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16 bit applications not loading on XP Pro SP 3

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#1 yard


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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:26 PM

I have found another thread back in 2008 that a guy had the exact same issue, but the case was closed b/c his log was transferred.

Here is my issue...
I am running Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 3 on a Dell XPS 630i. I recently had to re-install my OS b/c of the Windows updated BSOD and a bad root file caused me not to be able to recover...that was another issue and I just dealt with the fact that I had to re-install my OS.

I have had the computer for about a year. When I first got the computer I installed 2 or 3 16-bit applications and they ran great. I never had an issue. This is the same factory OEM Windows XP Pro that came with the computer. It was service pack 2 out of the box.

So the other day, I re-installed the OS (service pack 2) to take me back to my factory settings. I downloaded all the windows updates, which took me up to Service pack 3. Now I canít run 16-bit applications.

Does anyone know how or why I canít run these applications? I really donít care why, I guess if someone could help me get them to run, I would be greatly appreciative.

MS had an article in their knowledge base about 16-bit programs causing errors in XP. It told you to basically replace or re-write the config.nt, autoexec.nt and command.com files.
I did this with no success. Nothing changed.

Basically when I click on the setup.exe file of the 16-bit application, the machine starts to run by unpacking files to a local temp folder in my documents and settings. It looks to me that all the files are copied to the folder. My guess is the next step would be some type of installer package would start, but then it just does not continue. Windows continues to operate normally and you would not even know anything is running or wrong. No windows are open or the program does not start to load or give any errors. Once you are restarting or shutting down the OS, you get End Program screen pop up that is trying to shut down WOWEXEC. If you end the program, it continues to shut down, but then another system error screen pops up saying ďThe request to end the selected 16 bit task has timed out. The Win 16 Subsystem may be unstable. Press OK to terminate the Win 16 Subsystem or Cancel to leave it runningĒ. Obviously b/c I was shutting down, this error came up and I click OK and the system shuts down. It starts back up and if I try to load the application, I get back to the same spot. I have let the application try to run for a few hours and it never loads.

Please keep in mind, these programs ran on this machine before, with the exact same OS. I tried to run the application on other Windows XP pro systems and they runÖthis does not make any sense.

The only thing that I can think is that b/c I downloaded and installed the windows updates and IE 8, I am no longer able to install a 16 bit application.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can get these programs to run in XP Pro with service pack 3?

I have thought about re-installing windows again and starting from scratch, but I really donít want to have to go through installing all my drivers again. That took a really long time.

Please provide some assistance.

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#2 computerxpds


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Posted 20 February 2010 - 06:57 PM

i have never run 16 bit programs before but it seems by the excellent description you typed that the subsystem in windows that runs the 16 bit programs may have a problem which could have happened when you reinstalled the operating system, now the only fix to this problem that i can think of would be to reinstall the 16 bit subsystem, and the only way to do that would be to reinstall windows. Also the problem could have been caused when you updated to sp3 or service pack 3, or microsoft might have dropped the 16 bit running environment all together. I'm sorry that i have no definite answer to this problem but i hope that the information above will help some.

Good Luck!
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#3 danjmilos


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Posted 20 February 2010 - 09:51 PM


On your original install were the 16 bit programs installed before you installed SP3? Maybe it is as simple as uninstalling SP3 installing your 16 bit programs and then installing SP3?


also make sure to use the same IE which is 6 on SP2

Edited by danjmilos, 20 February 2010 - 09:54 PM.

#4 Keithuk


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Posted 21 February 2010 - 12:54 PM

Well I use 16bit apps on my WinXP SP3 no problem. I know you can set the options for the exe in Properties to run on Win95 but I haven't needed to do that either. :thumbsup:


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#5 Brawgates


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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:24 PM


I came across your post as I'd been experiencing similar symptoms. My 16 bit applications ran without any issues under XP Pro SP2. Then, after having a TR/Trash.Gen Trojan infection cleaned thanks to input from Bleeping Computer here, I upgraded to SP3.

Then the problem began. 16 bit applications started perfectly for Admin users, but failed to start with Limited users. With Limited users, the following message appeared:-

A temporary file needed for initialization could not be created or could not be written to. Make sure the directory path exists, and disk space is available.

I wonder if you've been able to resolve the issues you had - and pass on any words of wisdom!!

Kind regards


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