Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Compatibility Mode

Compatibility Mode

How to Run a Program in Compatibility Mode in Windows 7
Published by Brink
04 Nov 2008
Published by

How to Run a Program in Compatibility Mode in Windows 7


information   Information
Compatibility mode allows a older program written for an earlier versions of Windows to possibly run in Windows 7. You can also use Compatibility mode to always have a program to Run as an administrator.

Note   Note
32 bit Windows has emulation for 16 bit programs built in. 64-bit Windows only has emulation for 32 bit programs. If the program ran on 32-bit Windows 7 and not 64 bit, then chances are it's a 16 bit program and you may have to use something like DosBox or XP Mode to be able to run it in 64-bit Windows.

Tip   Tip
If changing the Compatibility settings does not fix the problem, go to the program manufacturer's website to see if there is an update for the program.

To see if your software is compatible with Windows 7, check it here: Windows 7 Compatibility Center home

warning   Warning
Do not use Compatibility mode on antivirus programs, firewall programs, disk utilities, or other system programs because it could cause data loss or create a security risk.

You only want to use these type of programs for the Windows listed in their system requirements.





OPTION ONE
To Set Compatibility Mode of Application in Properties Page
1. Right click on the program's shortcut (LNK file), .EXE file, BAT file, CMD file, or MSI file.

2. Click on Properties.

3. Click on the Compatibility tab. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If the Compatiblity options are grayed out, then it is a 64 bit program and cannot be changed.
Name:  Compatibility-1.jpg
Views: 244020
Size:  125.0 KB
4. To Run a Program in Compatibility Mode in Only your User Account
NOTE: Runs the program using settings from a previous version of Windows. Try this setting if you know the program is designed for (or worked in) a specific previous version of Windows.
A) Check the Run this program in compatibility mode for box. (see screenshot below)

B) Click on the drop down menu arrow and select which version of Windows the program was made for. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: Always pick the latest Windows version the program was written for to have a better chance of it running properly in Windows 7.
warning   Warning
MSI files (right screenshot below) will only have the Previous version of Windows option available for it. This option will allow Windows 7 to automatically use the previous version compatibility mode it thinks is best for the MSI file to run properly as. You will not be able to do steps 5 and 6 below.
Name:  compatibility.jpg
Views: 212044
Size:  82.3 KBName:  MSI_Properties.jpg
Views: 215034
Size:  130.9 KB
5. To Change the Settings for a Program in Only your User Account
NOTE: These settings will be grayed out and not available for 64-bit programs.
A) Check or uncheck the settings you want for the program. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: See the table below the screenshot for a description of each setting.
Name:  Settings.jpg
Views: 216854
Size:  74.0 KB
Setting Description
Run in 256 colors Uses a limited set of colors in the program. Some older programs are designed to use fewer colors.
Run in 640 480 screen resolution Runs the program in a smaller-sized window. Try this setting if the graphical user interface appears jagged or is rendered improperly.
Disable visual themes Disables themes on the program. Try this setting if you notice problems with the menus or buttons on the title bar of the program.
Disable desktop composition Turns off transparency and other advanced display features. Choose this setting if window movement appears erratic or you notice other display problems.
Disable display scaling on high DPI settings Turns off automatic resizing of programs if large-scale font size (DPI) is in use. Try this setting if large-scale fonts are interfering with the appearance of the program.
6. To Change the Privilege Level of a Program in Only your User Account
NOTE: Runs the program as an administrator. Some programs require administrator privileges to run properly. If you are not currently logged on as an administrator, this option is not available.
A) Check or uncheck the Run this program as an administrator box to enable or disable this option. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Privilege Level.jpg
Views: 216260
Size:  73.0 KB
7. To Change These Settings for All Users
NOTE: You must be logged in as an administrator to be able to do this step.
A) Click on the Change settings for all users button. (See screenshot below)
Name:  All_Users.jpg
Views: 209704
Size:  72.2 KB
B) Repeat steps 4, 5, and 6 in this new window to apply them to all users on the computer, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: Changes made here will override and gray out the same setting in the window used in step 4, 5, or 6 above.
Name:  Compatibility_All_Users.jpg
Views: 208708
Size:  108.0 KB
8. Click on OK to apply the changes. (see screenshot below step 3)



