How To Run 16 Bit Programs On Windows 7 Home Premium

Some of my older programs didn't want to run on Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and believe me I tried all the compatibility running options in the properties section of the exe files. Then I noticed in searches that Windows 7 comes with an XP emulator to run those programs that don't like the new interface. So I tried to download the Windows PC Virtual Machine free from Microsoft only to find it is only available for Professional and Ultimate versions of Windows 7.

After a few choice expletives I decided to give the Virtual PC 2007 download (intended for Vista) a try. OK I had to ignore a couple of notices saying it wasn't meant for this version of Windows but after installation it worked quite well. The only thing I had to buy was a legal copy of Windows XP Professional Service Pack 2, which proved very easy to find for £10 on ebay. Considering the programs I wanted to work were no longer made and therefore there were no upgrades available and new alternative software was in the 3 figures bracket, this was a pretty good investment. Especially as I had a lot of old saved files which I regularly use and would not open in any other program.

There were however, a few niggly issues I had with the Microsoft emulator namely that there is no USB support, so file saving was a bind having to do it by creating a network between host and guest systems. Also a copy and paste option would be useful. These are available apparently in the new Virtual PC for Professional and Ultimate versions. Not much good to me though. I had further problems with the screen resolution. Mine being a laptop meant 768 pixel height was the optimum, meaning that with the virtual machine operating in a window, Microsoft XP had to be run in 800 x 600, which wasn't much good for one of my old graphic programs with toolbars etc., disappearing off the side and bottom. The full screen option in Virtual Machine wouldn't operate because it said the screen size wasn't big enough.

I then came across VMware Player which is basically the same thing but resolved my niggly issues. Copy and paste became a nice addition when running in Unity mode. This meant that the program actually ran on my Windows 7 desktop fully and I could copy and paste between programs easily. The screen size issue also disappeared as in both modes, selecting maximised window filled the screen. Furthermore, anything plugged into a USB port would be recognised by XP and installed accordingly, including cameras, printers and mass storage devices. VMware Player is also free for non commercial use and I can highly recommend it.

Now I Am A Sat Nav Convert

I guess like many parents of grown up children, my own started to use satellite navigation devices to get around. My initial reaction was, why pay so much when the old fashioned maps give all the information you need. Plus, I thought, and still do, that young adults will not learn the skills of map reading and in consequence have little idea geographically of where they are going or where they end up. This was born out to some extent when I asked my sons on a recent visit, what route they took e.g M25, A12 etc. The reply was that they really didn't know as they just followed the directions spoken to them from the Sat Nav. Aha I thought smugly, these new devices are not so good after all, as when, rather than if, they break down, you won't be able to find your way.

That said, however, my wife and I were planning a trip to Salzburg to visit a friend and we would need to hire a car from the airport to get to Schliersee in Germany where she lived. Hire car companies charge around £50 extra for use of a satellite navigation so having discovered you can buy one from around the same price, I decided to bite the bullet and get our own. So I ordered an RAC 300E Sat Nav with Western Europe maps through Amazon for £49.99. A few days later our Sat Nav arrived and after a little setting up and playing around, I found it really simple to operate. Before our trip to Europe we used it for several trips in the UK and were surprised at the routes it took us, saving us many miles and consequent petrol costs on just usual routes. In fact it pretty much paid for itself in the first few weeks.

Our trip to Europe also proved most successful and 'Brenda' as we came to call our Sat Nav performed brilliantly. The journey from Salzburg Airport to Schliersee was very easy, just following 'Brenda's' directions. Once there we wanted to visit some of the 'Sound Of Music' film locations and 'Brenda' directed us to everything we wanted to see, saving a good deal on a tourist coach trip with the added advantage of doing things at our own speed. Interestingly enough, Salzburg does not provide very clear signs to many of the Sound Of Music locations but a visit to a tourist information centre gave us the location details to load into our Sat Nav and 'Brenda' did the rest. I guess Salzburg really wants people to go on the guided tourist trips rather than wandering about on your own, which is fair enough.

Following our little European adventure we took my mother to Wales for a little holiday. Once more 'Brenda' performed really well. The clear voice instructions are excellent but you do have to apply a little common sense when sometimes very narrow, single lane roads are used to direct you. For us this added to the fun and adventure but may frustrate others. Overall, we would not be without our Sat Nav now.

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