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Why 64 bit OS can't run a 16 bit application?

When trying to play an old game, Skyroads for instance, I get the following error message:

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 a x86 (32-bit) or x64 (64-bit) version of the program, and then contact the software publisher.

If I understand it correctly, Skyroads is a 16-bit program which is not supported in a 64-bit operating system? Is it impossible to get it running on a 64-bit operating system?

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marked as duplicate by KronoS, Renan, slhck, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, 8088 Jul 17 '12 at 0:23

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Use an emulator like DOSbox for 16-bit DOS games, for more intensive graphics you need to use a VM.

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DirectX for 16-bit programs doesn't even exist. –  grawity Mar 29 '11 at 17:55
1  
@grawity: Correct, but the underlying GDI display driver was 16 bit back then... :) –  Tom Wijsman Mar 29 '11 at 18:01

The short answer is no, it is not possible to run 16-bit application natively under Windows x64. The long answer is yes. If you're willing to try something like XPMode or other Virtualization software -- you can get it to work.

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You can probably install this in xp mode of windows 7. You can download and install xp mode from microsoft. It will function similar to a virtual machine. I think this works in Windows 7 pro and above but there may be some hackery you can perform to get to function in win 7 Home.

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Your best bet would be to try running it on a 32 bit os in Virtual Box or Vmware player.

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