How to Play 16 Bit Windows Games/Applications on a 64 Bit Computer

If you ever found yourself having the urge to play a really old video game or application, and all you have is something like windows 7 or Windows 8, you may run into some problems attempting to get that particular program to work. While a standard 16 bit DOS program may be kind of easy to run with DOSBox, a 16 Bit Windows program may be a little more tricky to actually run. This guide will show you the basics of running a basic 16 bit Windows program.

Important Notice: This guide was originally published by me on ZeroPaid. It is being republished here for the purpose of updating the guide with any new information I can obtain so that some of the more difficult to play games can be run.

When it comes to old 16 bit video games, some of the more knowledgeable people would suggest using Dosbox. Dosbox is a program that emulates the old DOS environment to run old 16 bit DOS-based programs such as video games. Unfortunately, some games require the Windows environment. For users who run Windows Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate, one possible solution is to download and install the “Windows XP Mode” and “Virtual PC”. The reason is that Windows XP allowed users to run old 16 bit video games. As such, running the official Windows XP emulator is a possible solution for you. Unfortunately, if you are running Windows Home Premium, Microsoft locks us out of this capability unless you upgrade your version of Windows. So, attempting to run a 16 bit Windows video game in 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium is perhaps the most difficult environment to work with. Is it impossible? After years of problem solving, I finally found out that it’s not impossible.

For any 16 bit DOS programs, one may run into this error message:

16-Bit Error

Our guide on using DOSBox to run these 16 bit programs are typically sufficient for a number of these games. However, if this is a Windows 16-Bit program, you may find yourself with the following error message when trying to boot the program with DOSBox:


For some people, this may be a message that tells them that they have reached the end of the road in terms of compatibility. For quite some time, I was one of those people. However, after years of infrequent digging around, I was able to find a solution to this problem. There are versions of Windows – namely Windows 3.x) that were actually a DOS program. This means that it’s basically a program that runs within DOS. DOSBox allows you to run programs in a DOS environment. This fact makes it possible to run 16 bit Windows games via DOSBox. Here’s how you essentially create an emulated system that can run 16 Bit Windows games:

Step 1 – Download and Install Dosbox

Go to the official DOSBox website and download the latest version of Dosbox.

Don’t worry about installing a frontend. Frontends are simply visualizations of what we are attempting to do. It’s probably best to stick to vanilla Dosbox which is what we’ll be doing in this guide.

Step 2 – Obtain a Copy of Windows 3.1

There are numerous ways of getting Windows 3.1. You could buy a copy or find some mysterious download version off of some torrent site that rhymes with the pilot day. The choice is yours. Either way, you’ll need to get a copy of the contents of the diskettes (or ISO which would save a few steps) onto your hard drive as most modern computers do not have floppy disk drives.

Step 3 – A Little File Management

You’ll need to do a little file management to make your life a whole lot easier. I prefer to work out of a folder directly on the main hard drive to simplify matters. Really, you could place the main folder anywhere on your hard drive, but locating the files can be tedious if it’s on anything other than directly on the “C” drive. Name that folder anything – preferably something that will allow you to remember later what that folder is for. I chose the name “oldgames”

Next, you’ll need a folder that emulates the disk drive. I chose to go into the “oldgames” folder and create a folder called “floppy”.

For now, this is all that is needed.

Step 4 – Mount Your “C” Drive

When you first open up Dosbox, you’ll see this window:


Yes, we are heading straight into the oldschool DOS prompt. Don’t let it scare you, I’ll share with you everything you need to know.

Next up, we need to type in “MOUNT C C:\OldGames”. Remember, we are using the name of the first folder we created earlier here. If you named that first folder “Old” instead, then you’d type in “MOUNT C C:\Old”. Since I’m using OldGames, this is what I see in Dosbox:


Dosbox is telling me that the drive was successfully mounted here. Congratulations! We successfully mounted the hard drive!

Step 5 – Mount Your “A” Drive

The old version operates thinking we have a floppy drive. This is known as the “A” drive. Think of it as an outdated version of your “D” drive (which is typically your CD/DVD drive). Way back then, everything came in thick square disks instead of larger fancier shiny round disks.

Windows 3.1 came in seven diskettes. So, we need to have a way to install Windows 3.1 even though our computer doesn’t have an A disk drive.

So naturally, we want to mount the floppy drive. Remember the second folder we created that was called “floppy”? That’s our next step.

