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Other 16-bit screensavers ran on 64-bit?

Following the procedure to run Johnny Castaway on Windows 64-bit, how might one edit those steps to launch other legacy screensavers? Try as I may, I can only get Johnny to pop up.

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Anonymous9 months ago

2 replies

  • Good question! Thanks for posting it to the message board.

    If you have a standalone 16-bit screensaver (.SCR) file, you can quite easily get that to run just like Johnny Castaway. The first step would be to copy that .SCR file to the "dosbox" folder, usually located at C:\dosbox, so that DOSBox can access it.

    We then need to change the file extension from .SCR to .EXE because that's the only way we can get Windows 3.1 to launch the screensaver using the "win runexit" command (under [autoexec] in the DOSBox configuration file).

    (For the most part, screensavers are simply executable files that have had their extension renamed from .EXE (executable) to .SCR (screensaver) so that Windows recognizes them as screensavers. We're essentially reversing that here.)

    Changing a file's extension can be tricky because, by default, Windows will hide the extensions for common file types in the File Explorer. If you're comfortable with using the command prompt, click the Start menu, then type "cmd" and click the Command Prompt desktop app that should appear at the top.

    Enter the command "CD C:\dosbox" (without quotation marks) and press the enter key. Now you if enter the command "dir" , followed again by the enter key, you should get a list of all files and folders within the dosbox folder.

    Locate the screensaver file you copied here, then enter the command "rename [something].scr [something].exe", where [something] is the file name of the screensaver. I tried it with a file called GRAV.SCR, so I entered "rename GRAV.SCR GRAV.EXE", followed once again by the enter key to confirm.

    Use the "dir" command again to check if the file was successfully renamed.

    Alternatively, if you're not comfortable using the Command Prompt, you can also change a setting in the File Explorer to show file extensions. See this help page.

    Once the file has been renamed, open your DOSBox options file. Scroll down to the bottom where the instructions to launch the Johnny Castaway screensaver are, right under [autoexec], and change the "win runexit" line so that it refers to the screensaver file you just renamed instead of "c:\windows\scrantic.exe".

    In my example, I would change it to:

    win runexit c:\GRAV.EXE /s

    Save the configuration file (Ctrl + S), then launch DOSBox.

    I tried this with a few different 16-bit screensavers, and most of them worked. However, some of them didn't, or did not run particularly smoothly. It's possible that certain screensavers require some tweaking of other DOSBox settings.

    Which screensaver(s) are you trying to run on Windows 64-bit? Feel free to submit them to us, so that we can check to see if we can get them to work.

    Hope that helps. Please let me know if you need any further assistance.

    Rob (Screensavers Planet)9 months ago

  • No, that works perfectly! Thank you very much for the user-friendly response!

    Anonymous9 months ago

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