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Most apps (and other programs, like games or utilities) that were created for earlier versions of Windows will work in the most recent versions of Windows 10 and Windows 11, but some older ones might run poorly or not at all. Here are some ways to fix common issues with older programs.


Try running the compatibility troubleshooter:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Run programs made for previous versions of Windows and select it in the results.

  2. Select Next, select the program you're having trouble with, then select Next again.

  3. Select Troubleshoot program (or you can select Try recommended settings to try that).

  4. Select the problem you're having and follow the process.

First, try running the compatibility troubleshooter:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type the name of the program or app you want to troubleshoot.

  2. Select and hold (or right-click) it, and then select Open file location.

  3. Select and hold (or right-click) the program file, select Properties, and then select the Compatibility tab.

  4. Select Run compatibility troubleshooter.

If that didn’t work, you can try adjusting the settings Compatibility tab. Here's what to look for and what each setting does when it's selected.

Compatibility setting


Run this program in compatibility mode for

Runs the program using settings from an earlier 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 incorrectly.

Change high DPI settings

If your program isn't displayed correctly on a PC with a high-DPI display (its features are blurry or are too big or too small), select Change high DPI settings, and then try one of these options in the Properties dialog box:

Choose which DPI to use

  • In the Program DPI section, select Use this setting to fix scaling problems for this program instead of the one in Settings to use the DPI settings you want to use for this program.

    Note: This changes the DPI only for the app you're adjusting. If you want to adjust this for all apps, select Start > Settings  > System > Display > Advanced scaling settings and follow the instructions. 
    For more info about changing the setting for all apps, see Fix apps that appear blurry.

    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 the default setting.

    • 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 Override high DPI scaling behavior, 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 program’s DPI settings and makes it run like it would on a low-DPI display. On a high-DPI display, this will make the program appear blurry.

  • System (Enhanced) – Windows will try to use enhanced DPI scaling for this program. As a result, some programs will display with crisp text on high-DPI displays. This won't work for all programs.

Run this program as an administrator

Some programs require administrator permissions to run correctly. Sign in to your PC as an administrator to use this option.

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 prompted for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Related topics

Windows Update Troubleshooter

Fix Windows Update errors

Upgrade to Windows 10: FAQ

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