16 bit applications windows 10

NTVDM and 16-bit app support

NTVDM, or the NT Virtual DOS Machine, is a system component introduced in 1993 for all IA-32 editions of the Windows NT family (not included with 64-bit versions of the OS). This component allows the execution of 16-bit Windows applications on 32-bit Windows operating systems, as well as the execution of both 16-bit and 32-bit DOS applications. The Windows NT 32-bit user-mode executable that is the basis for a single DOS (or Windows 3.x) environment is called ntvdm.exe.

Current status of NTVDM

Given that it’s older technology introduced more than 20 years ago, the Microsoft Windows team can provide only limited support for NTVDM. Many enterprise customers are still running 16-bit Windows applications and depending on this feature. However, in modern operating systems, it’s in maintenance mode and is no longer being developed. Therefore, our recommendation is that customers do not use NTVDM. We encourage our customers to build new apps that don’t rely on this component.

NTVDM is a Feature on Demand and only supported on the x86 version of Windows. It is not supported on x64 and ARM versions of Windows, which do not support 16-bit x86 code of any kind, including DOS programs.

Security and Limitations

The technology underlying NTVDM is no longer actively under development and use of this technology may pose security risks. Microsoft does have Device Guard and other Windows features that can mitigate the security risks. We recommend that NTVDM is turned off in all enterprise environments.

What if I still need to run 16-bit apps on 32bit Windows 10?

We strongly recommend that you update your apps, so they are no longer dependent on NTVDM.

If you need assistance updating older apps, so that you are no longer dependent on this technology, enterprise customers can receive support. App Assure is a free program available to assist with app compatibility and OS upgrade issues. To get started, you can submit a request or email the team directly for support.

Steps to enable/disable 16-bit application support/NTVDM in Windows 10

If you are unable to update your apps and need to use NTVDM on Windows 10, he’s how to do so.

To ensable this feature, you must be running Windows 10 32-bit and must have local administrator privileges. We do not recommend enabling end-users to have local administrator privileges.

NTVDM is provided as a Feature on Demand, which first must be installed using a DISM command. Run Windows PowerShell ISE as an administrator and use the following command:

  • To enable NTVDM: DISM /online /enable-feature /all /featurename:NTVDM
  • To disable NTVDM: DISM /online /disable-feature /featurename:NTVDM


Источник статьи: http://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/compatibility/ntvdm-and-16-bit-app-support

Is it possible to run 16-bit applications in Windows 10?

It seems absurd to be talking about 16-bit applications in the year 2018. Even so, I have worked in IT for long enough to know that it occasionally becomes necessary to fire up an ancient application, even if only for the purpose of converting an archived file to a more modern format. In fact, I found myself having to do exactly that earlier this week. So with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to talk about whether or not it is possible to run 16-bit code on Windows 10.

Before I get too far into this discussion, I want to give you a quick spoiler alert. If you are running a 64-bit edition of Windows 10, there does not seem to be a way to run 16-bit applications. When you really stop and think about it, this seems completely logical, as it would mean that a single operating system would have to simultaneously be able to run 16-, 32-, and 64-bit code. If you are running a 64-bit edition of Windows 10, then the only way that I know of to run 16-bit applications is to install an alternate operating system into a Hyper-V virtual machine.

Running 16-bit applications? Let’s experiment

But what if you have a 32-bit edition of Windows 10? In an effort to find out, I installed a 32-bit edition of Windows 10 onto a Hyper-V virtual machine. You can see the particulars of the operating system in the figure below.

Once I got a 32-bit edition of Windows 10 up and running, I went into the attic and dug out the oldest application that I could find that wasn’t on a floppy disk. The application of choice is called MGI Photosuite. It is a lightweight graphical editor that I used to use frequently back in the day. As you can see in the next figure, the application files are about 22 years old. This was one of the oldest applications that I could find.

If I attempt to run the application on a 64-bit version of Windows 10, I am presented with a message that simply says that the app can’t run on the PC.

NTVDM to the rescue

If I try to run the app on a 32-bit copy of Windows 10 however, I get a message indicating that I need to install NTVDM. In this case, the dialog box actually gave me the option of installing NTVDM, which kind of surprised me, because in the past I have had to install this feature manually.

