Question Issues installing Windows 95/98 games into Windows 10 natively

Jan 28, 2020
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Hello there, I am trying to install several Windows 95/98 games onto a new Windows 10 computer. They do not require DOS, they are CD games that can be launched from the desktop. I have gone to dozens of websites, and followed their instructions, but it still does not work. I get the same error for all of them. It says “This app can’t run on your PC"

I have already tested every combination of the Windows application compatibility modes: 256 color, 16 bit, windows 95/98/xp/7, run admin, all that. I have also used the compatibility troubleshooter. I have turned off Smart Screen filter I believe. I was told this error comes from Smart Screen, but I think I turned that off in the Settings panel.

I am here asking for a solution that does not include virtualizations, such as VMWare, DOSBox, or VirtualBox.

Why is this error happening, and how do I install these games for my customer? How do I avoid not only this error, but all problems and errors that might occur? Thank you, I appreciate your help.
 
Last edited:

onespeedbiker

Respectable
Apr 13, 2019
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From Windows help
Run the Program Compatibility troubleshooter

  1. Open the compatibility troubleshooter
  2. Follow the instructions in the troubleshooter.
If you cannot install a program, insert the installation disc for the program and, using the troubleshooter, browse to the program's setup file, usually called Setup.exe, Install.exe, or something similar. The troubleshooter is not designed to work on programs that have an .msi file name extension.

If this does not work you might consider installing a VM.
 
The installers for most of the games of that time still supported dos so they are written is 16bit and that's just not supported anymore,there is no way to run those installers under windows 10.

You have to search for a new installer for those games or install them under dos box or an VM and then copy the game folder back to windows 10.
Most games will run fine once the files are available ,if not again you will have to search for patches.

If they are clean DOS games that only have support for windows 95/98(because they included dos) you have to run them through dosbox or VM there is no way to run them otherwise.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Yes, you need a new launcher like what GOG put on old games, as 95/98 is pre NT days, Its hard enough getting XP games to run now let alone games that expect DOS to be running under the surface.
 
Jan 28, 2020
4
0
10
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From Windows help
Run the Program Compatibility troubleshooter

  1. Open the compatibility troubleshooter
  2. Follow the instructions in the troubleshooter.
If you cannot install a program, insert the installation disc for the program and, using the troubleshooter, browse to the program's setup file, usually called Setup.exe, Install.exe, or something similar. The troubleshooter is not designed to work on programs that have an .msi file name extension.

If this does not work you might consider installing a VM.
Thank you, yes I have already used the compatibility troubleshooter, and I am seeking a solution that does not include virtualization. I will try your MSI idea, thanks.
 
Last edited:
Jan 28, 2020
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Yes, you need a new launcher like what GOG put on old games, as 95/98 is pre NT days, Its hard enough getting XP games to run now let alone games that expect DOS to be running under the surface.
They are CD games that can be run from the desktop, they do not require DOS.
 

Nemesia

Commendable
Nov 6, 2019
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They are CD games that can be run from the desktop, they do not require DOS.
It doesn't matter. CD games are obsolete. You just can't install a Windows 95/98 old game on a Windows 10 and expect it to work. This is why people have been telling you that GOG have been taking old games and made change in them so they can work on modern OS.

If you're using Windows 10 you're gonna have to come to the same era for your games or go on GOG.
 
Reactions: King_V
Jan 28, 2020
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I'm glad you are aware of GOG Nemesia, that should work for you. I was seeking to use Windows 95/98 games on Windows 10 without GOG.

Onespeedbiker failed to read or understand my post, it clearly says I used every setting in the compatiblity mode & troubleshooter. The VM did not work either after many settings were tried.

This will likely be the first and last time I use the free suggestions of the tom's hardware forum. Good Day.
 
TerryLaze pretty much answered it in the third reply. While the games might still run on modern Windows, the installer software was often a 16-bit application, which won't run on 64-bit Windows. Even on a 32-bit install of Windows 10, you would need to manually enable 16-bit support to allow the installer to launch...


In many cases, you should be able to install these 90's era games on another 32-bit system, and simply copy the install directory over to the 64-bit system, making shortcuts to the games as necessary. Or you might even be able to copy the files directly off the install disk to the 64-bit system, ignoring the installation software. In some cases, patches might be necessary to make certain games work on modern Windows though.
 
Reactions: Mandark

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Similar request, last June:

Goosebumps, Escape from Horrorland. - 1996
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goosebumps:_Escape_from_Horrorland

Swears up and down it cannot be done. "Windows support" even says so.


The result:
https://forums.tomshardware.com/threads/building-a-windows-95-98-computer.3492629/page-2#post-21111786

Click on the spoiler in that post.

Yes, I know you stated no "virtualization". However, that is what is needed to merge old software with new hardware.
 

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