- by, for example, Windows Update, a newer version of IE, or a more recently released MS Office -- will be lost.
     To come full circle, you will have to go back and reinstall all those patches and applications too. And that can be very complicated. The best policy is to install in chronological order of the release of the program or patch. But many times that's impossible to determine. And even if you can establish the chronology, it's no guarantee of perfection. (Counterbalancing that is the simple reality that Windows is a lot more forgiving of this problem than many geeks seem to believe.)
     The second strategy is an easier one to pursue, but it may solve fewer problems. Opt not to let Windows overwrite newer system files already in your Windows installation. You'll have few if any app hiccups this way, but the process may not cure whatever prompted you to attempt the Windows reinstall. Ultimately, this may be the better first step.
     Having said all that, there are some basic installation issues. You should temporarily disable any program or TSR being launched from DOS, all anti-virus programs, and look closely at any program that runs automatically at startup before you install Windows over itself. The best policy under Win98 is probably to use System Configuration Utility (Start > Run > type "msconfig" > and press Enter). Under Selective Startup, remove the check beside "Load Startup Group Programs." This doesn't just disable the StartUp folder items, it also disables all automatically launching programs. After you install, you can reinstate the setting. Finally, if you use Active Desktop, disable that first.
     Experienced users will note that a lot of the time you don't have to disable all this stuff. I never run Active Desktop, and I'm picky about auto-launching apps, but in my experience, turning all this stuff off is rarely necessary. But, if you want to do everything you can to ensure a problem free install, these steps are little enough to follow. And, if you do only one thing, temporarily disable your anti-virus program's auto-scanning function. --S.F.

This Microsoft Knowledge Base article gives you the info you need (or much of it, anyhow):;EN-US;q164787
INFO: Windows Rundll and Rundll32 Interface (Q164787)

rundll.exe setupx.dll,InstallHinfSection PCHealth.Install 132

I've copied and pasted the example from the above article, and your original question's similar version, and you can see how similar they are.  What newsgroup did you get your solution from?
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bobsing060797Author Commented:
I got the solution from microsoft.public.windowsme.systemtools.  

Based upon your comments and the website, I decided it was safe and tried it.  It did seem to reinstall the help center, and I was able to go several steps further in it before crashing.  However, it still did give me that fatal error.  So, I must again consider reinstalling Windows Me.  

In previous versions of Windows, after an install one had to reinstall all of his installed software (browsers, wordprocessors, ...).  I do have a number which are NOT Microsoft.  Will it be necessary to reinstall them after reinstalling Win Me?  

Also, would it be wiser to do the reinstall from Dos or Safe mode rather than normal mode?  
If you reinstall Windows ME over itself, you may not need to reinstall any other program, and it might cure your problem with Help Center also.  There might be a few programs that will need reinstalling, but perhaps not that many...
bobsing060797Author Commented:
Does anyone, including LeeTutor, have any more definitive info on my last 2 questions, namely:

1.  Will it be necessary to reinstall my application software (for instance Netscape 4.76 & WordPerfect Office 2000) after reinstalling Win Me?  

2.  Would it be wiser to do the reinstall from Dos or Safe mode rather than normal mode?  
bobsing060797Author Commented:
Thanks Lee.  I will check Google and wait for another expert to see if any have advice and knowledge on reinstalling Win Me on top of itself.  

THanks again.

bobsing060797Author Commented:

I am going to go ahead and give you credit for the answer to this question and post another question or two, because running the little "patch" created another problem and reinstalling Win Me did not solve either that problem nor the original help center problem.  

I have a variation of the "Helpctr has caused an error in Kernel32.dll" problem.

My crash only occurs when I use Start \Programs\Accessories\System Tools\System Information.  This function seems to be a part of Helpctr.  When I access other Helpctr.exe functions, I have no problem (such as Start\Help).

After I exit System Information, I get the message window "Helpctr has caused an error in Kernel32.dll" two times.

Thereafter, I can run System Information again and exit it with no error.  However, Ctrl-Alt-Del no longer works and when I shut down the computer I get a window saying a program is not responding and I have to force it to shut down.  The name of the unresponsive program is not displayed.

I have so far:

deleted the swap file

extracted fresh copies of all of the files in Windows\PCHealth\Binaries except marscore.dll which could not be found:
  brpinfo.dll, hcappres.dll, hcupdate.exe, helpctr.exe msinfo32.dll

I obtained a later version of marscore.dll from a website and replaced that.

  (I booted with an ME boot disk to copy the new versions to avoid the file protection system)

I have done nothing with kernel32.dll for two reasons:

1) Most of what I have read points to the program causing the crash, not kernel32.dll.

2) Since I have already updated ME with the latest patches, if I replace kernel32.dll with an older version from my install cabs how will I ever get the new patched version back in place? Does the upgrade patch replace the file in the install cabs from whence I shall be extracting?  Will Windows Update realize that I have an obsolete version and replace it for me?

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