Windows 7 reverse compatibility

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Paladin65536
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Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Paladin65536 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:24 pm UTC

I have a small collection of older games (early 90s stuff) that I'd like to be able to keep playing. Right now however, the only computer I have left that can run them is my old and dying laptop - my new desktop runs Win7, which is incompatible with most of my old games. Is there a patch for Win7 which allows it to run older software, or perhaps an emulator that is compatible with Win95 era games? I'm open to other suggestions, as well.

EvanED
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby EvanED » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:06 am UTC

Try DosBox.

Paladin65536
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Paladin65536 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:43 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:Try DosBox.

It works for some of them, but not all - for example, the original Starcraft doesn't work properly on either DOSbox or Win7.

EvanED
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby EvanED » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:11 pm UTC

The original SC mostly works. I get funky colors at the menus, but once you're in-game it's fine.

There's always stuff like VMWare and VirtualBox too.

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zed0
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby zed0 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:07 pm UTC

EvanED wrote:I get funky colors at the menus, but once you're in-game it's fine.

If this is the same problem that Age of Empires 2 has then you can kill the "explorer" process to get rid of the funky colours and then restart it afterwards. (crtl+shift+escape > File > New Task > explorer)

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Jorpho
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:58 am UTC

Paladin65536 wrote:It works for some of them, but not all - for example, the original Starcraft doesn't work properly on either DOSbox or Win7.
There are eleventy gazillion people out there with an abiding enthusiasm for Starcraft. It stands to reason that in the time since Windows 7 has become available, someone has come up with a solution. Take a gander at http://vogons.zetafleet.com/viewtopic.php?t=25534 for starters.

Many other game compatibility problems stem from a lack of backwards compatibility in modern graphics cards. What other games are you experiencing problems with?

Carnildo
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Carnildo » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:39 am UTC

Paladin65536 wrote:I have a small collection of older games (early 90s stuff) that I'd like to be able to keep playing. Right now however, the only computer I have left that can run them is my old and dying laptop - my new desktop runs Win7, which is incompatible with most of my old games. Is there a patch for Win7 which allows it to run older software, or perhaps an emulator that is compatible with Win95 era games? I'm open to other suggestions, as well.

You're running 64-bit Windows, right?

A 64-bit operating system cannot run 16-bit software. Old games tend to come in two flavors:
1) Pure 16-bit games, typically for MS-DOS, occasionally for Windows 3.1. These use the "640k should be enough" conventional memory, and possibly extended or expanded memory beyond that. You can almost always run them under Win7 using DOSBox, which emulates a 32-bit computer and operating system.
2) 32-bit games. Since MS-DOS is a 16-bit operating system, these have a 16-bit loader to put the CPU into 32-bit "flat memory" mode. DOSBox often has trouble with these games (it's not a perfect emulation), while the 16-bit loader renders them incompatible with 64-bit Windows. Sometimes they'll have a patch that turns them into pure 32-bit programs (typically described as a "windows compatibility" patch), but more often, the only way to run them is in a general-purpose emulator such as VirtualBox.

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Jorpho
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Jorpho » Fri Jan 27, 2012 5:51 am UTC

Carnildo wrote:DOSBox often has trouble with these games (it's not a perfect emulation)
That used to be the case, but it's pretty good most of the time now, as far as I know.

Sometimes they'll have a patch that turns them into pure 32-bit programs (typically described as a "windows compatibility" patch)
Do you have an example of such a thing? I am most curious.

Paladin65536
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Paladin65536 » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:25 am UTC

My highest priority actually is getting Master of Orion 2 running on my 64bit Win7 computer, and then connecting to a VLAN and playing over the internet with some friends. Surprisingly, it runs mostly ok on dosbox, just the sound still doesn't work, and there are problems with the resolution - I've not yet tested it over the VLAN though.

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Jorpho
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Re: Windows 7 reverse compatibility

Postby Jorpho » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:28 am UTC

As GOG.com and several other places are currently selling that one, I have little doubt that it can be made to behave properly in DOSBox.


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