Windows 7 comes with excellent compatibility support. This means the majority of the software that are designed to run on Windows XP will run on Windows 7 without many issues. However, if you are experiencing compatibility issues, here are some pointers.
If you’re not able to get a software application to run properly on Windows 7, try to run it in compatibility mode. This allows you to trick the software application into thinking that it is running on an older version of Windows. You can do this in two ways — automatically using the wizard or manually using the Explorer shell. You can also use the Program Compatibility Assistant. This appears automatically when Windows finds that you’re having a problem in installing or using a particular application.
Program Compatibility Wizard
The Program Compatibility Wizard is a simple application that detects software incompatibility and automatically fixes the issues. If the wizard doesn’t automatically detect the issue, you can also point it at the software application that is having compatibility issues.
The Program Compatibility Wizard is not directly available from the Windows 7 user interface. To open it, go to the Start Menu and type “Program Compatibility Wizard” in the search box. You’ll see one result: “Run programs made for previous versions of Windows”. Click on that to start the wizard.
How to enable Compatibility Mode manually
You can also run applications in compatibility mode without having to use the Program Compatibility Wizard. To do this, right-click on the executable and choose Properties. Navigate to the Compatibility tab. Click on the tick box which says “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and choose the older version of Windows on which the application was designed to run.
You can run any application in compatibility mode. However, you should not run antivirus software and other securities applications in compatibility mode. These applications should be run only on the operating systems for which they were designed in the first place.
Program Compatibility Assistant
When you install an application that has known compatibility problems or if an installation has not concluded successfully, Windows 7 will automatically launch the Program Compatibility Assistant. You can decline it if you believe that the application installed successfully. However, the Program Compatibility Assistant cannot be triggered manually. In other words, there is no shortcut to open the Program Compatibility Assistant.
Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode
If everything else has failed, you can try these options.
Windows Virtual PC is a software application from Microsoft which provides a virtual machine environment. You can run guest operating systems separately and independently from the host environment. However, you should note that Virtual PC is not suitable for running all kinds of applications. For example, you’ll not be able to run high and game satisfactorily in a virtual machine. An alternative to Windows Virtual PC is VirtualBox.
XP Mode allows you to run a virtual version of Windows XP so that you can run XP-based applications side-by-side with native Windows 7 applications.
Both of these features do not ship with Windows 7 by default. You will have to download and install on your computer manually. Google is your friend to locate these applications.