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A while back we enabled the "Prevent Access to 16-bit Applications" option under the Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Application Compatibility section of one of our Group Policy Objects in response to a publicized vulnerability in ntvdm.exe affecting all versions of 32-bit Windows > NT.

While reviewing the Group Policy settings in our domain, I noticed that the description of this option states that it applies only to Windows Server 2003 and higher. Most GPO options mention XP/2003 if XP is also affected by the setting, so I'm wondering if this GPO is indeed protecting the XP Pro workstations on our network.

I can look at the local policy on a given XP workstation and verify that this setting is enabled, but is it actually doing anything on XP? If anyone knows the answer or can think of an easy way to test this (we don't keep any 16-bit software around that I know of) I'd appreciate it.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

It certainly is protecting your Windows XP machines.

We deployed this at the top level of AD, and one of our finance applications [from the early nineties!] suddenly stopped working. A GPO specifically to re-enable 16 bit applications lower down in the hierarchy fixed the problem.

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