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User wishes to run old DOS program

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
Hi,

User has old DOS application program (.exe) that was created in 1992.  

Attempted to run using the DOS prompt in WinXP - No go.  Got message "OS 386 Kernel can not continue"  

Fired up an old computer running Win98, got an insufficient memory error.  Attempted to increase virtual memory, failed.  

1)  Will this old DOS program likely run under Win 95/98 ?

2) Any other suggestions on how to get this to run under Windows ?  

Thanks
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Question by:chorlac
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8 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:CMYScott
ID: 21867756
get a copy of DOS and install it in a virtual machine (Microsoft offers Virtual PC 2007 for free - and there are other choices as well)

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Expert Comment

by:KingCobraa
ID: 21867979
I have successfully setup old DOS applications using VMWARE http://www.vmware.com/products/ws/
on Winxp, and vista.

You can also use   Virtual PC 2007 as mentioned by CMYScott

and you can also setup an old pc with dos.
the link below  you should be able to locate a flavor of dos for your needs.
http://www.bootdisk.com/
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CMYScott earned 80 total points
ID: 21868155
to further my previous point and KingCobraa's..

The virtual machine approach is really ideal for what you want.  However you should be aware of the following

1.  You should evaluate Virtual PC and VMWare at least.  There are others too (Virtual Box is one I believe).  Each has their pros/cons.  I actually use both VMWare and Virtual PC.  
2.  In my experience, VMWare is better suited if you need to run multiple vms on one box.  It seems to handle resource sharing better than Virtual PC does but it is a much larger installation than Virtual PC.
3.  VMWare may also perform better on a single-core CPU than Virtual PC (although in the case of a DOS based program - I don't think this will be the case).  
4.  I find it easier to work with Virtual PC than VMWare for most things and like the lower overhead it has.
5.  VMWare has overall better hardware support.  This mostly affects USB devices - which Virtual PC does not support.  I doubt this will be an issue for a DOS based program.

One big advantage to the entire vm approach is that once you have the vm setup - if you need to move it to a different PC, you simply install the host-software (VMWare, Virtual PC, etc), move the vm files from machine a to machine b, go thru a small amount of configuration and you have the entire virtual PC on another machine.  We use vms in development and testing all the time.  In fact, we just bought three new 'beefed up' Dells to replace 10 older mediocre PCs - because we can run at least 10 vms in the three new PCs.

Good Luck
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LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:3_S
ID: 21869145
maybe you can give this a try (emulates dos on windows, mostly for old games, but programs should work too)
If you use a virtual machine (vmware or VPC) you must have a license of the OS you install to work legally, with dosbox this is not needed.
http://www.dosbox.com/
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Expert Comment

by:Will Szymkowski
ID: 21874265
Hello there,

I use to play Red Alert and for longest time I wanted it to work for XP. The thing that I have done to make DOS based programs work is go to the folder where the program is installed. Right the (exe) file(s) and click properties. Click on the Compatibility Tab and put a check mark for run in Windows 95 mode. You will need to do this for all of the .EXE files that are in the folder. Also do this for any of the shortcuts that you created.

Hope this helps
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Author Comment

by:chorlac
ID: 21886738
Hi

With reference to the above question of running old 16-bit software, do you recall if Win NT supported these older programs?   I vaguely recall that Windows stopped supporting the 16-bit program around 2000.  

Please advise.

Craig  
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Expert Comment

by:CMYScott
ID: 21886757
It should run the 16-bit software - BUT.. if the software tries to talk directly to a piece of hardware (ie.. printer) - it will not be able to do that.

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Assisted Solution

by:3_S
3_S earned 45 total points
ID: 21887239
NT3.1  NT3.5 and NT3.51 are 16 and 32 bit.  But NT4 works completly on 32bit and emulates 16bit.
You will have to try using a VM (vmware or vpc) or dosbox.
Is this a program we can test or a custom made program specific for this customer?
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