Using Windows Virtual PC to run 16-bit applications on 64-bit Windows

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I have had some people ask me whether you can use Windows Virtual PC – with its integrated Windows XP Mode – to run older 16-bit Windows programs on a 64-bit platform.  The answer is “Yes!”.  Here you can see a screen shot of SkiFree running on my laptop:


In the foreground you can see the error message that I receive if I try to run SkiFree directly on my laptop (which is running the 64-bit version of Windows 7).  In the background you can see SkiFree running under Windows XP mode.

This can be very useful if you have legacy 16-bit applications that you need to use, but want to take advantage of 64-bit computing.


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  • Talk about a trip down memory lane. I completely forgot about that game, was there even a way to beat it?

  • Don't get me wrong but I would rather see you playing 64-bit OS under Virtual PC ...

  • VAsHachiRoku -

    Yes, there is a finish and you get a score for how well you ski'd

    ivanj9 -

    Yup, I understand.



  • Ahh, but can you run 64-bit on 64-bit?  Sadly, no. :(

  • personally, I hope the whole Virtual XP mode is just a bad joke or a custom write that will not replace Virtual PC proper.

    While the concept is good, the execution is sorely lacking.  First and easiest example: Drag and drop in/out of the VM.

    Sure, sure, you can share the host file system, but it is a very kludgy work around compared to just dragging files in and out of the VM.

    The lack of a host key making it more remote-desktop like is also a pain.  VPC lets you just hit host key-enter to full screen, where the new version requires you to mouse around and lose access to part of your screen for that silly scroll down toolbar.

    In many ways, the UI is a huge step backwards in usability.

    And then there is the USB handling.  A step forward, but so far VERY unreliable esp. with devices like security dongles.

  • If you're using XP Mode with a desktop, you're not using it for its intended purpose.  It's designed to provide legacy apps for enterprises.  Works best when running an individual application frameless.  (The single-app limit is annoying, though.)

    For 64-bit virtualization, ditch Virtual PC and go to Hyper-V.  Smooth as silk.  Really nice management interface.  Don't expect to do any gaming or graphics on it -- no DirectX.  But for everything else, it's fine.

    Microsoft is slowly becoming an enterprise software company.  You'll be a lot happier if you go along for the ride.

    I guess what I'm saying is: Don't worry, be happy.  If you want VMWare Workstation, then buy VMWare Workstation.

  • MS have done too bad by 1.locking VPC 7 to Windows 7. 2. Requiring processor virtualization for XP Mode. 3. VPC 2007 doesn't run on Windows 7. The very purpose of VPC is compatibility but systems can't use it because they're incompatible/don't have processor virtualization.

  • Does Windows XP mode support DirectX for gaming?

  • VPC 2007 SP1 runs on Windows 7 - I am running it on W7 64-bit

    What I want to know though is can Windows Virtual PC on W7 run existing VHD disks; in other words should I uninstall VPC 2007 and just use this new version.

    And will it run virtual copies of Vista, W7 which VPC 2007 will


  • I want to run a 16-bit application on Windows 7 - 64 bit virtual machine. I tried to install windows xp mode on this VM, but that was not successful. The same application can be installed & used on a Windows 7 - 64 bit desktop thru windows XP mode. Can you please suggest some solution?


  • @Pragati

    the XP Mode can be only used in Win7 Prof/Enterprise and Ultimate. If you use Win7 Home Basic/Premium, start the VM Wizard, create a new VM and install XP with your XP CD.

  • I'm trying to run a 16 Bit program in Windows Virtual PC, XP mode.  It runs fine within a window but I want to run the program in full screen mode.  I get the following message when I change the settings to full screen, "The Video Divice Failed To Initialize For Full Screen Mode." Any suggestions?

  • I have one computer running vista 64 and one running win 7 64.

    I have some old scientific papers in Word 1991 with tables from Symphony (Lotus, .wr1) and SigmaPlot that I want to reconstruct.

    Word 2007 can be massaged to load much of the text, but it gets corrupted by formatting, and it's finicky. The other files are not accessible at all.

    Ideally, I'd like to transfer the files to 64-bit format

    Failing that, being able to load and display them as they were would be great.

    Being able to convert to 64 bit would be even better.

    I have a limited budget.

    Can this program help me?

    If not, please make any suggestions you may have.



  • I have a Mac and I'm running parallels to get windows 7 on it. On windows 7 I have virtual pc, but when I try to boot do on it it says that I have the wrong boot type? Thoughts or help? Thanks! Brad

  • Ben, I need to run 16 bit progams in Windows 7 Home Edition, and that damn message appears and does not run it. Any suggestions?  Can I use the XP Mode on Win7 HE....?

    You can call me if you have time.   949.328.0126

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Using Windows Virtual PC to run 16-bit applications on 64-bit Windows