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WPDOS Under 32-bit Windows 7

Frequently-asked question | How to get 32-bit Windows 7 | Run WPDOS full-screen in 32-bit Windows 7 | Potential problems under 32-bit Windows 7 | Restore non-working function keys | Printing Batch files under Windows 7 | Generic icon only | Help! My Start Menu does not have a Run... box! | Home page

This page concerns 32-bit Windows 7. If (as is very likely) you have 64-bit Windows 7 or some later version, see this site's vDos-based vDosWP system or the DOSBox-based DOSBoxWP system for running WPDOS under 64-bit Windows.

You will have a 32-bit version of Windows 7 only if you installed it yourself, or if you explicitly ordered it from one of the very few vendors who supply it. You will remember if you did either of these things. If you didn't do either of those things, then you have 64-bit Windows.

You can replace your existing 64-bit Windows 7 with 32-bit Windows 7 without buying another copy of Windows. See the explanation below.

 Frequently-asked question

Q. Windows 7 supports something called "Windows XP Mode" for running old software. I'm sure that's an ideal way to run WPDOS under Windows 7! Why don't you you write about it on this page?
   A. "Windows XP Mode" can run WPDOS, but only if you are willing to spend a lot of time learning how to set it up. You really need be extremely expert and have a lot of patience. See another page on this site for further comments on this mediocre method.

How to obtain 32-bit Windows 7

If you are technically competent, you can replace your existing 64-bit Windows 7 system with a 32-bit version that will let you run WPDOS in a window as you did under Windows XP. You can use the same license key that came with your 64-bit Windows 7 system, but you may need to call Microsoft by phone to complete the activation.

Before doing anything else, first backup your existing system and make sure you know how to use the backup. If you don't do this, don't come crying to me if something goes wrong. It's your fault and only your fault if you perform major Windows surgery without knowing how to undo your errors. And write down your existing license key!

Next, go to your computer vendor's website and download network and other drivers for 32-bit Windows 7. Copy the driver software to a USB drive and be prepared to install it from the USB drive. You may not be able to connect to the Internet until you have the necessary network drivers!

You will almost certainly need to reinstall all your existing software (Microsoft Office, Firefox, whatever else you use), so be certain that you have the installation files in a safe place!

If your computer can boot from a USB drive, then you can install Windows 7 from a USB key using Microsoft's Windows USB/DVD Download Tool. After downloading an ISO from the link files listed below, you may use this tool to create a bootable Windows 7 installation USB key.

Otherwise, you should know (or be able to figure out) how to burn a CD-ROM from an ISO file, and that you have a CD burner either in your computer or in the form of a USB drive. If this is the case, then download and burn one of the following ISO files, and proceed to install Windows from it. Again, it's your responsibility to know how to do this!

You may find downloadable ISO image files for your specific version of Windows 7 on this Microsoft download page. You will need your existing license key in order to download an ISO file. Make sure to download the 32-bit version when prompted!

Don't forget! You must know what you're doing if you attempt this! You can find plenty of advice on the Internet about installing Windows, but you won't find it on this site.

How to run WPDOS in full-screen with graphics under 32-bit Windows 7 (updated December 2016)

Bulletin (June 2017): This method was briefly broken by a Microsoft Windows update; as a result, an error message appeared when you opened a CMD prompt. If you experienced this problem, run Windows Update again; restart your system, open a CMD prompt and wait a few seconds. You may need to restart your machine before everything starts working again.

Ludwig Ertl, an expert and industrious programmer, has figured out a way to run WPDOS full-screen in 32-bit Windows 7, in almost the same way it runs in Windows XP; you should read this page closely to learn all the details. This method lets you use the same graphics modes that your hardware supports under XP, so if you can view VESA graphics now, you will be able to view VESA graphics under this method also. It may or may not work on your system, so save your work before doing anything about it. Also, it may or may not work on a new computer that you may decide to buy, and it almost certainly works best if you have a traditional monitor with VGA proportions (not a wide monitor). (This section has been updated to reflect Ludwig Ertl's improved method, introduced in October 2016.)