In case you are not familiar with NTVDM, it is the NT Virtual DOS Machine. This is a fancy way of saying that the NTVDM component provisions Windows 10 with a 16-bit subsystem through the use of virtualization. You can easily install this component yourself by using the Windows Control Panel. Just open the Control Panel, go to Programs, and click Turn Windows Features on or off. You can find NTVDM listed in the Legacy Components section, as shown in the image below.

Incidentally, NTVDM does not exist in 64-bit editions of Windows 10, as illustrated in the next image. That’s why you can’t run a 16-bit application in a 64-bit Windows 10 OS.

After installing the NTVDM component, you should be able to execute the 16-bit code. As you can see below, I was able to run the Setup wizard for MGI Photosuite on Windows 10.

If you look back at the previous paragraph, you will notice that I used the phrase “you should be able to execute 16-bit code” not “you should be able to run the 16-bit application.” There is a big difference between the two.

Miracles can happen

In this case, the application ran without issue. That in itself is a bit of a miracle. After all, this particular application was created at a time when Windows 95 reigned supreme. Normally an application that is that old will put up a bit of a fight when you try to run it on a modern OS. Even if you are able to execute the application code, the application is likely to produce errors because it was never designed to run on Windows 10.

So what happens if your legacy application does not want to play nice with Windows 10? Microsoft actually provides a way for you to shim the application to make it (hopefully) run correctly. The basic idea behind this technique is to make the application think that it is running on an older operating system. On a side note, the technique that I am about to show you can be used regardless of whether the application is 16-bit or something a bit newer.

If you are experiencing application compatibility problems, right click on the executable file, and choose the Troubleshoot Compatibility command from the shortcut menu, as shown below.

The Program Compatibility Troubleshooter can be used to adjust the application’s permissions, color set, or even to trick the application into thinking that it is running in a different version of Windows. With a little bit of tinkering, most applications can be made to run.

Yes, you can!

Running ancient software probably isn’t the sort of thing that you would do on a regular basis. Even so, it is nice to know that Windows 10 is able to run extremely old applications if the need arises. The trick is to make sure that you are using a 32-bit edition of Windows 10 because 64-bit editions lack the NT Virtual DOS Machine feature that allows legacy 16-bit applications and to run.

Источник статьи: http://techgenix.com/16-bit-applications-windows-10/

How to Enable 16-bit Application Support in Windows 10

If you’re running Windows 10 and still need to run legacy 16-bit programs, getting them to work correctly takes a bit of work. Here’s our guide on how to do it.

Windows 10 includes a range of options for running older programs not designed for the operating system. We previously looked at using tools to troubleshoot application compatibility, which lets you modify a program to make it think it is installing on a supported version of Windows. Much older applications that pre-date Windows 95 will sometimes require a bit more work. 16-bit applications, in particular, are not natively supported on 64-bit Windows 10 because the operating system lacks a 16-bit subsystem. This can even affect 32-bit applications that utilize a 16-bit installer.

The solution for such a scenario is to run the operating system on an older version of Windows, which might require setting up a virtual machine. If you still utilize a 32-bit version of Windows 10, you can get the best of both worlds by enabling the 16-bit subsystem. As Microsoft’s future heads toward 64-bit computing, the company is minimizing its support for many of the legacy components in Windows. The best way to add 16-bit support in Windows 10 requires some command line work.

Configure 16-bit Application Support in Windows 10

16 Bit support will require enabling the NTVDM feature. To do so, press Windows key + R then type: optionalfeatures.exe then hit Enter. Expand Legacy Components then check off NTVDM and click OK.

The next step is to install the feature through the Command Prompt. Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin.) At the command prompt, type the following command:

The add feature wizard for NTVDM will launch. Click Install this feature to complete the installation. Then restart your computer if required.

Now 16-bit application support is enabled. You can proceed to install your application as normal.

Some applications might require additional permissions. Review our compatibility article for more information about adjusting those settings.

We’re curious about what types of 16-bit applications you still are running. Leave a comment below and let us know. Also, if you’re experiencing any problems with it, head to our new and improved Windows 10 Forums for additional support.


Great newsgroup – thanks for all info
I have loads of old 16/32 bit – perhaps the best are “whereis” and “list”. 64 bit equivalents are way behind

I tried to install NVTDM, but it did not appear in the list when I expanded legacy compeneents – or direct play was listed

As noted, the 64 bit version of Windows does not include NTVDM or any support for a 16 bit subsystem. Your next best option would be setting up a 32 bit version in virtual machine.

but if you want to run 16 bit dos applications in 64-bit windows then you can use DOSBOX or vDOS.

