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Running Geos in Windows XP
Author: John Howard

Details: Outlines how to run Geos on a computer (1Ghz or less) running Windows XP.

You can download these instructions in a PDF file by clicking on the download link below. If you have a problem downloading, just print this page from your browser window.


While going through the install process you will be asked if you
want to change the settings in your AUTOEXEC.BAT and/or
CONFIG.SYS files. Say "No" to both. You will change your
CONFIG.NT file in step 5 below.

1. Right click the shortcut you use to run Ensemble and choose
Properties from the menu.

2. On the Shortcut tab, check the Target and Start in
boxes to make sure they name the drive and folder where
Ensemble is installed (usually C:\Ensemble).

3. In XP, on the Compatibility tab set Ensemble to run in
Windows 95 mode.

4. Click APPLY.

5. Using Windows Notepad or a text editor, examine your CONFIG.NT
file (usually located in C:\WINNT[or WINDOWS]\SYSTEM32).
It should contain these settings:
dos=high, umb

6. To be able to use your floppy drive (A:) edit your geos.ini file
from Windows as follows. In the [system] section add the line:
drive a = 65535
This will replace the floppy drive icon with a hard drive icon,
but at least the drive will be usable.

7. You may need to make a few changes to your geos.ini file:
In the [system] section, add the following 5 lines:
primaryFSD = ntfat.geo
fs = {
If there is a line such as
fs = ms4.geo
place a semicolon at the beginning of that line.

NOTE: Ensemble will run only in full screen mode, and you may
need to adjust your Ensemble and/or your Windows screen resolution
and color depth to match each other. In some cases Ensemble may
run in only 640x480 16 colors. In some cases users have reported that
must press the CTRL key either during or after Ensemble shuts down
to successfully return to Windows XP.

The above steps will normally get Ensemble running, but you can do some
additional tweaking.
1. If you have Windows running at a screen resolution greater than
800x600, you can run Ensemble in an 800x600 window by downloading
and installing a package of drivers for Ensemble that is available
at Go to the Downloads section, select "Ensemble/Win Video drivers" download.
2. The following article contains additional information on running
older applications in Windows XP.

September 3, 2002
Old Apps Find A New Home On Windows XP

By Brian Proffit

Microsoft Windows 9x users have been reluctant to move to Windows NT for years, but around the same time it released Windows XP, Microsoft dropped its support for Windows 95. Industry insiders speculate that Windows NT 4.0 support will be the next to go. In effect, options are shrinking for those who want to hang on to the older OSs.

The reluctance to upgrade has been based on two factors: heavier hardware requirements and poor compatibility with applications not specifically written for Windows NT.

The hardware has caught up, to the point that even today's low-end
systems are sufficient for Windows XP. But what about application compatibility? Although on the surface, Win XP is the Windows version least compatible with its predecessors, it has special tools that give Win XP users more options for compatibility than ever before. These tools, some obvious and some hidden, let you tweak the environment so that many older applications will run.

Running DOS Programs

DOS programs are the oldest, and since Microsoft dropped the DOS
Compatibility Mode from Windows XP, you might think it dropped support for DOS programs altogether. In fact, new options in Windows XP may make running DOS programs easier.

Right-click on a DOS program, and select Properties from the pop-up
menu. Most of the tabs in the Properties dialog are familiar, but the Compatibility tab is new. This tab lets you set the program to run in 256-color mode and at a resolution of 640-by-480. You can also disable the default visual themes that Windows XP imposes on programs.

There's also a less obvious and more powerful tool. With DOS, you could
fine-tune the environment for your programs by modifying the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files. In some cases, you'd reboot the system with a special configuration just for one program and then go back to the normal setup to run other programs. Windows XP lets you define a customized Config.sys and Autoexec.bat for each of your DOS programs.

Here's how it's done. First, copy the C:\Windows\System32\Config.nt and
C:\Windows\ System32\Autoexec.nt files to the directory of your DOS
program, then edit them to reflect the configuration you want. Save them with a new name. Bring up the Properties dialog for the DOS program, move to the Program tab, and click on the Advanced button.

