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Published on 09.06.07 by Brent Trahan

Run Software in Application Compatibility Mode

Some older software packages won’t run in Windows Vista. This guide shows you how to run older software packages in an emulated environment of a previous version of Windows.


So you upgraded to Windows Vista only to find out an old application doesn’t work anymore. This guide shows you how to run older applications in an emulated environment of a previous version of Windows.

Here is a list of previous versions of Windows that can be emulated when running older incompatible software on Windows Vista:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • Windows ME
  • Windows NT 4.0 w/sp5
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP w/sp2
  • Windows Server 2003 w/sp1

Using Compatibility Mode

  1. Right-click the shortcut of the application you want to setup compatibility mode for in the Start Menu and then select Properties.
  2. Click the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check off Run this program in compatibility mode for:.


  4. Select one of the previous versions of Windows from the drop down list to emulate when running this software.
  5. If the software runs but it looks funny, try changing the appearance settings in the settings section.
  6. If the software needs to run with Administrative rights check off Run this program as an administrator.

    Note: If this option is grayed out, the user account you are currently logged in with doesn’t have administrative privileges. Click the Show settings for all users button, provide an administrative password, and then you can check off Run this program as an admin.

  7. Click OK to save your settings and give it a try.

Using the Program Compatibility Wizard

Instead of editing a program’s properties manually, it’s possible to use the Program Compatibility Wizard.

  1. Open Help and Support from the Start Menu.
  2. Type Program Compatibility Wizard in the search box and then press enter.

  3. Click Start the Program Compatibility Wizard in the search results.

  4. Click Click to open the Programs Compatibility Wizard.

  5. Click Next in the Programs Compatibility Wizard welcome screen.

  6. Answer the questions in the Programs Compatibility Wizard.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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