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Solutions for running ancient Windows programs on Win10?

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0culus:
My lab computer runs win10 professional 64 bit. I hate it but it gets the job done for running most things I want to run around the lab. However, what's really pissing me off is that "compatibility mode" appears to be a total lie. Windows has forever prided itself on being able to run the most ancient software with no problems, yet now it appears that they have totally broken this.

I want to to run the HP 53305A phase analysis software for the 53310A modulation domain analyzer (K04BB has it). Naturally, trying to run it in every conceivable compatibility configuration results in the dreaded full screen, focus stealing "This App Can't Run on your PC" message.

I could go the virtual machine route I suppose, but I have no idea where to get trustworthy machine images or the like of old Windows versions.

Any ideas?

Ian.M:
64 bit Windows has lacked 16 bit application support since the days of XP. https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/896458/64-bit-versions-of-windows-do-not-support-16-bit-components-16-bit-pro

See https://www.eevblog.com/forum/metrology/hp-53305a-phase-analysis-software/ for a better idea of its requirements.   I'd go with setting up a 'bare' VM and installing the desired legacy OS on the VM from either genuine install media or install media ISO images, as checksums for the latter can be widely found on the WWW, and for any install media that was ever publicly released, if there is a general consensus on one valid checksum for a particular version (and language/region) of the install media, its highly unlikely to be 'tainted'.  You may have issues with your VM solution's ability to pass through the bus your GPIB interface is on, and with finding legacy drivers for it.

N.B. Remember MD5 and SHA1 hashes have both been broken.  It would be difficult for an attacker to craft a payload to pass both these hashes simultaneously, so in the absence of contemporary hashes that are still secure, I wouldn't use any ISOs which don't have *BOTH* MD5 and SHA1 hashes valid.

edpalmer42:
Depending on your tolerance for frustration ....

Virtual Machine -> Linux -> Wine -> Phase Analysis Software which may or may not run under Wine

or

Virtual Machine -> ebay -> Windows CD with Key -> Phase Analysis Software

Gyro:
After a bit of searching, you can still get the 'license free' version of XP for use under the Win7 Virtual machine. I downloaded it a couple of years ago but didn't realise that it was still available. Irrc it's a self-extracting .exe which creates a .cab file which can be opened by the VM - I use the Microsoft Win7 one, I don't know if it will also work with others...

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8002

You also need a copy of winfloat.exe to avoid a General Protection Error with some applications. Details:

http://lifeofageekadmin.com/fix-general-protection-fault-module-win87em-dll-running-windows-7-vmware/

Rasz:
you can run wine on windows https://liliputing.com/2019/08/wine-on-windows-lets-you-run-windows-apps-on-windows-through-windows-subsystem-for-linux.html

you can also try otvdm if its ancient 16bit software http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/otvdm.html

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