Like the “C” drive, we need to mount the “A” drive. The cool thing is that what we need to type in is very similar to what we needed to type in to mount the “C” drive. If the second folder you named is also “Floppy”, we need to type in “MOUNT A C:\OldGames\Floppy”. It should look like this if we are successful:


Congradulations! We now have a floppy drive on a Windows 7 computer that physically has no floppy drive!

Step 6 – Begin Installing Windows 3.1

At this point, I am assuming you have the contents of all seven diskettes nicely arranged in a folder somewhere on your actual hard drive. If not, you can do so now (no harm in going back and doing this. What is ideal is to have the contents of the seven diskettes laid out nicely like this:


Again, this will make your life substantially easier in this step.

Now what you need to do is go into the folder with the contents of the first diskette and copy it over to the Floppy disk folder you created earlier (I called it “Floppy”) like so:


When the contents are copied over, go back to Dosbox and type in “A:\SETUP.exe”. When you hit enter, you’ll see the following screen:


Simply press Enter and you’ll get this screen:


Simply press Enter again.


Now it will begin setting up Windows. As we can see, the progress for us above has come to 22%.

Step 7 – Swapping Out to Disk 2

When it has finished installing the contents of the first diskette, the setup will ask for the removal of the first diskette and inserting the next diskette.

At this point, you’ll need to remove the contents of your diskette folder (that we named “Floppy”). Once the files are removed, find the contents of the second diskette and copy it over to the “Floppy” disk folder (much like what we did in the previous step. Once the contents of the second diskette are copied over into our floppy disk folder, we go back to Dosbox and press CTRL+F4. This will reset what Dosbox thinks is in all the directories. After that, hit Enter to continue the installation process.


As we can see above, the installation is going along smoothly right now.

Shortly after this, it will prompt you for the third diskette. Again, simply remove the contents of the Floppy diskette folder and copy over the contents of the third diskette. After that, hit CTRL+F4 in Dosbox and hit Enter to continue the installation.

Step 8 – Installing the Fourth Disk

Once you install the third diskette, you’ll be brought to a Windows environment within a Windows environment. To switch between the Windows 3.1 and your Windows 7 environment (because now Dosbox is, in a sense, trapping your mouse), simply press Alt+Tab and you’ll be able to work between both environments.

After it asks you for your name, you’ll eventually be brought to this screen:


The process at this stage is exactly the same. Remove the contents of your floppy diskette drive and copy over Diskette 4. Hit CTRL+F4, click inside the Windows 3.1 environment in Dosbox and continue the installation.

You’ll do the same process of swapping out the diskettes for diskette 5.


It will, at this point, ask you if you would like to install a printer. I simply chose the “No Printer Attached” option and continued. I also skipped the tutorial as well.


At this point, Windows 3.1 will ask if you want to Reboot. I chose to reboot. Dosbox will then close down.

Step 9 – Opening Windows

Now that we have installed Windows 3.1, the next step is to test to see if Windows will run properly. For that, we need to open Dosbox back up.

When we do, we need to mount the “C” drive. For those who don’t want to do any extra scrolling, that’s, again (in my case), typing in “MOUNT C C:\OldGames”.

Once mounted, we need to browse to that directory. That’s simply a matter of typing in “C:\”.


Now that we are on our virtual “C” drive, we need to start Windows oldschool style. We need to type in “cd C:\WINDOWS” and we’ll get the WINDOWS directory:


After this, it’s simply a matter of typing in “win” and hitting enter to start Windows. You’ll, at this point, be transported back in time to computing in the early 90′s!


Step 10 – Running a Game

At this point, we want to see if any old game would work. So, I selected a old video game called “Dare to Dream”. I exited out of Windows 3.1 and dropped the directory files for the game into the “OldGames” directory. Booted up Windows, went into File Manager, found the directory for my game, ran the .exe file and, voila, the game actually runs!


Yes, this is a 16 bit Windows video game running in Dosbox running in a Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit operating system.

While the game actually runs, there are no MIDI sounds (old sound files used to play in the background of some games) because of lack of sound drivers.

Step 11 – Installing the Sound Driver

Unfortunately, we don’t have any sound. This has to be manually installed. So, we go to the Control Panel.


