Problems Running MS-DOS-Based Programs with Windows 3.x PIF

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Article ID: 138410 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q138410
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You may experience problems running MS-DOS-based programs that ran correctly in an MS-DOS session in an earlier version of Windows.


The MS-DOS-based program may be using a Windows 3.x program information file (PIF) instead of a newer PIF optimized for Windows.


Rename the PIF that is located in the same folder as the MS-DOS-based program. Then, try to run the MS-DOS-based program by double-clicking the program's executable file in Windows Explorer or My Computer.

If the program still does not run correctly, refer to the program's documentation to determine the optimal settings for the program, and then follow these steps:
  1. Use the right mouse button to click the program's executable file, and then click Properties on the menu that appears.
  2. In the program's properties, enter any specific PIF configuration information suggested in the program's documentation.
  3. When you are done entering information, click OK.
These steps create a new PIF in the program's folder. The new PIF will be referenced when you start the program.

If the program still does not run correctly, you may want to contact the program's manufacturer for additional information, or try running the program in MS-DOS mode.

For information about running programs in MS-DOS mode, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 134400
TITLE : General Tips for Using MS-DOS Mode

More information

When you start an MS-DOS-based program in a folder that contains a PIF for that program, Windows uses that PIF to obtain configuration information for the MS-DOS session.

If there is no PIF in the program's folder, Windows queries the Apps.inf file to determine whether an entry for that program exists. If so, Windows uses the settings in the Apps.inf file to create a new PIF in the program's folder.

For addition information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
ARTICLE-ID: 130971
TITLE : Settings Used in the Apps.inf File

ARTICLE-ID: 131877
TITLE : How to Create Default PIF for MS-DOS-Based Programs


Article ID: 138410 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 2.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows 95
kbnosurvey kbarchive kb3rdparty kbenv kbprb KB138410

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