Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows.

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MugenFighter
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Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows.

Post by MugenFighter »

Win3mu, allows 16-bit Windows programs to be ran on 64-bit Windows OSes. It is an open source WIP project (so, many things are yet to be implemented), but it might be dead. This is incredible useful for Windows apps made for Windows versions before Windows for Workgroups 3.11 (the first 32-bit Windows OS [I believe it still ran ontop of MS-DOS or compatible Operating Systems {stuff like FreeDOS, Windows 9x's version of DOS, OS/2, or PC-DOS}]). To use Win3mu, just right click on a 16-bit Windows program and choose "Convert with Win3emu". A new .exe should be made (with the old .exe being renamed to .exe16), provided something didn't go wrong (again many things have yet to be implemented at this point). Just run the new .exe file to run the 16-bit software.

Link to a Github fork of Win3mu:
https://github.com/Mwyann/win3mu

Some 16-bit Windows and DOS programs also have program specific hacks, engine remakes, or ports for 32-bit or 64-bit Windows. Since these are specific to the software, the methods very depending on what your using. Because of this I won't be listing anything specific.

Links to program specific hacks, engine remakes, and ports:
I'm not listing anything due to the vast amounts that of stuff that exists.

DOSBox is a DOS emulator which allows DOS games and applications to run on modern hardware and OSes (and if you have access to the files, you can install Windows 1.0 to Windows ME [Windows ME is only partially functional], any version of MS-DOS, FreeDOS, PC-DOS, most versions of OS/2, and pretty much any DOS made for a x86 OS in DOSBox). You can either have DOSBox use a folder as a C drive and run games directly through DOSBox, or you could use a DOSBox frontend, such as D-fender Reloaded. Running through DOSBox alone should work pretty much like if you were using DOS back in the day. D-fender Reloaded adds a GUI, which makes doing these thing much easier. If the software in question exists a folder/binary (without a installer needed to run), you just add the folder/binary. Should the software need to be installed first, there are several ways you can run the installation files. Either way, once you get the software running, it will work just like it would on DOS.

Link to DOSBox:
https://www.dosbox.com/

Link to D-fender Reloaded:
http://dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net/

32-bit Windows also have a NTVDM (NT Virtual DOS Machine) built in, which can run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications (although I hear modern Windows OSes, might have limitations on what kinds of software it allows to run). Windows typically will run the programs fine (in the case of Windows 10, you must first activate the NTVDM feature).

Link:
Not needed (included with 32-bit Windows).

Running a Virtual Machine, such as VirtualBox, will allow you to emulate hardware to run both old OSes and Modern OSes (provided you have access to the files for installation), such as Windows 98/98SE, Windows 95, Windows XP, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, Windows 3.1 (ontop of DOS), PC-DOS, OS/2, eCS, and ArcaOS. Basically, you run and install OSes how you would on real hardware, but in an emulated environment.

Link to VirtualBox:
https://www.virtualbox.org/

Link to FreeDOS:
http://freedos.org

A generic 32-bit InstallShield 3 installer exists that will run 16-bit installers as 32-bit applications, which is useful for 32-bit applications which use a 16-bit installer. Just add the generic 32-bit InstallShield 3 to the installation media folder, and run this in the place of the normal installer.

Link to Generic InstallShield 3 Installer:
https://www.reactos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=90351

Another option would be to buy and install one of the successors to OS/2 (eComStation [eCS] and ArcaOS) on a different partition to your Windows installation. You would than just have to reboot your computer onto eComStation or ArcaOS when you need to run a 16-bit Windows or DOS application. You could also use a Virtual Machine, as mentioned earlier. I have not tried this, so I can not give you much information on the subject. Some of the information here is made on assumptions, due to not owning either of these OSes.

Link to eComStation:
https://www.ecomstation.com/

Link to eComStation Demo CD:
http://www.ecomstation.com/demo.phtml

Link to ArcaOS:
https://www.arcanoae.com/

You can also install FreeDOS or MS-DOS onto a bootable thumb drive and boot into DOS when need that way (a few downsides to this method is that many utilities are not going to be present by default. Modern [x86 and x64] hardware can technically support booting into DOS this way [at least in legacy bios mode], but may feature graphical glitches or errors. Also, most modern computers don't support audio this way [although a modern laptop does support PC speaker audio through it's built-in speakers this way]). Rufus is probably the easiest way to do this.

