Program compatibility is a mode in Windows that lets you run programs written for earlier versions of Windows. Most programs written for Windows XP also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not run at all.

To find out if your programs (or programs you plan to buy) are compatible with Windows Vista, go online to the Windows Vista Compatibility Center. This website contains a comprehensive list of programs and devices that work with Windows Vista.

If an older program doesn't run correctly, start the Program Compatibility Wizard to simulate earlier versions of Windows.

Open the Program Compatibility Wizard by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Programs, and then clicking Use an older program with this version of Windows.


  • Do not use the Program Compatibility Wizard on older antivirus programs, disk utilities, or other system programs, because it might cause data loss or create a security risk.


  • Some compatibility problems might be caused by drivers. If an older driver is causing problems, you'll need to update it manually. For more information, see Update drivers: recommended links.