The method of setting this up is rather complicated, and you can read Ludwig Ertl's full description here:

Here is a step-by-step version.

1. Go to Ludwig Ertl's web page and download the "Free: Patch Conhost (fullscreen switching bug)" utility; this utility corrects a bug in conhost.exe, a Microsoft program that controls full-screen mode in Windows 7. Extract the utility program from the zip file and run it from the desktop or Windows Explorer. Do not have a Windows command prompt open when you run this program. (If the program displays an error message saying that Conhost is in use, restart Windows and try running it immediately after Windows starts; if you still get the error, then start Windows in Safe Mode, run the program, and then restart Windows in the normal way.) Note: While you are on Ludwig Ertl's page, look for other useful software, such as one that restores the speaker beep under Windows 7.

2. From the same web page, download the "Free: NTVDM Helper (fullscreen switching bug)"; save the CONHOSTF.ZIP archive and extract all its contents to a convenient folder. Navigate to the conhostf\bin\fullscrswitch folder, right-click on conhostf.inf and select "Install" from the pop-up menu.

3. Go to your WPDOS folder (typically WP51 or WP62 or COREL\WP62 or some such name) and adjust the view settings so the Explorer shows you "Details" - in other words, a list of files showing date, type, etc.. Study the list to see whether this folder already contains a shortcut to WP.COM or WP.EXE. If you have such a shortcut, you will recognize it because it is a file named WP with no extension visible, and it will be identified in the "Type" column as a "Shortcut to MS-DOS program" or something similar. If you do have such a shortcut, make a copy of it in the same folder and rename the copy WPFS (FS stands for full-sceen).

If you do not have a shortcut like this, then right-click on WP.EXE and choose Properties and make some trivial change in the dialog box - I recommend changing "wp.exe" to "WP.exe" (with capital letters instead of lower-case letters). Click OK. That should (I hope) create a "Shortcut to MS-DOS program" named WP; you may now make a copy of that shortcut in the same folder, and rename the copy WPFS.

4. Right-click on WPFS; choose Properties; go to the Screen tab; change the setting from Window to Full-Screen, and click OK.

Note: You may want to customize the shortcut (by adding command-line switches, etc.), according to the instructions here.

5. Right-click on WPFS and drag it to your Windows desktop. Release the mouse, and, from the pop-up menu, select "Create shortcut here". (You may rename the shortcut anything you like.)

6. Now, close any applications that you may have open, and double-click on the new WPFS shortcut to launch it. You may need to wait a few seconds while an information file (needed the first time you run a text-based application after patching conhost.exe) is downloaded from Microsoft's server.The patch causes your Windows 7 video driver to be temporarily disabled so that the barebones VGA driver operates instead; this driver permits DOS applications to run full-screen. When you close down WP, the Windows 7 video driver is restored.

7. Launch the desktop shortcut again; WPDOS should open in full-screen mode. (If it opens in 50-line mode, or if the bottom-line menu is invisible, don't worry; we'll fix that in the next step.) Alt-Tab to the Windows desktop, which will probably appear in the lowest possible resolution (640x480). (You will also see a command window on the desktop; ignore or minimize it.) Right-click on the desktop; if the pop-up menu includes "Screen resolution", then click on it and select the resolution closest to the actual resolution of your screen; if it does not include "Screen resolution" then choose "Personalize", and follow the links in the Control Panel that let you change the desktop resolution to its actual size. (Search the web if you do not know how to do this.)  You may need to rearrange your icons after changing the resolution. Finally, Alt-Tab back to WPDOS; exit WPDOS. (If the bottom-line menu and prompts are invisible, just press F7, N to exit WP.) The next time you use this method to run WPDOS, you can Alt-Tab to the desktop and the desktop resolution will be correct.