I installed vDOS but cannot change directories to the 16 bit DOS program; it says the directory does not exist. I have a 16 bit version of SkyGlobe, the old astronomy software and would like to run it on Windows 10. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Perhaps you need to use the short 8.3 version of the directory name.
The DIR /X command will show you the short names.

I understand that vDOS has a weird intentional stubborn limitation of ignoring anything that has a long file name. Short 8.3 versions of names of such files are ignored.
VDOSplus removes that limitation.

vDOS specifically told me it couldn’t run my 16-bit game because it was 16-bit (on my 64-bit Win10 computer). It’s starting to sound like I’m outta luck for these old games… which would be a shame.

NVTDM, where is it. I can’t find it. Only directplay is there.

Hi, I’m using two Dbase IV programs to compile 32 bits with 16-bit executions. It works properly on a windows 10 pro 32 bit installed version 1903. I found that on a direct installation of windows 10 the mouse does not work in my Dbase IV applications while on a preinstalled windows 7 pro 32 bit evolved windows 10 the mouse works. There must be something missing that I did not know how to discover. Does anyone know how to install a 32-bit Windows XP compatibility knowing that you need to install a minimum version of your system. I am not talking about a virtual machine but compatibility modes in the properties of the executable 16/32 bits.

Im downloading every known complier new and old so i can cross compile and emulate for an extention of project pegasus access to help out time travellers like John Titor and to help filling up the landfill or how the phoenix az metropolitan water supply was poisioned because of computer chips the less in the ground water the more we reuse the healthier we remain. Im trying to cross complie any program with any of the others with anyone of them…so qbasic source can be translated into java or c or xml or chipmunk basic on mac 8.1. update mac os 68k to go online…or send a winpsk file as a voicemail to an aprs ham radio repeater with an old tape deck…or even to send commands to a skynet like computer in orbit a special interupt that stops a loop mid loop without exiting the program.

My Windows 10 system does not show NTVDM under Legacy Components; only DirectPlay

You need 32bit OS for this to work. If you only see Directplay in the list you have a 64 bit OS. And you probably want to leave it that way if you use more than 4 GB of RAM.

Oxford English Dictionary version 1 is a 16-bit program I still want to run. Looking into a virtual machine solution.

Its an old version of Q&A which opens in a small “dosbox” and it still does while NTVDM is activated.
The programe run fine in Win XP, full screen.

do you still remember how you installed this? Did you use the original disks or pull it off an old machine? I am going through this right now trying to get q and a in a newer computer.

Thank you!! It worked perfectly! 🙂

We don’t need 64 bit OS’s. It serves no purpose. Only the Military needs it. 16 and 32 bit are perfect for us. Over developed OS’s are a burden to us. Useless. They’ve hit the wall.

Because nobody ever uses more than 4 GB of RAM.. Google Chrome alone does definitely not use multiple gigabytes of RAM, when you have more than a handful of tabs open, not to speak of modern games..

A 32bit OS can address way more than 4GB. I think WinXP 32bit allowed 128GB, but one of the service packs, likely SP1, disabled the PAE feature

PAE takes you up to 36 bit addresses (awkwardly split in to 4 bits plus 32 bits) which is a limit of 64GB.

The feature was disabled in non sever 32 bit versions of Windows because it can cause problems with the drivers for third party hardware.

MS says “64 GB or 128 GB of physical memory, depending on the physical address size of the processor”,

unofficial patches are available to (re-)activate PAE for various non-server 32bit Windows OS-s.

An article claimed that any problems with drivers for third party hardware were unlikely in real life. I haven’t saved that url.

I routinely do things on my 64 bit machine that a 32 bit machine can’t. How is having more capability hitting a wall?

WinXP 32bit could address 128GB of RAM, if you are suggesting that is what a 32bit machine cannot do.
(The ability was removed by WinXP Service Pack 1, but can unofficially be patched back)

Maybe it could access 64GB – I don’t remember – but only in a very awkward way using “pages” of no more than 4GB. If a single program needed more than 4GB it would be very inefficient.

Who is “we”. Clearly not gamers, or people that want to experiment with running Linux in a virtual machine. It must be little old ladies who just use the software that came pre-installed on their PC and never try anything new.

Also totally bizarre that you should pick the military as the only ones who need 64 bit OSs. What about scientists in general or the weather service.

It’s true. We don’t need 64-bit OS. And we have never asked for it.

