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#968044 - 07/15/14 04:42 PM Installing old games on Windows 7
Tsavorite Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 831
Loc: San Diego
I love old games such as 7th Guest. 11th Hour and Phantasmagoria I don't unststand why I can't just change the compatability mode. I would think Windows 7 could play any of these games without adding something new to it. I don't understand computers and how they work very well so can someone give me a simple explanation?

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#968056 - 07/15/14 05:37 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Draclvr Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 10213
Loc: In Missouri near St. Louis
We will have to leave it to Jenny100 or Inland to explain the nitty gritty, Tsavorite!

However, some of it has to do with whether you have a 32-bit version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 or a 64-bit version. Most new computers use the 64-bit operating systems because they can make use of more RAM where the 32-bit operating systems cannot use more than about 3.5 MB of RAM. For instance, I could play Shivers 1 on my 32-bit Windows 7, but not on my 64-bit Windows 7. Some of these games - like Shivers 1 - were created in 16-bit and will not work on 64-bit systems.

_________________________
Fireplace, yarn, knitting needles, books, wine... check. Yup, I'm ready for winter.

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#968062 - 07/15/14 05:59 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Draclvr]
Marian Online   content
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 21291
Loc: near Yosemite in California
All 3 of those games can be downloaded from GOG, and they are all tweaked to run on Windows 7, without having to jump through hoops to get them to run.

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#968101 - 07/15/14 09:55 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Collector Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/09/09
Posts: 151
DOS games are easy given DOSBox. Windows games present a different set of problems. Draclvr pointed out one of the main problems with old Window games that usually have no other solution than to use a VM as outside of a few InstallShield installers most 16-bit code will not run on x64 Windows. Other old Windows games have two main problems. Many of the early 32-bit games came with 16-bit installers, so cannot be installed on modern Windows, even if the game itself does run OK. All that you can do for these games is to manually install the game or to find a modern replacement installer.

The other main problem that you may encounter with old games is outdated APIs. Without getting too technical, APIs are a layer of software that allow a program or game to talk to the operating system, which in turn talks to the actual hardware. The APIs are a bit of a moving target in that they are constantly updated to add stability, features and/or interfaces as well as closing security holes to protect the OS. While MS tries to maintain backwards compatibility and MS bends over backwards to accommodate this more than most, but there are times that it becomes impractical, inadvisable or impossible to do so.

It is this latter problem that is harder to fix. Some can be fixed using compatibility shims that work around these compatibility issues. In part, that is what you are doing with the compatibility settings in the EXE's properties. Some fixes my involve directly editing the EXE with a Hex editor or adding a wrapper to redirect those API calls.

If you are not capable of doing much more than playing with the file properties dialog's compatibility settings You will have to look for a modern interpreter (like ScummVM) if the game in question is supported, an emulator (like DOSBox) or a Virtual Machine with an older version of Windows installed in it.

Another option for some select games is to use a modern installer, like http://sierrahelp.com/Patches-Updates/NewSierraInstallers.html , http://www.squirtthecat.com/ or http://quickandeasysoftware.net/software

Short of that, some old games have been repackaged for modern systems that have already applied these fixes. Marian mentioned GOG, which who used a lot of my resources and occasionally consulted with me for their Sierra releases.


Edited by Collector (07/15/14 09:56 PM)

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#968103 - 07/15/14 10:18 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Collector]
Marian Online   content
Moderator
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 07/04/00
Posts: 21291
Loc: near Yosemite in California
Originally Posted By: Collector


Short of that, some old games have been repackaged for modern systems that have already applied these fixes. Marian mentioned GOG, which who used a lot of my resources and occasionally consulted with me for their Sierra releases.


May I be the first here to say, "thank you!" I appreciate all the work that you have done in getting these old games to run on newer systems. We are in your debt. bravo thumbsup

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#968104 - 07/15/14 10:54 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Marian]
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23717
Loc: United Kingdom
I certainly want to join Marian in her "thank you" !! yay

It's wonderful to be able to play so many of the great oldies on our modern machines dance dance dance
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#968117 - 07/16/14 12:01 AM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Draclvr Offline
Adept Boomer

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 10213
Loc: In Missouri near St. Louis
Please add me to that list, Collector! And thank you for the further explanation...
_________________________
Fireplace, yarn, knitting needles, books, wine... check. Yup, I'm ready for winter.

