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  1. #1
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    Can older programs run under Windows XP?

    Favorite programs do not run under Windows XP Home. These are programs that ran in Windows 3.0, 95 and 98. Does anyone know how to work around this. The error message is: "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\AUTOEXEC.NT. The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application."

    It is a sad thing to have lots of programs (I assume 16 bit software is the issue here) that are unusable after a computer hardware and operating system upgrade.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Jerry

  2. #2
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    Many work under XP. Have you tried searching for updated drivers?

    Have you tried going through Windows Explorer > The program you want to run. > Right click on the .exe > Properties > Compatibility > Compatibility Mode > Run this program in compatibility mode for: > Selecting the version it ran under properly > and clicking Apply?

    Might work.
    Have a community? Have questions?

  3. #3
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    I've only seen a few programs that ran successfully before that won't run nicely on Windows XP. There were many that were tempermental or refused to run under early versions of Windows NT, but I don't know of many that won't run under XP, and those all depend on some piece of hardware that they want to control directly (direct, device level control of hardware is not permitted by applications under XP, only device drivers can do that).

    Try setting the properties as suggested in SoftWareRevue's post. That fixes 98% of the problems that I see. If that won't work, please post back with the details of what program(s) you're trying to run and what you've tried to get it to run, and I'll see what I can find for you.

    -PatP

  4. #4
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    I tried changing the compatibility mode to get old programs to work under Windows XP but got the same results when I chose either Windows 95 or Windows 98. One of the programs is called 'SESSION', a MIDI player that displays the notes on sheet music while the music is playing. I like this original program for reading sheet music as it is uncluttered and 100% more stable than an updated version I purchased, and that's why I don't want to look for newer when older was better. Another program is 'C_Player', shareware that used to play a list of MIDI files (Note: I got all the good MIDI files off the internet when they were available years ago). Another example, Grolier 1996 Multimedia Encyclopedia will not install when I copied SETUP.EXE to my C:\ drive, changed compatibility properties, and ran it--I got the same incompatibility error. 'Flight Unlimited' is one of the software programs on CD that will not install because of incompatibility.

    I have a hunch that taking old parts to build a Windows 98 PC may be my solution. Or is it possible to buy a new hard drive (an external drive?) with Windows 98 installed, and have bootup choices between Win XP and Win 98? I'm going to keep working at this and would appreciate suggestions from those who were able to get old "incompatible" programs to run under Windows XP that ran under previous Windows versions, where setting compatibility properties was not the solution that worked.

    Thanks for the tips from Pat and SoftWare review.
    Jerry

    They don't make 'em like they use to!

  5. #5
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    To play a list of MIDI files, just select them in Windows Explorer, right click, then select the Play menuitem.

    I'm pretty sure that you can install Grolliers Encylopedia by right-clicking on the SETUP.EXE on the CD itself and selecting compatibility mode there. Note that I do NOT recommend this, since much better products are available for under $30 that are fully compatible with XP. You can do this, but it is NOT a good idea!

    Flight Unlimited was one of those problem child programs. It does all kinds of things that were never officially condoned (actually explicitly prohibited), but happened to work. An old friend of mine loved it, and for some reason didn't care for much more capable packages available today. We had to "brute force" this using Virtual PC, which is roughly the same thing as installing a second disk partition to run Windows 98.

    -PatP

  6. #6
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    Why would anybody WANT Grollier's Encyclopedia, when you have Google and Wikipedia?
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    To blindman: I have more than 75 old programs which I have paid from $10 to $50 for each, and most I found entertaining and/or fun to use. I do not want to discard them out of principle and I would enjoy using them again.

    Pat, setting compatibility mode from the CD did not work for me with 1996 Grollier encyclopedia. I'll explore the dual bootup option with Windows 98 and Windows XP.

    Thanks.
    Jerry

  8. #8
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    I guy I know is piecing together an old Commodore 64 system. Maybe you could do the same. Just have a dedicated system runniing an old version of Windows for your programs.
    If it's not practically useful, then it's practically useless.

    blindman
    www.chess.com: "sqlblindman"
    www.LobsterShot.blogspot.com

  9. #9
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    Just an observation, but it MAY be cheaper, easier, and more suited to your needs if you created a virtual machine instead of another physical machine. Check out VMWare Workstation or Microsoft Virtual PC. Particularly if your new machine is at least a moderately powerful laptop, these make great solutions because you don't have to leave your legacy code behind. You can simply bring it with you!

    -PatP

  10. #10
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    I downloaded and installed a trial version of VMWare Workstation but unfortunately I am technically challenged on using it. I added a virtual machine I call "Windows 98", booted from a floppy disk when starting up the VM, but inside the VM, all I can do is press Ctrl+Alt (because it prompts me to do that), then when I type something, it says "You do not have VMWare Tools installed". Obviously I can't install the tools until I put the operating system on the VM. Help files say "Choose to boot from the CD" and I have my Windows 98SE CD in the drive, but the choice to boot from the CD is not presented.

    Any tips on how to get past not being able to enter anything on the VM screen would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Jerry

  11. #11
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    After further experimentation with VMWare Workstation, I see that putting my XP installation disk does start the setup process, but I want to install Windows 98 and that CD is not bootable. Once I start to open the VM, key pressing does not work at all. Pressing F2 or Esc (which the startup screen presents as options) while VM is starting up does nothing.

    Help!
    Jerry

  12. #12
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    This thread/question is getting beyond what I can answer off the top of my head, and right now I just don't have the time to research a solution for you. There are forums at VMWare that have folks that can either point you to the documentation or answer these questions easily. I'm sorry, but the best help I can give you at this point is to suggest that you take this to the VMWare forums, where there are folks that can help!

    -PatP

  13. #13
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    I believe that you should just kick that Win And install a new one! With SP 2 and get all updates from microsoft website.
    Last edited by DakDarie; 02-14-06 at 08:20.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by DakDarie
    I believe that you should just kick that Win And install a new one! With SP 2 and get all updates from microsoft website.
    Just curious, but how do you think that will help?

    -PatP

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat Phelan
    Just curious, but how do you think that will help?

    -PatP
    In my experience that works

    Well, I think the problem isn't in those programs, but just something could be wrong in Windows etc.

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