Running 16-bit applications on 64-bit Windows 7

by Mitch Tulloch [Published on 15 May 2012 / Last Updated on 20 April 2012]

How to run older 16-bit Windows applications on 64-bit Windows 7.

If you try to install an old 16-bit Windows application on a computer running Windows 7 x64, you will typically get an error like this:

”Unsupported 16-bit Application…  Setup.exe cannot start or run due to incompatibility with 64-bit versions of Windows.  Please contact the software vendor to ask if a 64-bit Windows compatible version is available.”

But what if you really need to run that old 16-bit application on the computer because the app is critical for some aspect of your business?  In that case, you could install Windows Virtual PC on your computer and download the Windows XP Mode virtual machine from Microsoft.  Because Windows XP Mode uses 32-bit Windows XP Professional, you should be able to install your 16-bit app in the virtual machine and launch the app from your Windows 7 start menu.


Mitch Tulloch is a seven-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award and widely recognized expert on Windows administration, deployment and virtualization. For more tips by Mitch you can follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.


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The Author — Mitch Tulloch

Mitch Tulloch is a well-known expert on Windows Server administration and cloud computing technologies. He has published over a thousand articles on information technology topics and has written, contributed to or been series editor for over 50 books.

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