Windows 10 includes a range of options for running older programs not designed for the operating system. We previously looked at using tools to troubleshoot application compatibility, which lets you modify a program to make it think it is installing on a supported version of Windows. Much older applications that pre-date Windows 95 will sometimes require a bit more work. 16-bit applications, in particular, are not natively supported on 64-bit Windows 10 because the operating system lacks a 16-bit subsystem. This can even affect 32-bit applications that utilize a 16-bit installer.
The solution for such a scenario is to run the operating system on an older version of Windows, which might require setting up a virtual machine. If you still utilize a 32-bit version of Windows 10, you can get the best of both worlds by enabling the 16-bit subsystem. As Microsoft’s future heads toward 64-bit computing, the company is minimizing its support for many of the legacy components in Windows. The best way to add 16-bit support in Windows 10 requires some command line work.
Configure 16-bit Application Support in Windows 10
16 Bit support will require enabling the NTVDM feature. To do so, press Windows key + R then type: optionalfeatures.exe then hit Enter. Expand Legacy Components then check off NTVDM and click OK.
The next step is to install the feature through the Command Prompt. Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin.) At the command prompt, type the following command:
The add feature wizard for NTVDM will launch. Click Install this feature to complete the installation. Then restart your computer if required.
Now 16-bit application support is enabled. You can proceed to install your application as normal.
Some applications might require additional permissions. Review our compatibility article for more information about adjusting those settings.
We’re curious about what types of 16-bit applications you still are running. Leave a comment below and let us know. Also, if you’re experiencing any problems with it, head to our new and improved Windows 10 Forums for additional support.