“We” is debatable. Microsoft lost me over the 64 jump without 16 bit support. NTVDM ran fine on 7 64. No 16 bit support, official or otherwise, and the rolling broken updates: I jumped to Mac.
I make regular use of 28gb of ram on a 32gig system. And appreciate the much higher ceiling!
I run 16 bit windows apps with a wine bottle.
And yes, Apple is pulling the same thing now by cutting 32-bit support.
There’s one difference, MacOS is an open system! From the kernel to the windowing system. Everything is well documented.
Principally it’s very easy to update an app to 64 using any of dozens of toolkits, including official ones. So little is left behind.
Then. Two options exist that I’m aware of: MacApp+, which bottles 32-bit apps for use in 64 bit MacOS much like wine, and MAConMAC. I use that one, a mini VM kit that runs PPC or 32 bit Mac apps.
My point: I found my solution to 16 bit windows apps. Run them on a Mac.

Thats fine but why not just run them in a virtual machine on windows. Virtualbox is free.

I’m going to attempt to run 16 bit DOS program Orcad, schematic capture software in Win10/64bit. I’ve run it in command prompts on many WinXP machines. Don’t think I ever ran it in Win7 on a 32 bit machine. I may choose to do that if this does not work.

Oops. Didn’t read the comments or try it before commenting. No NTDVM is not available. Boo!

“Lords of the Realm 2”, one of my favorite strategy/economy bases games – precursor to AoE and Stronghold that still holds it weight.
I’ve been getting my boy into these older games and am pleased that he appreciates and enjoys them

Oh wow…. Yeah, I still play stronghold personally however, I had forgotten about Lord of the Realm. Wow, takes me back!


I understand that my 64-bit OS won’t give me the NTVDM option and I don’t want to reinstall my OS

I am interested in the option of running a 32bit in virtual machine…. but I need a awesome-hold-my-hand-walk-through

Can someone please offer me some help with this?

The same problem looks like I can’t make the OS that I’m working on. ;-;

I tried this method (add feature wizard for NTVDM ). It worked on one of my PC. But didn’t work on another one. The message was “the component store has been corrupted”. Anyone can help ?

I just wanted to install mkke and I was given an error of 16 bit not supported

For quite some time i am searching to run my clipper exe programs. I have windows 10 64 bit but it has x86 32 bit run applications too. If any one help on this i will be much much thankful to him to resolve my unanswered quest

its because 64 bit supports both 64 and 32 bit applications and 32 bit support both 32 and 16 bit application

Windows Draw 6 Premier Edition Print Studio or Micrografx Draw 6
I like this program, which I know is now part of the Coral draw program

But I don’t like coral draw, I just want this program, If I use a x86 version of any windows it will most likely work (worked in win 7)
And as home doesn’t have above app.

Leaving me with 2 choices a virtual os x 86, ie vista or set up an old system using the vista disc on the shelve.
It’s a shame you cannot alter the install so it will work with a x 64 bit OS.
It is a straight forward program that gives superb results.

can be downloaded from here, indicating it will work on 64 bit os

Castle of the winds. One of my all time favourite games. A 16 bit Win 3.x game

“Upgrading” at this point is stupid. MS has hit the wall. An upgrade that LOSES usability makes absolutely no sense AT ALL.
The answer is STOP SUNSETTING.
Leave us alone. We paid MS money to be where we are.

You must have chosen to upgrade to a 64 bit PC with a 64 bit OS. Your PC didn’t suddenly do it all by itself did it?

I want to run the version of Tetris Microsoft did. No other version has the same timing.

I switched over to a primary WinXP Pro with a secondary Ubuntu after making the mistake of trying to use Win 8 64 Pro and finding I could no longer use my old, old, Quickbooks 16-bit. The Linux works for other most things I do (WINE didn’t help me) , but I’d still like to have the option of buying a new Windows machine someday that will run what I need. This page could be the helpful tip I need. Thanks.

Tetris for Windows supplied by Mcrosot

Tetris can be found by searching the msdn threads. It’s a 32 bit app now. Someone updated the installer from a 16 bit cab system to a modern msi using windows installer. It works, I have it.
I was trying to find someone who extracted ntvdm from 32 10 so I could use it on 64. I may give in and buy a copy of 32 10 to get this all up and running

I had many apps which was 16 bit.

Much Helpfull, still using a 16 bit program, to design kitchens, TeoWin. 🙂

I still run home-made 16-bit accounting and database programs written in Fortran under DOS.

