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Randy The Tech Professor

August 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm

How To Run 16-Bit Software On A Windows 7 64-Bit Computer

Hello everyone,

I live in an area of the country where there are many elderly people. Many of  these wonderful people still have old computers that are running old software. However, little by little they are beginning to upgrade their computers and Operating Systems to the latest and greatest 64-bit Windows 7 – but they want to keep using their beloved old software. Therein lies the problem!

The other day I set up a new Windows 7 machine for a client. He was extremely happy and then he said “OK, now let’s install my wife’s American Greetings CreataCard Gold 5 and my Hoyle Card Games“. He and his wife had used these same programs for years and they couldn’t live without them!

Well as you can probably imagine, these two programs would not install. Both of these older programs are 16-bit and will not install on the 64-bit Windows 7 OS. If my client had purchased a computer running 32-bit Windows 7, he could have run his programs in Compatibility Mode but this function will not work in 64-bit Windows 7.

So, the guy was very disappointed but I stayed as “cool as a cucumber” because I knew that there were several, great, free virtual machine programs that will allow you to run these older 16-bit programs on Windows 7 64-bit.

These are the programs that I recommend:

1) DOSBox (DOSBox is a DOS emulator and only runs 16 bit MS-DOS programs and not 16 bit Windows Applications).

2) VirtualBox (a “virtual machine” that allows an unmodified operating system with all of its installed software to run in a special environment, on top of your existing operating system).

3) VMware Player (a “virtual machine” that will run legacy Windows applications on top of your existing operating system without interfering with the original OS).

Professor Randy says: 64-bit Windows 7 is great but it does have it’s drawbacks – it will not run 16-bit software. Not to fear though, because there are several great free programs that will run your 16-bit software within Windows 7 64-bit. You can truly then “have your cake and eat it too!”

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  • mode20100
    7:41 pm on August 25th, 2010 1

    A+ would read again.

  • BC
    9:16 pm on September 18th, 2011 2

    The Virtual Box & VM Player are simply too difficult to set up for a regular user.

  • Chris
    1:43 am on January 5th, 2012 3

    An old post but I’ll throw in an update… :-)

    Everything in this article is still true unfortunately. Until now and for years, one of my favorite 16 bit programs was a program called Lview. Lview was a fantastic screen capturing tool, a great collage maker, and so on. I have it running on a VM but I really need it to run in a 64 bit environment otherwise, it’s a back and forth thing between my VM and 64 bit environment. Lview has newer software but nothing like the 16 bit version I use so it’s been a long, sad trail as I have looked for ways to keep it alive. Hopefully some ‘really smart guy’ is eventually going to develop an emulator that allows a person to run their 16 bit software in a 64 bit environment.

  • J
    12:04 am on March 15th, 2013 4

    virtual machines are great tools but they do also have their drawbacks the software is still as of yet in 2013 to catch up with what modern hardware is capable of mainly for gpu acceleration on the graphics end so if you are planning to run some old games something pre descent 2 or motocross is recommended for applications such as that as they can have hick ups or stutters yeah… not to mention those cheap little 300-400 dollar computers are not going to cut it for virtual machines too well they will quite simply bog down under load forget about multitasking if you plan on running virtual machines and you do not wish to assemble your own computer do not cheap out and ask a geek for help i recommend at least a quad core cpu and bare minimum for ram 8gb now a days 16gb if you want fluent operation

  • Olaf
    4:32 pm on March 27th, 2013 5

    Thank you Randy, i was wondering how to run some old games i have without purchasing an Ultimate or Pro version of my win7 64.

  • John Grossmann alias Balendard
    9:09 pm on April 25th, 2013 6

    I am currently using the OCES hydraulic software on XP pro 16 bits but unable to run these exe files on my new computer fitted with Windows 7. 64 bits
    Can you help me?

  • Randy Knowles
    8:20 pm on April 26th, 2013 7

    Hello John,

    You’ll need your Windows XP install disk. You need to download the free program VirtualBox:

    Then watch this video (, and follow the instructions. You will then be able to run your software in VirtualBox within your Windows 7 machine.

    Best wishes,
    Randy Knowles

  • Chris
    8:28 am on August 12th, 2013 8

    I recently acquired a new pc for my machining business. I installed VMware Player 5. The host is Win 7 64 bit. The quest is win98se. I have successfully installed all my old programs, and they all run perfectly except two. They won’t start. I get a “caused a page fault error” every time. They are old 16 bit programs made by the same company (Scanvec) and require a dongle. (which is installed in LPT1) LPT1 and COM1 have been installed in the VM. Both are functioning.

    Any ideas? Thanks, Chris

    3:57 pm on September 16th, 2014 9

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