Take the 2-minute tour ×
Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Trying to play some old Windows 95 games on Windows 7 64-bit, I'm getting the following error:

The version of this file is not compatible with the version of Windows you're running. Check your computer's system information to see whether you need an x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) version of the program, and then contact the software publisher.

Trying to run the application in compatibility mode has no effect. I'm guessing these games somehow rely on 32-bit dlls which are missing from my system, and I would like to know if anyone else has encountered a similar problem and is able to give insight as to possible solutions or work-arounds.

Notes:

  • I've checked this question but it discusses system requirements and not actual application invocation.
  • The games in questions are Metal Marines and Fire Fight, but I'm sure many more might be affected.
  • The error message above is not game-specific, it comes directly from Windows itself.
share|improve this question
    
Related: superuser.com/questions/333103/… –  Oak Sep 8 '11 at 8:57
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 21 down vote accepted

It's actually quite likely that these games are relying on old 16-bit DLLs. A lot of early 32-bit software relied on old 16-bit DLLs for some functions, as they did the job, they weren't used in a performance critical part of the software and there was no need to look for 32-bit versions. (for example until fairly recently the install software was often 16-bit, so much so that Win7 actually detects that and silently replaces with it's own 64-bit version of the old DLL).

Have you looked at Windows 7's XP Mode? This runs an entire copy of 32-bit Windows XP within your Windows 7, letting old programs run within XP without the program knowing it's on a 64-bit Win7 machine at all, and as it's all integrated you will hardly notice that it's running in XP.

Windows 7's XP Mode: what it is, how it works, who it's for

share|improve this answer
    
Although it's unlikely you're using the Starter edition, XP Mode is not available for that edition of Windows 7. Also, it requires certain hardware support that may or may not be enabled in the BIOS even if it is available on your hardware... Other than, that, I love XP Mode. :) –  GalacticCowboy Jul 11 '10 at 21:13
    
Still some issues with it, but in general it was a success so answer accepted :) –  Oak Jul 11 '10 at 21:19
    
+1 I didn't even know that this mode existed, now I need to get Windows 7 so I can play all of my XP games that got busted during the vista transition. –  Noctrine Jul 13 '10 at 21:18
2  
Actually I was referring to Win95-era games which run fast even without 3D acceleration; in general, however, you are correct that it's a pretty poor emulator for gaming. –  Oak Jan 21 '11 at 10:53
1  
Keep in Mind the version of Windows 7 that includes XP mode is Windows 7 Professional. The Home edition does not include that, from the start. However most computer stores even retail stores fail to mention that most computers sold with Windows 7 home premium actually are Windows 7 professional in locked down mode until you purchase a key code at Staples or any other retailer or even online that will fully unlock Windows 7 from the home Edition to Windows 7 Professional that includes the XP Mode. And true In XP mode all your older games should in theory run without a problem. Another trick is –  user17930 Jan 7 '12 at 15:57
show 5 more comments

16-bit games will not work on Windows 7 64-bit as it lacks WOW (Windows on Windows), a program included with 32-bit Windows NT versions (including XP) that provided support for legacy 16-bit applications.

The 64-bit versions of Windows have their own emulator: WOW64, which allows now-legacy 32-bit applications to run on the 64-bit operating system.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Actually you can run 16-bit Windows Apps under Win7 32-bit system. Only Win7 64-bit does not support Win16 Apps. So you may also consider to install Win7 32-bit OS into a separate partition just to play most old games (From Win3.x era up to WinXP...)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.