I upgraded to a new Compaq laptop last year with Windows 7 installed, and now I'm unable to play my old DOS games and I get this error message when I try to play:

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.

I have DOSBox and it's still not working! I assumed Windows 7 would have had a program installed that would allow you to play these games. What do I need to do? I'm not always keen or too confident at changing my computers settings Is there a layman's guide at all?

  • 1
    Can you specify exactly which games your trying to get running? – James T Apr 13 '11 at 0:52
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    Are you actually running the games in DOSBOX? – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Apr 13 '11 at 1:34
  • @Nick From the error message, he's using a 64-Bit Windows. 64-Bit Windows do not support 16-Bit Applications at all, with the exception of certain InstallShield-installers that used 16-Bit stubs. But for 16-Bit DOS Games it's either DosBox or a VM :( – Michael Stum Apr 29 '11 at 1:39

It should work in DosBox, provide further details of the program and especially the exact DosBox error messages. The DosBox wbsite has a useful tutorial for running games in DosBox

You can run many older programs in Windows by using "compatibility mode". Go to the icon for your game, click the icon using the right mouse button to bring up the context menu. choose "properties", click the "compatibility" tab and tick the "Compatibility mode" check-box, select "Windows 95" from the drop down list. I would also try the other options until I found a combination that worked - you may need to be systematic and keep notes.


If the games are REALLY old, they are possibly 16 bit - older 32 bit windows versions allowed for 16 bit software - such as games through NTVDM. With 64 bit windows, thats not available - so as RedGrittybrick said, you need to use dosbox.

On the other hand, some oddness does occur when you run old software on new systems (like things running VERY fast, so dosbox is considered to be a better way to run dos era applications on modern systems - even good old games uses it for their commercial releases.

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