I have two kids, and they have computers with kid's games. Kid's games are all really scary because it seems like they were written forever ago, never updated and run on really old systems. Support is often bad or non-existent.
The CompUSA store nearby closed so my wife got 4 "Garfield It's All About Math, Spelling, etc." type games. I promptly stuck them on my kid's Vista machine (hey, I work here :)). Then they crashed with some exception. Interestingly I brought them to work to troubleshoot the problem and had a difficult time consistently reproducing the problem. I thought I'd share my experience here in case someone else has these programs.
I of course tried App Compat and "everything", however what I did that "worked" for me to install the Garfield "It's All About" games was:
Unfortunately it seems that if they don't install right, uninstalling might not solve the problem. I'd try again with various permissions (admin and non-admin). Running in compatibility mode doesn't seem to be necessary and didn't help when I had a failed installation.
There's probably an MSDN article about other tricks, but some of the things I've noticed for other applications are:
Some applications also have some bad/undesirable behavior. Sometimes they install ads or promos for other software. (After installing a dozen kids games my desktop gets littered with odd offers, ISP suggestions and links to other strange things). Sometimes software installs "something" that the system may use or provide. Codecs seem problematic because software seems to provide them in case you don't have a codec anyway, but poorly written codecs can break windows media player and other applications. Disabling such codecs usually solves the problem.
Anyway, those are a few things I ran in to. I hope that in particular if someone has problems with the Garfield software this helps them.