My homemade 16-bit accounting and database program for joint personal, family, and my partnerships is FoxPro 2.6 for DOS. My biggest problem with workarounds is printer support. I’m running Win7-32 now, but End of Life is scheduled for January 2020. Too soon.

The problem to adapt “old” programs to modern environment,
are the datas which have been generated with those old programs.
I am working as a freelance engineer and have to archive all my project
datas for at least 10 years forced by law. So how to manage that, if you
are able to backup the datas but could never run the old software again?
There are examples: Wsketch a 2D CAD tool, SolidWorks a 3D CAD program
even in the newer versions is not fully compatibel to old versions
back more than 5 years. Emails under Outlook express, its a nightmare
to transfer the files to newer programs like thunderbird.
Only 20% of the mails could be transfered due to obvious storage
problems of thunderbird. Could imagine how many mails are collected after 10years?

I do not understand why software companies fail to support the duty of data
transfer and data merging.

16 bit Visual Dbase has been my life for 30 years. Out of hobby, I use it in developing programs for successfully playing the pick 4 lottery games. It can do just about anything imaginable in showing number behavior over thousands of days. Naturally I didn’t ever want to lose an engine like that. When someone throws out an old 32 bit Windows machine that still works, I add it to my collection so that hopefully I’ll never run out of computer that can run Dbase. Will try your methods on a 64 bit machine with fingers crossed, Thanks!

Old 16-bit dictionaries, including Collins English dictionary & thesaurus, and a 3-in-1 Oxford French, German and Spanish dictionary. And maybe some old games.

I used to work an old signmaking software Casmate on windows XP (SP 3).
The old PC is gone. I purchased a DELL Optiplex with Windows XP (SP3) installed but every time I try to install Casmate it restart and send a massage of error.

I have a different reason. In my frivolous youth (45+ now 77) I wrote in turbo c/c++ and compiled on a 16bit computer. (pre 1990). I still dable with the progs on a 32bit machine with success. However I would like to upgrade to a 64bit,BUT, cannot run or compile my source code. I’ve purchased a few compilers but to no avail. They either will not compile or run. Anybody have any ideas..thanks

I was trying to run Oregon Trail II from about 1995. If I change my system to run the 16 bit like mentioned above, do I have to change something back to run my computer as usual? How? lol. I don’t want to do something I can’t undo.

Trying to set up Work I for my wife. She has suggested that I dig the Commodore 64 out of storage as an easier solution.

I’m a professional science-fiction writer, and I still run WordStar for DOS — http://sfwriter.com/wordstar.htm — and do it on 64-bit Windows using the wonderful vDosPlus emulator: http://sfwriter.com/ws-vdos.htm

I’m 77 Y\O, and have been using turbo C/C++ for the last 25years to write and evaluate the “impossible sequencer for random numbers”.
As the Turbo c\c++ is a legacy prog, and computers are now 64 bit, I’ve now got another “with your help” problem to solve..

I’m running some old 16-bit games 😀

I received two game discs years back, which have collections of games ranging from >500 different solitaires to bullet hells to sports games to brick breaker and everything in between.

I haven’t tried this solution as yet. I have an AutoCAD Autodesk program that was installed on a 2006 Dell laptop with Windows XP. I only kept that laptop for the use of the AutoCAD, but that laptop crashed, so now I want to load it on my other laptop with Windows 10. Hopefully I can make it work.


I cant figure out what 16-Bit programs may be installed or how to increase the value of the files command. If you can help please email me. I’m quite frustrated by this. The shutdown happens more frequently if I try to start too many programs too soon after boot-up. Or, if I try to use Acronis backup and iTunes sync at the same time.

Can I please ask if the following action is capable in the 16bit\64bit fiasco.
If I remove the HD from my defunct computer and place it in my new 64 win10 computer,
and using a bootable flashdrive, restart my 64bit with a 32bit win10 OS. I would then
access my old HD and run the win95 16bit progs I have personnaly written and create the data
and save it in Excell. Then later start the 64bit in 64bit win10 mode and access the data on the old HD
for new calculations.
Every time I ask this question I am given the old “32bit 64bit better ” answer.
This doesn’t account for the fact that I need my data in a certain way. Thanks Colin

Well, I was HOPING to run a few of my kids’ old 16-bit DOS games from the ’90s. Unfortunately, when I open the optional features on my Win10 Home 64-bit PC, I see the Direct Play listing but no NTVDM listed. Is there any hope for these orphaned games?