8. WP probably opened in 50-line mode in steps 6 and 7; in some instances the bottom-line menu will not be visible and part of the screen will seem to be invisible below your monitor. If you want to open WP in traditional 25-line mode, then do the following very carefully. (Print out these instructions first!) Again, double-click the WPFS shortcut to launch it. When WP opens, press Alt-Enter to reduce WP to a window. Click the icon at the upper-left corner of the WP window and select Properties from the menu. On the Layout tab, set both the Screen Buffer Size and the Window Size to Width: 80 and Height: 25. Click OK. Ignore the resulting weird appearance of the WP window. press F7, then Y to exit WP. Your screen will go blank for a few moments; don't worry! When the screen eventually returns to normal, double-click the WPFS shortcut again, and all should be working properly.

9. If you want to assign an icon to the shortcut that launches WP in full-screen mode, do this. Return to your WP folder and create a new text file, perhaps using Windows Notepad. Name it StartWPFS.txt (we will change the name later to make this a batch file). Paste the following text into it, but change the bold-italic drive letter (C:) and directory name (\wp62) so that they match the drive letter and directory names on your actual system! (The ones in the text below are examples only! They probably will NOT work on your system! Only try this if you understand what an "example" means and you are prepared to replace the examples below with the actual drive and directory name required for your own system!) Notice that the lines that begin "for" and end "44!"" are each a single long line; do not let them break into two lines:

@echo off
cd \wp62
start WPFS.PIF

After making absolutely certain that you have your own drive letter and directory name in the file, save the file and rename it StartWPFS.bat Right-click on StartWPFS.bat and drag it to your Windows desktop. Release the mouse, and, from the pop-up menu, select "Create shortcut here". Right-click on the StartWPFS shortcut that you just created on your Windows desktop; on the Shortcut tab, click Advanced, and check the box marked "Run as administrator"; still on the Shortcut tab, click Change Icon... and select an icon, perhaps one of those offered elsewhere on this page. Click OK until you have saved the shortcut again.

If you have two monitors running from two different video adapters: This setup causes one of your two monitors to display full-screen WPDOS, while the other is left blank. In order to restore the screen on the second (blank) monitor, you may need to create and then experiment with a registry setting. Create the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\conhostf and then create a new REG_DWORD value named Devices Then tell the Conhostf program which video adapter you want to the program to enable and disable, using a bitmask to identify it. You probably won't know which driver is driver 1 and which is driver 2, etc., so you will need to experiment. Try 1 for driver 1; 2 for driver 2; 4 for driver 3; 3 for drivers 1+2; etc. (This is bitmask arithmetic.) If you later uninstall and then reinstall a video driver, then you may need to change the number and restart your computer.

Read this serious warning: If you do not run Ludwig Ertl's Conhost-patching utility before performing step 3 and later steps, your system is almost guaranteed to lock up after you exit WordPerfect, so be absolutely certain that you followed the instructions thoroughly!

And read this equally serious warning: If you didn't read step 7, then go back and read it now!

And also read this additional warning: I used this method with complete success, but it is always possible that it may cause a lockup on your system, or make your printer explode, or produce uncontrollable itching on your hands and feet or premature baldness or any of a number of other disasters. So be prepared.

Troubleshooting: You may see an error message from "fullscrswitch" when Windows first starts up again after updating itself via Windows Update. To fix this problem, and restore the ability to run WPDOS in full-screen mode, repeat step 2 above, and restart Windows.

To speed up switching to full-screen mode: Visit  Ludwig Ertl's web page yet again, and download the "Free Patch NTVDM (transition timeout patch)." Read the supplied instructions for further details and run the supplied programs.

Note: I have not experimented with the Intel and GeForce VGA BIOS patches also Ludwig Ertl's page, because I had no need for them. Please let me know any experience that you might have with them.

And to answer a likely question: No, this will not work under 32-bit Windows 8, 8.1 or 10. Windows 8.x and 10 removed all support for the XP-style graphic driver that Windows 7 uses in this method. (However, you can still run WPDOS in a window in 32-bit Windows 8.1 or 10. Remember: you almost certainly do not have 32-bit Windows 8.1 or 10 unless you managed to find a copy and you installed it by yourself.)