OPTION TWO
Set Compatibility Mode of Application using "Troubleshoot compatibility"

NOTE: This option opens the Program Compatibility Assistant wizard to let Windows 7 help decide what is best to try and make the program compatible.
1. Right click on the program's shortcut (LNK file), .EXE file, BAT file, CMD file, or MSI file, and click on Troubleshoot compatibility. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: You will not have the Troubleshoot compatibility option available for pinned items in the Start Menu or on the taskbar. You will only have the Troubleshoot compatibility option available for 3rd party programs in the Start Menu - All Programs area instead.
Name:  Context_menu.jpg
Views: 207223
Size:  64.6 KB
2. You will see this for a moment while Windows 7 is detecting what the issues may be with the program. (see screenshot below)
Name:  StepA.jpg
Views: 206472
Size:  53.2 KB
3. The wizard will now give you a list of choices to choose from. Select the option you would like to try, then follow the rest of the onscreen instructions until you are through troubleshooting the compatibility issue with the program. (see screenshot below)
Name:  StepB.jpg
Views: 206523
Size:  94.0 KB



OPTION THREE
To Set Compatibility Mode of Application in Registry Editor
1. Open the Start Menu, then type regedit in the search box and press Enter.

2. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.

3. In regedit, navigate to each location below one at a time and do the steps below for each location. (see screenshot below)
Code:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers
Code:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers
Compatibility Mode-reg1.jpg
4. To Run a Program in Compatibility Mode
A) In the right pane of Layers, right click on a empty area and click on New, then on String Value. (see screenshot below)
Compatibility Mode-reg2.jpg
B) Type in the full path of the program's exe file and press Enter, then right click on the full path and click on Modify. (see screenshot below)
Compatibility Mode-reg3.jpg
C) Type in a single or combination of Data values (see tables below) for how you want to run the program as, and click on OK. (see screenshot below)
NOTE: If you use more than one Settings, then you must add them in the order they are in the table below.

[Compatibility Mode (only one)] + space + [Settings (one or more with a space inbetween)] + space + [Privilege Level]
Name:  Reg4.jpg
Views: 207736
Size:  19.9 KB
Tip   Tip

EXAMPLE ONE:
To run a program as if it was in Windows Vista SP2 (Compatibility Mode), and Run in 256 colors (Settings), and to run as administrator you would type:

VISTASP2 256Color RUNASADMIN

EXAMPLE TWO:
Say you also wanted to Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution (2nd Settings) with the above example, you would type:

VISTASP2 256Color 640x480 RUNASADMIN



Compatibility Mode Data Value
Windows 95 WIN95
Windows 98 / Windows Me WIN98
Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5) NT4SP5
Windows 2000 WIN2000
Windows XP (Service Pack 2) WINXPSP2
Windows XP (Service Pack 3) WINXPSP3
Windows Server 2003 (Service Pack 1) WINSRV03SP1
Windows Server 2008 (Service Pack 1) WINSRV08SP1
Windows Vista VISTARTM
Windows Vista (Service Pack 1) VISTASP1
Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) VISTASP2
Windows 7 WIN7RTM

Settings Data Value
Run in 256 colors 256Color
Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution 640x480
Disable visual themes DISABLETHEMES
Disable desktop composition DISABLEDWM
Disable display scaling on high DPI settings HIGHDPIAWARE

