[Win7/Vista] Windows XP Compatibility Mode in Windows 7 and Vista

What is Compatibility Mode?

According to the Microsoft knowledge base article, compatibility mode is a feature of Windows Vista and Windows 7 that allows you to run programs written for earlier versions of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows 2000. Many programs created for Windows XP may work in Windows Vista or Windows 7; however, there are some that may run incorrectly, if at all.

How to use Windows XP Compatibility Mode

  1. Right-click the file icon and choose Properties from the context menu that appears:
    Screenshot showing the context menu that is made available by right-clicking a file icon.
  2. After choosing Properties from the context menu, a window will appear displaying the different properties of the application organized in tabs. Selecting the Compatibility tab allows for certain features of the Vista or Win 7 operating system to be disabled when running the program. Additionally, the Compatibility tab gives the option to run your application as it is intended for Windows XP or for almost all other previous versions of Windows, as available from the drop-down menu:
    Screenshot showing the features available within the Compatibility tab in the Properties menu.
  3. After choosing the compatibility mode for the operating system in which your application runs correctly, click Apply then click OK to save the changes.
    • If the operating system compatibility mode is not enough, try running the Program Compatibility Wizard by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel > Programs > Programs and Features > Use an older program with this version of Windows
    • If compability mode and the wizard does not solve the problem, check the program manufacturer’s website for any updates or patches.
The wizard is not designed to work on programs that have an .msi (Windows Installer) file name extension.
It is better to wait for program updates for any disk utilities and anti-virus software, as incorrectly installing this software could create security risks or loss of data.