Changing a Program's Compatibility Settings

by Barry Dysert
(last updated June 3, 2019)

If an old Windows program doesn't run in whatever version of Windows you are currently using, or if it runs poorly, you may want to try changing its compatibility settings. You can do this by using the Compatibility Wizard.

To start the wizard, begin by displaying the Control Panel. There, click the Programs category and finally click "Run Programs Made for Previous Versions of Windows." You'll shortly notice that the wizard starts. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The first step of the Compatibility Wizard.

Note that the title at the top of the Compatibility Wizard window varies based on the version of Windows you are using. In Windows 7 the title is "Program Compatibility." In later versions of Windows, it is "Program Compatibility Troubleshooter."

Clicking the Next button causes the wizard to scan for programs that may have compatibility issues. Select the program you're having problems with and again click the Next button. The wizard gives you the opportunity to decide how to troubleshoot the problem. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The third step of the Compatibility Wizard.

Click the Try Recommended Settings option to try running the program using the recommended compatibility settings. Based upon the particular program, the wizard applies certain settings and prompts you to start the program. (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Checking for potential fixes in the Compatibility Wizard.

Click the Start the Program button (Windows 7) or Test the Program button (later versions of Windows) to run the program. Test it to see if it's working properly, then click the Next button. This takes you to the final screen of the wizard. (See Figure 4.)

Figure 4. The Compatibility Wizard's final step.

If the program is working properly, click the top link of the final screen. If it's not working properly and you want to try it again with different compatibility settings, click the second link of the final screen. If it's not working properly and you want to search for a solution online, click the third link of the final screen. Depending upon what you click, the wizard will either exit or enter a troubleshooting dialog whereupon you can answer a variety of questions determined by what particular problems you're having. At the end, settings appropriate to the program will either have been established, or it's likely that the program simply cannot be made to run properly under your version of Windows.

 This tip (5852) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

Changing File Explorer's Default Startup Location

The File Explorer can start in either of two locations. This tip tells you how to set its default startup location to one ...

Discover More

Locking and Unlocking the Taskbar

You'll usually want your Taskbar locked, but there are times when it must be unlocked. This tip explains how to lock and ...

Discover More

Using Offline Files

If you need access to files on a network but aren't always on the network, you may find that the offline files feature of ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Removing a Tile from the Start Screen

The Start screen is a busy place in Windows. If it is too busy for your tastes, you can easily remove any of the tiles it ...

Discover More

Syncing Settings between Computers

When you use a Microsoft account or an Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) account, you can sync settings between the ...

Discover More

Configuring Automatic Windows Updates

One of the practices you should adopt to keep your system running smoothly is to keep it updated with the latest ...

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 two less than 5?

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.