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Windows 7: Can I play games released before 2000 on windows 7

11 Sep 2013   #1

windows xp 32bit
Can I play games released before 2000 on windows 7

I want to start playing windows xp and 98 games, would there be any compatibility issues?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Sep 2013   #2

windows xp 32bit

games such as half life or diablo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Sep 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Well behaved programs written for Windows 98 and XP should run without problem in Windows 7. But games tend not to be well behaved. Compatibility problems are likely. Some games will run without difficulty but many will not. I many cases the only solution would be to run the game under a virtual machine.

I am not a gamer and have no experience with the games mentioned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

13 Sep 2013   #4

Windows 7 Home premium

Are you running the games off of the original disks or downloading them off of Steam or some other service like GOG? That makes a difference to how you might go about it as well.

DL games tend to have the software needed to run them like Dosbox included with the installers. For example, I have Duke Nukem, System Shock 2, Shadow Warrior, and a few other titles that I got from Steam and GOG and they all ran fine with no extra work beyond installing them through Steam or with the included .exe. You might have to troubleshoot a little and adjust some settings, but you usually don't need a virtual machine or 3rd party program to get them to run on a newer OS.

Note that this is not a given. On occasion even a game like that won't run for some reason. For example, Rayman 2 from Steam won't run on my PC because my GPU doesn't support one of the shaders it uses. I could probably troubleshoot the issue and fix it, but it runs fine on my Laptop so I haven't bothered.

Sometimes all you need to do is troubleshoot a little. I got Tomb Raider Aniversary and Tomb Raider Legend, and neither one worked and immediately crashed when I tried to run them. All I had to do to fix it was go into my system and add them to the exceptions for Data Execution Prevention and they both ran fine after that with no other problems.

Some games will work in some cases just by changing the compatibility mode for the exe. Right click on the .exe, go to properties, and then compatibility. There is a check box with a drop down list that has several older OS you can choose from.

Note that this does not work all the time. Whether it does any good depends on the specific program and is hit or miss and there's no way to tell if it will or not for a specific program without trying it yourself. It does work sometimes though and it's worth a shot if you've already got a program loaded as it's the easiest possible fix for a game that won't run on the new OS.

Other games I have from years ago still. Doom, Doom II, Decent, Myst, and quite a few other old disks. To play these games I used to use Dosbox, which comes with instructions on how to run it and works pretty well.

Another more reliable method is to install a virtual machine. Which basically splits your Hard Drive up and installs a second OS that you can access to run older programs. It's basically like having another older computer inside your current computer. It takes a lot of memory to do this, but it should run any program that would run on the older OS easily. It's also not free to do. You'd need an actual copy of the older OS on top of whatever your current OS is. So you've got to buy a new copy of it. An old install disk probably won't work. Unless you've got a builder's edition that is licensed to install on multiple computers you'll need to get a new copy.

I actually have three different OS installed on three different HDD. I just boot the one I want for whatever game I want to play. One has Windows XP, one has Windows 7, and the other has Linux installed. This is kind of expensive to do, but it is also the most reliable possible method.

If you're torrenting these games, well you're a pirate and on your own. You'll just have to figure out how to run them for yourself.

If you're loading the games with disks you bought years ago, you might need another program like Dosbox or a virtual machine depending on what game it is, what engine it runs on, and exactly how old it is.

It's not that hard to get an older game working on a new PC. Though, it might take a bit of time and some effort to do it. Some games take more work than others, it depends on the individual game and the specific hardware and OS you're trying to run it on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I play games released before 2000 on windows 7

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