Load a different hardware font: This method makes it possible to load a different "hardware" font from the one built into your video card; this is based on features built into all VGA hardware. If you don't like the font provided by your video hardware, you can use the font built into different hardware. Follow this procedure:

The other two utilities in the ZIP archive will be documented here in the future.

Potential problems with WPDOS under 32-bit Windows 7

Warning: Windows 7 causes the following problems when you run WPDOS:

(1) Unless you use Tame (which fixes this problem), WPDOS may run slowly under Windows 7. 

(2) Unless you use the full-screen method described above, you will almost certainly not be able to use any graphics mode in WPDOS, and WPDOS will instantly crash if you try to switch into a graphics mode. Consider disabling graphic mode; to do so, first close WPDOS and rename all the .VRS files in the WPDOS directory (rename them to something like .VR9 so that you can restore them in the future if you need to). If the .VRS files are renamed, WPDOS cannot try to switch to graphics mode, and will display only a brief error message if you attempt to do so.

(3) The only reliable methods of printing from WPDOS under Windows 7 seem to be the following

(4) Some of the advanced methods found elsewhere on this site - for example the macros that copy and paste between WPDOS and the Windows clipboard - may cause WPDOS to crash under Windows 7.

(5) Enable non-US keyboard if necessary. If, and only if, you do not use a US-English keyboard layout in WP, you must modify the Autoexec.nt file on your Windows 7 system to that DOS applications such as WPDOS use the keyboard that you need. Download this desktop shortcut EditAutoexec.nt to your Windows 7 desktop or some other convenient location (you may need to right-click on the links and select Save link as...). (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?) Right-click on the file; choose "Run as Administrator" from the pop-up menu to edit the associated file in Windows Notepad; go the foot of the file and add this line (replacing xx with the two-letter abbreviation of your keyboard layout, for example, uk or nl):

kb16 xx

Close and save the file. The change that you made will apply to the next DOS application you launch; you do not need to reboot your computer. Important: If you use any program that uses a special Autoexec.nt file, you must make this change in all such files.

(6) A minor but annoying detail: If you create or reuse a desktop shortcut for WPDOS, it can only appear on the Windows desktop as a plain white rectangle with an arrow in the lower-left corner. Desktop shortcuts for DOS-based applications running under Windows 7 cannot display any other icon that you might wish to use. (See the workaround described elsewhere on this page.)

Restore non-working function keys (including F7, Ctrl-F4, Alt-F5, Alt-F10, or many others) for use in WPDOS

If your function keys do not perform their correct functions in WPDOS, any of a number of programs and settings could be the cause.

If almost all function keys produce unexpected results (for example, F5 types "^0"), you have probably pressed the "F Lock" key (found on some modern desktop keyboards and, on some laptop computers, next to the F12 key or some other location); press the "F Lock" key again to restore the normal function-key functions. On recent computers, especially laptops, you may need to change a setting in the computer's BIOS (hardware settings) that restores the function keys to their normal use instead of special-purpose functions such as changing sound volume or screen brightness.

If Ctrl-F4 and other Ctrl-function key combinations do not perform correctly, you almost certainly have InterVideo WinCinema Manager or other InterVideo software running in the background, with an InterVideo icon in the Windows system tray (the panel at the far right of the taskbar at the foot of the screen). To regain the use of the function keys, use the Windows Start Menu, enter MSCONFIG in the search box; this should open the System Configuration utility. Go to the Startup tab, and disable the InterVideo program by removing the checkbox to the left of its name. Restart your computer. You will still be able to use the InterVideo software, but you will not be able to run it by clicking an icon in the system tray.

If, in a similar way, if Alt-F5 or Alt-F10 does not perform its correct function, you probably have an ATI video card with software that interferes with Alt-F5 or an Acer computer with a backup program that takes over Alt-F10. Use the procedure described in the preceding paragraph to regain Alt-F5 by disabling the program called ATIPTAXX.exe, or to regain Alt-F10 by disabling the program CHECK.exe, and restart your computer to regain these function keys for WPDOS. If you have ATI video hardware and can't use Alt-F5, but you don't find ATIPTAXX.exe or some similar program name, go to the Control Panel, then Display; go to Settings, then Advanced, then Options, disable "Enable ATI taskbar icon application," click OK, and restart your computer.