You can install DOSBox to play old DOS games. There’s a 32-bit installer for 64-bit Windows 10. You’ll need to read a bit to learn how to set it up and configure to play games, but it’s pretty easy. I play Commander Keen, Cosmo, the original Prince of Persia, Leisure Suite Larry, and more.

I have tried (most succesfully) to run the 16bit progs in a 32 bit machine. However what I want is to compile the 16bit as a 32bit. This would then allow me to run in a 64 machine. I want to purchase a 64bit, but until I can compile my 16bit source code, I’ll wait. The reason is that I am constantly changing the prog to show the data in a different way. Crazy, maybe, but it keeps me off the street where I could get into trouble. :-)…cheers CRH

I use DRAW.EXE (16 bit) for my business / bread & butter.
It came with the Lexmark Printer I had years ago.
It would cost over $500 to buy a Win 10 64 bit program (Corel Draw) to replace it.
I just don’t have that kind of money.

“German for everyone” It has a 32 bit version, but uses a 16 bit loader.

I’ve been using a DOS Automotive software program since 1987, so I’m hoping I won’t have problems with my Windows 10 32 bit drive, currently I’m using Windows 7 but I know sometimes there’s always problems.

Thank you so much for the direction! I haven’t tried it yet but it looks good. You asked what applications I am running. I am a technical trainer and years ago I developed a skill with AutoSketch Release 2.1. With this I could create many 2D technical diagrams and drawings. Exporting to dxf allowed me to import to PowerPoint 4, where I put in the colour and posh text. People often asked ‘How do you get such detail into PPT slides?’ My secret, not telling you.
Later, with later versions of everything I kept (and still keep) a separate PC, with the old software installed, just for this work. Once I have everything in place, I can pick up the old PPT slides in a later version of PowerPoint and save in the new format, ready for work at my client’s premises.
Why don’t I just move on and work with the newer software? Firstly, I believe in not fixing something unless it is broke. Second, I am a stubborn old git. But thirdly, the newer programs have not met my needs. For example, AutoSketch was bought out by another company and they changed the interface so much it was unworkable. PowerPoint changed the grid system so I could no longer move an object and then return it to it’s exact previous location. This may be OK for the pie chart brigade but for technical pictures it is a disaster. Even fixing PPT pictures into Word (for course notes) changed so much I couldn’t handle it. (So I still Use Word 2).
Why should I spend significant man-hours learning new stuff? It’s not just money, although that is a factor, but time is life. When I die they will say (either) ‘he had a good innings’ (or) ‘what a shame he died so young’. Our lives are measured in units of time, and I resent people like MicroSoft stealing mine.
Bitter old git? Probably, but I reiterate what I said at the beginning – why fix what is not broke?

We don’t need 64 bit.
There’s enough computing power in 16 & 32 bit.
And, they finally got to solid state hard drives.
I use 16 bit “draw” for my business.
Came with a printer.
There is NO REASON to continue this “advancement”, other than to keep the
tunnel visionaries occupied.

OFFS. Saying it over and over won’t make it true.

Using Data intensive application over client server setup for commercial use which is otherwise working perfectly other than this backward integration or backward incompatibility (ie no option/provision to run 16 bit application on 64 bit OS).

“Upgrading” WITHOUT backward incompatibility is actually quite vision-less, as Microsoft is ignoring the universal masses which really made Microsoft. An upgrade that LOSES usability makes absolutely no sense AT ALL.
Microsoft should have made an inbuilt option to take care of legacy software.

I still use 16 bit OS for the purpose of programming older microchip IC’s.

We still use some specialized 16-bit software to communicate with older industrial controllers at work. They also use RS232 serial com-port, which is pretty rare on modern laptops. The USB dongles we´ve tried are far from perfect.

For normal desktop use I much prefer the 64-bit OS’s.

“Easy Writer” was the best DOS program to keep daily logs on. A very simple word processor. I have years worth of text files (and recipes) to be able to read! When I can get some of it to open, it is in the world’s smallest font! Help!