Next, we go into “Drivers”. This will bring up this window:


We want to click on “Add”. Next, we’ll want “Sound Blaster 1.5″:


At this point, it will ask you to insert disk 4:


Like before, we remove the contents of the floppy directory on our real hard drive (if you’ve been following this guide, the contents currently in there is diskette 5), then CTRL+F4, then continue. If nothing happens, at this point, exit Windows and mount drive A and direct it towards your floppy folder and go back into Windows and try again.

If successful, you’ll get a screen asking for diskette 5. Swap out contents of the floppy directory for diskette 5 and continue. Once successful, you’ll get a new screen asking for ports and interrupts. This part is truly trial and error, but the following settings worked for me (the window in the top left corner means you were able to get the settings correct):


My advice in determining the correct setting quickly is to pay close attention to the error messages. If the error mentions that the port isn’t correct, change the port. If the error message says the Interrupt isn’t working, it means the port is correct, but the interrupt is wrong.

At this point, you will be asked to restart Windows. Go ahead and restart:


Since restarting Windows 3.1 in a modern computer is almost instant, you’ll probably notice that a restart is pretty much instant. If you hear the old Windows chime, then that probably means you successfully installed the sound driver. If you want to be sure you were successful, you can go into the Control Panel and go into “Sounds”:


Now, you really only need to click on the “test” button to make sure that the sound actually worked. If all went well, you should hear the sound effect you selected:


If you heard anything at all, congratulations! You have sound!

Step 11 – MIDI Mapping

MIDI seems to be a little buggy, but I can show you what worked for me. You need to configure some MIDI settings because old games often used highly compressed MIDI files as background music. First, go into the Control Panel and click on the MIDI Mapper:


In the MIDI settings, I selected “General MIDI”. When I tested the audio for the game “Mordor – The Depths of Dejenol”, I still got error messages and it occasionally crashed Windows 3.1, but despite the error messages, the music still played. There may be better settings to use in the mean time, but for now, these settings worked:


As a general note for the game “Mordor”, you need some additional files to get the game to play properly. Simply download the compressed file available on the Mordor fan site here and extract all the files to the “WINDOWS/SYSTEM” folder in the Windows 3.1 directory. In addition, you’ll need to extract the file “WAVMIX.ini” file into your WINDOWS directory. This should allow the game to at least open up properly.

If Mordor crashes Dosbox, simply remount the A and C drives and go back into Windows again alternatively, simply find the settings that play the MIDI files and deactivate the MIDI sequences. This could add some stability.

Step 12 – Fixing the Video Display

This step was a bit of a pain to figure out, but thankfully, there is a solution that is easy to follow. If you ran any game in Windows 3.1, you may have either noticed that the colours aren’t that great or an error message pop up that said that this game runs better on 256 colours. There is a way to fix this (and even adjust the resolution of Windows to something that is more suited for your current display.

The problem here is that what is running is VGA. There isn’t enough colours to make some of the pictures display properly. While you may be tempted to start digging around in the Windows Setup to find something better, don’t do this. It’s best to obtain a third party driver instead which is actually available.

First, in Dosbox, exit Windows 3.1.

Next, in your regular Windows environment, browse to the folder you’ve been mounting Dosbox to. Create a new folder. I’ll just call this “drivers” to make it easier to remember:


Now, open that directory and create another directory called “s3″. This will be the name of your drivers you are using. If you feel the need to use different drivers in the future, you can simply create another directory in this directory for easy file management:


Now to get the drivers. Thankfully, the folks over on a forum with lots of Dosbox fans have posted the needed drivers (as well as their own tutorial about these and other kinds of drivers). What we are after is the file located in the link I circled below:


Once you have finished downloading the file, open it up and extract all the contents to the s3 folder:


Now, go back to Dosbox. We are going to install these drivers. Simply type in “Setup” and hit enter:


A familiar blue screen should appear. Use the up arrow key to highlight the line next to “Display”. Currently, it is set to the default VGA:


Now, hit enter to go into the video settings. You’ll be able to use your arrow keys to choose which display setting you’ll use. Use the down arrow key and go all the way down to the bottom (holding it down takes you there the fastest). You should find yourself highlighting “Other (Requires disk provided by a hardware manufacturer)”.


This is what we want. Hit enter. You’ll then be taken to this screen:


Now, remember where we put our drivers? Yes, we are working from the mounted folder. If you did exactly what I did when creating these folders, you can simply type in “C:\drivers\s3″:


Hit enter.

