Tech Tips: How to make older programs run on Windows XP SP3?

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Let’s say you have a favorite program that you’ve been using for years or a game that came out during the Windows 98 days; now you have a new dandy computer that has Windows XP or Vista and you want to use that old program or game on your new computer.

You can install or run older program on Windows XP by running or using the Program Compatibility mode or Program Compatibility Wizard.

To run or use the Program Compatibility Wizard to install/run old programs:

1. To start the Program Compatibility Wizard, click Start, click Help and Support, click Find compatible hardware and software for Windows XP, and then, under See Also in the navigation pane, click Program Compatibility Wizard.

NOTE: Other ways to open the Program Compatibility Wizard is to click on Start then Run, on the Run box type the code “hcp://system/compatctr/compatmode.htm” then click on Ok. This will then open the Program Compatibility Wizard.

2. On the Program Compatibility Wizard, click on Next then select “I want to use the program in the CD-ROM drive” and click Next. If the installer is not detected from the CD-ROM drive, please manually browse for the installer executable then click on Next.

3. Under “Select a compatibility mode for the program” step, please click on “Microsoft Windows 98 / Windows Me” or the version of Windows where the program works properly and click Next.

4. For the Display settings, please click on “Disable Visual Themes” then click Next.

5. You then be directed to the “Test your compatibility settings” screen. Click Next to start testing the compatibility settings. This will launch the installer so if you have your firewall enabled, it will prompt for a permission request. Please grant permission for the setup to continue.

6. The setup process will then start and on the “Program Compatibility Wizard” dialog box, you will be asked if the program ran correctly, then just select the “Yes, set this program to always use these compatibility settings” then click on Next.

7. After clicking on the Next button will be asked if you like to submit the collected information to Microsoft. You can select either Yes (to submit the information to Microsoft) or No (to jump to the completion screen), then click on Next to complete the Program Compatibility Wizard, then click Finish.

Once done and you have the software installed, you will also have to run the “Program Compatibility Wizard” for the application to run correctly. Use the same procedure except for
step [3], select “I want to choose from a list of programs“. Then follow the same procedure for the other steps until you finish the setup.

Another way to adjust the compatibility settings is to use the Program Compatibility mode from the Properties screen.

1. Right-click on any shortcut of the installed program, then select Properties.

2. Click the Compatibility tab, then place a check mark on the “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” then select “Windows 98 / Windows Me”.

3. Check the options; “Disable Visual Themes” under the Display Settings, then just click on the Apply then Ok button for the changes to take effect.

Note: Since you are still running Windows XP as your OS, you may encounter some minor stability on the program. The program Bandwidth Monitor is used for screenshot and for tutorial purpose only and the program is fully compatible with Windows XP SP3. If you like to download and use the Bandwidth Monitor, you can download it from

You can also apply these steps on Windows Vista, however screenshot and description may vary. For more information about the Program Compatibility Wizard of Vista, please visit this link: Make older programs run in this version of Windows.

Last modified: June 2, 2009

One Response to :
Tech Tips: How to make older programs run on Windows XP SP3?

  1. Abiel says:

    wow… not that's what you call a walk through!!!

    I did install an old program on Windows XP it works out perfectly!!

    Thanks again!!!

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