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Windows 7: Compatability Mode Help

06 Aug 2013   #1

Windows 7
Compatability Mode Help Needed


We have an older application that we distribute to clients with the advice they should run it in Windows XP SP3 Compatibility Mode when using Windows 7.

As of late, we have had clients say that running the software in this mode means having to enter a Admin password. As a test, we had them switch to Windows 7 Compatibility mode which solves everything...they are not prompted for a password and the software runs fine.

With other clients, Windows XP SP3 Compatibility Mode works well without any issues or password prompts.

1. Why would this older software run well in Windows 7 Compatibility mode but not when this is unticked and why is a password requested for some when running in Windows XP SP3 Compatibility Mode?
2. Why am I seeing different results with different clients?

Slowly going insane...


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2013   #2
x BlueRobot


What application are they running? The password prompts will be dependent upon their UAC settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2013   #3

Windows 7

It is our in house built VB6 application.

Another question...why is Windows 7 a choice in the Windows 7 Compatibility list?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Aug 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by canaussie View Post

Another question...why is Windows 7 a choice in the Windows 7 Compatibility list?
Because Windows 7 SP1 is the more current version.

So you would have an option to run it as Pre-SP1 in the compatibility options.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2013   #5
x BlueRobot


You will get different results with different clients, because they have different settings on their computers.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2013   #6

Windows 10 Pro

Also, from my personal experience I have noticed that when running any program in windows xp compatibility mode it defaults to prompt for admin rights. Reason for this is because xp applications typically need admin access. So when you choose xp as the compatibility option it tends to want to open as an admin. Just out of curiosity, have you tried running the in house software without applying compatibility settings? What happens? I had been advised to run all kinda of old software I had in compatibility mode. But when I tried to open them up regularly, it always worked just fine. Sometimes I needed to run the installer in compatibility mode, but after that I didn't need to. I would test all options such as lower screen resolution and the option for disable visual theme. 9 times out of 10 those 2 options there fix the issues. Unless of course the software needs to write to a unusual directory. Then it would need admin privileges for sure.

In case the software does not work by following the above steps/suggestions:

Example of a unusual directory: Windows folder, other users folders instead of your own, different drives etc. Windows 7 locks these kinds of things down more. Meanwhile XP on admin was more allowing of well, everything.

By default, Root folder of C:, C:\Program Files, C:\Windows are UAC protected.
This is why older software typically needs their installer to be elevated by UAC when launching the install. Before software could write to the program data folder without trouble.

Found some fantastic info for you. When you install this software, install it to this folder/or configure it to dump its main files here:


This folder is similar with COMMON_APPDATA. The difference is that by default its content is available to read and write by all users. So storing files here will be exposed uniformly to all users without need to adjusting write access for non-admin users.

This will allow all users to use this software, and it can store all its data regardless of the permissions of the user. They can then save any work they have done personally to their user documents folder without affecting system security by giving this older program access to elevated permissions.

See this site for source:
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2013   #7

Windows 10 Pro

If anyone notices that is not correct above please let me know. I do not want to be wrong and tell him to do something he should not do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2013   #8
A Guy

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium x64 SP1

If indeed UAC is the issue, you could configure it to always run as an administrator

Configure Applications to Always Run as an Administrator

A Guy
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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