How to Run Old Programs (Vista, XP, 2000) in Windows 7

If you have recently migrated from Windows Vista to Windows 7, you may have already realized that there are still a number of programs that have not yet been programmed to run in the new operating system. Most programs that had been intended for Windows Vista should run properly under Windows 7 as well. There are still some cases however, when a program will not run correctly, or even refuse to install. If you get an error message related to compatibility during the installation or execution of a program, this guide should help you overcome this problem.

Windows 7 has been tailored to be compatible with programs from previous versions of Windows. There are two main ways (excluding the shortcuts) in which you can fix any compatibility issues. This can be done manually, or through Program Compatibility troubleshooter.

Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

For users who are unfamiliar with Windows 7 or any of Microsoft’s operating systems, this method is recommended. To get to Program Compatibility troubleshooter, go through the following series of instructions:

  • Select Start.

(By default, the Start button is the colorful window sign at the bottom left of the screen)

  • Select Control Panel.
  • Click the search box at the top right of the window.
  • Type troubleshooting.
  • Select Troubleshooting.
  • Select Run Programs made for previous versions of Windows.
  • Select the Advanced. (If you have administrator privileges)
  • Select Next and follow the instructions of the troubleshooter.


  • You can also go straight to the troubleshooter by typing run programs in the start search box and selecting Programs made for previous versions of Windows.
  • Simply right-clicking the icon of the executable program and selecting Troubleshoot Compatibility from the menu that appears will also take you directly to the troubleshooter

Manually configuring compatibility settings

You can change the settings of individual programs and run them in certain Windows versions manually:

  • Right-click the executable file you wish to configure.
  • Select Properties in the menu that appears.
  • Select the Compatibility tab.
  • Under compatibility mode select the box beside Run this program in compatibility mode for.
  • Select the operating system the program is compatible with.
  • Select Apply and Ok.

Other options under Settings and Privilege Level can be used to further specify the desired behavior or a program you want to run.

Both methods above have been successful in solving compatibility issues. For advanced users, manually configuring the settings will be faster if you already know that a certain program will have compatibility issues. Using the manual method has also worked for installing files that refuse to execute due to compatibility issues. Selecting the appropriate Windows version in its properties will allow an installer to execute as though it was an ordinary program being run in a previous version mode. This guide should help in fixing any compatibility related issues when installing or running programs in windows seven.

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