After a brief second of loading, you’ll find yourself on the following screen:


Now, you’ll notice that some of these offer something like 64k colours. Since we are talking about 16 bit games, chances are quite good that all we are after is anything in 256 colours (since that is what many are designed to run in). So, you can pretty much pick anything you like here, but try and pick something that ends in either “256 colors SF” or “256 colors LF” (LF is short for Large Font and SF stands for Small Font. I personally chose anything with a small font myself).

You’ll then find yourself on this screen:


Simply press enter at this point. If this is your first time doing this, you’ll be prompted for the directory that the drivers are located again. Simply re-type in the same driver location as before and hit enter. This is only for people who do this the first time. After that, you’ll only ever be prompted to type in the directory once every time you want to change the resolution. If there are any additional screens beyond this, just hit enter until you finally find yourself back at the dos prompt. Type in “win” and hit enter to go back into Windows. You’ll find that the resolution is greatly altered.

You can now freely play many classic 16 bit Windows video games like Mordor smoothly on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit!


Questions and Answers

Q: What kind of memory footprint are we looking at for something like this?
A: For me, at the resolution (the second highest at 256 colours SF), my memory footprint while running one game looked like this:


In short, big name browsers with a handful of tabs can take up way more than what you see in Dosbox.

Q: Can something like Windows 95 work on Dosbox?
A: I honestly don’t know how possible that is. One thing to remember is that the newer the operating system, the more memory it will take up to emulate the same game. Chances are good it isn’t really worth it and if it’s newer than the two games I mentioned here, there’s also a possibility that it operates on a 32 bit system which can run on Windows 7. Emulating it via Dosbox would be redundant. In any event, Windows 3.1 is basically a shell program that runs on DOS. Later versions don’t run quite like this, making it much more difficult to emulate (if it’s possible at all).

Q: What about running these programs under WINE in Linux?
A: This is an idea I have toyed with. Unfortunately, the experience of other people seems to suggest that WINE can be buggy. This way, the game is operating in a native Windows environment – an operating system that the games were designed for in the first place.

Q: Couldn’t you just duelboot a different operating system to run these games?
A: That is definitely a possibility. However, I prefer something like this because, this way, no hard drive partitioning would be necessary. You can also run a virtual machine as well. I have no idea what kind of memory footprint is required there, but the process also requires a certain amount of configuration just to get the emulated operating system to run.

Q: Why won’t 16 bit video games run on 64 bit environments?
A: The short answer is that it has to do with coding. We’re talking different pin chips here. There is currently no real way to run a 16 bit video game in a 64 bit environment as the two are incompatible with each other. This emulator theory is about one of the best ways to accomplish playing a 16 bit video game in a 64 bit environment.

Q: Do all 16 bit video games require installing Windows?
A: No. Many 16 bit video games run straight off of DOS. This means you can simply open up Dosbox, mount the C drive and run an executable file to run the game. If a game requires the Windows environment, Dosbox will inform you of this. Both Dare to Dream and Mordor 1.1 require the Windows environment which is why both were demonstrated here.

Q: My game still won’t run! It has errors in it/It says that files are missing!
A: As I suggested in the midst of this tutorial, some games require additional files. Google, in this case, is your friend. You can hope that there is a fan site or even an official website still running that has any additional files required to run the game (like I did with Mordor 1.1). Not every game will run straight out of the box and if you do get any missing files, it can be a case of trial and error to get the game running. Different games have different requirements. The only way to know if a game works is to actually attempt to run it.

Q: Will this work on old general applications too?
A: This should be a great way to try and get general 16 bit Windows applications to run as well. Again, it’s entirely possible to run into similar problems as well (i.e. missing files, etc.) Again, try it out to see if it works.

Q: Where can I get Windows 3.1?
A: There are lots of ways. Look for it. It’s proprietary software, so just linking to it might be legally questionable. Still it isn’t too hard to find.

I hope this guide proves useful for those who are trying to run old applications again. I’ve read about many people being unable to run old applications that require the Windows environment, but are stuck on Windows 7 Home Premium which is why I wrote this guide.


If you find that the game is freezing and you know it normally requires a Floppy drive, try using this guide to get the game running.


  • Patrick says:

    Your guide was a life-saver. It was frustrating trying to find a way to play Mordor on my laptop, but thanks to you I’m able to now. Awesome job!

