16bit installers on 64bit Vista


Telephone Sanitizer (2nd Class)
Staff member
I really miss my Oxford Talking Dictionary, which has been with me on all my systems from a 75Mhz CPU/32Mb memory/800Mb HDD Windows 95 up to my 2 month old 4400 Dual core/2 Gb/1120Gb Vista 64 build.

Other legacy software which had problems installing, was circumvented by drilling down past the Autorun into the product folder and finding a 32 bit setup.exe, then running in compatibility mode, but this (free with PC Direct mag May 2000 - what a cheapskate !)
has no installer further down the chain, though it has Win and WIn32 folders with the 16 and 32 bit software sitting there just begging to be liberated.

Has anyone come across a way of getting past V64's refusal to run 16bit installers ?
(I don't have the option to run V32 - OEM Vista comes in only one flavour per DVD)
Vista recommends I contact the manufacturer for a 32/64 bit installer, but I doubt that OED (or "The Learning Company" quoted on the box) would be too forthcoming for a 7 year old freebee.)
64 Bit cant emulate 16 bit at all. There is no way around it at all. The 64 Bit architechure wont allow for 16 bit to work. It can only do 32 bit and 64 bit.

It like looking at a graph. At the top half is 64 Bit. Take up teh whole top half. Under neath it is 2 pieces at 32 bit a piece.

| 64 Bit |
| 32 Bit | 32 Bit |

Now looking at the 32 Bit architecture is the same way. Just with 32 Bit and 16 Bit.

| 32 Bit |
| 16 Bit | 16 Bit |

The development of 64 Bit never allowed for the emulation of 16 Bit. For good reason. It is so old and outdated that it needs to be updated to at least 32 Bit. I know that some of the best software is still only 16 Bit which hampers the 64 Bit line. But developers are gonna have to update their setups to allow for install on 64 Bit.

So sadly there is no way to get around this limitation of 64 Bit. At elast this is what i remember of seeing how 64 Bit works. But i am almost positive that i am right on this. Sorry for going off on a rant. Jsut figured it was worth explaining. Hopefully i am wrong and Guru will explain it more.
Yea I know Mak,
but the actual software is there in 32bit form, I'm just looking for a way round the installer being 16bit - A manual list of how to get the software up and registered if you like.
How can I find what it does - Can I read it (decomplile it ?) on my XP32 with any fancy progs you know of. Or do you know a registry comparison utility I can use on XP before/after installing it, so that I can have a shot at manually simulating the registry changes on V64 ?
There are decompilers out there. But as far as getting the installer to work. Wont happen. There are also Registry monitor applications out there as well. I don't know of any off hand. Guru surely will. But Google will be of more help there.

But even if you decompile it you would then need to recompile it into a executable and there are no free applications out there to do that.

Executable decompilers - Google Search

Executable makers - Google Search

Maybe that stuff can help till Guru gets around and gives some better advice.
Sorry Mak - you're right (that sounds so weird - lol).

I don't think old software makes any real use of registry and system files - if you install this dictionary on a 32-bit PC then copy the folder from the Program Files directory, that may be good enough.

Only other option is to look for a newer, similar program or run this in a virtual machine.
I'll try installing it in my XP partition and putting in a shortcut from Vista to the XP executable (Vista can still see XP - just not the other way round).
It'll be a while though - I finally got a fix from MS for my WUD problem, so I'm now in the middle of downloading/installing 100+ XP fixes/updates on a dial-up link - Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn.
I am RIGHT?!?

Now that is weird. I have to take a screenshot of this so that people will see this. :lol:


Ouch 100+ hotfixes from a dial up? Why not jsut get the SP1 RC1 which should have most of those hotfixes in it? Wouldnt that do the same thing? At least it would be smaller to downlaod than SP1.
Last edited:
Oops! re-reading my post, I think I didn't say that right.

(I meant it's weird for me to be sorry that you're right - not weird for you to be right :lol:smile:

You're right more often than you give yourself credit for, Mak! :smile:

Terry, I'd also recommend grabbing SP3 instead - at the very least you can DL it at another PC (if possible) and install at it home instead of having to use WU (which downloads slower than a download manager at any rate).
Just got your advice, having come back to Vista today after a 24 hour WUDathon on XP. I'm now all up to date WMP11/ IE7 / NET2.0 (declined the 50+ megs of NET 3.0) and all the trimmings on XP.
I'm about to abandon my putative Linux partition and use the space for an XP 3rd party apps disc instead.
Then I'll set about trying out the OED and generally setting up the XP partition as a do-anything environment instead of the pseudo TV it's been up to now.
I installed iReboot 1.1 on XP just before coming back (now that NET 2 is there), but hit the Vista is still hidden problem trying it out, so I'm going to have to get a single-level boot process sorted after I check how HnS pre-Beta is faring.
Must drop MS a line to let them know all is now sorted (my email is all imported/converted into Vista Mail format now, which I believe can't be exported back to XP because it doesn't understand Vista Mail format any better than it understands Vista Checkpoints)
Your guess was correct.
I installed OED on XP and searched the registry, and the only entries were for install/uninstall paths, so I guessed it would probably execute from Vista as you'd suggested, and sure enough it did.
I just got round to remembering to try it when I was in Vista, and it's perfect.