Enter the Config and Autoexec filenames you created for the program and
Windows XP will run the program in its own customized environment. This dialog also lets you try to slow down DOS programs that performed actions based on the clock speed of your processor. Programs that ran well on a 50-MHz system can be unusable on an 850-MHz system without this emulation.

Windows Programs Not Designed for XP

The three main reasons older Windows programs fail under Windows XP are
that they query for a specific Windows version number, they expect results that older versions of a Windows API call return, and they expect user folders to be in a different location or format. These problems can be fixed by setting the Windows program to run in compatibility mode.

Right-click on a Windows program, and select Properties. If you click on the Compatibility tab, you will see a drop-down list that lets you set the OS best suited for this program. Click in the Compatibility mode box, and select the operating system. Using this mode will activate a set of patches (called shims) that make Windows XP treat the program as an earlier version of Windows would.

What if you aren't sure which environment to use, or the program has other compatibility problems? There is a powerful package hidden on the
Windows XP CD that will help you fine-tune your application environment.

The Application Compatibility Toolkit

In the \Support\Tools directory of the Windows XP CD, Microsoft included an Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT). An update (Version 2.5) came out in April, and you can download it from The ACT contains four tools for improving application compatibility.

Two of the tools, Application Verifier and PageHeap, are designed for
software developers, who use them with a debugger to test areas that might pose problems under Windows XP. But the other two, QFixApp and Compatibility Administrator, can help end users tweak the environment so that older apps run successfully.

QFixApp lets you test a number of low-level tweaks on a specific
application. We don't have enough space to discuss each of the 199 applicable fixes, so we'll cheat and show you a couple of shortcuts to finding the particular shims that will restore your program.

Open QFixApp, and select the application you need to work on. Click on the Layers tab, and select a layer. The layers in QFixApp correspond to the compatibility modes we saw earlier in the application's Properties dialog. Select a layer, such as Win95, and then select the Fixes tab. You can see that the Win95 compatibility mode is a predefined set of 54 shims (Figure 1). This number can fluctuate, however, depending on whether you've installed the latest patches and updates.

From there, you can tailor the list to add or remove shims. For example, if your application changes the screen mode and your system is stuck there when the program ends, scroll down and try the ForceTemporaryModeChange fix. As you select a fix, a description of its function appears in the lower pane. Click on the Run button to test the effect of the changes on your application.
When you close QFixApp, the environment changes you've made will be stored with the executable. Until then, you can select and deselect shims as you wish.

Browsing Predefined Fixes

You don't have to search for fixes by trial and error. Microsoft includes a number of predefined fixes, and you can browse those for tips.

Open the Compatibility Administrator tool, and expand System Database |
Applications. A good start in tweaking your application is to find a
similar program in the database. For example, if you are working with a program in the 102 Dalmatians series, select one of the programs in that series for which Microsoft has already defined fixes. Cross-referencing with QFixApp, you see that the EmulateHeap and EmulateMissingEXE fixes are already included in the Win95 compatibility mode, but the IgnoreAltTab fix isn't. Try setting this shim in QFixApp and running your application.

Note that Windows XP provides predefined fixes for the application's setup program as well as the app itself. You can group the fixes associated with an application into one package.

Compatibility Administrator becomes even more important in corporate IT
departments that need to support legacy applications. Once you have
determined which set of fixes is required, click on New and a new database is created under Custom Databases. With the new database selected, click on Fix to open a wizard that will guide you through creating an application fix set for this database. Follow the prompts to choose a compatibility mode, and set the additional shims you identified during your QFixApp testing. Finally, group related files
with this application. Windows XP will try to find these for you when you click on Auto-Generate. Use File | Save to save the custom database to an SDB file that you can send to other computers.

If you have a number of legacy applications that all require similar
sets of fixes, you can create a new compatibility mode in your custom database. With the database highlighted, click on Mode. You can name the mode Legacy and select the set of fixes to be applied when this mode is selected. Once the database has been saved and installed, you can apply the whole set of fixes to a new app simply by selecting the Legacy compatibility mode. To add this mode to another system, copy the SDB file to the other computer and run Sdbinst.exe to install it.

The Windows NT platform earned its reputation for being reluctant to run older applications. But with the new tools in Windows XP, you have a better chance than ever of keeping your legacy programs going until they can be updated.


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