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Can't run 16-bit Win Program problem

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#1 polaris6


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Posted 31 December 2008 - 10:27 AM

I first posted this problem on the XP Pro forum; from there I was directed to the Malware forum; they directed me to this forum.

I have a PC laptop, with XP Pro, 2 Ghz processor 2G RAm, etc. IE7.

The programm I am trying to run is bundled in a zip file. If/when I unzip the file on the laptop and try to execute the 'exe' file, I get the message in the title/subject line...'Can't run 16-bit Windows Program....etc.

I have run the 16-bit windows program fit; I have purged my system of Malware; I have scanned for viruses; I am HiJackthis clean; I updated my Java (11)....still no change.

However....recently, I unzipped the file to my flash drive and executed the program from the flash drive on the laptop and it works perfectly. I unzipped the file on another laptop (friend's) and it works perfectly; ditto on my desktop

Where do I go from here?

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#2 garmanma


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Posted 31 December 2008 - 12:07 PM

The 16-bit components of the InstallShield software used for installation of old software may exhibit this problem on operating systems where the creation of short file names has been disabled (e.g. by setting the NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation registry value to 1).

This problem may be solved by moving the setup file to a location which does not use long names in its path components (e.g. the root of drive C) and running it from there. If this does not solve the problem, a change to a registry value is required.

The NTFS file system (introduced in Windows NT and used by Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008) automatically creates 8.3 "short" file names and stores them along with the NTFS "long" name. Although the short names are not visible when you browse the file system, they are present, and you may see them in some path values stored in the system registry, or displayed in setup programs. This duplication, which only affects long file and directory names, results in a slightly increased overhead when creating a new file or directory, however it is required for compatibility with older applications. Unfortunately even some newer programs, released well after the introduction of "long" file names on Windows, rely on support for short file names in order to be compatible with the widest possible range of operating systems and file systems. This includes the InstallShield software used by non-current versions of Cloanto applications which did not yet use Windows Installer (MSI) technology.

Please note that Windows Vista, Windows 7 and x64 versions of Windows do not include a 16-bit subsystem. The 16-bit components described in this article will not work on Windows Vista, Windows 7 or on x64 versions of Windows.

This is a registry Edit, Please back up the registry before proceeding


The creation of 8.3-compliant short names on NTFS partitions is controlled by a registry value, which by default is set to enable the creation of short names.

If the following value is set to 1 then short file names are not created:


If the value is missing, or set to 0, then short file names are created:


A reboot is required for the change to fully take effect. The change has no effect on existing files and directories (it only affects new writes). To create short names for files and directories which are already on the hard disk it is necessary to force this data to be rewritten, e.g. with a backup/restore.


Edited by garmanma, 31 December 2008 - 12:17 PM.

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#3 polaris6

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for that information.

Now, how do I check those registry values?

Also, is this solution applicable to my current situation? Program will run from the flash drive but not the HD.

As the quote states, I have moved the program files to the C: drive and it won't work that way.

I just checked: the HD is NTFS formatted; the flash drive is FAT formatted.

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