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#968209 - 07/16/14 12:47 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35626
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Tsavorite
I love old games such as 7th Guest. 11th Hour and Phantasmagoria I don't unststand why I can't just change the compatability mode. I would think Windows 7 could play any of these games without adding something new to it. I don't understand computers and how they work very well so can someone give me a simple explanation?

The simplest explanation is that compatibility mode is incapable of making all the changes necessary to get those games working properly in 64-bit Windows 7.

Collector has explained most of the details of why. (Thanks Collector)

Tsavorite,
Did we answer your question or do you need further explanation?

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#968238 - 07/16/14 04:05 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Tsavorite Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/07/03
Posts: 831
Loc: San Diego
I still don't really get it, that's why my husband handles all the computer stuff smile

Why doesn't compatability mode handle the old games? It seems so simple

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#968240 - 07/16/14 04:27 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
mj2c Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 948
It may seem so. The compatibility thing is basically a kludge to get around a fixed set of common conflicts between a newer OS and previous versions. It isnt any sort of emulation of previous OS's. If a particular games problem lies within this set of conflicts then your luck is in and Compatibility Mode will help, if it isn't then it won't.

Creating a new OS is complex enough without retaining 100% backwards compatibility for old games. Imagine Microsoft having to test 1000's of old games whenever they want to create a new OS - You'd get Windows every 10 years instead of every 2 or 3:-)

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#968241 - 07/16/14 04:46 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
InlandAZ Offline
Glitches Forum Moderator
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 08/14/02
Posts: 6861
Loc: Arizona
Quote:
Creating a new OS is complex enough without retaining 100% backwards compatibility for old games. Imagine Microsoft having to test 1000's of old games whenever they want to create a new OS - You'd get Windows every 10 years instead of every 2 or 3:-)


Considering my personal experience with Windows 8.x, that might not be a bad thing smile

DOSBox is just about perfect when it comes to playing the older classics. It's even made easier by front-ends like D-Fend Reloaded, which sets up DOSbox for you. Games can be installed manually or through the Installation Wizard, so it doesn't get much simpler than that. For those games that were designed for Windows 3.x and used Video for Windows, you can install and boot the OS (assuming you can find a copy of it and the appropriate drivers). Windows 95 can also be booted.

Virtual PC is another option, but I've found most games run much smoother under DOSBox.

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#968258 - 07/16/14 08:56 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: mj2c]
Mad Offline
True Blue Boomer

Registered: 11/21/00
Posts: 23717
Loc: United Kingdom
"Creating a new OS is complex enough without retaining 100% backwards compatibility for old games. Imagine Microsoft having to test 1000's of old games whenever they want to create a new OS - You'd get Windows every 10 years instead of every 2 or 3:-)"

Only every 10 years ?? Only every 15 would sound wonderful to me !! snicker

I hate all the hoo-haa that happens every time Microsoft come out with yet another version.
For us non-techies it can be like having to learn how to live on another planet !! taz
_________________________
Time : The Most Precious Commodity

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#968366 - 07/17/14 02:22 PM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35626
Loc: southeast USA
Originally Posted By: Tsavorite
I love old games such as 7th Guest. 11th Hour and Phantasmagoria I don't unststand why I can't just change the compatability mode. I would think Windows 7 could play any of these games without adding something new to it. I don't understand computers and how they work very well so can someone give me a simple explanation?

Originally Posted By: Tsavorite
I still don't really get it, that's why my husband handles all the computer stuff smile

Why doesn't compatability mode handle the old games? It seems so simple

I think answering your question is deceptively simple.
Even if someone understands the reasons themself, how do they explain them to a completely non-technical person?

I'll give it another shot, but I don't know if I am capable of giving you the answer you're looking for.

Let's assume we're talking about 64-bit Windows 7, and the major roadblock is that 16-bit code simply won't run on 64-bit Windows. How do you explain why to a non-technical person without using any jargon?