Privilege Level Data Value
Run this program as an Administrator RUNASADMIN
5. To Stop a Program from Running in Compatibility Mode
A) In the right pane of Layers, right click on the full path Name and click on Delete. (see screenshot below)
Compatibility Mode-delete1.jpg
B) Click on Yes to confirm deletion. (see screenshot below)
Name:  Delete2.jpg
Views: 205720
Size:  21.9 KB
6. Close regedit when done.
NOTE: Some programs may require you to restart the computer for this to be applied.
That's it,
Shawn








03 Aug 2009   #1
jotacorredor

windows 7 RC (original vista business)
 
 

thanks, just installed Windows 7 yestarday and I was having trouble setting up my printer at work. Follow your instructions and it worked perfect.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2009   #2
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're welcome Jotacorredor, and welcome to Seven Forums.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #3
TTalma

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I am using Windows 7 ultimate RC1. When I go to use compatibility mode to install Photostory 3 it does not give the same dropdown options shown in your tuorial windows. It only says "previous version of windows", and no other choice. And the program does not install.

I also tried the wizard and it says something like "disabled version check". But it still doesn't install.

I have found numerous sites and pictures on the web of people running photostory 3 on thier Windows 7 machines and installed it and run it using the steps above.

How do I make the OS options show up for campatibility mode?

Thanks, -Tim
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


06 Aug 2009   #4
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello Tim, and welcome to Seven Forums.

Are you sure that you are doing this to the installation/setup file?

Could you post a screenshot of this? It may help determine what may be wrong.

Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #5
TTalma

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Here is a pic of what I see when I select the installer.

Name:  CompMode.jpg
Views: 204210
Size:  61.9 KB

I was expecting to see the list of past windows OS's like in your tutorial. I have a hunch that this is trying to run in vista mode, which it won't work in either. But it runs fine on my other machine with XP on it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2009   #6
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Tim,

After some research on this, MSI files only have this option available. Instead of letting you choose what previos version of Windows to run the MSI file in compatibily mode as, it has Windows 7 automatically select what it thinks is best for it instead.

It just doesn't seem like it is going to be compatible. You might see if there may be an update for it that addresses this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #7
Jimbowayne

Windows 7 Enterprise
 
 
Just a question

I have been running Windows 7 Enterprise for quite some time now and I recieved a call from a friend in a different state. She just got a new PC from a local computer shop and is trying to get some of her old programs to work with Windows 7 Home Premium. When I asked her to right click on the program Icon and go to properties, the compatibility tab is not there.

After reading up a little more on the different Windows 7 operating systems, it looks like it should be available. I am having trouble finding why its not there.

Any Ideas?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2009   #8
Zidane24

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 - Mac OS X 10.6.4 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Jimbowayne View Post
I have been running Windows 7 Enterprise for quite some time now and I recieved a call from a friend in a different state. She just got a new PC from a local computer shop and is trying to get some of her old programs to work with Windows 7 Home Premium. When I asked her to right click on the program Icon and go to properties, the compatibility tab is not there.

After reading up a little more on the different Windows 7 operating systems, it looks like it should be available. I am having trouble finding why its not there.

Any Ideas?
If it is a Windows Installer than that option isn't available
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2009   #9
mitchell64

Windows Seven Home Premium 32bit SP1
 
 

Hi all & thank you for the tutorial Shawn, If i have a program already installed can i just change the compatibility mode of the program or do i need to reinstall it and apply compatibility mode to the installer?

And if i have an old program (say 2007) should i just use compatibilty mode when i install it because it is that old (worked fine on Vista SP2) or try installing it normally?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Comment

 Compatibility Mode




Tutorial Tools



Similar help and support threads for2: Compatibility Mode
Windows 7 Tutorial Category
Compatibility mode add-on/software to run in compatibility w/win7? Software
Solved Compatibility Mode Browsers & Mail
COMPATIbility MODE !!!!!! Microsoft Office
Does Windows XP Mode = Compatibility Mode? Virtualization
64-bit Compatibility, will XP mode help? Software
Does compatibility mode actually do anything? General Discussion

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:18 AM.
Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App
  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33