Starting 16-Bit WOW Subsystem on Windows NT Server

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You may want to have the 16-bit Windows on Windows subsystem start automatically when you start up the Windows NT Server. Although this is the default on Windows NT workstation, it is not the default on Windows NT Server. A change in the registry is required to make the Windows on Windows subsystem start on boot. This change is also required in order to start any 16-bit processes not started from the GUI interface, if it is the first 16- bit process started on Windows NT.


To start the Windows on Windows subsystem automatically on startup, add the following command to the registry:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.
  1. Run the Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Under the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree, go to the following subkey in the system registry:

    System/Software/Microsoft/Windows NT/CurrentVersion/Winlogon
  3. Edit the value Userinit and add ", wowexec" to the end of the string.
  4. Restart the computer.


Article ID: 153544 - Last Review: February 24, 2014 - Revision: 4.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
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