Is x64 the end of 16-bit DOS applications?

We have seen servers running 64bit versions of Windows for quite a while in our infrastructures and if they weren’t configured as Remote Desktop Servers (formally Terminal Server) this didn’t necessarily affect our end user applications. But since desktops and laptops are now easily equipped with more that 4Gb of RAM and the availability of the App-V x64 Client, we see an increasing demand for 64bit Operating Systems.

But is your application landscape ready to support x64? Because besides the obvious benefits of x64 there’s an obvious negative as well: the end of 16-bit DOS era…or is it?

One of my well respected colleagues and buddy Ruben Koene (@rubenkoene) was willing to share this excellent article of how he overcame this issue with one of our customers.

Follow his demonstration with one of the best (16-bit) business critical applications ever made: Prince of Persia.

Important: the steps below are specific for this application. Apply your own application specific details were necessary.

  1. If you don’t have Prince of Persia in your personal game collection you probably can download it from the internet. Unzip it (I used a folder on the desktop called “Prince”) on the sequencer machine.
  2. Next you need to download a program called DOSBOX. DOSBOX is a Dos-emulation program which you can download it here. Place the installer file also on your Sequencer computer.
  3. On the Sequencer computer start Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer and choose “Create a Package” (in this example I’m using version: 4.6)
  4. Fill in a package name (i.e. Prince of Persia) and if needed fill in the comments field and click [Next].
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  5. Click [Begin Monitoring] and create a folder by following Microsoft best practices.
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  6. First start the setup of DOSBOX and click [Next]
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  7. You probably want to uncheck “Desktop Shortcut” because the application will have it’s own shortcut. Click [Next]
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  8. Change “C:\Program Files “ so that it matches the directory that you selected when you started monitoring (for example, your destination folder can be Q:\PRINCE.001\DOSBox-0.74) And click the [Install] button
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  9. When installation is completed, click [Close]
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  10. Now copy the Dos application (we placed this on the desktop in step 1) to the directory you selected to install to. i.e. Q:\PRINCE.001\prince
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  11. Go to the start menu – All Programs – DOSBox-0.74 – Options – DOSBox 0.74 Options
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  12. With this action a new config-file is created. You can change a lot of settings in the config file, but we are only going to add custom actions to execute. For more information about the config file  read this article.
  13. Scroll to the bottom of config-file and add the following lines:
  14. MOUNT Q Q:\PRINCE.001\prince
    Q:
    Prince.bat

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  15. Note: If you want to start Prince of Persia without cheat-codes change Prince.bat to Prince.exe :-)
  16. Click File – Save As
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  17. Save the file as prince.conf in your prince-folder (i.e. Q:\PRINCE.001\prince\prince.conf)
  18. Close the config-file and click [Stop Monitoring]
  19. Click [Next]
  20. In the Configure Applications-wizard delete all the applications and click the add button.
  21. Add the following application path:
  22. “Q:\Prince.001\DOSBox-0.74\DOSBox.exe" –noconsole –conf  “Q:\PRINCE.001\prince\prince.conf"

  23. Change Q:\PRINCE.001 to your own installation path.
  24. The icon-file is stored in the prince-folder (prince.ico). Fill in as shown below and click [Add]
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  25. After adding the application click [Next]
  26. Launch the application and Prince of Persia will start in a window (ALT-ENTER for full screen, or change your config-file)
  27. Close Prince of Persia and click [Next]
  28. Click [Finish]
  29. Go to the Deployment-tab and change and change settings to match your environment.
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  30. Save your package and your done sequencing.
  31. Deploy on your client and have fun gaming errr running your Line of Business application ;-)

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