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Old March 8, 2020, 12:38 AM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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Computer weirdness

I have two Dell Inspiron computers at home. The first, which is my primary desktop computer, was bought when Windows 7 was in its prime, and that's what came installed on the computer. And the case has a Windows 7 sticker with the product key code.

The second is a smaller size case (but not a mini) that was bought after Windows 10 came out, but was a special offer that came with a Windows 10 license but with Windows 7 installed. I bought it because I work from home and I wanted a spare, "just in case."

Fast forward to January of 2020 and the end-of-life for Windows 7. I don't like Windows 10 but I reluctantly bit the bullet and upgraded both machines to Windows 10 Professional. Initially, I thought the upgrade had been trasparent. I was wrong.

First issue: I have AutoCAD LT 2014 on the primary. AutoCAD survived the update just fine; it loads and runs normally. I hadn't installed it on the second machine. When I tried to do so, I couldn't. I had to back it down to Windows 7, install AutoCAD, then re-do the upgrade to Windows 10.

And then, today, I was thinking about external ballistics programs. I'm going through the effort to try to make the second machine a true mirror image of the primary so that, if anything happens to the primary, I can switch machines and just keep on truckin'. On the primary I have two ballistics programs: Pointblank, which is a freeware download. No problem adding that to the backup machine. The other is an old program called "Lee Shooter," from the Lee reloading equipment company. I don't know what happened to the installation CD, and when I called Lee about buying a replacement they said they no longer sell it because it's not compatible with Windows 10 and the developer didn't want to update it.

What's curious is that the copy on the primary computer runs just fine under Windows 10. But ... I discovered today that I have a copy of the installation files on an external hard drive. And when I tried to install it on the second computer ... no joy. I got an error message informing me that "This software is not compatible with this version of Windows."

And that agrees with what Lee told me. So ... WHY DOES MY ORIGINAL COPY STILL RUN? The program is old, but it offers a lot in one package. In addition to an external ballistics calculator, it has a reloading record log; a firearms log; direct access to reloading data manuals from Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, and VihtaVuori; and a couple of other bells and whistles I haven't explored.

It's really a shame that Lee can't get it updated. It's even more of a shame that I can't get it to install on my second computer.
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Old March 8, 2020, 05:13 AM   #2
Hal
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You might be able to install and run a virtual PC and run Win 7.If you have the media to install Win 7.

Quote:
WHY DOES MY ORIGINAL COPY STILL RUN?
If I read you right - you had Win 7 and upgraded to Win 10.
The core of your OS would still be Win 7.

The current version of Win 10 is a radical departure from anything Microsoft has put out for over 25 years.
I have a brand new laptop I just picked up a couple weeks ago.
It came with Win 10 - but - no licence key.
I haven't had a chance to look into it further - but - it appears that the licence key is impeded in the processor chip.

That would make that part of the bootstrap - which since the days of the Intel 8080 have always directed the processor to load in the OS starting at the Hex address of fffe (all 8 address lines go to a high state & go to that address- minus 1) ...

Dude - this is getting so complicated to try to put into a brief forum post.
If we had a week or so to hang out and swill coffee - I could probably walk you through the whole thing.

I guess the short answer here is - after I did a bit of looking about that program is - it was made for the old DOS world - which had some holdover through Win 7 - but - that's just 100% gone now.

Last edited by Hal; March 8, 2020 at 05:22 AM.
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Old March 8, 2020, 09:53 AM   #3
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So I guess I should install Lee Shooter on my last Win 7 laptop before I do the update to Windows 10.

Sheesh!

I also have PointBlank, which doesn't appear to have problems with Windows 10, but there are some aspects of Lee Shooter that I like. Are there any other freeware exterior ballistics programs out there that I should take a look at?
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Old March 9, 2020, 08:04 AM   #4
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Well - time does march on & we can't be stuck in the 1980's world of computering...

While looking into this - I noted that support for this product disappeared around 2011/2012 - 8 to 9 years ago.

Sooner or later - there has to be some point to cut things off.

If you have or can make or extract the files to load Win 7 or XP - you can probably create a virtual machine & load the Lee program into that.
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Old March 9, 2020, 09:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal
Well - time does march on & we can't be stuck in the 1980's world of computering...
1980s? Whoa -- we've progressed that far? Yikes!

