Cannot run DOS software !!

Posted on 2004-09-09
Last Modified: 2008-01-16

someone's PC (winXP-Home SP1) cannot run a DOS accounting software. Err msg is:

Menu Title = 16 bit MS-DOS subsystem

"C:\windows\system32\Autoexec.NT - The system file is not suitable for running MS DOS and Microsoft windows application."

i also tried the DOS accounting software's related programs, eg. Books.exe, Multi.bat, etc....all would show the same err msg.

How to solve ? (Thanks)
Question by:collinng
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LVL 57

Assisted Solution

by:Pete Long
Pete Long earned 20 total points
ID: 12014501
Running Legacy applications in Windows XP (& Server 2003)

How To's

HOW TO: Use Windows Program Compatibility Mode in Windows XP;en-us;292533

Using Program Compatibility Mode

HOW TO: Use Compatibility Mode Technology in Windows Server 2003;EN-US;324265


Troubleshooting MS-DOS-based programs in Windows XP;EN-US;314106

How to troubleshoot program compatibility issues in Windows XP

"16 Bit MS-DOS Subsystem" Error Message When You Install a Program;en-us;314452

Error Message When You Install or Start an MS-DOS or 16-Bit Windows Based Program;en-us;324767

If all else fails try using a DOS emulator

DosBOX and VDMSound
Bochs IA-32 Emulator Project

Expert Comment

ID: 12014795
The message indicates that the autoexec.nt file was corrupt/missing - this file should be in %WINDIR%\system32 - if you post the contents, I can comment further.
If it doesn't exist, just create an empty file called autoexec.nt - that should allow things to work.
LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 12015343
Try to get a copy of autoexe.nt file from a different windows xp system and place is in the system32 folder. That should do the job

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Assisted Solution

sevie earned 20 total points
ID: 12018709
You may also find usefull to install a DOS Emulator in order to avoid problems running DOS apps on OS that doesn't have DOS (like Windows 2000, XP)
Such is DOSBox
More info and download link:

Accepted Solution

nfomaniac earned 110 total points
ID: 12024821
One of the following files is corrupt:


Repair the file using Microsoft article #324767

At the command prompt, type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each command:

expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\config.nt_ c:\windows\system32\config.nt
expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\autoexec.nt_ c:\windows\system32\autoexec.nt
expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\command.co_ c:\windows\system32\


Author Comment

ID: 12096320
i tried nfomaniac's solution, it works fine, but when i restart the PC, i have to do it again everytime. So i put a batch file under startup, so that it will do it again and again everytime the PC restarts.

Is there a way to find out why ?

Expert Comment

ID: 12114184
You have a virus that is recorrupting the file!  (or the file is stored on a bad sector of your hard drive - VERY UNLIKELY).

Try an online virus scan (Your current scanner may be being disabled by a virus and still look like it is functioning).  (although this one won't clean the virus it will give you all the necessary info on how to clean it).

Please Post how you make out with this.   THANX

Expert Comment

ID: 12281911
The only way to remove the virus is by running stinger from mc-afee:

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