Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

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Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:00 pm

Okay, to get started I did use the search function in looking for info but none of the threads I found seemed to answer my question definitively and I did not want to bump an old thread. So here it goes. Windows 7 to my understanding removes all support for 16-bit programs. What exactly does that mean? What kinds and/or what era of programs are covered in this?

Now I have a handful older games from the 90's, say 1994-1999, that I still like to play once in awhile. On my Vista64 system I have now I can use DosBox to, for my oldest example, run Wing Commander 3 which is from 1994. According to an employ I was talking to at Gamestop this last week however, he cannot run the original Fallout even using DosBox on his Win7 system, as such I am a bit concerned that even the emulation software will not work. Is what I heard right and is there a way around it? Secondly are other programs from the post-DOS to the pre-Vista era in danger of not running on Win7 and if so what emulation software is out there the provide compatibility for them? And finally is there any emulation software the would provide the same kind of compatibility for older programs as DosBox that is more user friendly?

Thank you.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:23 am

Win7 Pro + XP mode? I haven't tried a 16-bit app in that, but I think it will work, because it's basically just emulating XP (32-bit), which should be able to do what you're asking.

Btw, I'm assuming to begin with that you're talking about Win7 64-bit.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:39 am

The only 16-bit programs that 64-bit Win7 can run are certain installer programs, which are automatically patched at runtime to let them execute. This is done because there is a significant number of 32-bit programs that were bundled with 16-bit installers, even relatively recently.

You could ask the DOSBox forums how to get Fallout to work; probably someone else has run into this problem and figured out how to solve it. You shouldn't take some random Gamestop clerk's word for it - there's a non-zero chance he was an idiot and did a fairly obvious misconfiguration.

As to funky 32-bit programs, you can right-click on the executable, go to Properties, and try Compatibility Mode.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:53 pm

bthylafh wrote:The only 16-bit programs that 64-bit Win7 can run are certain installer programs, which are automatically patched at runtime to let them execute. This is done because there is a significant number of 32-bit programs that were bundled with 16-bit installers, even relatively recently.


I've had a few 16-bit installers bork even then.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:34 pm

KJ_A wrote:Okay, to get started I did use the search function in looking for info but none of the threads I found seemed to answer my question definitively and I did not want to bump an old thread. So here it goes. Windows 7 to my understanding removes all support for 16-bit programs. What exactly does that mean? What kinds and/or what era of programs are covered in this?

Now I have a handful older games from the 90's, say 1994-1999, that I still like to play once in awhile. On my Vista64 system I have now I can use DosBox to, for my oldest example, run Wing Commander 3 which is from 1994. According to an employ I was talking to at Gamestop this last week however, he cannot run the original Fallout even using DosBox on his Win7 system, as such I am a bit concerned that even the emulation software will not work. Is what I heard right and is there a way around it? Secondly are other programs from the post-DOS to the pre-Vista era in danger of not running on Win7 and if so what emulation software is out there the provide compatibility for them? And finally is there any emulation software the would provide the same kind of compatibility for older programs as DosBox that is more user friendly?

Thank you.


Have you tried running WINE under cygwin?
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:08 pm

This is mostly a problem with installers, and dosbox will not help you, since that is for dos.
You'll need a 98 VM, for games that won't install in 7.
Also if available, buy the game off GOG, which installs on vista/7, uses latest version, and no drm/cd checks, and they have fallout.

edit:
No 16-bit program can run directly on 64-bit vista/7. The capability has been removed.
This means no dos, and no early 16-bit windows programs/installers.
XP is the last MS OS to have any sort of real backward compatibility, so vista/7 are deliberate total failures of an OS.
7 Pro has a XP VM mode, but I don't know if that will allow you to run 16-bit programs, since I've never tried it. It sounds possible though.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:36 pm

l33t-g4m3r wrote:XP is the last MS OS to have any sort of real backward compatibility, so vista/7 are deliberate total failures of an OS.
Seriously? It is time to move on, especially with virtualization technology being so mature. And I don't think Vista/7 32-bit drops 16-bit support completely either. So you have 32-bit Windows still supporting 16-bit apps (to a degree), and then 64-bit Windows support 32-bit apps. To expect 64-bit variants to support the ancient stuff is asking too much. We are talking what, things from 20 years ago? :roll:

l33t-g4m3r wrote:7 Pro has a XP VM mode, but I don't know if that will allow you to run 16-bit programs, since I've never tried it. It sounds possible though.
Now XP mode you can argue is somewhat of a failure, at least for gamers. However, there are always VirtualBox and VMware Player.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:54 pm

A lot of this is actually not necessarily a fault of Windows so much as an issue with the x86-64 architecture.

