Make older programs run in this version of Windows

[This information is preliminary and subject to change.]

Most programs written for Windows Vista also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. If a program written for an earlier version of Windows doesn't run correctly, you can try changing the compatibility settings for the program, either manually or by using the Program Compatibility troubleshooter.

If changing the settings doesn't fix the problem, go to the program manufacturer's website to see if there is an update for the program.

Warning

Warning

Do not use the Program Compatibility troubleshooter on older antivirus programs, disk utilities, or other system programs because it might cause data loss or create a security risk.

To run the Program Compatibility troubleshooter

  1. Click to open the Program Compatibility troubleshooter.

  2. Follow the instructions in the troubleshooter.

If you cannot install a program, insert the installation disc for the program and, using the troubleshooter, browse to the program's setup file, usually called Setup.exe, Install.exe, or something similar. The troubleshooter is not designed to work on programs that have an .msi file name extension.

Tip

Tip

You can also open the Program Compatibility troubleshooter by right-clicking a program's icon or shortcut and then clicking Troubleshoot compatibility.

To change compatibility settings manually

To change compatibility settings manually for a program, right-click the program icon, click Properties, and then click the Compatibility tab.

Setting Description

Compatibility mode

Runs the program using settings from a previous version of Windows. Try this setting if you know the program is designed for (or worked in) a specific previous version of Windows.

Run in 256 colors

Uses a limited set of colors in the program. Some older programs are designed to use fewer colors.

Run in 640 × 480 screen resolution

Runs the program in a smaller-sized window. Try this setting if the graphical user interface appears jagged or is rendered improperly.

Disable visual themes

Disables themes on the program. Try this setting if you notice problems with the menus or buttons on the title bar of the program.

Disable desktop composition

Turns off transparency and other advanced display features. Choose this setting if window movement appears erratic or you notice other display problems.

Disable display scaling on high DPI settings

Turns off automatic resizing of programs if large-scale font size is in use. Try this setting if large-scale fonts are interfering with the appearance of the program.

Privilege level

Runs the program as an administrator. Some programs require administrator privileges to run properly. If you are not currently logged on as an administrator, this option is not available.

Change settings for all users

Lets you choose settings that will apply to all users on this computer.