Other programs may also seize control of function keys that you wish to use with WordPerfect. I have no way of knowing exactly which programs are at fault. The only way to find out is to run the MSCONFIG program as described above, and test each program that is listed on the startup tab by removing its checkbox (one at a time!) and restarting Windows to see if the function key you want has been restored. If you still cannot use the function key you want, run MSCONFIG again, restore the checkbox next to the program you tested, and clear the checkbox next to the program that follows it on the list; restart Windows. Continue until you find the program that has seized control of the function key. When you find such a program, please leave feedback so that others can avoid the same problem.

 Printing under Windows 7

Note: Before performing the steps described here, you may need to disable Windows' User Access Control (UAC) security feature until you have completed making the changes. If Windows will not let you open the relevant files, or bothers you with prompts, download and run TweakUAC and turn off UAC or switch it to "quiet mode"; when you are finished making and testing the changes suggested here, run the utility again to restore UAC.

If your printer is a standard laser printer that is connected to your computer by a parallel port, then WP will print normally under Windows 7. If your printer is connected by a USB cable or across a network, but uses a WP printer driver (not one of the methods found on this site for printing to any Windows printer), then you can use one of this site's methods for printing to USB or networked printers. The most highly-recommended method is the DOSPrint method described elsewhere on this site; but you may also use the PrintFile method, as described elsewhere on this site.

If your default printer is an HP LaserJet (or compatible) and you find that nothing prints with the DOSPrint method, then you may need to install the PCL5 LaserJet driver, which is not normally used by recent Windows versions. Search the Internet for this installer file: upd-pcl5-x32- and download and install it. Choose an easy-to-remember name for the printer that the installer sets up, and use that printer as the target printer in DOSPrint.

If you have a Windows-only printer and require one of this site's methods of printing to any Windows printer, then you may want to experiment with the methods on the linked page. Most, possibly all, of the methods described on that page should work with Windows 7.

Batch files under Windows 7

Most batch files written for use in earlier versions of Windows (or DOS) will run under Windows 7. For security reasons, however, Windows 7 will not allow traditional batch files to perform certain actions, such as copying files. If you run WPDOS from a batch file that also performs such actions as copying a file, you must edit the batch file so that a command that now reads something like this:

copy thisfile.ext thatfile.ext

is changed by adding the command "cmd /c" (without quotation marks) at the start of the line so that it reads instead something like this:

cmd /c copy thisfile.ext thatfile.ext

The same procedure may be required for other commands; feel free to experiment.

MS-DOS programs use a generic icon under Windows 7

Note: Before performing the steps described here, you may need to disable Windows' User Access Control (UAC) security feature until you have completed making the changes. If Windows will not let you open the relevant files, or bothers you with prompts, download and run TweakUAC and turn off UAC or switch it to "quiet mode"; when you are finished making and testing the changes suggested here, run the utility again to restore UAC.

Generic iconDesktop shortcuts for DOS-based programs running under Windows 7 display only a blank generic icon, as in the example shown here. When editing the properties sheet of a desktop shortcut, you can select any icon you like, and the icon that you select will appear in the General tab of the properties sheet, but it will not appear on the Windows Seven desktop. Only the generic icon will actually appear on the desktop.

This problem can be worked around in either of two ways:

Either (a) Create a batch file that runs the DOS-based program, create a shortcut to the batch file, and assign a custom icon to the shortcut. (For detailed information on creating and changing shortcuts, see another page on this site.) This workaround may cause minor problems in memory management, etc.; further information will be posted here when it becomes available. (But see the note elsewhere on this page about batch files under Windows 7.)

Warning: If you use Tame, do not use this method (a), because (on some systems but not, apparently, on others) you may be unable to resize Tame's window or you may be unable to save Tame's view settings from Tame's View menu; if you use Tame, and cannot resize the window or save your View settings, then use either the slightly different method described in the "Note for experts" immediately below this paragraph, or use method (b) below.

