Making older programs compatible with this version of Windows

Most programs created for earlier versions of Windows will work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. You can run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter on most programs to detect and fix common compatibility problems.


  • Don’t run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter on antivirus programs, firewall software, backup software, disk utilities, or on system programs that came with Windows. This might cause data loss or create a security risk.

Run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Search.)

  2. Enter run programs in the search box.

  3. Tap or click Run programs made for previous versions of Windows, then tap or click Next.

  4. Select the program you want to fix.
    – Or –
    If you can't see the program in the list, select Not Listed.

  5. Tap or click Next, then follow the instructions in the troubleshooter.


    • You can also run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter from your desktop. Press and hold or right-click the program's icon or shortcut on your desktop, then tap or click Troubleshoot compatibility.

    • The Program Compatibility Troubleshooter can fix problems that can't be detected or fixed by the Program Compatibility Assistant.

If the troubleshooter can't fix the problem, you can try changing compatibility settings manually.

Change compatibility settings manually

These steps will not work with programs that are part of Windows, like Paint or Windows Media Player, or with apps you get from the Windows Store.

  1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, then tap Search.
    (If you're using a mouse, point to the top-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, then click Search.)

  2. Enter the name of the program in the search box, press and hold (or right-click) the search result, and then tap or click Open file location.

  3. Press and hold (or right-click) the program icon, tap or click Properties, and then tap or click the Compatibility tab.

  4. Select one or more of the settings (see the table below for more info).

  5. If you want to apply the settings for that program to all accounts on the PC, tap or click Change settings for all users. Administrator permission required You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

  6. When you've finished, tap or click OK.

    Setting Description

    Compatibility mode


    Runs the program using settings from a previous version of Windows. Try this setting if you know the program is designed for (or worked in) a specific version of Windows.


    Reduced colour mode


    Uses a limited set of colours in the program. Some older programs are designed to use fewer colours.


    Run in 640 × 480 screen resolution


    Try this setting if the graphics for the program appear jagged or are rendered improperly.


    Disable display scaling on high DPI settings


    Turns off automatic resizing of programs if large font sizes are used. Try this setting if large-scale fonts are interfering with the appearance of the program.


    Enable this program to work with OneDrive files.


    Try this setting if the program can't see or open files on OneDrive. Note: When large files are being downloaded there may be a long delay, with no progress bar reflecting the download.


    Run this program as an administrator.


    Some programs require administrator privileges to run properly. If you aren't signed in to your PC as an administrator, this option is unavailable.


    Change settings for all users


    Lets you choose settings that will apply to all users on this computer.

Try other resources

If changing compatibility settings doesn't fix the problem, try the following.

  • Go online to the Compatibility Center for Windows 8.1 to find out whether your program is compatible with Windows 8.1 or to look for new programs.

  • Go to your PC or software manufacturer's website to check for info on how to make the program compatible with Windows 8.1.

  • Go to the Microsoft Community website. In the forums, you can ask questions or share information with other people who are interested in the same topic.

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