Most commercial business applications should run properly on Windows 7/Vista/XP as well as on older versions of Windows. However, some commercial and custom applications designed for older versions of Windows to run properly on Windows 7, Vista or XP, you can use the Program Compatibility Wizard built into Windows, or the Compatibility tab located on the executable file’s properties sheet to run the program in a selected compatibility mode.
To start the wizard in Windows 7 or Vista, click Start, Control Panel and then click the Programs icon. Then, under Programs and Features click the link Use an Older Program with This Version of Windows. This program works essentially the same in 7 and Vista as it does in XP.
To start the wizard in Windows XP, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Program Compatibility Wizard.
Once the wizard is started, you can select from programs already installed on your computer, select the current program in the CD-ROM drive, or browse to the program manually. After you select a program, you can select the version of Windows the program worked best under.
You can select one or more of the following options to aid compatibility:
• 256 Colors— Many older Windows programs can’t run under 16-bit or higher color depths.
• 640×480 Screen Resolution— Many older Windows programs use a fixed screen size and can’t run properly on a high-resolution screen.
• Disable Visual Themes— Many older Windows programs were created before visual themes were common.
After selecting the options, test the program (which
applies the settings you selected and runs the program).
close the program, Windows switches back to its normal screen settings
if necessary, and you can decide whether to use these settings for your
software or try others. You can choose whether to inform Microsoft of
your settings, and the settings you chose for the program are used
automatically every time you run the program.
Keep in mind that the Program Compatibility Wizard
won’t work with all old Windows programs; in particular, the wizard
should not be used with antivirus, disk, or system utilities that are
not compatible with your Windows. Instead, replace outdated
applications with updated versions made for your version of Windows.
Microsoft periodically offers Application
Compatibility Updates through Windows Update. These updates improve
Windows’s compatibility with older applications. If you can’t get an
older program to work with Windows now, it might be able to work in the
future. To see which programs are affected by a particular Application
Compatibility Update, click the Details button on the listing in Windows
As an alternative to the Program Compatibility
Wizard, you can apply the same settings by using the Compatibility tab
on an executable file’s properties sheet. Use this method if you already know the appropriate settings to use.