Program Compatibility Wizard

From Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 301911


This article describes how to use the Program Compatibility Wizard. The Program Compatibility Wizard prompts you to test your program in different modes (environments) and with various settings.

For example, if the program was originally designed to run on Microsoft Windows 95, set the compatibility mode to Windows 95, and then try to run your program again. If this is successful, the program will start in that mode each time.

The wizard also allows you to try different settings, such as switching the display to 256 colors and the screen resolution to 640 by 480 pixels.

Most programs run properly on Windows XP. The exceptions are some older games and other programs that were written specifically for an earlier version of Windows.

If you are experiencing problems with a program that worked correctly on an earlier version of Windows, this wizard helps you select and test compatibility settings that may fix those problems. Many of the most common issues that prohibit earlier versions of programs from working correctly are resolved. If you run a program and it does not function as expected, it is recommended that you run the program in one of the compatibility environments.

WARNING: Be careful when you use Compatibility Mode to bypass version warnings in Setup and installation programs. Some programs are designed for a specific operating system and intentionally prohibit the use of later versions. These are most often system tools (such as anti-virus, firewall, CD burning, disk management or backup software) that run at a very low kernel mode and have the potential to cause serious problems if installed.

How to Start the Program Compatibility Wizard

You can use either of the following methods to start the Program Compatibility Wizard.

Method 1
  1. Click
    Start, click
    All Programs.
  2. Point to
    Accessories, and then click
    Program Compatibility Wizard.
Method 2
  1. Click
    Start, and then click
    Help and Support.
  2. Click
    Problems with your Applications after upgrading? Try the Program Compatibility Wizard under the
    Did you know? section.


How to Test Programs in Compatibility Mode

After you start the Program Compatibility Wizard, use the following steps to test programs compatibility mode:
  1. In the wizard, click Next.
  2. When you receive the following prompt, click one of the selections, click the program you want to fix, and then click Next:

    How do you want to locate the program that you would like to run with compatibility settings?"

    A. I want to choose from a list of programs
    B. I want to use the program in the CD-ROM drive
    C. I want to locate the program manually

  3. When you receive the following prompt, click one of the compatibility modes, and then click Next:

    Choose the operating system that is recommended for this program, or that previously supported the program correctly:

    Microsoft Windows 95
    Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5)
    Microsoft Windows 98 / Windows Me
    Microsoft Windows 2000
    Do not apply a compatibility mode

  4. When you receive the following prompt, click the appropriate display settings, and then click Next:

    Choose the settings that are recommended for this program, or that previously supported the program correctly:

    256 colors
    640 x 480 screen resolution
    Disable visual themes

    By default, Windows XP uses visual themes that may change the appearance or behavior of other programs.

    NOTE: These options apply most commonly to games or educational programs. If your program is not a game or educational title, it is likely that you do not need to select anything on this page.

  5. When you receive the "Did the program work correctly?" message, click 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

  6. If you click No, I am finished trying compatibility settings, the following message is generated:

    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 Web.

    See the temporary files that would be sent

    NOTE: If compatibility problems prevent you from installing a program on Windows XP, run the Program Compatibility Wizard on the Setup file for the program. The file may be called Setup.exe or something similar, and is probably located on the installation CD-ROM or floppy disk for the program.

Manually Set the Compatibility Properties

As an alternative to running the Program Compatibility Wizard, you can manually set the compatibility properties for a program. The settings are the same as the options in the Program Compatibility Wizard.

Program Does Not Run Correctly After Testing with the Program Compatibility Wizard

If your program does not run correctly after you test it with the Program Compatibility Wizard, check the Internet for updates or other fixes:
  1. Check the program manufacturer's Web site to see if an update or patch is available.
  2. Check the Windows Update Web site to see if a fix is available for the program. To do so, click Home on the menu bar of Help and Support Center, and then click Windows Update.
  3. If the program is a game that uses DirectX, ensure that you are using the latest version of DirectX.
  4. Check the Web site of the manufacturer of your video adapter or sound card to see if newer drivers are available for either of them.


For additional information about related topics, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

294895 Description of the Application Compatibility Toolkit 2.0 for Windows XP

285909 Troubleshooting Application Compatibility Issues in Windows XP

For additional information about how to use Windows Application Compatibility mode, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

292533 How to Use Windows Application Compatibility Mode

From Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 301911

© 2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


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