"16 Bit MS-DOS Subsystem" Error Message When You Install a Program

For a Microsoft Windows 2000 version of this article, see 254914 .


After you install a program on your computer, you may receive one of the following error messages when you attempt to run any 16-bit program:

16 bit MS-DOS Subsystem
drive:\program path
XXXX. An installable Virtual Device Driver failed DLL initialization. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.
16 bit MS-DOS Subsystem
drive:\program path
SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\VirtualDeviceDrivers. VDD. Virtual Device Driver format in the registry is invalid. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application.
In some cases, when you click Ignore, the program runs properly, but you continue to receive the error message when you start 16-bit programs.


This behavior can occur if the following registry value is corrupted:

This behavior can occur after you install a 16-bit program or a program that uses a 16-bit installation program that is not Windows XP-compliant.

This behavior can also occur if the Command.com file that is installed on your computer is damaged or is the incorrect version.


Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows
To resolve this issue:

  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe or Regedit.exe).

    NOTE: In Windows XP, Regedit.exe and Regedt32.exe have been integrated into a single program that combines the features of the two registry editors in Windows 2000.
  2. Locate and select the following value:
  3. On the Edit menu, click Delete.
  4. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click
    Multi-string Value.
  5. Type VDD in the Value Name box, and then press ENTER.
  6. Quit Registry Editor.
If the issue continues to occur, verify that the proper version of the Command.com file is installed in the systemroot/System32 folder on your computer.

The Windows XP version of the Command.com file has attributes similar to the following:

Size Date Time
50620 08-23-2001 4:00 A.M.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.

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