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First post, by eL_PuSHeR

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Well, after seeing people asking ZILLIONS OF TIMES the same question over and over again, I have decided to make a sticky here, although I positively know that most people doesn't even bother to SEARCH THE FORUMS before asking for help.

Anyway, let's stop complaining...... 😁

For those of you who are getting any error message under Windows XP (and maybe other NT's based OSes - don't know for sure) that 16-bit subsystem applications may fail, it's commonly due to one of these reasons....

1) It is rumored or reported that some Windows Updates can render these two files useless.

2) Some malicious malware/spyware/viruses are also reported to damage these two files. If you haven't updated anything in a while, I should check the system integrity. If you regularly surf the internet it is GREATLY ADVISABLE to have a firewall activated and an up-to-date antivirus. edit: And for the love of god, don't use Internet Explorer!

On both cases, the reason is that AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT (two text files located inside WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder) are overwritten or damaged and the system cannot use them anymore. Fortunately, there should be copies stored in the WINDOWS\REPAIR folder which allow us to copy them over the damaged ones. After that, reboot system, just to be on the safe side.

I advise to COMPLETELY DISABLE System Restore before attempting to repair/cleaning a system. It is a known fact that some viruses may get stuck "on purpose" there, making disinfection impossible. After thorough checking, re-enable System Restore again.

After checking that your system is running fine again (by executing the offending application that was giving the error message earlier (could even be DOSBox executable) do a RESTORE POINT. It could save you from a lot of headaches.

Good luck and happy gaming. 😎

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Reply 1 of 4, by MiniMax

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If restoring the corrupt files (AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT) from the REPAIR folder does not work, you can retrieve fresh copies from your installation CD:

expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\config.nt_   %WINDIR%\system32\config.nt
expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\autoexec.nt_ %WINDIR%\system32\autoexec.nt
expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\command.co_ %WINDIR%\system32\command.com

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Relevant Microsoft Knowledgebase Articles

  1. Error message when you install or start an MS-DOS or 16-bit Windows-based program
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=324767)
    Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro.
  2. "16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem" error message when you run an MS-DOS or 16-Bit Windows program in Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=305521)
    Windows 2000.
  3. Entries in Config.nt or Autoexec.nt May Cause NTVDM Errors
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=156687)
    Windows NT, Windows 2000.
  4. Troubleshooting MS-DOS-based programs in Windows XP
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314106)
    Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro.
  5. Troubleshooting MS-DOS-Based Programs in Windows
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=165214)
    Windows NT, Windows 2000.
  6. How to Troubleshoot 16-Bit Windows Programs in Windows XP
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314495)
    Windows XP Home, Windows XP Pro.
  7. Troubleshooting 16-Bit Windows Applications
    (http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=103656)
    Windows NT, Windows 2000.

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The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications

Last edited by MiniMax on 2005-04-03, 11:44. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 3 of 4, by DosFreak

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Noticed today that some people apply read-only to config.nt/autoexec.nt (which fixes their problem), otherwise they are corrupted on a reboot. This seems to imply that a program is modifying autoexec.nt/config.nt on bootup.

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Reply 4 of 4, by eL_PuSHeR

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Updated on May 29th 2005

This installaton program will reinstall the missing or corrupt Windows XP system files command.com, autoexec.nt and config.nt. The absence or corruption of one or more of these files causes a "16 Bit Subsystem" error.

Haven't used myself. Use it at your own risk...

Attachments

  • Filename
    xp_fix.exe
    File size
    139.89 KiB
    Downloads
    2542 downloads
    File comment
    Fix for 16bit subsystem error...
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Intel i7 5960X
Gigabye GA-X99-Gaming 5
8 GB DDR4 (2100)
8 GB GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming (Gigabyte)