Link to Rufus:
https://rufus.ie/

ReactOS has a very good built-in NTVDM, but it is missing some features. Also it only supports DOS applications (no OS/2 or Windows support). It also apparently doesn't have anyone currently working on it, although the missing DOS features will presumable be added by ReactOS version 1.0.0, I guess. ReactOS's NTVDM can install 16-bit Windows and DOS (probably OS/2 as well) on virtual hard drive images, but you need access to the installation files, which are still copyrighted, and Microsoft (and IBM) hasn't released them as freeware with the exception of MS-DOS (there is a free demo CD of eCS available) (Microsoft made source available for MS-DOS for very early versions of it under a very limited license, and the MS-DOS 6.22 installation files could be copied to floppies on Windows versions as late as Windows 7 [I'm not sure about Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10 {I personally haven't looked into it since I owned a Windows 7 laptop}]). You can also, use ReactOS's NTVDM to boot and install FreeDOS onto a virtual hard drive image.

Link to ReactOS:
Not needed, it is this site.

Hopefully, someone might find some of these useful, and maybe the ReactOS Development Team might see something of value here that they didn't already know about (mainly Win3mu, for those who didn't already see previous posts which may have referenced it).
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As a bonus, I thought I'd list a way to run Microsoft BASIC in modern Windows (as in the programming language built into almost every 8-bit computer, not the later versions that came out for DOS and Windows).

Commodore BASIC is really just a rebranded Microsoft Basic (in fact, the Commodore PET's version of BASIC was actually called Microsoft Basic, and featured an Easter Egg Microsoft included). The Commodore 8-bit line was based on evolution rather than revolution, so many features evolved from the PET and even the earlier MOS Kim-1 (Commodore owned MOS, and the PET was pretty much based on a MOS Kim-1 connected to a dumb terminal [something early Kim-1 users figured out they could do]). So, this evolutionary design applies not only to the chips (graphics, audio, CPU, etc.) and the Commodore Kernal (Commodore's official name for their 8-bit OS), but BASIC as well. With the Commodore PET's BASIC pretty much being a direct port of Microsoft's BASIC, and the Commodore 128's BASIC having many additions added.

With this information in mind, the easiest way to run the 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on modern Windows would be through Vice, a Commodore 8-bit emulator. This allows you to run Commodore 8-bit software and stuff, but for the purpose here, we would just want to use Commodore BASIC to run generic BASIC type in programs (often found in books, magazines, and online [these days]). There are several books and magazines from back in the day that gave you generic BASIC programs (often games) which didn't contain machine specific commands (stuff like non-text graphics and audio were not possible with this method, but it did allow for cross platform code).

Link to Vice:
http://vice-emu.sourceforge.net/
Last edited by MugenFighter on Tue Apr 02, 2019 8:50 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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learn_more
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Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows.

Post by learn_more »

You do realize your 'generic installshield 3 installer' links back to our forum, right?
So unless you are trying to gather clicks for some community, why not link directly to the forum post here?

as for the others, this looks like a cheap gather some random links and dump them here...

MugenFighter
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Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:03 pm

Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows.

Post by MugenFighter »

learn_more wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:55 pm
You do realize your 'generic installshield 3 installer' links back to our forum, right?
So unless you are trying to gather clicks for some community, why not link directly to the forum post here?

as for the others, this looks like a cheap gather some random links and dump them here...
For the InstallShield 3 installer, basically, I didn't read the site (good old uncle Google took me there). Thank you.

As for your other comment, this is mainly for people who don't know much on the subject (not all users of Windows/ReactOS know this stuff). Basically, I'm trying to give some information to those users (sometimes people want or need to run old software for a variety of reasons [but might not know how]). Also, I just now got done with the main post (I had a lot to type).
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hbelusca
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Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows

Post by hbelusca »

I'm eagerly waiting for someone to mention yet again wine16vdm :evil: :evil: :evil:

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mrmajik45
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Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows

Post by mrmajik45 »

hbelusca wrote:
Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:23 pm
I'm eagerly waiting for someone to mention yet again wine16vdm :evil: :evil: :evil:
Ahem, how about trying to use wine16vdm for running 16-bit programs?
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hbelusca
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Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows

Post by hbelusca »

:lol:

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Re: Ways to run 16-bit Windows and MS-DOS applications on modern Windows. Plus a bonus, 8-bit Microsoft BASIC on Windows

Post by mrmajik45 »

:P
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