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Can I run a Windows 3.1 program under Windows 7 Professional (64 bit)

    Question

  • I have a legacy program that was created to run under Windows 3.1 that I have been able to use on Windows 95, Windows XP, and Windows Vista -- all, I presume are 32 bit systems.  And, of course, the company that created that program, no longer exists.

    This program does not install under Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit) that came with my new laptop.  I have tried setting the compatibility properties in the SETUP.EXE file to Windows 95 but it will still not install.

    I have several questions:
    1.  Can programs that were created to run in that archiac environment run in a Windows 7 Professional (64 bit) environment? 
    2.  If not, will such programs run in the Win 7 Pro (32 bit) environment and, if so, what am I giving up by going to a 32-bit Windows 7 form a 64-bit one?
    3.  Since my laptop has a license for the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, can I "upgrade" to the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Professional?

    Thanks!

    Friday, January 22, 2010 11:16 PM

Answers

  • Win7 X64 cannot run 16 bit programs. I don't know whether that is your problem.

    Win7 X86 (32 bit) doesn't have that limitation. If it ran under 32 bit Vista, I'd expect it to work on 7.

    As you have Win7 Pro, you are entitled to a free download of XP Mode. That runs Windows XP in a virtual PC.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

    It's pretty much intended to provide businesses a way to run their old software on a Win7 machine.

    The 64 bit OS is usually installed to make use of 4GB or more of RAM. You might be able to go to the 32 bit version, which will work with 4GB (but won't allow all of it to be addressed). If you received Win7 as an OEM copy with the machine, you'd have to contact the manufacturer to see if they'll support the downgrade.

    There are other virtual machine methods that may be of interest. VirtualBox is open source/freeware. You'd have to come up with a copy of an old version of WIndows to run inside it, though. (I've never tried it.)
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 4:08 AM

All replies

  • since you are talking about win7 pro, get the virtual win7 environment.  Also, you could use virtualbox or virtualpc.
    • Proposed as answer by DrX69 Saturday, January 23, 2010 1:35 AM
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 1:35 AM
  • Win7 X64 cannot run 16 bit programs. I don't know whether that is your problem.

    Win7 X86 (32 bit) doesn't have that limitation. If it ran under 32 bit Vista, I'd expect it to work on 7.

    As you have Win7 Pro, you are entitled to a free download of XP Mode. That runs Windows XP in a virtual PC.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

    It's pretty much intended to provide businesses a way to run their old software on a Win7 machine.

    The 64 bit OS is usually installed to make use of 4GB or more of RAM. You might be able to go to the 32 bit version, which will work with 4GB (but won't allow all of it to be addressed). If you received Win7 as an OEM copy with the machine, you'd have to contact the manufacturer to see if they'll support the downgrade.

    There are other virtual machine methods that may be of interest. VirtualBox is open source/freeware. You'd have to come up with a copy of an old version of WIndows to run inside it, though. (I've never tried it.)
    Saturday, January 23, 2010 4:08 AM
  • I've got win 3.1 programs to run, including games, under windows 7 home premium 64 bit using DOSBox 0.73 and installing windows 3.1 within DOSBox. It is not for the faint of heart. I'm an old computer tech from the DOS days.

    It takes some work but it is possible to run DOS and windows 3.1 programs on Win 7 64 bit. Only if you're familiar with DOS and willing to butt heads with driver installations under DOS and Win 3.1 like the old days. The DosBox interface puts you back in that environment. You have to be a very patient person.

    Someone could make a buck in my opinion if they could somehow incorporate all the old DOS and Windows 3.1 programming into a DosBox type package that would be able to run most of these legacy programs. It is possible, it is just 1's and 0's but it would take allot of time.

    Then make it all installable under Windows 7. One can dream. Just hate to see an entire generation of programs and some very good games lost.

    P.s.  It's funny and sad how something that's 15 years old is considered 'archaic' in today's technical world. Sad but it is true.

     

     

     

    Thursday, April 08, 2010 3:50 AM
  • I realize this is an old thread and I probably won't get a reply but I am tearing out my hair with an issue. I have an older 3D application that is deprecated now and Adobe bought out the suite of applications once owned by Freehand.

    I could REALLY use the one application from the suite, the 3D one, since I am well acquainted with it, for work. The learning curve for new ones, as well as the expense, is astronomical.

    I'm trying to install it on Windows 7.

    I have tried everything I've read on the internet so far to get this app running, changing compatibility modes, downloading MS Application Compatibility Manager,  etc. to no avail. I don't even know how many bits the app is, nor can I find the information about it anymore. It ran on 95 without a hitch and served me well.

    I've managed to install a few other older apps without issues. This one however keeps popping up a box telling me to contact the vendor to see if they have a 32 bit or 64 bit upgrade. They don't. They deprecated the applications and have all new ones now.

    I don't need a new one, I need the one i have and paid for, to run.

    ANY help would be appreciated.

     

     

     

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 11:05 PM
  • You can also use the free "VMWare Player", wich have a desktop integration for your Windows host.

     

    I'm not sute that Virtualbox have desktop integration ...

    Saturday, September 17, 2011 11:47 PM
  • @zzoe - please try XP Mode (if your edition of Windows entitles you to XP Mode, that's likely to be the easiest first choice for a solution).
    It may be complicated by the "3D" software you want to use, but see how you go .
    Don
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:06 AM
  • l would really try VMware Player. It is great, better than Windows virtual PC in my opinion and it is free for personal use. Be sure to download the tools after you install it. It upgrades the video drivers to 3D and other things. Plus make sure you install DirectX 9c on the virtual machine.

    Of course, you need your original XP disc to install it, plus hopefully you have the service packs stashed somewhere.

     

     


    • Edited by popeye1953 Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:35 AM
    Sunday, September 18, 2011 1:33 AM
  • Also try dosbox.
    Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5:38 PM
  • I got a new computer with Windows 7 this week when my old one totally died.

    Trouble is that all the old family tree software in Reunion (which that company will not adapt to modern systems) is now inaccessible. Yet I could install it on Vista 2 or 3 years ago. I am not a programmer and I cannot do the complex things suggested above but there must surely be some market for someone producing a product that helps (simply) - I am sure many of us would be happy to pay. The thought of re-keying all those family tree details into new software programmes is very daunting although I suppose I could hire someone to do it as I did print much of it off last year anticipating this problem. As an IT lawyer working with any software companies over the years and remembering the Y2K issue and "how long" ought software to last, I do think the industry should consider people who want to use the same stuff for 20 or 40 years if they choose.

    Friday, October 12, 2012 9:23 AM
  • Consider Windows XP Mode.  If you happen to have Windows 7 Home Premium, you'll need to first purchase Windows Anytime Upgrade: Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional.

    Carey Frisch

    Friday, October 12, 2012 2:23 PM
    Moderator
  • You can run it using DosBox. I have it running on my Windows 7 64 bit Home Premium now. There are guides on how to do it. A little tricky but it works if you have the patience.
    Friday, October 12, 2012 3:27 PM