  • Tom says:

    This is a great find, but unfortunately won’t work for Microsoft Return of The Arcade. I thought for sure I’d finally found a way to run it on Windows 8.1. I was able to run the DOS emulator and install Win 3.1. When I went to install Return of The Arcade from File Manager, I got the same error I get in Window 8.1 – Not compatible with this version of Windows. Darn it. So Windows 3.1 is too old. 8.1 is too new. There is no other version of this game pack and nobody has written a decent emulator for these games. Despite what a lot of people think, you can’t just search for modern versions of these games. Nobody has made anywhere near a decent emulated version of them. Thanks for this write-up, though. It was pretty cool seeing the old Windows 3.1 again. I may still use it for some other old programs I still have around.

  • Rick says:

    Ever since I installed Windows 7 64bit, the sad part was to lose the capability to play the old games. Now I’ve been able to play again. Thanks, you’re the best!

  • Courtney P says:

    I am trying to run a game called Dr. Health’nstein’s Body Fun and have followed all of the directions with no problem but my game won’t open. I changed the display to 256 colors and downloaded QuickTime 2.12 and now when I click on it it says that BODYFUN CD-ROM cannot be found and to place it in my CD-ROM drive. I have the CD in my computer. I’m not very good at this computer stuff…Please help!

  • Marcus says:

    I got a problem with the windows installation. When i try and install it, it just says “Setup is unable to create the specefied directory on the specified drive” 🙁
    What can i do? I have tried with other directorys but it still can’t.

    • Drew Wilson says:

      Might be something wrong with the files you have. Some sources try adding a whole lot of unnecessary things that end up messing with the stability of Windows 3.1. The only thing I can suggest is trying a different source. A clean copy of the OS is the best way to go.

  • Nikki says:

    I’m having the same problem the 16 bit wont work for 64 bit. I’m not trying to play videos games will this information work on the Excelerator CD-ROMS. I ordered these CD’s off of Amazon and they didn’t say what you needed in order to run them. I was under the empression that I could just sick the dic in and it would run and play on its own. Any information would help. I need it to work so I can use the dic to study the math and biology sections for an up and coming TEAS test for nursing.

  • leah says:

    Yea, it keeps saying setup is an illegal command or something

  • Spectra Twilight says:

    After following your guide closely, I’ve managed to get everything to work up to actually launching the game I wish to play for nostalgia purposes (Super Solvers Mission: T.H.I.N.K.). I’ll explain in detail:

    After Mounting C to my DOSGames folder, I imgmount the game ISO I possess to D, with success. I then proceed to launch Windows 3.1, and then directly access the D: drive, read by the OS as a CD-ROM drive, and launch “setup.exe” directly.

    The game installs successfully, and then takes me back to the folder it has created holding a shortcut to the game. I execute the shortcut, and whilst attempting to launch the game, receive the following message:


    An error has occurred in your application. If you choose Ignore, you should save your work in a new file. If you choose Close, your application will terminate.”

    Selecting Ignore to attempt to continue the procedure then leads to:

    “Application Error

    SSMWIN16 caused a General Protection Fault in module SSMWIN16.EXE at 0051:0CE9.”

    This error occurs whether mounting a folder in which the game’s files are stored under a CDRom type after extracting them from the .iso, or mounting the .iso image directly. It also occurs when directly attempting to execute the file installed to the C: drive, rather than using the shortcut, and interestly makes the cursor disappear after doing so. And of course the error also occurs when the game files have been extracted to the C: drive without being mounted as a CDRom type, and you access its executable directly from within the .iso data.

    Trying to access the executable directly from within the .iso or mounted CDrom folder, of course, leads to an error about not having enough memory, as CDroms are not allocated any extra memory themselves. Attempting to launch the game from the installed executable when the game was not installed from an imgmounted .iso or CDRom mounted folder will request that the CD be inserted before playing.

    Attempting to install or launch the game from within the normal or Windows DOS prompt will inform you that the action must be performed within Microsoft Windows.

    I haven’t been able to find a solution to this error. While I understand you may not be able to help, I would appreciate any sort of insight you may have into the issue nonetheless.

    Thank you in advance.

  • Nathanael says:

    Thank you! Drew, is it? One question I have is what is the advantage of using DOSbox over other VMs like qemu or virtualbox? Will DOSbox perform Windows 3.1 faster/ better than those VM environments? I see qemu can even have support for hardware-accelerated virtualization.

