We have new Dell systems with the Intel i5-6x00 series processors and they will not allow 16-bit applications to run. This is not something specific to any one application. The NTVDM process starts but then hangs at 25% CPU usage with 1080KB of RAM being used. We have isolated this to be something with the integrated graphics (either the HD 530 or HD 520) with VBIOS 1039. The way we isolated this is by installing an external Radeon video card in to the system and the issue went away. We do not want to go this way as it will be more cost effective to use the integrated video cards. We do have some older dell systems with the same integrated video cards that are not having the issue, the difference is that they have an older VBIOS installed.
My Main question is, is there a way to downgrade the VBIOS without having the flash the BIOS on the system as this is not an option (we tried and the downgrades fail to install)
Thank you for contacting the Intel community.
About flashing the BIOS this depends on your system manufacturer, your system manufacturer has the BIOS update instructions and what BIOS version will be good for your system.
This processor and graphics can run 16-bit applications, I would check with your computer manufacturer if Windows® 7 32bit is supported BIOS your system.
I would like to refer to the following post (from a few months ago) referencing the same exact issue, it also looks to have not been solved. We did reach out to the Hardware manufacturer but they are unable to help us downgrade the integrated video card VBIOS.
I'm sorry that your computer manufacturer cannot help you with the BIOS downgrade, I'm sorry we don't have BIOS instructions from third party systems like Dell, there should be a reason why they don't want to help with that BIOS downgrade, I know that depends on your system a BIOS downgrade can make your system unusable.
From our end I can confirm that the skylake can run 16-bit applications and if it doesn't work on your system this can be a limitation from your computer manufacturer, it could be a BIOS limitation.
I advice is to contact Dell and ask them if they can test a computer similar like the one you have to see if they can replicate it and start working from their end.