Win7 32 bit

Getting old Windows games working.

Win7 32 bit

Postby jgf » 2018-2-23 @ 06:08

16 bit games play fine in 32 bit XP or Vista, but is 32 bit Win 7 just completely incompatible? Having wasted a couple of evenings seeking an answer, only to find a plethora of threads about people trying to run 16 bit games on Win 7 64 bit, I assume either no one has tried 32 bit Win 7 or I'm the only one with issues, lol.

I don't even get to try. If I plug in a flashdrive that merely has such a game on it - not trying to copy it or run it or anything - I immediately get a popup about the exe being incompatible. Changing compatibility mode does nothing, UAC is disabled, but nothing helps; the nanosecond this system sees a 16bit exe it throws a fit.

Is there a solution ...other than continuing to nurse along an aging XP system?
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Dominus » 2018-2-23 @ 06:27

I think it still runs 16bit programs AND I think I have a with W7 32bit. Feel free to ping me or ask here again if I forgot to check.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Marek » 2018-2-23 @ 12:08

I used Windows 7 on my old Athlon XP, and it did run 16 bit software.
With 64 bit, Windows 7 Pro or Ultimate, there was XP mode, supporting 16 bit software. Not sure, if the downloads are still available, though, since the support ended with the extended support for XP. On the other hand, usually Win 3.1 would suffice for such old software, so I would just use DOSBox. If I really must, I would install Windows 98SE in a virtual machine with no internet access and use that.
I don't see a reason to install a 32 bit OS on a modern system anymore. It's also somewhat absurd that many 32 bit software require SSE2 nowadays, making it exclusive for 64 bit CPUs anyway. Windows 10 is one of them.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Scali » 2018-2-23 @ 12:25

Marek wrote:It's also somewhat absurd that many 32 bit software require SSE2 nowadays, making it exclusive for 64 bit CPUs anyway. Windows 10 is one of them.


That's not true though.
SSE2 was introduced on the Pentium 4, and Intel's guidelines recommended to use SSE2 for all floating point operations, because it was more efficient than x87 code.
The Pentium 4 didn't receive 64-bit support until a few generations later, so there are indeed 32-bit CPUs with SSE2.
Then there is the Pentium-M, which is also 32-bit with SSE2, and also the later Core Solo/Duo models.
There are also various 32-bit Atoms that have support for SSE2 or more.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Falcosoft » 2018-2-23 @ 12:33

If '16 bit games' mean Win16 NE files then the answer is they are compatible. But only console mode MS-DOS programs that do not use any graphics modes can be run on a normal 32 bit Win7 installation (which means VGA using WDDM drivers). So practically all MS-DOS games are incompatible. You will see something like this:
win7x86_16bit.jpg
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby DosFreak » 2018-2-23 @ 12:58

You can install the XP video drivers in Windows 7 for fullscreen mode.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Falcosoft » 2018-2-23 @ 14:59

DosFreak wrote:You can install the XP video drivers in Windows 7 for fullscreen mode.

Of course. That's why I have written a 'normal' 32 bit Win7 using WDDM drivers. I do think using XP drivers under Win7 is too much sacrifice since this way you not only break Aero/Desktop HW support but any GDI HW acceleration.
Instead of using XP drivers permanently I think a better compromise is to disable the video card temporarily in device manager (so using the built-in VGA driver) when you want to use DOS programs in fullscreen.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby dr_st » 2018-2-23 @ 18:08

Falcosoft wrote:Instead of using XP drivers permanently I think a better compromise is to disable the video card temporarily in device manager (so using the built-in VGA driver) when you want to use DOS programs in fullscreen.
Would XP Mode (XP inside Microsoft Virtual PC) allow full-screen?
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Marek » 2018-2-23 @ 19:48

Why bother with DOS software in Windows when you can use DOSbox? It emulates all common graphics cards, sound cards and ports old software expects.
I think, this topic was about native 16 bit Windows software. And those should work with any 32 bit Windows.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Jo22 » 2018-2-23 @ 20:06

I'm speaking under correction, but I think that the Desktop Window Manager w/ Aero Glass of Windows Vista/7 x86 even had a postive effect to Win16 apps.
Last time I checked, they visually ran all fine and I encountered no issues with apps using 256 colour palettes. Again, I'm speaking under correction..
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby liqmat » 2018-2-24 @ 02:14

Yes. Still available.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloa ... px?id=8002

Don't use the N version. Does not include media player due to European anti-trust crap.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Jo22 » 2018-2-26 @ 00:08

Marek wrote:Why bother with DOS software in Windows when you can use DOSbox? It emulates all common graphics cards,
sound cards and ports old software expects. I think, this topic was about native 16 bit Windows software.
And those should work with any 32 bit Windows.

Yes, they should. What I like about DOSBox is that it is able to run Windows 3.x in about all three modes and with a specific amount of cycles.
Depending on how powerful someones PC is and how powerhungry the games are, the experience might be even more
authentic to what newer flavors of Windows offer. Also, some older games did funny stuff with the GDI, windows/system timers, pc speaker, etc. :)

Would XP Mode (XP inside Microsoft Virtual PC) allow full-screen?

Yes, I believe so. XP Mode requires Windows Virtual PC, though (sorry for sounding like a nitpicker).
It is a special flavor that's featurewise a mishmash of MS VPC 2007 and Virtual PC 7 for Mac:

At one side it supports hardware virtualization (VPC200x), on the other side it supports printers/USB (VPC 7).
I remember that AMD-V/Intel-VT were initally a requirement even. Until MS was confronted with reality:

Their customers had lots of PC that either weren't compatible or had no BIOS support for it.
After that, they backtracked and released a patch for VPC (KB977206). :D

liqmat wrote:Yes. Still available.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/downloa ... px?id=8002

Don't use the N version. Does not include media player due to European anti-trust crap.

Thanks a lot for letting us know, that's good news! :)

Edit: Typos fixed. Again.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby Azarien » 2018-2-27 @ 21:58

jgf wrote:16 bit games play fine in 32 bit XP or Vista, but is 32 bit Win 7 just completely incompatible?


Whatever works in Vista should work in Win7.

Any particular problem?
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby jgf » 2018-3-10 @ 00:11

Azarien wrote:
jgf wrote:16 bit games play fine in 32 bit XP or Vista, but is 32 bit Win 7 just completely incompatible?


Whatever works in Vista should work in Win7.

Any particular problem?


That's what I thought, but any older games I try on my Win7 system merely give me that popup about incompatibility (they all worked fine in Vista 32). In fact if I just plug in a flashdrive containing such a program (not trying to install or run it) that message pops up immediately.
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Re: Win7 32 bit

Postby DosFreak » 2018-3-10 @ 00:47

You could try sfc /scannow or try to track down if any securom crap is on your system. I've seen that prevent 16bit files from being deleted and slowing down explorer tasks but not preventing 16bit executables from launching.

Probably simpler to just wipe and reinstall.
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