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Can't run 16-bit Windows program

Posted on 2004-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-08-14
Folks,

Was trying to setup phone system software on laptop running xp sp1 + latest updates.  When ran exe I got the following error:

"Can't run 16-bit Windows program.  cannot find file c:\**.exe (or one of its components.  check to ensure the path and filename are correct and that allrequired libraries are available."

Checked the net and tried two things:

1. Changing the DefaultSeparateVDM key in \hkey\local\currentcontrolset\contriol\wow from No to Yes.
2. Changed the ntfsdisable8dot3namecreation in \hkey\local\currentcontrolset\contriol\filesystem to allow short filenames.

None of these worked.  Anyone have any ideas?
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Question by:gooded
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Accepted Solution

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sunray_2003 earned 250 total points
ID: 10678436
Have you checked these ?

HOW TO: Use Windows Program Compatibility Mode in Windows XP
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;292533&

Troubleshooting MS-DOS-Based Programs in Windows
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;314106
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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10678483
Yip.  This exe works on nt4, w2k, can't see why it don't work.
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10678849
This wouldn't happen to be for a ROLM system would it?
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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10678862
gemarti,  what is ROLM?
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10678929
Must not be ROLM. :(

It's a phone system with a 16-bit DOS application.

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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10678948
Not much chance of it working gemarti!
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Expert Comment

by:paulalves
ID: 10683360
Try this:

Make a shortcut to the program.

Right click on the shortcut and select properties.

Click the "compatibility" tab in properties.

Set compatability mode for Windows 95/98/2000 etc. Try them and see if one of those compatibility modes works.  Quite often this solves problems like yours.

Hope that helps.


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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10686247
>>Not much chance of it working gemarti!
I didn't suggest anything.
I wanted to find out what type of phone system you were having problems with because I might of been able to help you with your problem, but since you dont have a ROLM system I don't have a solution.

I can only suggest that you should make sure the software was installed correctly and that your PATH statement has a route to that installation.

Wish I could be more help.

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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10686397
gemarti,  was just being sarcastic.  Its an Alcatael OmniPCX Office Swicth.  When I run the exe to setup the software it only gets as far as the error message, i think you mght think that the software is setup but the program won't run?
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10686462
>> i think you mght think that the software is setup but the program won't run?
That's exactly what I thought...I sometimes miss important details in these questions.

So what you are saying is that you have this old installation executable that just doesn't wan't to install on the XP machine?

That would make a difference to the solution approach... If a solution is possible.  
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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10686479
gemarti,

Apologies.  I should have made it a bit more clearer but yes the installation executable doesn't wan't to install on the XP laptop.
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10686552
I bet this is what is happening. During the installation the application is looking for AutoExec.bat so that it can write a PATH statement to the file. In Windows XP there isn't a AutoExec.BAT file so it cannot find the file! Thus your error occurs.

Is the installation indicating that it is almost done? Are the files installed in a program folder? if yes then in the
%Windir%\System32\Autoexec.nt file, insert (or append) a path statement to include the folder where the application was installed.

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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10688569
when you double-click the exe the error message comes up staright away.  Couldn't see any files anywherelse.
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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10739943
folks,

Anyone any more ideas?  If not aI will close this question.
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Expert Comment

by:paulalves
ID: 10749718
Try right click properties change compatibility mode.

Also try finding an updated version of the software or a patch for XP.
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10756178
Sunray: Are you going to let this slide?

gooded: Sunray was the first person to post the solution on compatability mode. Why did you accept paulaves' answer?


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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10756231
sorry folks didn't look back to the start of the thread where sunray mentioned that.  anyway I can er distribute the points?
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Author Comment

by:gooded
ID: 10756286
yes gemarti.  Thanks for your help to.
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Expert Comment

by:gemarti
ID: 10756352
I think that you should accept:

Comment from sunray_2003
Date: 03/25/2004 11:25AM EST
ID: 10678436

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Expert Comment

by:paulalves
ID: 10761971
Sorry, I didnt notice the answer. I usually skim over those that answer with cut and paste links...  had I noticed I would not have given the duplicate answer.

Cheers.
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Expert Comment

by:jrubio3593
ID: 14869503
PLEASE add this to your "answer."

I had to research this due to same error message and discovered another possible valid answer.  It turns out that a damaged CD rom (for an older 16 bit application) will also cause XP SP2 to respond with the above error message.  Here is my post to another user (feel free to change or summarize it):

I put in an old educational software tonight into my laptop - It ran fine - I was not careful in taking it out of tray and scratched it - I didn't notice that until I got some unrecoverable read errors in Nero when I went to burn a copy of it -  I then took the original CD, placed it back into laptop (where it has just worked fine) and received the "insufficient memory to run this application""can't run 16-bit windows program" message.  I couldn't believe it - It has just worked minutes prior.

I tried the same original "retail"  (hmm,hmm) cd in another pc - same error message - which I knew was impossible on my clean workhorse 2gig RAM video editing machine.  That's when I saw the slight scratch I gave it.  Uuugh.

I never would have guessed this one, but the damaged CD (of the old 16 bit program) actually caused the "insufficient memory to run this application can't run 16-bit windows program" message!  Therefore, the message is misleading but it is how Windows XP SP2 may respond to the damaged CD - WOW.  Hope this might help.

By the way, I was able to intentionally burn a copy at a LOWER speed (I set Nero to read at 8x) and write ay 20x (way below what settings allow) - This worked this time - no errors, and whew, a good copy of my damaged original CD.

Hope this can save someone time from going down the wrong path (e.g. thinking its a memory problem or that its simply a 16 bit program problem).
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