Windows Vista Annoyance #5: Getting an older program to work with Vista

April 20, 2007

(See also my other Vista Annoyance posts – turning off User Account Control, turning on Flip and Flip / Window Switcher, viewing and sharing files between XP and Vista systems, turning off Windows Security Alerts, getting an older program to work with Vista, and turning on Windows Aero.)

Just about all new PC computers are being sold with Windows Vista built into it instead of the older but venerable Windows XP. Many programs work smoothly with Windows Vista, but some older programs aren’t playing nice. Software programmers have been hard at work rushing out updates to programs to make sure these programs and Vista get along.

If you’ve updated to Windows Vista and have noticed compatibility problems (i.e., right-click menus sometime don’t work) between Vista and an older (but surely valued) program, then try the first method below. If that doesn’t work, try the second method.

Vista Compatibility Figure

Method #1:

  1. Find the icon that you usually use to launch this program — whether in your Quick Launch area, or Start Menu (under the Windows logo on the lower left corner), or on your desktop.
  2. Right-click on this icon and select “Properties”
  3. Click on the “Compatibility” tab
  4. Under “Settings,” put a checkmark next to the following two settings: “Disable Visual Themes” and “Disable Desktop Composition.”
  5. Click “OK”
  6. Run the program as usual and see if its compatibility has improved

Method #2:

  1. Repeat steps #1-3 above
  2. In the “Compatibility” tab under “Compatibility Mode,” put a checkmark next to “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” and make sure “Windows XP (Service Pack 2)” is selected.
  3. Click “OK”
  4. Run the program as usual and see if its compatibility has improved

If both methods above fails, visit the software programmer’s homepage on the Internet and see if there’s some mention about a new version or a suggested fix to make your program compatible with Vista.

Hasta Vista, baby.

4 Responses to “Windows Vista Annoyance #5: Getting an older program to work with Vista”

  1. BEG Says:

    A true geek would have moved on to Linux by now ;-)

  2. proudgeek Says:

    I’m tempted to do so, believe me! Especially since the latest version of Ubuntu can be run from a “live CD” — meaning you can run it off a CD, with no installation necessary. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

  3. jas Says:

    we have an old version of link word, it worked fine on xp, cant get it to load on vista ! can anyone help please ?

  4. proudgeek Says:

    Jas — ugh, perhaps upgrade to a newer version of the program? Check that program’s homepage to see if there’s anything on “Vista compatibility.” Also, see my recent blog post talking about how to make programs work in Vista:

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