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Using Program Compatibility Wizard

By: Arie Slob

Windows XP includes a "Compatibility Mode" in which you can "fool" programs into thinking they are running in an older Windows version.

If you are having problems with a program that used to work in your previous version of Windows, you should try the Program Compatibility Wizard included in Windows XP to get your program to function properly.

You start the Program Compatibility Wizard as follows: click Start > All Programs > Accessories > Program Compatibility Wizard.

When you start the wizard, the first options you are presented with is how you want to locate the program that you would like to run in compatibility mode. You can choose from:

  • Choose from a list of programs
  • Use the program in the CD-ROM drive
  • Locate the program manually

Note: If you choose Use the program in the CD-ROM drive, your changes will not remain in effect after you close the program.

Once you have selected the program you want to choose in which "mode" you want to run it:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 98 / Me
  • Windows 2000
  • Do not apply a compatibility mode
Program Compatibility Wizard

On the next screen, you can select some display settings such as:

  • 256 colors
  • 640 x 480 screen resolution
  • Disable visual themes

In most cases you will not need to use any of these settings. However if the program you are trying to run a certain game or an educational program, you may have to apply some (or all) of these settings.

The next option (Choose whether you want to simulate administrative privileges) also applies mostly to games & educational software.

When you receive the Did the program work correctly? message (at this time the program will (attempt) to start), select one of the following options, and then click Next:

  • Yes, set this program to always use these compatibility settings
  • No, try different compatibility settings
  • No, I am finished trying compatibility settings

If you click Yes, set this program to always use these compatibility settings or No, I am finished trying compatibility settings, pressing Next will bring you to a new screen with the following message:

  Program Compatibility Data

  Microsoft has created temporary files that contain information about the
  settings you selected and whether the problems were fixed. Sending this
  information to Microsoft will help us improve program compatibility.

  Would you like to send this information to Microsoft?

  The information will be treated anonymously and confidentially per our data
  collection policy on the the Web.

   See the temporary files that would be sent

You can click the link See the temporary files that would be sent which will bring up another window with links to the files generated. You can click those links, and read which info is being sent to Microsoft.

The last screen gives you the information that you have adjusted the compatibility settings, and gives you the advice that to adjust or remove, you should run the wizard again.