Is there any free (as in bird) tool to convert windows help files (*.hlp) to a more user friendly format such as html/rtf?
Some searching revealed this free tool, HelpDeco. I tried it out and it seems to be able to create an RTF file from a standard HLP file (using the "/r" option). It generates images as well, but it seemed to create BMP files which wouldn't display in Word 2007 or Wordpad. (I assume converting them to WMF or PNG files might make them display properly.)
there' s a tutorial about that in this web page: http://www.help-info.de/en/Help_Info_WinHelp/hw_converting.htm
ABC Amber HLP Converter allows you to create printable, manual-quality documents from Microsoft Windows Help files. The program converts hlp files to any document (and database) format you wish - PDF, RTF, HTML, DOC, CHM, TXT, DBF, XML, CSV, XLS, MDB, etc.
EDIT: I found a free solution, but this will convert HLP to RTF only, it might suit your needs. It's a command line decompiler but some gentle soul has written a GUI for it. Here goes:
For the first time you launch HlpDecoGUI you'll have to point to the decompiler (HELPDECO.EXE), then pick the HLP file you wish to decompile, select the output directory and hit start.
This is an optional part of a nice tutorial about Converting WinHelp (HLP) to HTMLHelp (CHM)
Thanks for your answers, I found this: http://www.herdsoft.com/ftp/downloads.html