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SnowBall

Get Windows 3.x Program Manager for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10

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Hi everyone,

I figured out a way to get Program Manager from Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.X running again on Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 (32 Bit and 64 Bit).

Here is what you will need to do:

1. Download Program Manager here: https://mega.nz/#!dMsTRKBI!4wDzRrvNlhOGfkOOeUzKJY6zjazrKxs7aVFBY3GAUdY

2.     a) Extract and copy it to %SystemRoot%\System32 for 32 Bit Windows.

        b) Extract and copy it to BOTH %SystemRoot%\System32 and %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 for 64 Bit Windows.

3. Download the wrapper files here: https://mega.nz/#!NUsh1CqB!1EbQggvisxpUysb_BxWrOfqEBlRPPVv3HuLd3E7GGuQ

4.    a) Extract and copy all the files to %SystemRoot%\System32 for 32 Bit Windows.

       b) Extract and copy all the files to BOTH %SystemRoot%\System32 and %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 for 64 Bit Windows.

5. [RECOMMENDED] Download Additional apps such as File Manager, Paint Brush, Clock and Classic Control Panel from here: https://mega.nz/#!BU0nnCiR!AGb-uxT0CZxinbS7xwVd2iKeZXoTPPCjSsKNiTguqg4

6. [RECOMMENDED] 

      a) Extract the files and copy to %SystemRoot%\System32 for 32 Bit Windows.

      b) Extract the files and copy to BOTH %SystemRoot%\System32 and %SystemRoot%\SysWOW64 for 64 Bit Windows.

7. Launch %SystemRoot%\System32\progman.exe

8. DONE!

 

A few points:

1. This apps will display icons of 16 Bit apps which is better than Windows Explorer.

2. This app sadly has limitations on the compatibility with 64 Bit apps and icons of 64 Bit apps won't show. To solve this problem, make a batch file like this:

@echo off
start *PATH TO PROGRAM*
exit

and add the batch file to your program group. After that to get the icon back, use Resource Hacker or any other tools to extract the icon and put it in the same folder as your batch file. Click on "Change Icon" and choose the .ico file then tick "Run Minimized" so the command window doesn't pop up.

3. It is possible to add Microsoft Store Apps to Program Manager, but very hard (if you'd like to know, reply below).

4. For 64 Bit edition of Windows, when ever you add a program, the best way is to use a batch file, so it makes sure that your program works. If you tries to put any apps the your System32 folder, place it in the SysWOW64 as well, so it will show up.

5. For 64 Bit edition of Windows, %ProgramFiles% in Program Manager means %SystemDrive%\Program Files (x86) instead of %SystemDrive%\Program Files.

6. To set this as your default shell, open Registry Editor, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon and change the value of "Shell" from Explorer.exe to Progman.exe  Note: Backup your registry before you start editing!

Screenshots:

[Below]: Program Manager running on Windows 8 Consumer Preview (32 Bit)

Windows8-CP.jpg

[Below]: Program Manager running on Windows 10 Home 1809 (64 Bit)

Windows101809.jpg

https://ibb.co/nhGF7f

https://ibb.co/f6ka7f

More Coming Soon...

 

Regards,

ShowBall

 

Edited by SnowBall
Added Download Links

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Yes, it is from Microsoft and was the shell for Windows 3.x. If you have never heard of Program Manager... You probably never used Windows 3.x.

23 hours ago, Nirav Narang said:

don't know how to install, no installer, all zip files. i copy progman to sys32 and it throws ma an error.

Do you not know how to extract zipped files and copy it to System32? Copy all the extracted files to System32 and SysWOW64! Launch progman.exe after that. Don't do the registry thing if you don't know what you are doing... I feel like you will mess up your computer if you set it as your default shell.

P.S: I might make a video on how to install or simply make an installer for "noobs" like you. Why would you bother trying this out if you don't know that it is (it is from 28 years ago when it was first introduced)? Also, you are on 64 Bit Windows 10, there will be issues with launching app using it.

Regards,

SnowBall

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Great! I installed it and i can run the progman! i want to know what is the registry thing? actually why when ever i try running progman from windows 3.1, it says app can't run on your computer, what did you do to remove the error?

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Cool, you've done it!

On 12/1/2018 at 5:48 PM, Nirav Narang said:

Great! I installed it and i can run the progman! i want to know what is the registry thing? actually why when ever i try running progman from windows 3.1, it says app can't run on your computer, what did you do to remove the error?

