Error message when you install or start an MS-DOS or 16-bit Windows-based program

Symptoms

If you try to start or install an MS-DOS-based or a 16-bit Windows-based program on your Windows XP-based computer, you may receive an error message that is similar to one of the following:
16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem
path to the program that you are trying to start or install
C:\Winnt\System32\config.nt The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.
16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem
path to the program that you are trying to start or install
config.nt The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.
16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem
path to the program that you are trying to start or install
C:\Windows\System32\Autoexec.nt The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.
Although you may be prompted to quit the program or ignore the error message, either selection makes the program quit.

Cause

This issue may occur if one or more of the following files are missing or damaged:
  • Config.nt
  • Autoexec.nt
  • Command.com

Resolution

To resolve this issue, use one of the following methods.

Method 1

  1. Insert the CD into the CD drive or DVD drive.
  2. Click Start, and then click
    Run.
  3. In the Open box, type
    cmd, and then click OK.
  4. At the command prompt, type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each command:

    expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\config.nt_ c:\windows\system32\config.nt
    expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\autoexec.nt_ c:\windows\system32\autoexec.nt
    expand CD-ROM Drive Letter:\i386\command.co_ c:\windows\system32\command.com
    exit
  5. Start or install the program. If the issue is resolved, do not complete the remaining steps. If the issue is not resolved, go to the next step.
  6. Note: The Command.com file is not edited or created in the following process. Because of this, you may have to expand it from your Windows XP CD-ROM.

    Start Notepad.
  7. In Notepad, type the following entries:
       dos=high, umb
    device=%SYSTEMROOT%\system32\himem.sys
    files=40
  8. On the File menu, click Save As.
  9. In the File Name box, type
    Config.nt, and then click Save. Close the Config.nt file.
  10. On the File menu, click
    New.
  11. In the new blank document, type the following entries:
    @echo off
    lh %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\mscdexnt.exe
    lh %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\redir
    lh %SYSTEMROOT%\system32\dosx
    SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 P330 T3
  12. On the File menu, click Save As.
  13. In the File Name box, type
    Autoexec.nt, and then click Save. Close the Autoexec.nt file.
  14. Start Windows Explorer. Locate the Config.nt file, right-click the Config.nt file, and then click
    Copy.
  15. Right-click the %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 folder, and then click Paste.
  16. Locate the Autoexec.nt file, right-click the
    Autoexec.nt file, and then click
    Copy.
  17. Right-click the %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 folder, and then click Paste.
  18. Locate the Command.com file, right-click the expanded
    Command.com file, and then click
    Copy.
  19. Right-click the %SYSTEMROOT%\System32 folder, and then click Paste. Restart your computer.
If the issue continues to occur, copy the Autoexec.nt and Config.nt files from the Repair folder in Windows to the System folder. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type c:\windows\repair, and then click
    OK.
  2. Right-click Autoexec.nt, and then click
    Copy.
  3. Click Start, click Run, type c:\windows\system32, and then click
    OK.
  4. Right-click anywhere in that folder, and then click
    Paste.
  5. Right-click the Autoexec.nt file that you just copied, and then click Properties.
  6. Click to select Read-Only, and then click
    OK.
  7. Repeat steps 1 through 6 to copy the Config.nt file.
Note You must enable Read-Only permissions or the files will be removed after you restart Windows.

Method 2

  1. Click Start, click Run, type C:\windows\repair, and then click
    OK.
  2. Right-click the Autoexec.nt file, and then click
    Copy.
  3. Click Start, click Run, type %windir%\system32, and then click
    OK.
  4. In the System32 folder, press Ctrl +
    V to paste the Autoexec.nt file in this folder.

More Information

For more information about MS-DOS-based programs in Windows, click the following article numbers to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
305521 "16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem" error message when you run an MS-DOS or 16-Bit Windows program in Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server

314106 Troubleshooting MS-DOS-based programs in Windows XP

Properties

Article ID: 324767 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 1

Feedback