I extracted this from a comment on a previous post, and a question I receieved this weekend from a neighbour:

"I upgraded to Vista, but found that some of my applications I used on Windows XP don't work... How do I run Windows XP compatible applications on Windows Vista?"

With Windows Vista, there may be problems running some older versions of applications, but you can set the compatibility mode for many applications.

"If a program written for an earlier version of Windows doesn't run correctly, use the Program Compatibility Wizard to change the compatibility settings for the program." (See "Make older programs run in this version of Windows" on the Windows Help and How To site for more details.)

To Run the Program Compatibility Wizard...

  1. Open the Program Compatibility Wizard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Programs, and then clicking Use an older program with this version of Windows.
  2. Follow the instructions in the wizard. 

Setting the Compatibility mode to Windows XP (for apps you ran successfully under that OS) runs the program using the settings from Windows XP. I've had good success with this with most of the applications I have on Vista at home, even with kid's games running from CD (which seem to be some of the most challenging). 

As noted on the Program Compatibility Wizard page:

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

In these cases, visit your vendor's site for more details on application compatibility with Windows Vista.

To change settings for a program manually, use the individual program's Compatibility tab: find the application's .exe and then right click on the icon. Next, select the Properties and click on the Compatibility tab.

There's a helpful page on the How-To-Geek's site on using Windows Vista Compatibility Mode - see the Geek's site for more helpful tips, a great general tech help site.

Also see...

  • What is program compatibility?
  • Program Compatibility Assistant: frequently asked questions
  • Tags: ,