Running Win95 programs on Vista/Win7

Started Mar 26, 2014 | Questions thread
Jim Cockfield Forum Pro • Posts: 16,342
again, XP is far more flexible...

Joe186 wrote:

Will XP (these seems to be a quite a few XP .ISOs and ways to activate it around) run Win95 programs, if so, I’m set... if not, will VB run Win95? What do you think of this?

You can't use what are known as the VirtualBox Guest Extensions with Win 95. Basically, those guest extensions allow you to share folders between the host operating system (Win 7 in your case), and the guest operating system (Win 95). So, the Win 95 installation would be totally isolated from your other Win 7 resources.

You'll also find the the screen resolution of a Win 95 installation will default to something like 640x480. So, you'll have to try and track down video drivers you can install in Win 95 that are compatible with the Virtual Machine you setup to change it to something else.

That also means that you can't just resize the Window that Win 95 is installed in to something larger or smaller as desired. In addition, you'll probably need to press the right CTRL key to capture your mouse and keyboard activity when moving between Win 95 and Win 7; and you won't be able to copy and paste anything between the Guest (Win 95) and Host (Win 7) Operating Systems.

But, if you install XP in a Virtual Machine instead, you wouldn't have those issues, since you can install the VirtualBox Guest Extensions in XP and that also gives you custom video drivers to allow for resizing of the Window XP is running inside of, with the resoluton settings of XP automatically changing to best match your desired Window size, with the ability to setup shared folders between XP and Win 7, and more. You have a lot more flexibility and ease of use if you use a Guest Operating System that supports the VirtualBox Guest Extensions (XP does, Win 95 does not).

Any further thoughts on “The Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit”?

Microsoft did offer some tools to do things like convert 16 Bit installers into 32 Bit installers if they were based on Microsoft Installer kits. That can [sometimes] help you to install 32 Bit Software that uses a 16 Bit installer in a 64 Bit version of Windows.

But, if the software (not just the installer) is 16 Bit, nothing is going to allow it to run in 64 Bit Win 7. Again, a 64 Bit version of Windows 7 will not run 16 Bit software, period.

The only way to run 16 Bit versions of software in 64 Bit Win 7 is to run it under a Virtual Machine (like XP Mode, running XP inside of VirtualBox or VMWare player, etc.).

IOW, all of the compatibility mode settings available won't help you to run 16 Bit Windows Software in a 64 Bit version of Win 7; as it only allows you to run 32 bit or 64 Bit software.

If you have a lot of software you were using in Win 95, chances are, a good percentage of it is 16 Bit Software. I worked for a Software Company providing retail information system solutions a while back (including Point of Sale Software), and we always compiled software as 16 Bit versus 32 bit, when Win 95 was widely used, for better compatibility with more systems (as not everyone had migrated to 32 Bit Operating Systems like Win 95 yet).

So, you'll find both 16 bit and 32 bit software designed to run in Win 95.

But, even if it's 32 bit, it still may not run in 64 Bit Win 7 due to other problems impacting compatiblity. You'd have to try it to find out, using some of the compatibility modes available.

IOW, if you have a lot of software (as it sounds like) you were using in Windows 95 and want to run in your new Win 7 install; your best bet is to simply install another Operating System in a Virtual Machine that's more compatible with that software; versus messing around with compatibility options available in 64 Bit Windows 7 (as again, no 16 bit software will run in 64 Bit Win 7).

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