Run a Program that Doesn’t Recognize Vista


Lots of apps check the operating system during installation to make sure the version of Windows is supported. This is designed to prevent the user from installing it in an old version of Windows that doesn’t have the necessary files or features. Sometimes, however, it’ll also block a new version of Windows–such as Windows Vista.

Fortunately, you can configure a program to run in compatibility mode, which causes Windows Vista to lie about the version of Windows. To trick a program (usually a Setup file) into thinking you’ve got Windows XP, follow these steps:

1. Right-click the program and then click Properties.

2. Click the Compatibility tab.

3. Select the Run this program in compatibility mode for check box. Then, select Windows XP (Service Pack 2) from the list.

4. Select the Run this program as an administrator check box (just to help further reduce compatibility problems).

4. Click OK.

Now, re-run the program. It should work this time.

This entry was posted in Compatibility, Troubleshooting by Tony Northrup. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tony Northrup

Tony Northrup, MVP, MCITP, MCPD, MCSE, MCTS, and CISSP, is a Windows consultant and author living in Waterford, Connecticut, in the United States. Tony started programming before Windows 1.0 was released, but has focused on Windows administration and development for the last fifteen years. He has written more than two dozen books covering Windows development, networking, and security. Among other titles, Tony is coauthor of the Windows 7 Resource Kit, the Windows Vista Resource Kit, and Windows Server 2008 Networking and Network Access Protection (NAP). When he's not writing, Tony enjoys photography, travel, and being awesome. Tony lives with his girlfriend, Chelsea, her daughter, Madelyn, and three dogs. You can learn more about Tony by visiting his personal website at and his photography portfolio at

6 thoughts on “Run a Program that Doesn’t Recognize Vista

  1. Pingback: Advice for New Vista Users - Windows Vista help

  2. If I right-click on the program .exe, I get a properties window with the compatability tab. If I right-click on the program icon in the start menu, I get a different properties window that doesn’t have the compatability tab.

  3. Thanx for this article I can run perfectly Cool Edit Pro 2, ’cause I couldn´t do that for a long time! : )

  4. I cant change the compatability for this site. It always says cant load game images. I have Windows Vista Premium. Ive been told that VISTA isnt compatible with Sun Java AND to use HP java but i called and HP doesnt have that! Please email me at the above address and give me some suggestions. I have tried everything.

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