Note for experts: You may get slightly better results by creating a batch file that launches the shortcut (PIF) file for the program, not the program itself. (You will need to know how to identify the PIF file that you use; the extension .PIF is visible when you enter the DIR command in a command prompt window, but not in a Windows Explorer window. The contents of the batch file should be something like: start d:\path\to\WP.PIF (and  enclose the path in quotation marks if there is a space anywhere in it) or (you may want to experiment): cmd /c start d:\path\to\WP.PIF (but of course, in both examples, you should use the actual path on your system, which is guaranteed not to be the example shown here). Before you do this, edit the PIF file so that its Program tab contains the full path to your WP program file and any command line switches, for example, e:\wp62\wp.com /r /tx /w-*,*,* - but remember that this example is only an example and is almost guaranteed not to work on your system. If you don't know what an "example" means, stop now and don't even think about attempting this.

Or (b) Right-click on the Windows desktop (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?); select New from the pop-up menu, then Shortcut; enter cmd.exe when prompted to enter the location of the item; type a name such as "WPDOS" when prompted to type a name for the shortcut; click Finish; right-click on the resulting shortcut and choose Properties; on the Shortcut tab, in the Target field, do not change what you see there, but carefully move the cursor to the right of cmd.exe, type a space, then the following text (replacing c:\wp51 with the actual location of WPDOS on your system): /c c:\wp51\wp.com (note very carefully that this begins with a forward slash and the letter "c", then a space, then a directory location), then click on Change Icon and change the icon as described below.

Note: If you have WPDOS 5.1+ (Plus) or any version of WPDOS 6.x, use the program name wp.com as described above; if you have the original WPDOS 5.1 (not Plus), then use wp.exe instead.

New WPDOS iconsIf you use either of these workarounds, you may want to use one of the two Windows 7-ready WP icons included in this archive file; the two images are based on the original Windows icons for WPDOS 6.x and 5.x. Download the archive file to your Windows desktop; double-click on the archive to open it; and copy one or both icons to your WP directory. (You may need to disable User Access Control temporarily in order to do so.) Right-click on the shortcut to your batch file (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?); in the Program tab, use the "Change Icon" button, and select one of the two icons. In this paragraph, the WPDOS 6.x icon is on the left, the WPDOS 5.x icon on the right. 

WP Icon Corel styleWP Icon Novell styleAlternatively, you may want to use one of the two Windows 7-ready WP icons included in this archive file; the two images are based on the Novell and Corel logos used for Windows versions of WordPerfect. Download the archive file to your Windows desktop; double-click on the archive to open it; and copy one or both icons to your WP directory. (You may need to disable User Access Control temporarily in order to do so.) Right-click on the shortcut to your batch file (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?); in the Program tab, use the "Change Icon" button, and select one of these two icons.  The two icons look like the images attached to this paragraph, WPNovell.ico on the left, WPCorel.ico on the right.

You may also use the more familiar WP icons available with earlier versions of Windows. For WPDOS 5.1, after pressing the "Change Icon" button in your batch file shortcut, type MORICONS.DLL in the filename field, and choose the familiar gray icon. For WPDOS 6.x, download this icon library file; copy it to your WPDOS directory; and, after pressing the "Change Icon" button in your batch file shortcut, navigate to your WPDOS directory, choose the file named WPICON60.ICL, and select the first icon in the library.

Help! My Windows 7 Start Menu does not have a Run... box!

By default, the Windows 7 Start Menu does not include the familiar Run... box. You do not really need it, because you can enter commands in the field at the foot of the Start Menu. But if you want to enable the Run... box, right-click on the Windows "Pearl" in the lower-left corner of your screen (Wait! What exactly does "right-click" mean?), choose Properties, Start Menu, and click on Customize... In the list of options, scroll down until you find "Run Command". Check the box next to it, then click OK until the dialog box closes. The next time you open the Start Menu you will see a Run... command in the lower right of the menu.

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