Rob van der Woude's Scripting Pages


Build your own HTML page with help for "all" Windows commands

or for "all" Linux/UNIX Bash internal commands and reserved words

Starting in Windows 2000, almost every command, when invoked with the /? argument, will display a short help screen, e.g. COPY /?

For most commands, that same help screen can also be displayed using the command HELP followed by the command's name, e.g. HELP COPY

When a command displays long help text, you have to use MORE to read it all, e.g. FINDSTR /? | MORE
That is inconvenient, as MORE can only scroll forward, not backward.
This can be solved by using a "port" of the UNIX command less, or by using my AllHelp scripts to create a scrollable HTML page containing all help text for all commands.

These AllHelp scripts will read the available help text for all commands, and write it in an HTML file.
The help text is read from the local computer, so it will be specific for the Windows version, ServicePack and language installed on that computer.

There are 3 versions of AllHelp: AllHelp.bat (batch file) and AllHelp.vbs (VBScript) for Windows, and (Perl) for Linux.
The Windows versions both extract the help text by first invoking the HELP command without any argument, then read the list of available commands from HELP's output, and finaly invoke HELP command for each command in this list.
The Linux version uses the compgen -bk command to get the list of available internal commands and reserved words, nd the info and grep commands to get the list of available core utils, and finaly invokes help command for each command/word in this list.
The resulting text is embedded in an HTML file and saved as "allhelp.htm" (Windows) or "allhelp_bash.html" (Linux).

I started writing AllHelp.bat, which worked fine in Windows 2000. In Windows XP, however, FINDSTR was included in the HELP command's output; its help text contains many < and > characters, and there is no easy way in the batch "language" to escape these characters in a text file or command's output.
That is why I wrote AllHelp.vbs later, in VBScript it is fairly easy to "escape" any character in any string.

As of version 2.00, AllHelp.vbs by default also list a lot of Microsoft command line tools not listed by HELP, i.e. Resource Kit tools, Active Directory tools, SUBINACL, DevCon, Mark Russinovitch's PS Tools, and more.
To skip these added commands, use the new /WHO command line switch (Windows' Help Only).

Note: AllHelp.vbs versions 3.00 and later don't work in Windows XP Professional.
In XP, use version 2.12, which is included in the download as AllHelpXP.vbs.


Click the floppy disk icon to download the ZIPped source Click the question mark icon to view the MD5 and SHA1 checksums for the ZIPped source Download the AllHelp scripts and start creating your own HTML help pages


Sample AllHelp Pages

I received several allhelp.htm files created with my AllHelp scripts.
You can view the results by clicking any of the links below:

Windows version Language Script used Requires editing
Windows 2000 German AllHelp.bat (1.20) no
Windows 2000 SP4 English AllHelp.bat (1.30) no
Windows XP SP2 Dutch AllHelp.bat (1.40) yes (FINDSTR)
Windows XP SP3 English AllHelp.vbs (1.00) no
Windows Vista SP1 English AllHelp.bat (1.40) yes (a lot!)
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 English AllHelp.vbs (3.22) no
Windows 7 RC English AllHelp.vbs (1.01) no
Windows 7 Ultimate English AllHelp.vbs (1.01) no
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64 bits English AllHelp.vbs (3.23) no
Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 32 bits Dutch AllHelp.vbs (3.21) no
Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation English AllHelp.vbs (1.22) no
Windows 8 Professional 32 bits English AllHelp.vbs (3.11) yes (EDIT, SFC)
Windows 8.1 Professional 32 bits English AllHelp.vbs (3.22) no
Windows 10 Pro 32 bits English AllHelp.vbs (3.22) no
Ubuntu 14.10 / Linux 3.16.0 32 bits Dutch (1.00) no
Ubuntu 15.04 / Linux 3.19.0 64 bits English (1.03) no

page last uploaded: 2015-09-21, 19:47