Sunday, September 28, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 C/C++ applications under Win9x

On of the disadvantages of Visual Studio 2008 is that it does not create applications that support Windows 95/98/98SE/ME nor Windows NT. Although Windows XP has been shipping for seven years, there are still people out there who have never seen any reason to upgrade and are still running the old operating systems. (As of August 2008, shows that the combined market share of the Windows 9x variants is less than 0.9%.)

Windows 95 support was dropped in Visual Studio 2005, but working around the problem was easy.

Visual Studio 2008 is a thornier problem. VS2008 dropped support for all variants of Win9x and the C run-time depends on several functions that require Windows 2000 or later. Fortunately, a third party company has created a product named Legacy Extender that provides a drop-in solution. The caveat is that it only works with the statically linked C runtime libraries, not with the DLLs.

For a modest $29.95/developer, including unlimited upgrades, Legacy Extender is a great solution to a difficult problem.

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