Understanding Compatibility Settings

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 17, 2020)

When a program is created to work with Windows, it is typically created to work with a particular version of Windows. For instance, I have an older graphics-editing program that was designed to be used with Windows XP. It worked very well, and I became quite attached to the program. It did everything that I needed it to do, so there was no need to update it to a newer version. (The only thing added in the past decade for the program has been bells and whistles that I would never use.)

When I installed the program under Windows 7, it didn't work quite right. So, I took advantage of a rather esoteric Windows feature called the Compatibility Wizard. This feature configures an operating environment for older programs (such as my graphics-editing program) so that the older program thinks it is running in the older operating system. In other words, my graphics-editing program now thinks it is operating under Windows XP—even though it is really running in Windows 7—so it is happy and does its work well.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that my experience with the Compatibility Wizard means that it is only available in Windows 7. It is also available in later versions of Windows, as well.

You may never have the need to use the Compatibility Wizard, but it is good to know it is there and ready to help. It won't work in all instances, particularly with programs that relied on low-level function calls and older drivers. However, it is something to try if your old, faithful programs are no longer as faithful as you want.

How you actually use the Compatibility Wizard is covered in a different tip.

 This tip (5851) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Editing a Hyperlink

Word allows you to embed active hyperlinks in your documents. If you later want to change or edit that hyperlink, you can ...

Discover More

Using BIN2DEC In a Macro

Need a way, in a macro, to convert binary numbers into their decimal equivalents? There are two ways you can get the ...

Discover More

Calculating Weekend Dates

Do you look forward to the weekend? Well, you can use Excel to let you know when the next weekend begins. Here's how you ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Changing a Program's Compatibility Settings

If an older program no longer runs under Windows, you may still be able to get some life out of it by changing its ...

Discover More

Turn Off/On Window Snap

Windows allows for a system window to "snap" to certain areas of your screen. You can easily turn this feature on or off.

Discover More

Using Command Prompt (CMD) to Change Your Computer Name

Computers have names that are used to identify them. Using Command Prompt (CMD) you can change your computer's name.

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 9 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.