How To Make Old Programs Run On Windows Vista

Programs made for Windows XP would normally work on Windows Vista, but there are exceptional cases. You can utilize “Program Compatibility Wizard” to check if the program would work on Vista. You can also use this wizard to modify the compatibility settings and make the program run. The following are steps on how to alter the compatibility settings and make old programs run on Microsoft’s newest Operating System.

1. Save the software installer on your computer’s hard drive.

If the program’s installer will come from an installation CD, insert that CD on your CD/DVD Drive and locate the installer. An installer would usually have an “.exe” as its file extension. If you are not confident in finding the installer package, you can disable the “Hide extensions for known file types” so that the all documents will show their file extensions. Follow these steps to go about disabling the “Hide extensions for known file types”.

  • Pull up Control Panel in Classic View.
  • Double click on “Folder Options”
  • This will populate the “Folder Options” dialogue box.
  • Navigate to the “View” tab.
  • Under “Advanced settings”, uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.
  • Hit the “OK” button to exit the dialogue box.

You should now be able to see the file extensions after each file name. Should you choose to enable hiding the file extensions, navigate back to “Folder Options” then place a check on this option, only after you have located the executable file on the CD installer.

2. Pull up the “Program Compatibility Wizard”.

Highlight the installer’s icon and right click on it. From the menu that populates, select “Properties” to pull up the “Properties” dialogue box of this specific installer. Navigate to “Compatibility” by hitting on its tab. Under “Compatibility mode”, place a check next to “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” to enable the drop down menu below it. Using your mouse, hit the drop down menu and it will list all predecessors of Windows Vista. Select the Operating System that you are sure the program would run in. Place a check next to “Run this program as an Administrator” should you need to. Save the compatibility settings by hitting on “Apply” then “OK” to exit the Properties dialogue box.

3. Use the modified executable file to install the software.

Do as you normally would when installing the software, by double clicking on the executable file and follow onscreen instructions to complete the installation.

4. Modify the application’s compatibility settings.

When the installation setup is complete, locate the shortcut key the software created. You would usually find the shortcut keys for the software installed on your system on the Start Menu’s program group or on the desktop. Highlight the item and right click on it. Select “Properties” from the menu that populates, then navigate to the “Shortcut” tab. Copy the folder path you see on “Target”. For example, “C:\Program Files\Program Folder Here\”. Paste the folder path on the Run command and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. The folder where the executable file for that program will now populate. Locate the executable file and change the compatibility settings as you did with its installer.

After doing the above steps, you will now be able to run the program without any hiccups on Windows Vista.


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