Make older programs compatible with this version of Windows

Applies to: Windows 7Windows 8.1Windows 10

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. Running the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter should automatically detect and fix some of the most common issues. If that doesn’t work, try changing the settings manually. The following table should help you figure out which setting to adjust.

  1. Enter the name of the program in the search box on the taskbar, press and hold (or right-click) the search result, and then select Open file location.
  2. Press and hold (or right-click) the program, select Properties, and then select the Compatibility tab.
    • First, select Run compatibility troubleshooter to run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter. (Note that DPI scaling issues won’t be resolved with the troubleshooter, so refer to the table below for other options.)
    • If you’re still experiencing compatibility problems, adjust one or more of the following settings and select OK when you’re done.
Compatibility settings
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 with) a specific version of Windows.
Reduced color mode Uses a limited set of colors in the program. Some older programs are designed to use fewer colors.
Run in 640 × 480 screen resolution Try this setting if the graphics for the program appear jagged or are rendered improperly.
Change high DPI settings

If your program doesn’t appear correctly on a PC with a high-DPI display (appearing blurry, or appearing too big or too small), select Change high DPI settings, and then try one of the following options in the Properties dialog box:

Choose which DPI to use

  1. In the Program DPI area, select the Use this setting to fix scaling problems for this program… check box to use the DPI settings you choose here for this desktop app instead of the Let Windows try to fix apps so they’re not blurry setting in Settings, which affects all apps.

    For more info about changing the setting for all apps, see Fix apps so they’re not blurry.
  2. For Use the DPI that’s set for my main display when, select one of the following:
  • I signed in to Windows – Use the DPI that was set for your main display when you signed in to Windows. (This is used by default.)
  • I open this program – Use the DPI that was set for your main display at the time you open the specific program.

Change the application's high-DPI scaling mode

In the High DPI scaling override area, select the Override high DPI scaling behavior check box, and then try one of the following options:

  • Application – Disable all Windows scaling settings and only use the app developer's setting. This option was called Disable display scaling on high DPI settings in previous versions of Windows.
  • System – Overrides the app’s DPI settings and makes the app run like it would on a low-DPI display. Windows will stretch the user interface of this app when it's on a high-DPI display. This will make the app appear blurry on high-DPI displays.
  • System (Enhanced) –  Windows will try to use enhanced DPI scaling for this app. As a result, some apps will display with crisp text on high-DPI displays. This won't work for all apps.
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 Apply the settings for that program to all accounts on the PC, and select
Administrator permission required
 Change settings for all users. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.