Run Older Software in Newer Windows Versions - dummies

Run Older Software in Newer Windows Versions

By Dan Gookin

Microsoft tries hard to keep the current version of Windows compatible with older versions of software that runs on it. Hopefully, that goes off without a hitch. If not, you can try a few tricks to get older software to run. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the program’s icon.

    It can be the program itself or a shortcut icon. But if you choose a shortcut icon, the effect takes place only when you start the program by using that shortcut.

  2. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

  3. Click the Compatibility tab.

    You see compatibility options.


  4. Place a check mark by the top item, Run This Program in Compatibility Mode For.

  5. Choose a Windows version from the drop-down list.

  6. Set other options.

    For example, some older games may require that you set the monitor to 256 colors.

  7. Click OK.

When you try running the program, Windows loads older, more compatible versions of itself to make a good try at being compatible. It may work, it may not. What matters more than what Windows does is how the software behaves; older Windows programs were notorious for being less than compatible, even with older versions of Windows!

Yes, at some point you should just give up. Some older software, especially DOS programs or applications for Windows 95, just aren’t compatible with today’s version of Windows.