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Windows 8.1 Bible by Rob Tidrow, Jeffrey R. Shapiro, Jim Boyce

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Chapter 29: Getting Older Programs to Run

IN THIS CHAPTER

Recognizing old programs to avoid

Installing incompatible programs

Checking for compatibility

Using DOS commands in Windows 8.1

You can run almost any program that's installed on your computer just by clicking its tile on the Windows 8.1 Start screen. But there are always exceptions to the rule. Chief among the list of exceptions are old programs that were originally written to work with earlier versions of Windows. Or, even worse, programs that were written to run on DOS.

That's not to say Windows can't run old programs. Most of the time, it can run an older program as is, without any changes at all on your part. This is especially true if the program was written for Windows XP or later versions of Windows. So, before you assume that you have to do something to try to get an older program to run, try running the program normally. If it runs, you're done. If it won't run, then this is the chapter you need to (hopefully) get the program to run.

Understanding Program Types

A couple types of programs could be considered old in the context of this chapter:

  • DOS programs: These programs were developed to run under various versions of the Disk Operating System (DOS) that was the precursor to Windows.
  • 16-bit Windows programs: These Windows applications were written for Windows 98 and earlier versions of Windows.

What does “16-bit” mean? Three classes of Windows applications exist: 16-bit, 32-bit, and 64-bit. The number of bits ...

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