    • Drew Wilson says:

      I haven’t tried qemu, but I have tinkered with Virtualbox before. My understanding is that you have to set aside an actual set amount of resources in Virtualbox whereas DOSBox can simply use whatever is necessary. That was part of what made me try and configure Windows 3.1 in DOSBox instead. Now, whether the other virtual machines can run programs like Windows 3.1 better then DOSBox, I can’t say for certain. What I do know after extensive testing with DOSBox is that there are a small handful of programs that simply aren’t that well emulated. Most are actually emulated nicely in this environment, but not all. I would suspect that if you are having problems emulating a certain program through DOSBox, using something like Virtual Box or qemu might be a viable alternative provided they can run that program better. If you’re more comfortable running programs through qemu or Virtualbox than DOSBox, then I would say those environments a whirl instead. No harm in using something different, I say. I simply wrote this guide because it was the first solution I came across that worked for me and thought I would share it with others in case others had similar issues running 16 bit apps. In a lot of cases, running a 16 bit app in a 64bit environment is not exactly a trivial thing.

      • Nathanael says:

        Thank you! Yes, that is nice that you don’t have to allocate virtual resources for DOSbox. That is something I never understood about VMWare, and it looks like both virtualbox and qemu require you to do the same 😛 I may do some benchmarking between DOSbox and kvm-qemu this weekend, but I suspect I will end up using DOSbox precisely because of this. Thank you!

  • Victoria says:

    I’ve gotten all the way to the part of running the game. I’m lost on which file on the game CD is the directory file that I’m supposed to move and I also don’t know where I’m supposed to move it in the C drive.. Help?

    Thank you in advance!

  • Jacquie says:

    tried everything, but no old dos game will run on my computer… wish I hadn’t thrown my old computers away 🙁 Don’t know where to get Windows 3.1 either… and I don’t want to mess up my computer with Win7 too badly either :/

  • Miichael J Rawlinson says:

    Really old question, using win3.1 in dosbox allows 16 bit games to run , will it also allow some even older 8 bit games to run under the win3.1 16 bit dos environment ?

  • Nicholas Donohue says:

    I got dosbox, windows 3.1 and Mordor to install but when I load it the game doesn’t fit the screen and when i reduce the size of the boxes none of the text is legible. Is there anyway to fix this or am I left with a grossly cluttered game.

    I played with the resolution and overlay but go figure, that simply gave me a full screen of the same problem.

    • Drew Wilson says:

      This is something I had to fiddle with to be at least somewhat reasonable. One problem is that Windows 3.1 is designed with a 4×3 screen in mind. Most modern screens have a 16×9 resolution. So, the solution I came up with involves allowing the DOSBox screen to extend to below the taskbar.

      From here, this is all covered in this guide. Assuming you have installed the drivers I mentioned, browse to the WINDOWS directory in DOSBox. Type in Setup. Then, go into Display section and change your resolution to something larger. You’ll want something that gets as close as possible to filling the width of the screen (you can adjust windows so they stay in the upper portion later). Select a nice and high resolution with SF (Small Font). This should increase your screen size when you save and boot up Windows. It’ll require some reorganization of the windows once Mordor loads, but you should have enough screen real-estate to re-size and move the windows so the text is legible and you can see loads of the map at the same time.

      Hope that helps.

      • Nicholas Donohue says:

        Problem could be that during my video card driver install I got an error that popped up saying “setup cannot copy the new OEMSETUP.INF file …” I did however download it from the provided source. Any ideas how I could resolve this?

  • Shannon Richards says:

    I have a legacy program, Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 (32-bit) with two patches that are 16-bit. I have been unable to install those patches. Is there any way to get these patches installed?

    I did read somewhere that one can install Windows 7 32-bit on a separate partition on a 64-bit machine. Would that allow the patches to be installed?

    • Drew Wilson says:

      A 32-bit system still won’t be compatible with a 16-bit program/file unfortunately. You’ll need some kind of 16 bit environment-emulation to run those 16-bit patches. Bearing in mind I’ve never personally installed 16-bit patches before, an angle I would try going at is possibly mounting the folder the program is installed as C in DOSBox. If you have the patches in a folder within that program, you can then try to run those patches.

      An unfortunate thing is that it’s likely those patches would require the Windows environment (DOSbox will tell you if that’s the case). If that is the case, things could get a little messy. If you have already installed Windows 3.1 somewhere, you might be able to copy that folder over to the program folder. You might be able to run Windows through DOSBox in that folder and get it to run those patches.