I know, progress is progress. That said, to some of us who have been around since dirt was invented, a lot of [alleged] progress is just changes to spur more sales, not anything that represents a tangible improvement. Lee Shooter is a somewhat clunky, plain vanilla interface but it offers quite a bit in a single, compact package. It really is a shame that they've discontinued it.

Here's what I discovered:

It's the same issue I encountered with AutoCAD: THe program runs under Windows 10, but the installer doesn't. The program is installed under C:\Program Files(x86), which is the expected location for a 32-bit program. I've progressed to keeping my data files on an external, redundant hard drive, a Western Digital MyCloud device. I put a copy of the Lee Shooter folder on the MyCloud and it ran from there on the machine that already has it. Then I fired up the second machine, and it ran off the MyCloud from that computer, as well.

So I then manually created a "Shooter" folder under C:\Program Files(x86) on the second machine, manually copied the files into it, and ... it now runs on the second machine. However, it didn't bring in the data I had entered.

So I'm now pondering whether it would make more sense to just run it on the MyCloud, period. It will be available to all my computers while at home, and it's highly unlikely that I would want or need to run Lee Shooter from a notebook or tablet while away from home. And I won't have the problem of different datasets on each copy.
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Old March 9, 2020, 10:55 AM   #6
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A-Q.
My Wife is the techy person in our house! But every few years I upgrade. We have Lenovo Flex 5 laptops, mine has a touch screen 15". Had problems, had the mechanical hard drive replaced with the more modern SSD (My Wife just told me that!) I think we paid $450.00? On sale at Office Depot.
I normally sleep for 4 or 5 hrs. Then go on the laptop for a while, and with the backlit keys, my long-suffering wife can sleep. Then I finish off my 7 or 8 hrs.
The exciting life of an 84-year-old Aye. Remember I spent 36 years in Canada.
Hence the Aye.
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Old March 9, 2020, 01:36 PM   #7
Hal
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Quote:
So I'm now pondering whether it would make more sense to just run it on the MyCloud, period
There ya go - - problem solved with almost no muss and fuss.
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Old March 9, 2020, 08:49 PM   #8
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Ya know, sometimes, all this wonderful, modern technology just makes me want to take an axe to it.
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Old March 9, 2020, 09:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
I guess the short answer here is - after I did a bit of looking about that program is - it was made for the old DOS world - which had some holdover through Win 7 - but - that's just 100% gone now.
If it's really a DOS program, check out vDOS. It is a DOS emulator designed for applications, not games. It is easy to download, install, and run even under the latest version of Windows 10. I haven't used it for anything serious, but it looks like it could be an option for a DOS application.

https://www.vdos.info/index.html
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Old March 9, 2020, 11:20 PM   #10
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Time to buy another Apple computer
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Old March 10, 2020, 12:58 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by TXAZ
Time to buy another Apple computer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nrInsANB8Q
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Old March 10, 2020, 03:07 AM   #12
Hal
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Quote:
Time to buy another Apple computer
Sort of - Win 10 is a lot like Apple circa 1990- something.

When Apple made the jump from 16 bit to 32 bit - and none of the legacy 16 bit programs would run. You had to replace/upgrade everything. That "small oversight" came pretty close to wiping Apple off the face of the Earth.
I had just gotten into the IT world at that time & watched Apple computers by the hundreds get tossed out of just about every school and business.

Of course - since that was pre-internet explosion (of about 1995) - the Apple faithful tend to overlook it.

Quote:
If it's really a DOS program, check out vDOS.
Jim - it isn't that it's a DOS program - it uses the older Intel based DOS bootstrap loader - which used the DOS 16 bit address space to vector to. (ffff).

Beginning with the Intel 8086 - a 16 bit micro that pre-dated the 8088 - when power is applied to the micros - all the address lines are sent to a high state - which addresses hex - ffff. That address - in the BIOS - vectors to lower memory.

This is a gross oversimplification of something that would take weeks to explain......& since I haven't even looked at the ins and outs of Intel memory address space for nearly 30 years, I'd have to spend a lot of time myself brushing up on it.

