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How to Use the Windows 7 Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

One of the many troubleshooters available in Windows 7 is designed specifically to look for issues with older programs. As with any software troubleshooter, sometimes it’s brilliant and sometimes not so much. Here’s how to try it out:

  1. Open the Control Panel.

  2. Choose Programs and then, beneath the Programs and Features heading, choose the link Run Programs Made for Previous Versions of Windows.

    The Program Compatibility troubleshooter appears.

  3. Click the Next button.

    A list of installed programs appears. Your job is to pluck from the list the program with which you’re having issues.

  4. Choose a bothersome program from the list.

    If the program isn’t listed, choose the top item in the list: Not Listed. Use the Browse button on the next page to locate the program. The Browse dialog box isn’t forgiving; to proceed, you need to know exactly where the file is located and its filename.

  5. Click the Next button.

    You’re next asked to either test or troubleshoot the program.

  6. Click the button Try Recommended Settings to test the program; if you already tried this option, choose Troubleshoot Program and skip to Step 12.

    Compatibility options are applied.

  7. Click the Start The Program button to confirm that the fixes worked.

  8. Close the program window.

  9. Click the Next button.

  10. Choose an option that describes the experience you had when running the program in Step 7.

  11. Assuming that everything works just fine, you can continue:

  12. Choose the option No, Try Again Using Different Settings.

  13. Place check marks by the options that describe your experiences with the program.

  14. Click the Next button.

  15. Continue to work your way through the wizard.

The wizard continues to ask you questions about your experiences and problems with the program, which help customize how the program will be run, which options will be set, and which version of Windows the program works best under.

Don’t expect miracles. Some programs are just too old to run in Windows 7.

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