The 16-bit legacy apps I use on my Win 7 32-bit OS PC every day at work are: DraftChoice (I have over 8,000 drawings that comprise the core data for our business), Lotus Organizer, and TKSolver (a math app with user constructed calculations – I’ve written maybe a hundred programs in this app, that save me hours of work), plus a few more (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.). Now, having to migrate to a Win 10 64-bit PC to stay safe on the web, I have to buy a whole new – secondary – PC/keyboard/mouse/monitor setup to communicate on the web – plus the software, while somehow maintaining the integrity of my old Win 7 32-bit PC whereon I’ll be using my 16-bit apps. Two complete PC systems on my desk. Utterly ridiculous.

I’m trying to run my old 16 bit Kawasaki parts program being I do vintage motorcycle work. It has microfiche not available anywhere else, including the newer Kawasaki parts programs. No newer program is available to replace it.

Need to install AutoCAD 2000, DOS based TANGO and Win XP based Oracle PCB design/schematic. All pricey programs that still function well. Hope this works.

For 64 Bit use winevdm at: https://github.com/otya128/winevdm . Its ported from Wine Project and allow to execute 16 Bit Programs (Windows & DOS) on 64 Bit directly.

I run Lotus AmiPro which is far superior to WordPro. AmiPro’s Drawing Editor is second to none in a word Processor and I do Electronic drawings to professional standards with all the symbols required in a library which I have built up over the years. AmiPro must be in the top 5 for the best piece of software ever written as it has works flawlessly in all the windows operating systems Microsoft have ever produced right up to Windows 10 32 bit. I also use a NRSV version of the Bible software with superior cross references, word searches and the like. The versions on the web site are not anything like as good.
I would love there to be a 32 or 64 bit version of these items of software.

It’s on purpose. There are people on top of people on top of people that believe computers are dangerous in the hands of users which Jack Tramial opposed when he did the Commodore 64 his idea was power in the hands of users. This war has escalated since then and we now have the Soros people in charge of the industry.

Since 1999 they wanted phones to be the ONLY choice their first experiment was Web TV and when that flopped they saw phones as the next thing as it keeps illiterates under their power as phones are rental based. It never really has expanded beyond paying your bills.

Smartphones going online are literally going back to dumb terminals. If you grew up in the 70s and worked with mainframes you’d know what I mean. You’d have your little workstation that has little to no memory and needs to always be connected to the master terminal to do anything. All you have is a keyboard/screen and an on switch.

Phones are that way you have to connect to the other people’s server to do anything and only what they let you connect. You can ‘jailbreak’ your phone but you void warranty and it’s not fun doing emulation or watching movies on a tiny phone screen anyways who’d want that?

But the powers to be want it to beour only choice so they have taken control over most of the web to dumb it down to that only. Google in 2014 made a rule your website has to be phone ONLY or you won’t be listed PERIOD. Now Google is in all sorts of political trouble and the reason they were able to get away with it to begin with is phone users generally don’t know nor care to know what’s going on as long as they shop,chat and get driving directions.

Windows 3.1 program Galaxy Skywatch, how can I run it?

I have a copy of Master Genealogist version 3.5 (16 bit)on an ancient laptop. This program is the best genealogy software ever. Sadly it and the company which built it are no longer available. I was becoming increasingly concerned that the laptop was showing signs that it would fail in the near future. Having read your article I thought it was worth a try to get my database onto a modern computer with win 10 32 bit version. Following your guide everything works fine – so far!. However what strategy would you recommend to protect the 16 bit software from any adverse impact from win 10 updates ?

Gerry Ó, disable windows 10 update altogether using DWS LITE (a free app called destroy windows 10 spying). I still use win 10 1803 as it works best with my “older” components (asrock fatality 990fx killer mobo, FX8370, etc). 1909 was terrible on my pc as i don’t plan to update the hardware.

PS: All those pae patches and hacks are problematic. I’ve seen a lot of bsod crashes with those kind of modifications to any windows os. And even if you succesfully patch a 32bit windows to address more than 4GB of ram, no 32bit app will be able to access more than 4GB of ram. And it is a problem with apps like photoshop etc. 32bit photoshop is really bad for large high resolution images.

PPS: PAE patching is a bad choice. I use windows 10 pro x64 1803 and a windows to go flash drive with windows 7 x86 just in case I need to work with old 16 bit apps. I will switch to windows 10 to go (x86) for compatibility with intel core 6th gen (skylake) and onwards and amd ryzen cpu’s (they do not work with windows below 10). Well skylake can work with windows 7 or 8 if you slipstream modded chipset drivers into the installation), but ryzen doesn’t work with windows below 10 at all.

