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What is Compatibility Mode?
Author: KB Admin Reference Number: AA-02695 Views: 5547 Created: 2012-08-05 19:00 Last Updated: 2014-08-15 17:01 0 Rating/ Voters

On a periodic basis, Microsoft issues new versions of the Windows Operating System that are intended to take advantage of capabilities offered by newer computer hardware. Some changes have more impact than others, such as an increase in bit processing. A 32-bit system is capable of more than its 16-bit predecessor, but a 64-bit system is capable of even more.

 When new operating systems are released that have more fire power than their predecessors, programs that were developed for the earlier systems may not work in the newer ones. To address this, Microsoft introduced a feature in Windows XP called Compatibility Mode. When a program is configured to run in Compatibility Mode for an earlier version of Windows, it is telling the current version of Windows to adjust the instructions given by a program so as to run as if under the earlier Windows version. This will not always work for all programs, as there may be other factors that come into play, such as driver versions.

 To set a program to run in Compatibility Mode for an earlier version of Windows, take the following steps:

1. Access the dialog for the program with these steps:

a. Right-click on the program icon on the Windows desktop or the Windows Start Menu.
    (For Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, see additional instructions below.)
b. Choose Properties from the pop-up menu
c. Click the tab labeled Compatibility.

2. In the area labeled Compatibility Mode place a check mark in the option to Run this program in compatibility mode for...
3. When the drop-down box then become active, click the down arrow button and choose the applicable version of Windows for the program in question.

(The example below shows BibleWorks 6 being set to Compatibility Mode for Windows 2000.)


4. Change any display settings that may apply. (For BibleWorks, no settings changes should be needed.)
5. Click the Apply button first. It will then turn gray.
6. Click the OK button to close the dialog box.
7. Now try running the program using the same icon.

Windows Vista & Windows 7 - The settings for engaging Compatibility Mode in Windows Vista and Windows 7 for a program are basically the same. 
Windows 8 & 8.1
- They are also basically the same in Windows 8 and 8.1 with the following exception.  In those versions of Windows, one first encounters what is called the "Windows Metro" interface.  Here, one finds tiles for programs and resources running on the computer.  One cannot access the "Properties" menu from a tile on this menu.  It will instead be necessary to access the Windows Desktop.  This is done with the tile labeled "Desktop". The Windows Desktop will include a Taskbar, and program icons can be placed on this desktop, as was the case in previous Windows versions.
  Right-click a program icon here to access the "Properties" window, on which will be the Compatibility tab.  Use the same instructions given above to set the appropriate Compatibility Mode.

Last Update: ELM/Aug 15, 2014