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16 Bit subsystem unstable

I had a question earlier dealing with installing a CD-ROM software instilation.  That question can be seen here.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21866946.html

In that instance I was getting two error messages. The first was taken care of as a result of that question but I am still having trouble with the instalation of the software.  When I get to six percent instalation it stops and just sits there unresponsive. When I click on it it gives the (not responding) notice in the menu bar.  Once I try to close it I get  a message as follows.

"The request to end the selected 16 bit task has timed out. The Win 16 subsystem may be unstable. Press OK to terminate the Win 16 subsystem or cancel to keep it running"

Whether I choose OK or Cancel...the program closes. I understand that the most common cause of this problem is the config.nt file or the autoexec.nt file being corrupted or missing. I have followed these directions several times...as well as the the connected directions with this question.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/Q_21118739.html?query=WIN+16+Subsystem&clearTAFilter=true

I have replaced those files using the method of creating a new nt file and also tried cutting and pasting from a working XP Pro operating system.  Neither of these things worked.  I am still locking up at 6% instalation.

Any Ideas?
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jmarkh
Asked:
jmarkh
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1 Solution
 
nobusCommented:
try running sfc /scannow from the run box.
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
Ok, now what. I ran sfc /scannow and it brought back the first error message from

http://www.experts-exchange.com/Operating_Systems/WinXP/Q_21866946.html

I went back and repaired that again but it didn't fix the 6% instalation issue.
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phototropicCommented:
A lot of people report this error when trying to run legacy software:

"XP doesn’t like trying to run Windows 3.x programs, recentlywhile running one, I got this interesting error.“The request to end the selected 16 bit task has timed out. The Win 16 Subsystem may be unstable. Press OK to terminate the Win 16 SubSystem or Cancel to leave it running.” Hmmm... sounds like its Windows 3.x emulator (Wowexec) isn’t that stable."

What is the CD-ROM software that you are trying to install?
Are you sure it is compatible with Win XP
This is relevant (although it sounds like you have already viewed it):

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314495

XP isn't that happy about running 16-bit apps.:

"Installing and Running 16-Bit Windows Programs
Windows XP does an impressive job of running programs that were originally written years ago for Windows 3.x. To run these older 16-bit programs under a 32-bit operating system, Windows XP launches a subsystem—a virtual machine—that mimics "386 enhanced mode" in the older Windows 3.x environment.
Although Windows XP allows you to run these 16-bit programs, you'll encounter a few glitches:



Most 16-bit programs do not support long file names. (Windows XP maintains the links between short and long file names, however, so that long file names are preserved when a 16-bit application modifies a file and saves it using the same name.)

In general, 16-bit applications do not run as fast as comparable 32-bit applications. The 16-bit programs are restricted to using a single thread, even on a multithreaded operating system such as Windows XP. And calls made by a 16-bit application must be translated for the 32-bit operating system. This translation process, called thunking, adds to execution time.

Some 16-bit applications require 16-bit device drivers, which are not supported in Windows XP. Applications that directly access hardware must supply a Windows XP virtual device driver and a Windows XP 32-bit device driver, or they won't run.

Dynamic link libraries (DLLs) written for 16-bit applications cannot be used by 32-bit applications, and vice versa. Because the setup program for most applications installs all the DLLs needed by the application, you won't be aware of this distinction most of the time. But if, for example, you have a macro written for Microsoft Word 6 (a 16-bit application) that accesses one or more DLLs, it won't work with Word 2002 (a 32-bit application).

Many 16-bit programs use the Windows 3.x-vintage Win.ini and System.ini files to store program-specific configuration information (some programs use private .ini files as well). Windows XP retains bare-bones copies of Win.ini and System.ini in the %SystemRoot% folder. If you encounter problems with a 16-bit application, you might find clues in these two files.


TIP   Learn how to spot a 16-bit application
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Because most Windows 3.x-based programs run properly under Windows XP, it's sometimes difficult to tell 16-bit and 32-bit applications apart. Here are two methods for determining whether an application is 16-bit or 32-bit: right-click the program's executable file and then choose Properties. If you see a Version tab, it's a 32-bit program. Or, if the program is running, press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open Windows Task Manager. On the Processes tab, look in the Image Name column for the name of the program's executable file. If any 16-bit programs are running, you'll find an entry for Ntvdm.exe, the virtual DOS machine. Just above it in the list, you'll see indented entries for Wowexec.exe (the Windows on Windows subsystem) and the executable name of each 16-bit program running in that virtual machine.
By default, Windows XP treats each running 16-bit application as a thread within a single virtual machine. If you're running multiple 16-bit applications, they share a common memory space, and a crash in one Windows 3.x-based application will typically bring down all the others with it—causing you to lose any unsaved information in all 16-bit applications. If you regularly run multiple 16-bit applications and one of them hangs or crashes frequently, you should run it in a separate memory space. To do so, follow these steps:



Create a shortcut to the program, right-click the shortcut icon, and then choose Properties.

On the Shortcut tab, click the Advanced button.

Select the Run In Separate Memory Space check box. (See Figure 5-3.)

Click OK, and then close all open dialog boxes to apply the change."  
(http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/sampchap/6271.asp)

In the long run, it may be easier to simply upgrade the software you are trying to install.
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nobusCommented:
Look slike your disk / system got corrupted. did you run a scan disk for errors on the drive?
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
Wow, great info.  The software I am trying to install is a Bible Commentary series that is about three years old (the final disk in the series...it took them many years to finish so the software structure is no doubt much older than three years.)  

