Software Restriction Policies Do Not Recognize 16-Bit Programs

Support for Windows XP has ended

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
If you configure a Software Restriction policy to restrict access to a 16-bit program such as or, users can still start the program even though they are not permitted to run it.
Commands that run in the Virtual DOS Machine (Ntvdm.exe) are not recognized by Software Restriction policies.
To resolve this problem, obtain the latest service pack for Windows XP. For additional information, click the following article number to view the article in theMicrosoft Knowledge Base:
322389 How to Obtain the Latest Windows XP Service Pack

Hotfix information

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

If the hotfix is available for download, there is a "Hotfix download available" section at the top of this Knowledge Base article. If this section does not appear, contact Microsoft Customer Service and Support to obtain the hotfix.

Note If additional issues occur or if any troubleshooting is required, you might have to create a separate service request. The usual support costs will apply to additional support questions and issues that do not qualify for this specific hotfix. For a complete list of Microsoft Customer Service and Support telephone numbers or to create a separate service request, visit the following Microsoft Web site: Note The "Hotfix download available" form displays the languages for which the hotfix is available. If you do not see your language, it is because a hotfix is not available for that language.

File information

The English version of this fix should have the following file attributes or later:
   Date         Time   Version      Size     File name   ------------------------------------------------------   09-Apr-2002  00:50  5.1.2600.42  898,560  Kernel32.dll				

To work around this problem, restrict access to Ntvdm.exe by using access control lists (ACLs) at the file-system level. Note that using this method blocks all 16-bit code.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article. This problem was first corrected in Windows XP Service Pack 1.
More information
Note that you cannot use Software Restriction policies to prevent code from being run outside the Win32 subsystem. For example, user can run the same command from the POSIX subsystem. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
101270 Disabling the POSIX Subsystem
kbSecurity safer

Article ID: 319458 - Last Review: 01/11/2015 21:34:13 - Revision: 2.0

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, Microsoft Windows XP Professional

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