Installing games with 16-bit InstallShield installers on 64-bit systems

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Installing games with 16-bit InstallShield installers on 64-bit systems Posted on the 10th of February 2019

If you have retail (CD/DVD) copies of games that you like, but the installer simply refused to open the moment you upgraded to a 64-bit operating system, chances are that that installer is 16-bit and your operating system simply can not run it for technical reasons.

However, if that installer happens to be InstallShield version 3 or 5 (as was the case with almost all games in the late 1990s and early 2000s), not all is lost, as those installers can be replaced with their 32-bit variants, which do run well on 64-bit systems. Here's a procedure on how to install such games:

  1. Insert the disc in your optical drive.
  2. Copy the contents of the game disc to a special folder somewhere on your hard drive. If the game comes on more than one disc (excluding bonus DVDs and soundtrack CDs), copy the contents of all discs into that same folder. You don't need to overwrite files of the same name, so just click No To All when prompted.
  3. Find the setup executable (usually setup.exe or setup32.exe, often in the Setup subfolder), right-click on it, go to its Properties, then select the Details tab. What you are looking for is the Version value. All you need to know is the first digit - is it 3 or 5. You can exit the Properties window now.
  4. Go to this website, and download the appropriate 32-bit replacement setup executable for the InstallShield version you encountered ( for version 3, for version 5).
  5. Extract the contents of the appropriate ZIP file to the location of your original setup executable. If prompted, you have to overwrite the file now.
  6. Run the setup executable, and install the game as you normally would.
  7. You're now free to patch, play, or mod your game!

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Last updated: 12th of October 2019

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