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.

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