Upgrading and Installation FAQ

Get the right information about upgrading and maintaining HelpMaster.  Browse the list of frequently asked questions below.

Also, read the Upgrade Guide.

If your question is not answered here, try the forums, the blog, our knowledge base, or contact PRD Software.

Download the right files

The latest installers can be downloaded from the Updates and Service Packspage. You'll need to be logged into this website to download files.

If using Microsoft Outlook with HelpMaster, you need to use the same bitness version that Outlook is using on that machine.  ie.  If you use the 32 bit version of Outlook, you'll need the 32 bit version of HelpMaster.

You can use a mixture of 32 and 64 installs throughout your business as per individual machine configuration.  Both 32 and 64 bit HelpMaster modules can connect to a 32 or 64 bit SQL Server.

Bear in mind that HelpMaster can send email using SMTP connections to on-line email sources - you do not have to have Outlook, or use it to send email if you have other options

* 64 bit version can only be installed on 64 bit operating systems and requires a 64 bit version of Microsoft Outlook.

The .exe file contains HelpMaster, Crystal Reports 2011 runtime engine, SQL Server 2016 Express, SQL Server SMO, SQL Server Native Client, SQL Server CLR Types, Windows Installer 4.5, Microsoft .net 3.5, and other installation dependencies.

The .msi files only contain the HelpMaster executables. It does not contain SQL Server, the Crystal Reports runtime engine, or any other product dependencies. The .msi is only included here for those who only need to install the HelpMaster Desktop on client machines and wish to do so via a .msi rollout. Such installations will not be able to run reports unless the Crystal Reports runtime is installed as a separate installation.

It is recommended that you use the .exe version for all HelpMaster installations, and only choose the components that you wish to install.

Upgrading an existing installation

Yes, however older versions will not be able to connect to a newer database. Running multiple versions of HelpMaster on the same computer should only be done if evaluating a higher version on that computer. Once you upgrade to a higher version of HelpMaster, your agreement to the end user licence agreement (EULA) requires that you uninstall all previous versions HelpMaster and not use them again. Please read the end user licence agreement (EULA) for further information about this.
You can upgrade from any version of HelpMaster v6 and above. If you would like to upgrade from v5 (Microsoft Access database), please contact PRD Software - we will upgrade your database for you at no charge.
Yes. The new features in the latest release require that your database is upgraded. Use the Database and Reports Wizard to do this. If you are upgrading to v12, please read this important information.
No. No data is ever lost during an upgrade. All data and configuration settings are stored in the HelpMaster SQL Server database and these will simply be updated to support the latest format. This means that all your jobs, system codes, Email Manager and Priority Manager, Active Directory profiles, Web settings etc will remain intact.
Most probably. It depends on the data source you used to create the reports. If you based your custom reports against any of the standard HelpMaster report queries (those prefixed with "rpt"), your custom report will work. If you based your reports on tables or other database objects, there is a chance that your custom reports may not work. Please contact PRD Software if this is the case and we can advise on the best way to migrate your reports to use the new database version.
Most probably. The programming interface and function calls of the API remain unchanged. Any development work you have done against the API should work with the latest release without any modification to your code. All you have to do is reference the latest HelpMaster API .dll in your source code.
This depends on your environment and which modules of HelpMaster you are using. Generally speaking, a full upgrade of HelpMaster in an ideal environment should only take a few hours. It is highly recommended that you perform a "test" upgrade of all modules to determine any compatibility or functionality issues. Please refer to the upgrade documentation for a specifc upgrade steps.
  • Download the latest HelpMaster installation package
  • Uninstall existing HelpMaster versions
  • Install the HelpMaster components on the appropriate machine...
    • Desktop and Job Monitor on each workstation as required
    • Desktop and Job Monitor on each workstation as required
    • Web Interface on your webserver (a machine running IIS)
    • Database and Reports Wizard, Email Manager, Priority Manager, Active Directory on a "HelpMaster server"
  • Run the Database and Reports Wizard to upgrade your database (make a backup!)
  • Run a Desktop edition to connect to your upgraded database Enter your registration code if prompted
For complete upgrade information, please refer to the HelpMaster helpfile which is installed with HelpMaster. An on-line helpfile is available also.
For those with a current Annual Maintenance Subscription (AMS), technical help is available by contacting PRD Software. The HelpMaster discussion board also offers community-based support PRD Software also offer a remote installation service. Use this service for a quick, complete and pain-free upgrade experience.