I originally had it installed on this same computer but when I reorganized some external drives I moved it from one partition to another.  When I went to reinstall it...it would't install. That was when I first experienced this. I thought it was the media itself that was scratched or bad for some reason. (before I was running it on a virtual drive through Alcohol 120 since it needed the disk in the drive to pull off most of the info)  I have now tried it both with the virtual mount and also with the original disk...no joy.  I gave up for many months until I recently built a new desktop computer and thought I'd give give it a whirl and it installed perfectly. I tried it on a computer at work and it installed perfectly there. That is when I decided it was something with this computer (I always have had a keen eye for the obvious)

That's where we find ourselves today.  

Something that has dawned on me that I suddenly began to question after nobus's brief statement is this.  (and Yes I did scan the disk for errors).  I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't something bigger at work here.  The computer works ok so it's nothing major but there are some situations where certain icons don't show up (none of my powerpoint icons display correctly...all of the files work fine though  and even through I've gone through the process of changing the settings...the icons still don't show) and I also just have a general sense that things don't run smoothly all the time but cannot put my finger on the actula symptoms.  Regardless, here's my new question.  If there is something corrupted in my XP system...it came already loaded on my laptop which I bought directly from Toshiba (A20 Satellite P4  2.66 GHz)  I have all the documentation and disks but there appears to just be a Toshiba disk and not an XP disk.  If I need to reinstall XP...it appears I'm screwed.  Is that true or am I just an idiot?  The thing that makes it worse is that I currently live in China where we can only get bootlegs of XP software and it's nearly impossible to find one that isn't on Microsoft's black list.  Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself...
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
Oh and I tried loading the software using the shortcut, run in seperate memory space option and got the same thing.  Lock up at 6%
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nobusCommented:
>>   just be a Toshiba disk and not an XP disk   <<  those are probably recovery CD's they will install the laptop as you got it new; with all applications that were on there then. Be sure to backup your data first, since it will overwrite the entire disk.
If this is not the case, check the manual for how to restore the software, there may be a hidden partition, accessible through a program, or some keystrokes at startup
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phototropicCommented:
Your "Toshiba disk" is a Recovery CD:
Insert it in the drive. Reboot. Hold down the "C" key and the pc will boot from the disk. (Or f12 will bring up the boot menu. Boot from CD).#
Press 1 to begin the recovery.
You will be warned that all data will be lost.Press 1 to continue, or 2 to cancel.
Process takes approx. 20 mins.
Reboot.
Re-install updates and apps.
Back up all your crucial data first.
Re-installation is a last resort - are you sure that it is necessary in your case?
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure it's necessary right now. If I can find a way to fix these error messages and get this software loaded...I'd be happy to bypass the reinstall.  I recently pulled everything off of that computer and so it's pretty clean and wouldn't even need any crucial data pulled off since all of that is on an external hard drive.  It would be easy to do but I guess the question is...do you think it would help solve this problem or am I looking in the wrong direction.
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nobusCommented:
ok- if the scan disk came out clean, you can do a defragmentation to have your disk cleaned up.
do a sfc /scannow from the run box, to have the system files checked.

can you have malware on it? if possible i suggest running ALL these, updated :
     adaware :      http://www.lavasoftusa.com/
     Spybot :        http://www.download.com/3000-8022-10122137.html
http://housecall.trendmicro.com/                                                               online scan for trojans
http://www.spychecker.com/program/hijackthis.html                                   download
http://www.hijackthis.de/index.php?langselect=english                                check the log
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
I have ashampoo magic defrag on it so it stays defragmented...I run the system tools one on occasion to be sure that magic defrag is doing it's job. I've done that several times since this problem arose.

I have webroot spysweer on it and also run adaware often. I run hijack this every other week but I'll try the others too. I'm pretty sure I ran housecall on that computer a month ago (since the problem occured) but I'll give them all a try at once to be sure I have a spic and span system. I recently changed my anti virus from Symantic to NOD32 and like the eset product a lot...once I figured out how to use it. I am pretty paranoid about viruses and malware in general but I'll run all of this stuff again just because I enjoy doing it so much. I'll let you know what I find.
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nobusCommented:
do not forget this :   do a sfc /scannow from the run box, to have the system files checked.
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
ran all the stuff nobus suggested and still get the same thing. I guess this weekend I will try to reload XP and see if that fixes the problem. Unless anyone else has any suggestions.
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phototropicCommented:
jmarkh,
It may simply be the case that the legacy software you are trying to install is incompatible with Win XP.
Have another look at this:

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314495

Work through the recommendations:
Have you set a default printer?
Is your Win XP version an upgrade?
Have you set the program to run in a seperate memory space?
Etc.
If you have fulfilled all thyese criteria, you may have to accept that your legacy software will NEVER run in Win XP.
Do you know of any instances in which the program DOES run in Win XP?

It would be a shame to go to all the trouble of a re-installation and then find that the software still refuses to run.
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nobusCommented:
good idea above - try to install it on another PC
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
I have installed it on two other XP operating systems...three if you count this laptop which originally held the program and operated just fine. Something happened and it hasn't worked since.  This is the original XP that came with the laptop it is not an upgrade. Like I said...it did work on this laptop at this time last year. So I guess I'm going to try a reinstall and hope that clears it up. I'll let you know.
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phototropicCommented:
OK.

Don't forget to set a default printer.

Good luck!
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
This is frustrating...now my disk drive won't read anything. I'll have to get an external one from a friend and try it that way...that will have to wait unitl tomorrow. I think the disk drive is just old and isn't reading too well anymore...not related to the other stuff...sigh. Rains...pours.
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nobusCommented:
>>   ...now my disk drive won't read anything   <<   this shows you've got other problems on that PC . . .
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jmarkhAuthor Commented:
I'm closing out this question. The problem has grown larger than just this legacy software. I will open a new question dealing with the reinstall. Thanks for the insight.
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