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Windows 7: Is there a way to make a DOS program work on Windows 7?

12 Jul 2013   #1

Is there a way to make a DOS program work on Windows 7?

I have a CD that contains several programs that are extremely useful for my everyday work. I'm not all that computer savvy, but I've been told that my CD won't work with anything newer than Vista. We just changed our company OS to 7, and now, like I was told, it doesn't work. This is supposedly because the programs run in DOS and I guess the newer operating systems have dropped this. My question is, is there anything I, or someone who knows what they're doing, can do to make this compatible with the new OS? The company that made the orginal programs no longer produces this stuff, so I can't just go get a newer version. Any help will be appreciated!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 enterprise 64 bit, Windows 7 Pro 64 bit ,Windows 8 64bit

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2013   #3

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)

Have you tried playing with the Compatibility options in Win 7? You may be able to get those programs to run if they are 16-bit and you have 32-bit Win 7.

Assuming that the program installed but won't run, right-click on the program's icon and select Properties. On the Properties dialog select the Compatibility tab and then click on the checkbox labeled "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" then select one of the modes in the dropdown.

If the installer won't run to install the program then you will need to set the compatibility mode for the installer program.

I was going to suggest DOSBox or a VM such as Dsprague suggested but programs installed in those environments will only be able to be used in those environments. It's hard to explain but they set up a machine within a machine so the programs installed there wouldn't be able to work with files that are on your Win 7 machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jul 2013   #4

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit

32 bit Windows 7 does support well behaved DOS programs. Unfortunately, many are not. But no 64 bit version of Windows has ever supported DOS or 16 bit Windows applications.

There is no way that DOS programs will run natively on a 64 bit OS. If you are using the Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise edition of Windows 7 you could install XP Mode and run the programs under that. Otherwise you could use a virtual machine such as VirtualPC or VirtualBox and run a compatible OS on that. You would need a legal copy of the OS and product key.

The programs might run under DosBox but many do not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

I have DOS 6.22 on my Windows 7 laptop running under Virtual Box.
How To Install DOS 6.22 Under VirtualBox
You need to make images of your disks to access them through your virtual drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Jul 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

For 100% based DOS programs, DosBox is THE solution to the incompatibility problems Windows creates. Most programs run flawlessly on those, but a few gives problems if they use printers or network. Otherwise, it's a great solution and most old programs and games work great with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Is there a way to make a DOS program work on Windows 7?

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