Windows XP Help

Windows XP FAQ - Compatibility

1. Does XP comes with DOS?

Windows XP runs with a NT/2000 kernel rather than the old kernel like Windows 9x/Me. With XP it is not possible to boot to DOS mode. Although you can boot off a DOS disk, the C: drive must be formatted as FAT32 if you want access from DOS. XP can emulate DOS but does not support Real Mode drivers or some old DOS tools. If you wish to use such old programs then either stay with Windows 9x or install XP on a second partition on your hard disk along side your existing operating system! You can configure the DOS environment by editing the Config.nt and Autoexec.nt text files in c:\Windows\System32. You can configure a dos program, by creating a Shortcut (PIF file) to the program on the desktop, then configure screen and memory (Conventional, XMS, EMS) options via Properties.
To load a windows DOS shell, go to Start, Run, type Command and you can run DOS type programs, type Exit when done.
Try Dosbox for extra DOS compatibility including 286/386 realmode, EGA/CGA/VGA support, PC-Speaker/Tandy 3-Voice/Adlib/SoundBlaster sound support and XMS, EMS memory support. Also try Vogons web site for Forums on getting old games to work on new OSs.
You can also access the Recovery Console or use a Recovery Disc, without having to load Windows, if you need to diagnose problems from the command prompt.

2. Can I get old programs to run under XP?

Yes, you can get old programs to install and run using the Program Compatibility Wizard which will allow XP to run as a Windows 9x, NT or 2000 machine. So, if a program fails to run or install natively in XP you can fool XP to thing its an older OS. See the Compatibility tab of the properties of an Program file or shortcut to a program file. If a program fails to install, set the Compatibility mode to Windows 9x for the Setup.exe program on the CD.

You can install Virtual PC or VirtualBox to run and emulate another version of Windows hosted on your Windows XP system, but will need a Windows CD to install the other OS.

3. Where is PWS or IIS in XP Home?

Windows XP Home does not come with a Web server such as PWS (Personal Web Server) or IIS (Internet Information Service) like
previous Windows. You need to get a third party web server such as Xitami or Apache. You need to upgrade to XP Professional for IIS.
Installation instructions for Apache for Windows is here.

4. How do I share a printer on an XP PC with a 98 PC?

On the XP PC, you need to install the 98 drivers (you can also install Me/NT/2000 drivers) when you share the Printer. Click on Properties for the Printer on XP machine, click on Sharing and then Additional Drivers, tick which Windows drivers you require and install them. Then the 98 machine should be able to connect.

5. Where is Fdisk in Windows XP?

Windows XP/2000/NT does not use FDISK (supplied with Windows 9x or MS-DOS), instead it uses a graphical interface called Disk Management which can be accessed via the Computer Management console in the Administrative Tools. This will allow you to create, delete, modify partitions and assign drive letters. It does not feature stuff such as partitioning resizing or merging which will require Paragon Partition Manager or GParted. This tool is also available when you first install XP and you can create,delete partitions during the installation of XP.

On the command prompt you can access disk management with the DISKPART command.

6. How do I open QIC files from Windows 98 in Windows XP?

Download the trial version of Backup MyPC from Stomp Inc. which will allow you to open and restore files from QIC backups.

7. Can I use DriveSpace or Compressed drives or disks with Windows XP?

No, Windows XP does no longer support DriveSpace, the disks must be uncompressed first to use with Windows XP. If files need to be compressed, please compress them into zip format with utilities such as Winzip. Windows XP has a built in feature to uncompress Zip files in Explorer.
You can compress files or entire folders by opening the properties of the file and folder, select Advanced and then tick Compress contents to save disk space.

8. I cannot run Java applications or Applets. Where can I download the JVM?

Due to a dispute with Microsoft and Sun because MS have been adding Windows only components to Java without Sun's permission, Microsoft have been forced with withdraw their JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and has not supplied it with Windows XP. You can download Java from the Java website.

9. I cannot network my Windows 9x/Me PC with my Windows XP PC?

It depends on how you set up your 9x machines. First check which protocols you have installed. If you are using Netbeui, then you must install Netbeui onto your XP machine and add it to your network card protocols. This can be found in D:\ValueAdd\MSFT\Net\Netbeui (see text file for installation) otherwise use TCP/IP which is available on all versions of Windows. Also, check the Workgroup name you are using, for 98/Me it will most likely be Workgroup, on Windows XP it will be called MSHome. You need to change the new PC's workgroup name to match the existing workgroup. Also make sure File and Print Sharing is enable on all PCs and usernames and passwords are set up the same on all machines.

10. Can I dual boot with an older version of Windows?

Yes, you can. It is important that you install the older version of Windows first, preferably the C: drive, and then install Windows XP on another partition.
Windows XP will then store its boot files on the main boot volume (usually C:) which consists of NTLDR, BOOT.INI and NTDETECT.COM. Windows 9x boot files will be IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, COMMAND.COM etc.

11. Can I access NTFS partitions from DOS or Windows 9x?

Yes, with the help of some third party software called NTFSDOS Pro.

12. Can I network my XP machine with my older computers?

Yes, you can. You can use the Network Connection Wizard and use a Setup disk to use on your older PCs or preferably, do it manually, you need to have Client for Microsoft Networks, File and Print Sharing and the Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) installed on all machines. You can set the Workgroup name via the System control panel under Computer Name, you can then set the TCP/IP properties for each machine e.g for PC #1, for PC #2, for PC #3 and so on. Use for the NetMask and leave the Gateway and DNS entries blank (unless you have a DSL router installed).

13. Which software will NOT work on Windows XP?

Older versions of Antivirus products, disk utiliti es such as Norton 2000 or earlier, CD Burner software such as Easy CD 4 or Nero 5.0 or earlier. There are probably a few other products that are not compatible. Running the System Check from the Windows XP CD will give more information before upgrading to Windows XP.

14. I am unable to access Serial or Parallel ports with my old software?

Due to the nature of Windows XP and to make it more stable and secure. Software must use operating system functions to access hardware and not directly like under DOS or older version of Windows. You will need to find newer versions of the software or rewrite yourself using Window's OS functions.

15. Is there a compatibility kit I can use?

Try the Application Compatibility Toolkit from Microsoft.

16. How can I create a DOS boot disk from Windows XP?

Insert a floppy disk in the A: drive, open My Computer, right click 3 1/2 Floppy (A:), and select Format and then select opton Create an MS-DOS startup disk. This will conain dos and a few startup files on the disk. It will NOT contain any CDROM drivers like Windows 98 boot disks. Other types of Boot disks can be found at

If you have a CD ROM or DVD ROM drive you can create a Windows PE (Pre-install) disc to boot from to deploy or diagnose Windows problems.

17. How do I format a 720K disk in Windows XP?

Windows XP supports 1.44M disks with Format command and using My Computer. To format 720K disks, you need to use the extra parameters of the Format command from the command line. Enter the command: Format A: /N:9 /T:80.