Jan 222013

I use an ancient edition of AutoCAD 2000 for my 2D drafting needs (such as all the illustrations for “Nuclear Pulse Propulsion”). But I’m running up against the clock… ACAD2K won’t even *try* to load on Windows 7. And apart from one elderly laptop, everything I have now is Windows 7. So, when that one laptop finally goes *sput,* I’ll be SOL.

Sadly, more recent versions of AutoCAD cost four grand or more, more than an order of magnitude more than I can even dream about spending. I procured a copy of “TurboCAD Designer 2D,” only to find out after I got it that it does *not* support importing raster images (BMPs, GIFs, etc), a function I *need* to have in order to trace diagrams and the like. So it’s useless to me (plus it’s enough unlike ACAD that it’s a pain to use… no text inputting of commands! bah!). Rhino is so-so for 2D drafting, but it only supports importing very small raster images… too small to maintain detail.

So… does anyone have a copy of some version of AutoCAD that will work on Windows 7 you’d be willing to sell me at a reasonable price? And is that even possible, now that, I think, AutoCAD is one of those “licensed” programs that will only work on certain authorized computers?

 Posted by at 8:12 pm
  • Donut Argh

    When my wife’s old XP system’s CPU died, I bought a Windows7 machine and downloaded VirtualBox for free from Oracle, and copied the old hard drive into it. XP runs fast enough inside the VM so that YouTube videos can play fine. VirtualBox also has 3D acceleration; I have experimented with SketchUp, and it seemed to work without delay as well.

    • Anonymous

      I was going to mention this as well. I can’t vouch for the performance, but VMWare also has some free solutions, including a physical-2-virtual converter. You wouldn’t get any of the new features of AutoCAD, but hey, if the current version still does what you need, you should give it a try. Worst case, you waste some time…. This kind of setup is not a niche thing, people have been doing it for a long time. You can probably find a bunch of guides to help out…. Also means you can “backup” the computer image to migrate to yet another computer in the future, if you so need….

    • Faraday Cage

      Not an expert but I concur that Virtualbox running an old OS might be best unless you want to boot into Linux and try some open source CAD package.

    • Anonymous

      Virtualbox seems to be the answer of choice online, but I’m pretty fuzzy on what’s involved. The laptop I have is loaded with files and programs… would VBox cause trouble here? How about “copying the old hard drive?”

      • Donut Argh

        In your situation, I would

        1) create a shared folder on my Windows 7 box; then
        2) I would boot the laptop up with Knoppix from a CD, and

        3) mount the laptop hard drive and the shared folder (over the network) into the running Knoppix.

        4) I would create a compressed tar file in the shared folder that contained an image of the laptop hard drive, and then shut down the laptop.
        5) Create a VirtualBox VM for Windows XP but when it comes to the point of looking for installation CDs, instead insert the Knoppix CD.
        6) Mount the VM hard drive and the shared folder (over the network) into the running Knoppix
        7) Extract the image of your laptop hard drive from the compressed tar file in the shared folder, and dump it onto the VM hard drive image.
        8) When rebooting, Windows XP may ask to be repaired, in which case the XP install CDs will do what they need to do to adjust boot settings, but all your original programs, drivers, settings, etc. will remain.
        9) After the repair process, install the VirtualBox Guest Additions to make the WindowsXP image behave properly under VirtualBox.

  • mzungu54

    downloded Windows virtual PC and Windows XP Mode (free download).
    The Windows XP Mode runs in the background (in its own window). loaded AutoCAD 2000 Architectural Desktop from my software CD. As I was
    doing this I had to go to the program compatibility
    (start-programs-accessories-program compatibility – pick ‘from C D
    drive’) I changed the compatibility to windows 98/ me.

    from here:


  • Deep Beam

    In the architecture world we’re having a lot of conversations about the stranglehold that AutoDesk has on us. They set the standard for the industry and then just jack up the prices every year and don’t accept feedback on it.

    Here’s a comic about that: http://architexts.us/2013/01/21/building-design-suite/#comments

    One of the commenters their mentions something called “Draftsight” which might be worth looking into.

  • xvdougl

    Scott, Love the blog.

    I would give DraftSight a try.

    The price is right (free).
    We use it at work when we deal with our legacy 2D stuff.

  • Ed

    You might look into places that do autocad resale, much much cheaper than Oem. Auto desk hates it, but it’s legal (Autodesk vs. Vernon). I know of at least one small civil engineering company that has done this.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, just download DraftSight, it basically emulates AutoCAD LT.

    Dassault was sued by AutoDesk for making money from their copy of AutoCAD, so as part of the settlement Dassault must give away DraftSight for free.

    The Siemens SolidEdge 2D is even better and it’s also free:

    Both of these 2D packages can import a high rez bitmap for tracing.

    And finally: you can get a copy of CorelDraw on eBay for <$20.

    CorelDraw is my choice for tracing bitmaps. It can do anything AutoCAD can do and much, much more.

    CorelDraw is THE indispensable tool and my secret weapon. CorelDraw has dozens of import/export filters including HPGL for plotting on old pin plotters, which would be the hot ticket for you.