I can tell you that all DOS and Windows 3.1 games (and some Windows 95 games) use 16-bit code -- so they can't run on 64-bit Windows. And Compatibility Mode can't magically change a game that uses 16-bit code to one that uses 32-bit or 64-bit code.

But then the questions become "Why can't you run 16-bit code on 64-bit Windows?" "What is 16-bit code?" and "Why can't Compatibility Mode adjust for 16-bit code?" The short answer to "why can't Compatibility Mode adjust" would be that Microsoft didn't think it was worth the effort -- that there were so many adjustments to be made that it was more the job of emulators than Compatibility Mode. The answers to "what is 16-bit code" and "why can't 16-bit code work on 64-bit Windows in the first place" are more involved, talking about how data is processed and the like -- something that's going to overwhelm a non-technical person right off the bat.

And of course there are other reasons why many very old games won't work -- even on 32-bit Windows 7 where 16-bit code is not a problem. Compatibility Mode only goes so far back -- and the further back in time you go (back to when the game was first released), the less likely it is that Compatibility Mode will be able to compensate for all the differences between a modern computer and the type of computer the game was designed for.

Just because a modern Windows 7 computer is newer and faster doesn't mean it can do everything a computer from 1995 could -- not without help from emulators anyway.

Even with a Windows 95 computer back in 1995, you didn't get sound in DOS unless you'd installed sound drivers for DOS and configured the computer for sound in DOS. The same is true for Windows 3.1. Compatibility Mode does not install the old sound drivers that the game expects and does not emulate them in any fashion. Once again, that's a job for emulators (or modified executables) and not Compatibility Mode.

Nor is the DirectX that comes with Windows 7 (or the DirectX 9.0c you can add to Windows 7) 100% backwards compatible to the DirectX 2 or 3 that was used with Windows 95. As stated ***here***
Originally Posted By: Microsoft/Technet
D3DRM, a technology introduced in DirectX® 3 to provide a higher-level programming interface on top of Direct 3D Immediate Mode, has been deprecated beginning with Windows Vista because of security concerns.

So any games that required that technology will have difficulties and Compatibility Mode will not fix them because of security reasons.

And then there are all those games from around 1995 that use now-obsolete VESA modes --> no picture on the screen on a modern computer. Games like Panic in the Park, Angel Devoid, Ripper -- many adventure games from around 1995. The people who made the games used these special modes in order to make the games look better -- sometimes significantly better -- on computers at the time. Once again, Compatibility Mode doesn't help you with this problem.

Compatibility Mode helps with problems that are common and not too difficult to fix. But the farther you go back in time to the year the game/program was made, the more problems that need fixing. After a certain point, it's just easier to run the game/program inside an emulator instead of trying to create all the fixes necessary to run the game/program in Windows 7. In some cases, someone can modify the game executable or installer so it runs under Windows 7. But trying to adapt Windows 7 to run the original wasn't worth Microsoft's time and effort, and in some cases was blocked because it compromised modern computer security requirements.

I don't know if I've answered your question somewhere in there, Tsavorite. Hopefully I've answered part of it.

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#968733 - 07/20/14 05:26 AM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Kaki's Sister Offline
Graduate Boomer

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 17626
Loc: Marlborough USA
smashpc WOW! With all the technology out there maybe the day is coming when we will be able to speak to our computer, tell it what we want and it will find a way to technically do it! Amen to that! grin
_________________________
Gerry

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#968747 - 07/20/14 09:50 AM Re: Installing old games on Windows 7 [Re: Tsavorite]
Collector Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 10/09/09
Posts: 151
There are parts of Compatibility Mode that does little more than lie to the program running in Compatibility Mode to fool it into running, like about what the OS is. They are kludges and workarounds, not fixes. Outside of bit depth issues (16-bit programs on 64-bit Windows) the main problems stem from antiquated APIs, a software layer that allows programs to talk to the OS. It is like they are speaking different languages. Think how it would be like to talk to a modern English speaker when all you know is old English.

This is in large part what WINE does. It acts as a translator between Linux and Windows programs. There is a branch of WINE for Windows, but it is far too early in its development to be usable, if it will ever be.

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