How to Set Compatibility Mode for Apps in Windows 10

  • MORE

windows10 compatibilitymode troubleshooter

Most software created for previous versions of Windows run well in Windows 10, but you might have some older apps that don't work well or even at all with the new operating system. You can try to fix any issues you have running these older desktop programs in Windows 10 by changing their compatibility mode settings.

Windows has a built-in tool called Program Compatibility Troubleshooter that could automatically fix any compatibility problems for you. If the troubleshooter can't fix the problem, you can manually make an app run in compatibility mode, which will run the app using the settings from an earlier version of Windows. You can have the troubleshooter automatically search for apps that could have issues in Windows 10 or manually run the troubleshooter on a specific app. Here's how to do both.

How to Use Windows' Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

1. In the taskbar search box, enter run programs, then click "Run programs made for previous versions of Windows."

1440447264

2. Click Next and the troubleshooter will try to detect potential issues with your apps.
1440447315 528.74812030075403

3. Select the app that's having issues in the next window and click Next.
select app

4. Select a troubleshooting option: use the recommended compatibility setting or choose compatibility settings yourself.
Try recommended

If you choose to use the recommended settings, the troubleshooter will test the app using a previous version of Windows so you can see if that resolves the issue.

test compatibiilty

If you choose the choose to troubleshoot the app, the troubleshooter will ask you which problems you're experiencing. Depending on your selection, the troubleshooter will offer tests and suggestions to resolve the problem, such as testing the display settings for the app.

select problems

5. Click the Test the program button and then click Next.

You can then either choose to save the settings for the app, try different settings, or report the problem to Microsoft and view help articles online.

Choose settings

You'll have to run the troubleshooter for each app you're having compatibility problems with.

MORE: Windows 10 Settings You Should Change Right Away

How to Run an App in Compatibility Mode

Alternatively, you can go into a app's properties to change its compatibility mode settings. With compatibility mode, you can force an app to use settings from an earlier version of Windows -- helpful if you know the app ran well in, say, Windows 7 or Vista. You can also change the display and color settings for the app.

1. Right-click on an app and select Properties. You can do this from the app's shortcut or by navigating in File Browser to the EXE file.

select properties

2. Select the Compatibility tab, then check the box next to "Run this program in compatibility mode for:"
check run as

3. Select the version of Windows to use for your app's settings in the dropdown box.
select windows version

4. Hit Apply, then run your app and see if this fixed your issues.

Add a comment
10 comments
  • robertjjones Says:

    have troubled with firefox running in windows 10

  • Angel Says:

    These instructions don't work for me in Windows 10. I just get can't find it.

  • Cara G. Says:

    This instructions worked fine in Windows 10 for a program. However it is an App I wanted to run in an earlier mode, which cannot be found this way. (Instructions use Search by Cortana's box, or finding Search by right-clicking the taskbar's Window lcon, would be helpful too.)

  • brian Says:

    These instructions don't work for me in Windows 10. They cause Microsoft Edge to open, but it can't load the page.

  • Dawid Says:

    I have an Acer laptop. I have windows 10 firefox. When i start my laptop it says: this program was started in compatibility mode. How do i turn compatibility mode off? Please help.

  • Patti Matzie Says:

    Good article. I have SONY SANS400 network wifi speakers purchased back in 2013 as a gift. I recently upgraded my PC to Windows 10. Speakers no longer stream music, cannot connect to network. Per Sony its because these speakers are not compatible with Windows 10. Will running compatible mode on my Windows 10 to run the speaker software to set them up work.

  • Angie Says:

    Thank you so much for this! I had an older program that would not run on my Windows 10 laptop. I thought I was going to be out the money I spend on the program plus the money for the external device the program works with. But now it's working again, woohoo!

  • thomas dahl Says:

    Typing "run programs" in the search box brings up NOTHING useful. What a hopless piece of Monkey Womit this OS is !

  • Lester Says:

    Had some work done on my computer and use to have pictures every day and they were different scenes but now all I have is a woman running down the beach,can you help me?

  • The Dude Says:

    Vista is the oldest OS that appears in my Compat mode drop-down. How can I get it to display older OS's?

Back to top