      Hopefully, those programs aren’t in a protected folder (i.e. program files) as that may cause issues.

      That might be a way to approach that. Now, if those patches require Windows 95, then DOSBox won’t help (Windows 95 is a full-fledged OS and not just a DOS program). Instead, you might need to install that program into a sandbox created by a VM program with Windows 95 installed (i.e. VirtualBox ), install those patches, then hope you can retrieve those files from the sandbox and drag them into the program folder in your regular machine (not sure how possible that is).

      I can’t promise any of these solutions will work, but these are ideas that do pop into my head (not easy solutions sadly).

  • Paul says:

    Just installed VirtualBox V5, and WinXP on my Win7/64bit netbook; very simple and quick, V5 has all the drivers you need, USB, CD and Mouse already attached (after the install). Loaded up CIV2 via the USB and it runs perfectly.

  • Anonymoose says:

    Just gonna say, Windows 9x (95, 98, 98 SE, and ME) are DOS shells just like Windows 3.x, although you may need to modify your emulator’s CONFIG.SYS & AUTOEXEC.BAT files to make sure it starts properly (see below, I can give you examples that should work). Windows NT (NT 3.51, NT 4, 2000, XP, and everything after that), however, is a completely separate operating system, and won’t run on top of DOS like 9x will. So… you should be fine with 95 or 98 if you have ’em, I believe.

    Okay, here are some example files. Copy everything underneath the filename, and you should be fine.
    [Note: I can’t remember for certain whether 9x had in the root directory or in C:\WINDOWS, edit the SHELL line accordingly.]
    [Note: The NEC_IDE.SYS line in CONFIG.SYS, and the associated MSCDEX.EXE line in AUTOEXEC.BAT, should only be necessary to enable your CD drive in DOS. Once Win 95 boots, it should be fine without them. At this point, add “REM ” (without the quotation marks) to the beginning of each line. Additionally, they may be stored in a different location than C:\DRIVERS, in which case you should edit the line accordingly. Furthermore, while I’ve had the most success using NEC_IDE.SYS, some CD drives will need a different driver. For a useful list of drivers, see .]
    [Note: The SET BLASTER line in AUTOEXEC.BAT defaults to SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 P330 . Also, I can’t remember what driver you need there for the card.]
    [Note that apart from HIMEM.SYS, if I remember correctly, DOS drivers will be superseded by Windows drivers while booting.
    [Note: It’s been a LONG time since I used 9x, I may be misremembering a bit. You may need to play around with the files to get them working properly.]


    @echo off
    SET BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 P330 T3

  • Neo says:

    I neead a solution to re enable 16 bit apps to run iny windows 8 32 bit version. I mistakenly clicked don not allow 16 bit apps. now i cant find a wasy to re enable it. please help me.

  • Alex says:

    Is anyone tried that guide/procedure successfully on Windows 10 for 16-bit Windows video games? Thank you.

  • Myron says:

    Windows 7, 64 bit here

    Bad News, I can’t start Step 6 because the discs are listed as .IMG, with an ISO avatar, rather than the folder avatar you pictures display.

    I’ve been trying to follow your instruction because I’ve been hit with a wave of nostalgia, wanting to play Oregon Trail 3, which is 32 bit but uses a 16 bit program to install.

  • Majid Khan says:

    786 , My good teacher of IT against window 7 for old game to run in that programme. My respected teacher it is to difficult to do, is it not easy to be installed the exp after window 7. it more easy. God bless us…for long guide….
    Majid Khan from Pakistan Karachi Sindh.

  • Nick says:

    Makes me glad I kept BOTH a Windows XP and a Windows VISTA PC around! Just got done loading and playing “Star Wars Rogue Squadron 3D” on my old XP box…hours of fun!

    • Drew Wilson says:

      Absolutely. The beauty about XP is that it does run old 16 bit programs. On the one hand, it does open up the machine for more ways for malware to attack the system. On the other hand, the compatibility is VERY noticeable to people who play the older games. If you are on Windows 7, this sort of thing is not exactly natively supported (depends on the version), so workarounds like this are needed just to get this stuff working again.

  • P says:

    You can simplify the entire floppy procedure by extracting the contents of the floppy isos into the floppy folder. It only asks for another or the next floppy if the file setup needs is not found. If the extraction process finds duplicate files, do not replace those files. I got to the reboot prompt with no issues in one go.

  • get otvdm easy to same win16 :/

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