If you really need 16bit apps and games use virtual machines or windows to go flashdrives. Do not use x86 operating systems as your primary os. They are not worth it. Especially considering 8gb of ram became standard in most computers.

Many thanks for the time taken to reply. That was a lot of info to consider. I had been trying to avoid setting up a virtual machine but from what you say it looks like its the best long term solution.

Also last night I tried to setup another 16 bit genealogy package GEDMATE 1.1 which ran on win 3.1. Unfortunately I got an error message something like the software was trying to communicate direct with the hardware and the program closed. I saw online that there was no solution to this error message for operating systems from win xp onwards.

I need to check out virtualbox and see whether it can also run this really old software.

As this above fix would not work for my very old win 3.1 genealogy software I had a quick look at virtualbox. Unlike with win xp and later windows OS’s there are no virtualbox additions which optimise the virtualisation for 3.1 so there could be hardware compatibility and blue screen software issues. I also understand that the option to move files between the actual and virtual disk would not be available in 3.1. I then had a look at DOSBOX. From what I read it is possible to load win 3.1 or win 95 into dosbox. The settings in the autoexec.bat and config.sys files need to be optimised well, though I understand the software might even then run slowly and put load onto the CPU. With dosbox the issue will be the time needed to understand how to get win 3.1 to run well and then how to save and export the output. Both possible solutions have some drawbacks and require quite a lot of time to understand. For now I will try virtualbox to run my xp software and perhaps if I get the courage see how far I get with win 3.1 with virtualbox.

Well I got win 98 se edition to run on virtual box, but could not figure out how to load any 16 bit software on it.

I made an iso image of the floppy file of the software I wanted to run, but how can I load that into virtualbox and get Win 98 se to then run the software ?

In virtual box to get software to load into win 98 and earlier it just requires you to point the virtual disk to the file on your host pc. The only real drawback is every os pre win xp only runs in a small screen and there is no point loading graphics software as only 16 colours can be shown and at 256 resolution. Still for the legacy software that i want to run thats fine.

I am trying to run a game called African Trail by MECC for 1997. When I follow the directions I get to the legacy components but there is not a box labeled NTVDM. I wondered if there is some other way to turn on 16 bit reader. Not sure that’s what is called but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.

I wanted to run an Autocad 97 Lt program. When I tried your fix it does not give me the NTVDM option. Is there another way to turn it on?

Im trying to re activate my 1990 Brainmaker neural network software. Do I need to do more than reboot to return to 32/64 bit operations?

I still have Centipede pc game from around 1998. My computer crashed when I was on the boss level. My next computer wouldn’t run the disc. I did fix an older computer to try to run the game on it, but the game was extremely pixel-ish and unplayable bc I couldn’t see much. I have remained determined to be that stupid boss level through the years.
I’m hoping this fix will work?

I’ve been using Drafix Cad for ages, now.
Bought the DOS version around 1990 for professional use on a 8086 compatible. Upgraded to Drafix Cad for Windows in 1993 as it was a major update and run with full windows 3.1 features support. The DOS version on a 8086 really suffered, but the windows version on a 386SX with a 387SX co-processor worked like a charm.
I still use it for all my drawings and schematics. I work in automation. After all this years still haven’t found a good replacement or, maybe, it’s just perfect for my needs and there’s nothing better out there.
It was the perfect match. Cheap (14000 pesetas. About 80€ of today’s money), easy to learn and really powerful if you are into programming. It has a C like macro language that allows to automate most integrated functions: Drawing, views, files, network, printing….
It is really a shame that it never made past 16bits. If I recall correctly, Drafix (Foresight Resources Corporation) was the program Autodesk bought and basically renamed to AutoSketch. Later they released a 32 bit version of AutoSketch, but it was useless. Lost all it’s power and almost all backwards compatability. A shame.
I’ve never found a good way to use Drafix on a win64 machine. I’ve tried various virtual machines. They work, but are choppy even in a “powerful” PC. So I stick to windows seven 32 bits on my work PC and laptop. I even have a cheap seven 32 PC at home for only this program.
I’d love to have it running in my main windows10-64 PC. But I’ve already given UP to try anymore.
In a way, I don’t feel right critisizing Microsoft for dropping support for 16bit applications as it’s been literally ages since they went obsolete. BUT…. in a sense, there’s an incredible ammount of professionals in a lot of fields that still rely on very old tools for they job. It would have been nice on Microsoft to keep at least a bare minimum support for 16bit programs.

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