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Why won't 16-bit installers run on 64-bit systems?

 
 
djarvinen
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      07-16-2008
I'm having a problem loading an old Autocad (32 bit) but apparently it
uses a 16-bit installer.

I know that the 64-bit architecture is a superset of the 32-bit
architeture so anything written for a 32-bit machine 'should' run on a
64-bit machine. But what is so magic about a 16-bit program?

Thanks.
 
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Tony Sperling
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      07-16-2008
I don't really think it would be technologically impossible to make it
support that. If I am not wrong, I think I can remember seeing somewhere
that MS decided to leave it out on grounds of 'wisdom'. This way they could
apparently create a faster, leaner and more stable OS, using far less
man-hours - which you can choose to believe or not, having seen the wonders
of XP x64, I choose to believe!

As a side note - software developers who want to have their products
supported for any length of time shouldn't still be offering 16bit software.
If you are a fan of something specific - or just plain nostalgic, there's a
workaround! Install it on to a 32bit machine and make a back-up and restore
it on the 64bit - you may have some configuration to go through, but it
should work for the most part.

Then again - you could run a suitable OS in a Virtual Machine!


Tony. . .



"djarvinen" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I'm having a problem loading an old Autocad (32 bit) but apparently it
> uses a 16-bit installer.
>
> I know that the 64-bit architecture is a superset of the 32-bit
> architeture so anything written for a 32-bit machine 'should' run on a
> 64-bit machine. But what is so magic about a 16-bit program?
>
> Thanks.






 
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djarvinen
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-16-2008
On Jul 16, 3:32*pm, "Tony Sperling" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
> I don't really think it would be technologically impossible to make it
> support that. If I am not wrong, I think I can remember seeing somewhere
> that MS decided to leave it out on grounds of 'wisdom'. This way they could
> apparently create a faster, leaner and more stable OS, using far less
> man-hours - which you can choose to believe or not, having seen the wonders
> of XP x64, I choose to believe!
>
> As a side note - software developers who want to have their products
> supported for any length of time shouldn't still be offering 16bit software.
> If you are a fan of something specific - or just plain nostalgic, there's a
> workaround! Install it on to a 32bit machine and make a back-up and restore
> it on the 64bit - you may have some configuration to go through, but it
> should work for the most part.
>
> Then again - you could run a suitable OS in a Virtual Machine!
>
> Tony.


Thanks, good suggestions.

I was just hoping for a 'quick & dirty' fix; sounds like it may not
exist. And I really was curious what technical issue prevents some
(all?)16-bit programs from running on 64-bit platforms. I could
understand (somewhat) if there were some hardware issues involved but
sheesh... this is just code, which is supposedly backwards compatible.
 
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Charlie Russel - MVP
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-17-2008
Microsoft made a decision to not support ANY 16-bit applications, nor do
they support DOS applications. There are myriad reasons for this, both
technical and good business sense, but the simplest reason is that providing
support would have compromised the security of the entire system. The 16 bit
applications expect to be able to talk directly to the hardware, and that is
not allowed. Plus very few of them were written to prevent the kinds of
attacks that we face today, and would be highly vulnerable.

Charlie.

"djarvinen" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> I'm having a problem loading an old Autocad (32 bit) but apparently it
> uses a 16-bit installer.
>
> I know that the 64-bit architecture is a superset of the 32-bit
> architeture so anything written for a 32-bit machine 'should' run on a
> 64-bit machine. But what is so magic about a 16-bit program?
>
> Thanks.


 
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Tony Sperling
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-17-2008
Well, as I see it, 'Backwards Compatibility' died when they killed DOS!

The technical issue is probably related to how you go about converting
'Calling Convention' issues in the compiler. This has been polished into a
glorious technology (called 'Thunking') many years ago, but the obstacle of
carrying it over from 16 to 64 bits may be a tough one if the technology can
only return numbers that the 'other' system cannot handle anyway? Realize
the power of the binary 'Power of Two'.

There is no doubt that they could have done it, I think. But contemplate the
cost. This is a new computing world, better to leave 16bits in the dust, I'm
sure.

Your 'quick and dirty fix', has to be the VM, or a network. But my own
experience is that when you have payed the (B)ill (pun intended!) for
something new that complements your entire system (which probably wasn't
cheap to begin with), you stop thinking about the money for to start
enjoying!


Tony. . .


 
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Graham
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      07-17-2008
djarvinen wrote:
> And I really was curious what technical issue prevents some
> (all?)16-bit programs from running on 64-bit platforms.


The technical issue is that XP x64 and Vista 64 don't have the necessary
mechanisms to handle segmented 16-bit address spaces. This was a choice
Microsoft made for simplicity and security.

It is quite possible to run 16-bit software on a 64-bit operating
system, but if you want to do it with Windows, you are going to have to
do it in a virtual machine using something like VMware, VirtualPC or
VirtualBox. All are available in free versions (but the operating system
you run inside them won't be if it is Windows.)
 
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