Fix: Setup cannot copy the file winhlp32.exe when installing Windows XP SP3


Our desktop team has finally started deploying Windows XP Service Pack 3 to corporate computers.  Their silent installation package kept failing on my laptop.  I finally ran the installer manually, and found it was failing with the following error:

Setup cannot copy the file winhlp32.exe

I checked the NTFS permissions, and found that Everyone was denied access to the C:\Windows\Winhlp32.exe file.  I logged in with administrative access, removed the deny permission, and SP3 installed successfully.

Turns out that I had implemented this change in file permissions as a workaround to the Help Keypress Vulnerability in VBScript enabling Remote Code Execution, detailed in this Technet Blog post.  It’s funny, the things I forget I do to my system to try to deal with security vulnerabilities because I can’t update patches on my own machine.

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