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Using the zynamics MSDN crawler script you can extract Windows API documentation from compiled MSDN help files. The MSDN crawler parses the help files and generates an XML file that contains all important information about Windows API functions.



Microsoft Platform SDK

You must first have a local copy of MSDN on your host. Download following files:

Then run PSDK-FULL.bat to make the setup file:

C:\>PSDK-FULL.bat C:\temp

Go to C:\temp and launch the setup.exe file. It will install the Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2.

Visual Studio

We also need the help file decompiler (hxcomp.exe). It is available from VisualStudio SDK. You can get VisualStudio 2005 SDK here:

Notice that you will need to install Visual Studio 2005 prior to installing the SDK.

Once finished, the hxcomp utility will be located in C:\Program Files\Visual Studio 2005 SDK\2007.02\VisualStudioIntegration\Archive\HelpIntegration\hxcomp.exe.

Decompilation of HxS files

Decompile all HxS files in your MSDN documentation "help" directory (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2\Help). This can be achieved with following commands:

C:\>cd "\Program Files\Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2\Help"
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2\Help>for /R %x in (*.hxs) do hxcomp -u "%x"
Prior to the above command, you should add the path to hxcomp.exe in your PATH environment variable.

Installation of msdn-crawler

$ git clone
You can get Git for Windows from here:


C:\msdn-crawler>python "c:\Program Files\Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows XP SP2\Help"