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WPDOS Under Windows 8


Frequently-asked question | Buy 32-bit Windows instead | Warning: WPDOS may not work well under Windows 8 | What to do if you must use Windows 8 with WP | Restore non-working function keys | Printing Batch files under Windows 8 | Generic icon only | Home page


This page concerns 32-bit Windows 8. If you have 64-bit Windows 8 (as you almost certainly do if you bought Windows 8 installed on a new computer), see a special page on the methods for running WPDOS under 64-bit Windows.

You will have a 32-bit version of Windows 8 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.

If, and only if, you have a 32-bit version of Windows 8, then the rest of this page might be of interest to you. You can buy a computer with 32-bit Windows 8 only by special order, and only from specialist vendors.


 Frequently-asked question

Q. Windows 8 includes something called Hyper-V that lets me run Windows XP in a window while running Windows 8 on my computer. Why don't you you write about it on this page?
   A. Windows XP under Hyper-V is probably one of the worst possible ways to run WPDOS that has ever been invented. See another page on this site for further comments on this method.


Buy a computer with 32-bit Windows

If you make heavy use of WPDOS, you should buy a computer with 32-bit Windows installed, so that you can run WPDOS without relying on a third-party emulator like DOSBox. See the home page for the latest relevant information


Warning: WPDOS may not work well even under 32-bit Windows 8

Summary: You can continue to use WordPerfect for DOS under 32-bit Windows 8 by running it directly from within Windows, although you will not be able to use any graphics mode such as print preview. If you bought a new computer with Windows 8 installed, you almost certainly got 64-bit Windows 8, so you should stop reading this page and go to another page instead.

When you first run WPDOS under 32-bit Windows 8, Windows will prompt you to confirm that you want to run "16-bit"  programs. You must answer Yes if you want to run WPDOS.

Warning: 32-bit Windows 8 causes the following problems with WPDOS:

(1) Unless you use Tame (which fixes this problem), WPDOS may run slowly under Windows 8. 

(2) You will not be able to use any graphics mode in WPDOS, and WPDOS will instantly shut down if you attempt to use any of its graphics modes. This means that you will not be able to use Print Preview or graphics-editing mode in WPDOS 5.1 or any graphics or preview mode in WPDOS 6.x. If you absolutely must use graphics mode in WPDOS under Windows 8, consider using one of the additional methods described on this site's page about WPDOS under 64-bit Windows; those methods also work under 32-bit Windows, but should only be used if you need the traditional full-screen text mode or graphics mode in WPDOS.

(3) Windows 8 makes it impossible to run WPDOS in its traditional full-screen text mode (where the screen is entirely filled by WPDOS displaying a 25-line screen). If you need the traditional full-screen text mode of WPDOS, or if you need to use WPDOS in graphics mode, then you should use one of the additional methods described on this site's page about WPDOS under 64-bit Windows; those methods also work under 32-bit Windows, but should only be used if you need to have the traditional full-screen text mode or if you need to use graphics mode in WPDOS.

(4) The only reliable methods of printing from WPDOS under Windows 8 seem to be the following

(5) 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 8.

(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 8 cannot display any other icon that you might wish to use. (See the workaround described elsewhere on this page.)


What to do if you absolutely must run WPDOS under 32-bit Windows 8

Note: Before performing the steps described here, you may need to disable Windows 8's 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.

Follow these steps very carefully before attempting to run WPDOS with 32-bit Windows 8:

(1) 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 8 system to that DOS applications such as WPDOS use the keyboard that you need. Download this desktop shortcut EditAutoexec.nt to your Windows 8 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.

(2) Install WPDOS. Install WPDOS to your Windows 8 computer. Install a desktop shortcut for WPDOS following the advice elsewhere on this site. Note that the shortcut will appear on the desktop as a plain white rectangle, no matter which icon you may select in the shortcut properties sheet. Specify on the Window tab that the program should open in either a window or full-screen, depending on which you prefer.

(3) Install Tame. Run WP. If it seems impossibly slow, install Tame now; otherwise, you may install Tame later.

(4) Disable graphic mode. WPDOS will crash under Windows 8 if you switch to any graphics mode. To avoid this crash, 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 have any reason to do so); 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.

By following these procedures, WPDOS will be usable (although without graphic mode), but you may prefer to run WPDOS under Windows XP.


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.

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 8 Search feature to find MSCONFIG; this should lead you to 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 32-bit Windows 8

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 8. 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 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 8.


Batch files under 32-bit Windows 8

Most batch files written for use in earlier versions of Windows (or DOS) will run under Windows 8. For security reasons, however, Windows 8 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 8

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 8 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 Eight 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 8.)

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 8-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 8-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.


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