PuTTY bug win-help-not-loaded-in-msi

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summary: Windows PuTTY as installed by the MSI can't find its help file
class: bug: This is clearly an actual problem we want fixed.
absent-in: ffa25be185be5f27e8cebc3b7a5902a760671af6 0.77
present-in: 6143a50ed228fdf5a72c2970629b4ff643d001fc 0.78
fixed-in: 7339e00f4ac8a0e5f0e101d2a0effa18ef794034 c14f079863ba6fb48137c7a96be7de5f7e5a8007 (0.80)

When PuTTY 0.78 or 0.79 is installed on Windows using the MSI installer package, the tools can't automatically find their help file: for example, the 'Help' button in the GUI configuration box is missing.

This was caused by a registry permissions mistake. The MSI installs a registry entry to tell the tools where to find the installed copy of the help file. That registry entry is installed systemwide in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, which means that normal users have read-only access to it. But a refactoring of PuTTY's registry access routines introduced a bug in which the tools would try to open that key for read-write access (even though they only planned to read from it afterwards), so the attempt would fail, and the tool wouldn't be able to read the help file pathname.

The help file putty.chm is present in the install directory, and you can open it by hand if you look for it there. The only problem is that the tools don't offer a convenient button to open it.

This also didn't affect the standalone version of putty.exe that you can download from the website by itself. That contains its own help file in a data resource, so it doesn't depend on that registry entry anyway.

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Audit trail for this bug.
(last revision of this bug record was at 2023-12-17 13:05:17 +0000)