Licensing, registration codes, evaluation

  • Yes if upgrading to v17 or higher from any version.
  • Yes if your Annual Maintenance Support (AMS) period has expired. (See Help > About within HelpMaster)
  • Yes if you are changing your SQL Server name, HelpMaster database name, or moving your HelpMaster database from one server to another
  • No if you are currently within your Annual Maintenance Support (AMS) period and upgrading to the same major version. (See Help > About within HelpMaster)
Contact PRD Software when you're ready to go / have gone live with your updated HelpMaster environment and we'll send you a full registration code. Please note the time-sensitive process as outlined below. For other registration matters, please contact PRD Software.
Live registration codes automatically expire 72 hours after they are created. Please contact PRD Software to have a new code reissued to you. See the registration section below for further information.
If you require more time to evaluate HelpMaster, please contact PRD Software for an evaluation extension.
This means that the environmental operating conditions of your HelpMaster database have changed since your registration code was initially applied. You should not use HelpMaster in this mode for a live use. Certain functionality is reduced, and data is truncated. Please contact PRD Software to discuss. Please refer to the EULA for more information.
Each database will require a separate registration code to be applied. You cannot use the same registration code to register mutliple databases.
In order to upgrade to the latest version of HelpMaster, you will need to have a current annual maintenance subscription (AMS). If you do not have a current AMS subscription, please contact PRD Software sales team for a quote for the upgrade price. If you do not have a current AMS and would like to evaluate the latest version of HelpMaster, please contact PRD Software and we'll send you one.
All versions of HelpMaster since v10 use a time-sensitive registration process that will require some coordination from both the business using HelpMaster and PRD Software. The registration code that is generated by PRD Software will expire 72 hours after it was created. This means that you will need to register your live version of HelpMaster within 72 hours of requesting and receiving your registration code. Before requesting your registration code, please ensure that you have either... Upgraded your existing HelpMaster environment and are ready to "go live"...or You are confident that your upgrade can be achieved within this 72 hour timeframe. If you require a temporary registration code to test and/or evaluate HelpMaster, please contact PRD Software.

Annual Maintenance Subscription (AMS)

Check the "About" screen within HelpMaster (Help menu > About). The AMS details are displayed on the License tab. You can also contact PRD Software to check.
Please refer to the AMS support terms and conditions for details about this
Your Annual Maintenance Subscription renewal price is calculated at 20%, or 30% of the value of the HelpMaster licences you hold, depending on the level of support you opt for when you purchases you AMS
Check the "About" screen within HelpMaster (Help menu > About). The number of licences you hold are displayed on the Licence tab. You can also contact PRD Software to check.
Please contact PRD Software to get a quote and/or to renew your AMS. PRD Software will automatically contact you 1 month before your AMS expired with all the details and pricing for renewal. If you do not receive this correspondence in this time, please contact PRD Software.

Database - Microsoft SQL Server

SQL Server is a database platform from Microsoft. This is the database engine that HelpMaster uses. For futher information about SQL Server, please visit www.microsoft.com/sql

No. HelpMaster will only work with Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and higher.

Any version of SQL Server 2012 or higher, including the Express editions


Crystal Reports is a reporting platform that HelpMaster uses to display reports. For further information about Crystal Reports, please visit www.crystalreports com

The Crystal Report runtime files are required to run reports, or print from HelpMaster. These files are installed automatically during the HelpMaster installation if you use the .exe installer file to install the Desktop component of the HelpMaster suite.. Note, the Crystal Reports runtime files are used to view Reports only. To create, design and modify reports, you will need to purchase the developer edition of Crystal Reports. Current Crystal Reports runtime version is 13.0.20

Download Crystal Reports runtime 32 bit

Download Crystal Reports runtime 64 bit