The registry thing is for setting Program Manager as your default shell. The default shell for Windows 95 and above is Windows Explorer (explorer.exe) which is responsible for making the Start Button, the Taskbar and your Desktop appear. After setting Program Manager (progman.exe) as your shell, Start Button, Taskbar and your desktop won't appear anymore, just like Windows 3.x. Backup your registry before doing it and you probably won't like it as your shell.

On 12/1/2018 at 5:48 PM, Nirav Narang said:

why when ever i try running progman from windows 3.1, it says app can't run on your computer, what did you do to remove the error?

You are running "Windows 10 x64" which is 64 Bit and Program Manager from Windows 3.1 is 16 Bit. 64 Bit Windows can run 32 Bit apps (IA-64 probably won't), 32 Bit Windows can run 16 Bit apps, but 64 Bit Windows can't handle 16 Bit apps. How I did it is I took Program Manager from Windows XP (32 Bit) which is a 32 Bit version of the Windows 3.1 Program Manager.

Regards,

SnowBall

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Actually, PROGMAN.EXE from Windows 3.1 works on Windows 10 64 Bit... With my NTVDM. It looks horrible and doesn't even have an icon on my taskbar! Even worst, you can't close it without signing out because it was designed as a shell.

A few pictures:

1. Got it running, 

01.png

 

2. Things just doesn't work...

02.png

 

3. When you try to close it... End your Windows session?

03.png

 

4. Sure! I'll see whats going to happen... Another dialog?

04.png

 

5. NO! All my unsaved work!!!😡🤬😭😭 I probably shouldn't click "Yes"

05.png

 

Regards,

SnowBall

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send it up and I will try. I might be able to fix it so you can use it as normal🙄. I've been trying resource hacker and it can modify exe files without corrupting them. I can also add an icon using resource hacker!

also, send your ntvmd up, it looks interesting.

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Resource Hacker?🤔 No, it is for modifying the resources within a 32 or 64 Bit PE (portable executable), it can not modify a 16 Bit NE. Here is the file anyway: https://mega.nz/#!gIFA3aBT!wf2DeMNMcCVzyyCNvcEysODQsB8k77QjDipbTq2CIMY. I don't think you can do anything to it as you probably haven't even used 16 Bit apps before... It has an icon, I am running it on Windows 10 64 Bit, which isn't supposed to run 16 Bit apps at all and because my NTVDM is so buggy it fails to get the icon to display. BTW, if you want to edit the resources within 16 Bit Windows apps, you should try Resource Workshop (it can't handle pre-mswin3.0 16 Bit apps). If you seriously want to edit the content of a 16 Bit NE, use a disassembler to disassemble it and do your modification (resource editors won't change the functionalities of compiled binaries). 

The end session thing is because 30 years ago, Windows wasn't yet a fully qualified OS, it is more of a software on top of MS-DOS. If you end your session, it will exit Windows without shutting down your computer, you will be in DOS prompt. So, it is not a bug or anything, it will just sign you out...

I can't give you my NTVDM (not NTVMD) because it is so buggy and you should try WineVDM which is what my NTVDM based on. Of course WineVDM can't be integrated into Windows as well as my NTVDM but it has less bugs (and won't mess up Windows).

Regards,

SnowBall

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Why the exe you send be doesn't work on win10? it says the app can't run on my pc and i need to check with the publisher? It works on my vm with win 3.1 but does no work here. I tried to open it in resource hacker and it doesn't open. I think ms has a protection so we can't edit that exe.

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6 minutes ago, Nirav Narang said:

Why the exe you send be doesn't work on win10? it says the app can't run on my pc and i need to check with the publisher? It works on my vm with win 3.1 but does no work here. I tried to open it in resource hacker and it doesn't open. I think ms has a protection so we can't edit that exe.

You should know the fact that 64 Bit Windows can't run 16 Bit apps and Windows 1.x to Windows 3.x are 16 Bit. If you take a program that is 16 Bit and run it on a 64 Bit Windows, it will give you the error because it lacks a NTVDM which is what allows you to run them on 32 Bit Windows.

I did write a NTVDM for Windows 10 64 Bit based on WineVDM and OpenNT's source code which is better at handling older Windows apps such as Windows 1.x apps. It is very buggy and I tried to integrate it into Windows which is not working very well. I can not give you that because it might break your computer and I don't want that to happen. By the look of it, you can just use VirualBox or VMware to run the app.

Regards,

SnowBall

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Through batch files. Make a batch file to launch the app and add that batch file to your program group. You might want an icon somewhere to make it look good.

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