Most of these 16-bit applications in question do not run in Protected mode. Back in the days of 32-bit windows, these could be run in Virtual 8086 mode. More or less, Virtual 8086 mode was a method to run 16 bit apps in a protected mode environment. The only way around this its for there to be an emulation layer that didn't exist before. Even in the case of Linux, Dosemu had to add an 8086 'emulator' in order to run 16 bit apps in 64 bit long mode.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:57 pm

Who cares? If you want to run those ancient games then you can use the numerous virtualization applications available. VirtualBox is free, give it a shot.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:38 pm

Okay everyone, I did not want to start an argument so let’s keep it cool please. First off I guess I was a little convoluted in my first post. To simplifying things, I am going to be updating my desktop from Vista64 to Win7 and I was concerned that the removal of 16-bit compatibility would remove all ability to play any program from before circa 1995 even with an emulator program. Given the replies by Flying Fox and Skrying this appears not to be the case. That addresses my primary concern. Also thank you for the names of the VirtualBox and VMware Player emulators, I will look into them.

Shining Arcanine wrote:Have you tried running WINE under cygwin?


Shining Arcanine, I am sorry to say that I do not understand what your question means. Could you please go into more detail? Maybe it is something I can take into acount.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:51 pm

KJ_A wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:Have you tried running WINE under cygwin?

Shining Arcanine, I am sorry to say that I do not understand what your question means. Could you please go into more detail? Maybe it is something I can take into acount.

WINE is a Windows emulator for Linux, and Cygwin is a Linux emulator (sort of) for Windows. So in theory, it could be possible to run WINE on Cygwin on Windows, in order to emulate an older version of Windows.

Unfortunately, what he's proposing just doesn't work.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Mon Jun 14, 2010 1:04 pm

KJ_A wrote:To simplifying things, I am going to be updating my desktop from Vista64 to Win7 and I was concerned that the removal of 16-bit compatibility would remove all ability to play any program from before circa 1995 even with an emulator program.


I'm pretty sure there's no difference between 64-bit Vista & 64-bit Win7 in that regard, so whatever works for you now should still work.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:44 am

just brew it! wrote:
KJ_A wrote:
Shining Arcanine wrote:Have you tried running WINE under cygwin?

Shining Arcanine, I am sorry to say that I do not understand what your question means. Could you please go into more detail? Maybe it is something I can take into acount.

WINE is a Windows emulator for Linux, and Cygwin is a Linux emulator (sort of) for Windows. So in theory, it could be possible to run WINE on Cygwin on Windows, in order to emulate an older version of Windows.

Unfortunately, what he's proposing just doesn't work.


Thanks for clarifying that. I think I have all of the answers I was looking for. Thanks everyone.
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:26 am

At this point I would say try them and report back. Good luck. ;)
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Re: Windows 7, 16-bit programs, and emulation software questions

Postposted on Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:49 pm

Flying Fox wrote:At this point I would say try them and report back. Good luck. ;)


I did not realize that it would not work because of the Program Loader being a kernel mode loader on Windows and a user mode loader on Linux. I would be surprised if the WINE code has been changed to allow Windows to execute Windows programs, although now that I think about it, it should be easier than emulating Windows on Linux considering that emulating Windows on Windows is probably not very hard to do.

Edit: I just posted a suggestion on Microsoft's forums asking them if they would contribute their WOW16 code to the WINE project to make 16-bit Windows programs work on 64-bit Windows:

http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeeh ... -Windows-/

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