Microsoft KB Archive/101924

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Unable to Start Win 16 WOW Applications

Article ID: 101924

Article Last Modified on 10/31/2006


  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

This article was previously published under Q101924


When starting 16-bit Windows applications with Windows NT, if you do not get an hourglass pointer and no application loads when you click the icon for a 16-bit Windows application, this may indicate a corrupt or missing WOWEXEC.EXE file. The Windows On Windows (WOW) function of Windows NT is handled by WOWEXEC.EXE. If the file is corrupt, the following error message may appear:

"$ caused an exception in the Win16 Subsystem

Click on CLOSE to terminate the application Click on IGNORE to continue, you should save your work in a new file"

Windows 3.0 and 3.1 applications are 16-bit and run in WOW in a Virtual DOS Machine (VDM). There must be a valid WOWEXEC.EXE in the SYSTEM32 subdirectory for the WOW subsystem to start. If the file is corrupt or missing, the above error message may appear during logon or when attempting to load a 16-bit Windows application.

The correct file size of WOWEXEC.EXE is 15872 bytes.

Additional query words: prodnt

Keywords: kbinterop kb3rdparty KB101924