Last edited by Hal; March 10, 2020 at 03:21 AM.
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Old March 10, 2020, 03:24 AM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hal
Quote:
So I'm now pondering whether it would make more sense to just run it on the MyCloud, period
There ya go - - problem solved with almost no muss and fuss.
Another possibility would be to copy the entire directory over to a cloud account and run it from the cloud drive. That would give me access to it from any device that's either on my home network or that has a WiFi connection. I need to test that out ... I think I like it.
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Old March 10, 2020, 09:19 AM   #14
Hal
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If that will work then it's another way to do it.
I never looked into the actual program - but - it's starting to sound like it might actually be DOS based.
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Old March 10, 2020, 10:04 AM   #15
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The update to Win 10 on an existing Win 7 installation automatically set the non-compliant, incompatible programs up to be run in the equivalent of a Win 7 'virtual machine' environment -- or, as Microsoft refers to it, "compatibility mode".
Win 10 simulates the prior versions, in order to run applications that are not compatible with the current.
(Similar things were possible with Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1; there just weren't as many incompatible programs [except video games that required physical discs in CD/DVD drives] and a lot of applications had compatibility modes set automatically. So, most people didn't run into the headaches.)

Usually, you can get away with running the installer/setup program in the "compatibility mode" for its originally intended version of Windows. Sometimes, however, Win 10 doesn't give you the option, or still won't run the application correctly.

I've had a few Vista / Win 7-era applications fail to run correctly on Win 8, 8.1, and/or 10, no matter what I tried with a direct installation. However, installing on a removable drive (external HDD or flash memory) was not only successful, but allowed the application to be run on ALL of my computers, directly from the removable drive.
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Old March 10, 2020, 06:03 PM   #16
danco
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
I have two Dell Inspiron computers at home. The first, which is my primary desktop computer, was bought when Windows 7 was in its prime, and that's what came installed on the computer. And the case has a Windows 7 sticker with the product key code.

The second is a smaller size case (but not a mini) that was bought after Windows 10 came out, but was a special offer that came with a Windows 10 license but with Windows 7 installed. I bought it because I work from home and I wanted a spare, "just in case."

Fast forward to January of 2020 and the end-of-life for Windows 7. I don't like Windows 10 but I reluctantly bit the bullet and upgraded both machines to Windows 10 Professional. Initially, I thought the upgrade had been trasparent. I was wrong.

First issue: I have AutoCAD LT 2014 on the primary. AutoCAD survived the update just fine; it loads and runs normally. I hadn't installed it on the second machine. When I tried to do so, I couldn't. I had to back it down to Windows 7, install AutoCAD, then re-do the upgrade to Windows 10.

And then, today, I was thinking about external ballistics programs. I'm going through the effort to try to make the second machine a true mirror image of the primary so that, if anything happens to the primary, I can switch machines and just keep on truckin'. On the primary I have two ballistics programs: Pointblank, which is a freeware download. No problem adding that to the backup machine. The other is an old program called "Lee Shooter," from the Lee reloading equipment company. I don't know what happened to the installation CD, and when I called Lee about buying a replacement they said they no longer sell it because it's not compatible with Windows 10 and the developer didn't want to update it.

What's curious is that the copy on the primary computer runs just fine under Windows 10. But ... I discovered today that I have a copy of the installation files on an external hard drive. And when I tried to install it on the second computer ... no joy. I got an error message informing me that "This software is not compatible with this version of Windows."

And that agrees with what Lee told me. So ... WHY DOES MY ORIGINAL COPY STILL RUN? The program is old, but it offers a lot in one package. In addition to an external ballistics calculator, it has a reloading record log; a firearms log; direct access to reloading data manuals from Accurate, Alliant, Hodgdon, and VihtaVuori; and a couple of other bells and whistles I haven't explored.

It's really a shame that Lee can't get it updated. It's even more of a shame that I can't get it to install on my second computer.
The problem is that the Installers for these old programs are 16-bit, even though the application is 32-bit. Windows 10 will not run old 16-bit software...

To get AutoCAD 2000 (yup, really old...) to run, I used the Longbow Converter from https://www.longbowsoftware.com/.

They have a version that supposedly works with other old software (not just AutoCAD)...that might also work with your ballistics software. I haven't used that version, but it may be worth checking out...

Good luck!
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Old March 10, 2020, 07:44 PM   #17
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Fortunately, the ballistics software is old enough that it apparently doesn't require any entries in the Windows registry to run. I've found that I can copy the installed directory (or "folder," in Windows newspeak) anywhere, click on the .exe file, and it'll run. So my problem is solved, but anyone who didn't already have a copy installed somewhere is out of luck.
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Old March 11, 2020, 05:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAZ View Post
Time to buy another Apple computer
That's the way my Son goes, old moneybags!
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