Running Win95 programs on Vista/Win7

Started Mar 26, 2014 | Questions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,333
free alternative to try...

What you may want to do is install VirtualBox, then see if your old programs will run in Wine under Linux.

Basically, Wine provides a set of libraries used by Windows applications, creates a virtual windows environment (complete with folders, registry, etc.) that lets you run many Windows applications inside of Linux.

IOW, you could install Linux in a Virtual Machine running inside of Windows 7. Then, see if your programs would install in Wine inside of that Linux distro.

Many programs run fine that way. Usually, only newer Windows apps have a lot of issues. For example, you can run applications like CS4 in Wine under Linux; but newer versions like CS5 or CS6 won't run yet (because Wine hasn't been updated with newer features allowing more sophisticated Windows applications like that to work yet).

More about Wine here:

A number of Linux distributions already have Wine installed.  There are also some free Wine "helper" utilities that help get more programs installed and working that way (Wine Tricks, Play On Linux and others). Some distros have those preinstalled, too.

I'd give that a try first.  Just download and install VirtualBox for starters (see my last post).   Here's a directly link to the download for the version that works in 64 Bit Windows 7:

VirtualBox 4.3.10 for Windows hosts

Once you have VirtualBox installed, download and install the VirtualBox Guest Extensions, too.   Here's a direct link to that download:

VirtualBox 4.3.10 Guest Extensions

Then, download a Linux distribution with Wine and extras like Play On Linux already installed.   I'd probably give this one a try (Zorin 8.0).  I'd use the 32 bit version for running in a Virtual Machine so that you're not using a much in the way of resources:

Basically, follow my instructions in the last post for starting VirtualBox and creating a new Virtual Machine.  The only difference that instead of selecting Windows XP as the Operating System you want to install, you'd select Linux instead (and I'd tell VirtualBox you're installing a 32 bit version of Ubuntu, since Zorin 8 is using an Ubuntu base with different menus, etc. preinstalled).  I'd give it 1GB of memory for comfortable performance.

But, when you start the new Virtual Machine you create and see the icon to select to media to install from, you can browse for the .iso file you downloaded for Zorin 8 and use it.   IOW, there's no need to burn it to a DVD first, as VirtualBox will allow you to select the .iso file you downloaded and run it's installer directly from your Downloads folder.

Using VirtualBox is a great way to test drive other Operating Systems like popular Linux distros to see if you like them or not, without needing to install them to a physical machine first.  So, if you don't like one, just "right click" on the listing for the machine in the Virtual Box menus, select "Delete All" and it will remove everything associated with it.

Anyway, I'd install a Linux distro like that in a Virtual Machine and see if you can install your old Windows software in it by installing it in Wine (already preinstalled in many distros like that one).   That would save you the cost of upgrading to Win 7 Pro in order to get XP Mode, or the need to have your own legal copy of XP that you can install (and activate) inside of a virtual machine.

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