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Different versions of Sidekick and how to install them into Windows10 64bit

Different versions of Sidekick and how to install them into Windows10 64bit

Different versions of Sidekick and how to install them into Windows10 64bit

Below are the properties of the Sidekick.exe executable files of Sidekick98 and are to be found in the Program folder once installed on a computer. These can be viewed if you go to the program folder and right-click on the Sidekick.exe file and choose properties and then left-click on the Details tab.

The first file is fairly easy to install into a Windows10 64bit machine but the latter one involves a little more effort to install.

sidekick.exe properties

File description Sidekick 98
Type Application
File version
Product name Sidekick 98
Product version 1.00.037
Copyright Copyright (c) Starfish Software. Inc. 1984...
Size 2.79MB
Date modified 2000/01/07 13:08
Language English (United States)

The following is harfder to install, but see the message I received from MarkG explaining a method which if you are competent editing the registry (and only if you are) does work, check it out.

File description Sidekick 98
Type Application
File version
Product name Sidekick 98
Product version 1.00.001
Copyright Copyright (c) Starfish Software. Inc. 1984
Size 2.79MB
Date modified 12/01/97 12:01 AM
Language English (United States)

Got it to work!

The problem is the missing registry entries. When an existing install is crudely copied as is from one PC to another (like I did), no registry entries are created, of course. Some software will handle that and just recreate what it needs when you run it. But Sidekick doesn’t handle it and fails with a strange “}#%\cityinfo.dat” dialog error message on launch, followed by a C++ error, then closes.

NOTE: the “}#%” in my example error message isn’t fully accurate; it is three ASCII symbols that are not on the keyboard. That particular error message has been encountered by others previously, and there are discussions in the Sidekick area of Tek-tips where members have asked about it. But no solution offered would work for me because they involved reinstalling Sidekick and, as you know, I have the 16-bit Sidekick98 install provided by Starfish if bought via download.

Simply moving the registry settings from the old 32-bit Windows install to the new 64-bit Windows won’t work, either. When a 32-bit program runs on a 64-bit version of Windows, the registry settings are stored in a different place. On Windows XP, for instance, Sidekick saves it’s registry settings under:


But 32-bit Sidekick running on a 64-bit OS has its registry settings redirected to:


So, I exported the original registry settings from Win XP. Edited where necessary to include “Wow6432Node\”. Then imported the registry into Win 7 Pro 64-bit. Sidekick launched successfully and runs fine after doing that.

I found all this out by running ProcMon (Process Monitor) from Sysinternals. I ran it, then launched Sidekick until the strange error message appeared. Then searched through ProcMon’s logs to see what was going on when the error occurred. It showed that Sidekick was trying to create a folder named those three ASCII symbols “}#%”, which can’t be done because they are illegal characters for a file path. I then guessed that Sidekick was missing registry settings telling it where everything was.

Maybe this is all known, and I reinvented the wheel. But none of the answers that I could find regarding the “}#%\cityinfo.dat” error message pointed to the root cause being that Sidekick can’t find any valid registry settings, thus can’t find the “cityinfo.dat” file, and it fails and crashes on launch.

I attached the modified registry file to this email. Note that I removed the “.reg” and renamed it to “Starfish_Wow6432Node.txt” because “.reg” files are sometimes blocked as potentially malicious in email. Rename it with “.reg”, of course, to use it.

The settings are generic and should work for most anyone, except that listed the “User” and “Company” is the fictitious “Joe Smith” and “ABC Corp”. That should be changed to whatever the user has for their Sidekick setup before importing the settings.

Regards Jim
Check the FAQ area of any Forum you are in for answers to similar queries, it could save you a lot of time and effort! Good Luck!

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