Windows Solitaire is one of the most popular computer games in the world. It's based on the most popular variant of solitaire, Klondike.

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To start a game

  1. Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type games, and then, in the list of results, click Games Explorer.

  2. Double-click Solitaire.

    (Don't see it? You might need to turn on Windows Games. See Where are my games?)

  3. To play, click a card and drag it to a new location according to the rules below.

To save a game

  • If you need to finish a game later, exit the game, and then click Save. The next time you play, you'll be asked whether you want to continue your saved game. If so, click Yes.

To adjust the game options

You can adjust the draw options and scoring system, or set other game options.

  1. Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type games, and then, in the list of results, click Games Explorer.

  2. Double-click Solitaire.

    (Don't see it? You might need to turn on Windows Games. See Where are my games?)

  3. Click the Game menu, and then click Options.

  4. Make your choices, and then click OK.

To change game appearance

You can change the card deck and background color.

  1. Open the Games folder by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type games, and then, in the list of results, click Games Explorer.

  2. Double-click Solitaire.

    (Don't see it? You might need to turn on Windows Games. See Where are my games?)

  3. Click the Game menu, and then click Change Appearance.

  4. Make your choices, and then click OK.

Picture of the game Solitaire
Solitaire

Solitaire: rules and basics

The object

Build four stacks of cards, one for each suit, in ascending order, from ace to king.

The table

Windows solitaire is played with a single deck of 52 cards. The game begins with 28 cards arranged into seven columns. The first column contains one card, the second has two cards, and so on. The top card in each column is face up, the rest are face down.

Four Home stacks are positioned at the upper-right corner. This is where you build the piles needed to win.

How to play

Each Home stack must start with an ace. If you don't have any, you'll have to move cards between columns until you uncover one.

You can't move cards between columns at random, however. Columns must be built in descending order, from king to ace. So you can place a 10 on a jack, but not on a 3.

As an added twist, cards in columns must also alternate red and black.

You aren't limited to moving single cards. You can also move sequentially organized runs of cards between columns. Just click the deepest card in the run and drag them all to another column.

If you run out of moves, you'll have to draw more cards by clicking the deck in the upper-left corner. If the deck runs out, click its outline on the table to reshuffle it.

You can move a card to the Home stack either by dragging it or by double-clicking it.

Scoring

Under Standard scoring, you receive five points for moving a card from the deck to a column, and 10 points for each card added to a Home stack.

If a game takes more than 30 seconds, you also receive bonus points based on the time it takes to finish. The bonus formula: 700,000 divided by total game time in seconds. Thus, the highest possible Standard score is 24,113!

(To change the scoring system, click the Game menu, and then click Options.)

Hints and tips

Ask for hints. Stuck? Press H to have Windows light up the cards you should play next. For beginners, it's also a good way to learn the game.

Keep runs even. Runs are the stacks of visible cards you create in the columns. Don't let any one run get too far ahead of the others if you can help it. Having one particularly long run makes it difficult to make other moves.

Leave no card unturned. The more face-down cards in a column, the better it is to work at revealing those cards first. It will increase your odds of making plays.