Ideas for running a VB4 application on modern hardware?

Mike Whalen mikew at
Tue May 3 10:12:39 CDT 2016

Hey everyone,

First I want to say thanks to everyone for ideas. I've lobbed the question
of whether anything really needs to be done back at the company in
question. It's possible that we can limp along or we don't need to do

What generated this particular inquiry is that I am putting together a
Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services server. This server will be in
part a daily driver for some important applications for the company. This
RDS server will also allow us to continue company operations in the event
of a disaster. We have primary on site back ups and replications to a
remote site in which the bare metal backups can be pressed into service as
virtual machines should the need arise such as in the case of a local
disaster, prolonged power or network outage, and more.

Windows Server 2012 is 64-bit only. To my knowledge there is no way to run
16 bit applications aside from virtually. Furthermore I have determined
definitively that this particular application was compiled in 16-bit only.
I searched for the source code yesterday and I was not able to find it.
Granted I haven't been with the firm since the 1990s so I really only have
a bare understanding of where I could possibly go look. This particular
company has a lot of legacy equipment sitting in a high-rise in
Houston, Texas. There are a lot of Compaq machines among many other types
of devices, tapes, drives and more hanging around. It is certainly possible
that anyone of those storage media contains the source code, but I have no
idea whether any of that stuff is even readable or where to start looking.

The credits screen of the software shows an older oil company that, I
believe, no longer exists. However some of the employees of that particular
company are still around and are affiliated with the organization that I am
working with. It's unlikely but possible that somebody remembers this
particular bit of software. It's also unlikely but possible that the
original author is among those people.

If I can find the source code, I will do my best to get it upgraded to at
least Visual Basic 6 so we can run in 32 bit mode. Since I have no idea
where the source code is I really don't have a lot of hope for this.

In all likelihood I will attempt to either build a Windows XP virtual
machine or perhaps a windows 98 virtual machine. This presents a few
administrative challenges but it may be possible.

But at the moment the question may be moot. The company may come back and
say forget it. I sort of hope they do.

I respectfully request that if there are any follow-ups to this particular
message that they be sent to me privately. As I said in the original post I
think that this skirts the boundaries of off-topic. I now believe that the
topic is off-topic. I don't think this list needs to be cluttered up
further with anymore of this discussion.

Thank you all again for some really great ideas and tips.


Mike Whalen

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