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Playing older Windows 95/98/2000 PC games on Windows 7/Windows Vista

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Remember those classic PC games we used to play back in the Windows 95/Windows 98 and Windows XP days? So times have changed and you have upgraded your OS to a fresh copy of Windows 7, you grab one of your classic games like Diablo 2 or even Half Life. You then proceed to install the game without a hitch, you then double click the games desktop shortcut, you get no response or some error message, so you try and use the Windows Vista/Windows 7 Program Compatibility troubleshooter. This doesn't work either, but you don't panic, because surely most game developers have released a Windows Vista/Windows 7 patch to enable the game game to run on Windows Vista/Windows 7, but you soon discover this is not the case, after all these games are over 10 years old and some of the developer and publishers of these games don't even exist anymore. The problem arises in some small ways to the Windows OS but more so because of poor programming/coding from some of the game developers, this explains why some of the older games will work on the Windows Vista/Windows 7 platform and others don't at all. So what can you do to play the game on Windows 7, all is not lost as I will explain.

Troubleshooting/Solutions

Changing the games Compatibility:  You can right click the games executable file, and under the "Compatibility" tab you can select "Disable Visual Themes" this will work for some games. You can also right click the games executable file choose Properties and change the Compatibility mode to run the game in Windows 95/Windows/98/Windows XP mode.
Run the game as Administrator: Right click the games .exe file and run as Administrator, this can work on some games.
Run the Program Compatibility Wizard in Windows Vista: Most programs written for Windows XP also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. If a program written for an earlier version of Windows doesn't run correctly, use the Program Compatibility Wizard to change the compatibility settings for the program. To change settings for a program manually, use the individual program's Compatibility tab. Information on the various settings can be found here.
Run the Program Compatibility troubleshooter in Windows 7: Most programs written for Windows Vista also work in this version of Windows, but some older programs might run poorly or not at all. If a program written for an earlier version of Windows doesn't run correctly, you can try changing the compatibility settings for the program, either manually or by using the Program Compatibility troubleshooter. Information on the various settings can be found here.
User-created/homebrew patches/fixes:  Some PC games already have user made Windows Vista/Windows 7 Patches/Fixes specifically made to solve the startup issues related to Windows Vista/Windows 7 systems, check the PC Game Patch Fixes section for your game title.
Windows XP Mode with Virtual PC: Windows XP Mode runs many older Windows XP productivity programs and that are not natively compatible with Windows 7, it can be downloaded here.

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