Okay I’ll admit it. I have a hard time upgrading programs when the old version is working well.
I have a 1995-era time tracking program from KMR Consulting called Timeclock that I still use. I run it across the network from my Windows XP SP3 and 32-bit Windows 7 machines. However after changing the host from SBS 2003 to SBS 2008, the 16-bit reporting module gives me this message:
Can’t run 16-bit Windows program
Cannot find file L:\TimeClock\Timeclk.mcb\TCREPORT.EXE (or one of this components).
But why does changing the host file system matter?
After some research, I discovered the likely culprit: apparently 8.3 file names are disabled by default under SBS 2008. This registry key:
is set to 1 (see this TechNet article).
I don’t really want to change that default just for one program, and I’d rather not run the file locally on my XP machine.
So the 16-bit program is unhappy about missing 8.3 file names. But why? Everything is still in 8.3 format. Unless…aha! I had named the root path L:\TimeClock. By shortening that to L:\TimeClk, I’m able to run the program across the network again.
Of course the more elegant solution would be to upgrade to a 32-bit version of the program that understands long file names. A little digging in my electronic archives turned up TimeClock version 1.2, which included 32-bit versions of the tracking and reporting programs. Now I’m caught up to 1996 anyway.