NTVDM encountered a hard error

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I ran across this one today when trying to run a 16-bit application on a Windows 2003 Server. I run the app and it pops up a Windows dialog box saying, "System Error : NTVDM encountered a hard error."

Turns out that the environment path for "TEMP" and "TMP" is invalid. Normally these paths resolve to their 8.3 pathname, so an enviromental variable set to %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Temp will resolve to C:\DOCUME~1\ADMINI~1\LOCALS~1\Temp. On my problem server the path resolves to C:\DOCUME~1\ADMINI~1\Local Settings\Temp, note the space in Local Settings. This mix of long filenames and 8.3 names is invalid.

To resolve the issue, I changed the user TEMP and TMP variables to use C:\TEMP.