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If you need to keep all the previous versions as a separate entity then it will be diffucult to reduce the overall webhelp size. You could look at items (if there are any) that gobble up space (e.g. images). Other than that, I do remember reading an article which said that RH's output code was large compared to other HATs. Most of us know about the bloated HTML RH generates. Personally I think the only option is to go back to the client and say its a trade off between help for previous versions and additional storage.
So, of course, their "major overall differences in the gui and functionality" are your fault, right? Sheesh...
I guess the only real possibility for you, is to reduce the amount of topics by consolidating them into fewer, larger files with many bookmarks for linking to, and maybe combining child projects into only a few (eliminating many of those wh*data folders, you know).
You could also point out how the costs of storage have plummeted, and that they should leave you alone...
Thank you both for your suggestions (and support). What I've come up with is to suggest that they offer installation cds of older versions, which would include the help in CHM format, inexpensively in their online shop. That would allow me to maintain only the latest WebHelp on their website, and allows them to free up space they were using for older version downloads. I hope they go for it...