I am trying to download v3.5.1 on archive.org of Mah Jonng. I have no idea what is wrong with it but here is the error when I try to run it:

app can't run on pc

Okay, this game is from 1991 and maybe it will not run correctly on Windows 8, so I tried the compatibility mode and got the following error:

can't find path

So I asked on an IRC channel and I was told that it is very likely the game is 16-bit, and since the PC it is being installed on is 64 bit it may not work. There are option likes using a virtual machine, however there is a problem with these solutions. I am trying to install this game for an older lady who used to play this game on her old computer and loves it. She would be very upset if she couldn't play it, however she is not at all good with computers, so the above solutions are not very user friendly.

What options do I have here? Here PC is Windows 7, I am testing this on Windows 8.

  • 5
    Do you actually need "that" game? There is a Mahjong clone in Windows Vista that resembles that. Other than this, have you considered DosBOX? Jun 30, 2014 at 0:50
  • @DoktoroReichard She really would like this game specifically, and yes DOSBox seems to work for it, however I need it to be very easy for her to use, basically just like opening the game normally. What is the name of this clone? Jun 30, 2014 at 0:54
  • 1
    To answer your question about playing a 16-bit platform/architecture game on a 64-bit platform/architecture -> since you are running the 32-bit version of DOSBox you can emulate 16-bit platform applications/games within the application itself. You cannot run 16-bit platform/architecture applications on a 64-bit platform/architecture without converting them to 32-bit or higher. Microsoft has published a Knowledge Base article about 16-bit support on 64-bit which you can find here.
    – cody.codes
    Jun 30, 2014 at 1:53
  • 2
    Just to clarify: It's not "16 bit applications may not work", it's "16-bit applications categorically will not work" on 64-bit flavours of Windows. DosBox gets around this by being an emulator. Jun 30, 2014 at 6:07
  • 6
    Guys, that's solitaire, Mahjong is a 4-player gambling game
    – Kos
    Jun 30, 2014 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


In order to run 16-bit or DOS applications on a 64-bit system, one can use DosBox, which is one of the most used DOS emulators out there. It can reliably emulate most features of the DOS system, whilst providing adequate compatibility with several graphic and sound hardware.

First, download DOSBox from its site. The link I gave will take you to the download page. Just press on the green button on the top. This will download the installer.

After installing DOSBox, the last thing to do (that is, assuming DOSBox will only be used to run that specific game) is to set it up. For this, you need to open the dosbox.conf file, which can be accessed through the Start Menu entry:

Start Menu > DOSBox-0.74 > Options > DOSBox 0.74 Options

Otherwise, the file is located on the following path:

{system drive}:\User\ -username- \AppData\Local\DOSBox\dosbox-{version}.conf

The dosbox.conf file is just a text file that configures DOSBox behavior. Scroll to the bottom, where you'll find an [autoexec] tag. This indicates what commands DOSBox should execute before giving control to the user. In your case, write the following after the tag.

mount c "C:\mahjong"

This assumes the folder where the Mahjong game is at is C:\mahjong. You can place the folder anywhere, as long as the path in the file is the same. The sequence of commands says to DOSBox to map the drive letter C to the game's path, to enter drive C and then to run mahjongg, which from your screenshot I figure it's the executable.

After saving the configuration file, run DOSBox. The commands stated after [autoexec] will run and the game will start in a window. You can also configure the window's properties, if you would like if the game starter in a bigger size or in fullscreen.

  • 2
    Note that this only works for 16-bit DOS applications. If you have a 16-bit Windows application (like, anything from before Windows 95), you will need a full-fledged virtual machine. Note that 32 bit Windows versions are still able to run those executables, so a VM with Windows 8 32 bit should already do the job. Jun 30, 2014 at 9:07
  • 2
    @ComicSansMS: can't one run Windows 3.1 in dosbox?
    – Max
    Jun 30, 2014 at 9:18
  • 3
    @max Google says you can, but it takes some effort. My choice in such situations is Win98 on VM as it can run most of dos-mode apps easily as well as old games (like Earthsiege) that are problematic on new OS'es, for rest one can always reboot it do pure dos.
    – PTwr
    Jun 30, 2014 at 10:21

To play Mah Jongg (1991), or any other Internet Archive Software Collection game that will run on DOSbox with a desktop shortcut on Windows 8/7, follow the procedure outlined below:

Creating a Desktop Shortcut That Opens Mah Jongg (1991) in DOSBox:

I am running DOSBox0.74. If you run another version simply change the file path to the corresponding name of the DOSBox executable.

  1. Download Mah Jongg (1991).
  2. Download DOSBox0.74. The download will start automatically in approximately five seconds.
  3. Install DOSBox0.74-win32-installer. Make sure that you leave the Desktop Shortcut check box checked.
  4. After you have installed DOSBox go to your desktop by pressing Windows Key + D.
  5. Right-click the DOSBox 0.74 desktop shortcut.
  6. Click Properties.
  7. In the Target input box type:

    "C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" -conf "C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74\dosbox.conf" "C:\Users\**Your User Name Goes Here**\Desktop\Mah Jongg\MAHJONGG.exe"

  8. Click Apply
  9. If you are prompted for Administrator Approval, click Continue.
  10. Double-click the desktop shortcut to open Mah Jongg (1991)!

You can find some sweet Mahjong icons for the desktop shortcut here.

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