Providing Custom Connection Manager Help (.chm)

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 Foundation, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Vista

Using the CMAK wizard, you can specify customize Help files that are used by the Connection Manager client with your connection profile when the user requests Help.


Help files in the form of .chm files are only included with profiles that are created by using the Windows 7 or Windows Vista option, and that are installed on computers running one of those versions of Windows. Help files created by using the Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, or Windows 2000 option and that are installed on one of those versions of Windows use .hlp files for Help. To customize an .hlp file for those earlier versions of Windows, see Providing Custom Connection Manager Help (.hlp). If a profile created for the older versions of Windows (with an .hlp file included) is installed on Windows 7 or Windows Vista, then the default .chm file included with Windows is displayed.

You can create a customized .chm Help file by using the HTML Help Workshop available at HTML Help Workshop and Documentation (

Sample source files that can be easily customized by using the HTML Help Workshop to create a custom .chm file are available at Connection Manager Administration Kit – Sample Source Files for Customized Help (

How to customize the default Help files

If you want to include custom Windows Help, you must prepare your files before you run the CMAK wizard. Download the sample source file from the Microsoft Web site, and then run the file to decompress the source files into a folder structure called ConnMgrSampleSource.

Examine the files in the folder HTML. We recommend that you open them in a plain text editor such as Notepad to ensure that the formatting is not corrupted. The files each have a file name that must be kept intact. The Connection Manager client program knows that for each of the following user interface elements to launch the Help topic shown in the following table.

User interface page Help topic file name

Default (top) page


Logon Dialog Box


Connection Properties – General Tab


Connection Properties – Internet Logon Tab


Connection Properties – VPN Tab


Connection Properties – Options Tab


Connection Properties – Sharing Tab



Any page in your Help file that does not have one of the file names shown in the previous table cannot be invoked by the user by pressing F1 from the user interface. The pages do show up in the Help table of contents, however, so you can include additional pages and link to them from the pages referenced in the table.

The pages must be stored in a folder named html that is under the folder containing the .hhc and .hhp files that define the Help project in HTML Help Workshop.

Place graphics that you want to include in the local folder, and refer to them in the .htm source files by using syntax similar to ../local/artfilename.gif.

When specifying your custom Help file in the CMAK wizard, browse to it. If you type the name, no validation is done on the file name (including the file name extension).

Be sure to test the Help files on all target platforms before delivering your service profile to your users. Test Help by starting Connection Manager and pressing F1 on each user interface page. Testing the file by opening it outside of Connection Manager does not verify the correct connection of each topic to the correct user interface page.

Additional references