Error Messages are Good
This might be a foreign concept to most, but when trying to get an old DOS game to run on Windows XP it can be incredibly helpful to be able to read the error messages. Of course, just to make things more difficult, most of the time if a game has errors, it closes out before we even get a chance to read them. Here's how to make sure you get to read those juicy tidbits:
1. Navigate to and right-click the game's executable file. Choose Properties.
2. On the Program tab, uncheck the box "Close on Exit."
3. Click Apply, and OK.
4. Try running the game again, and this time read the error message. Putting the error into Google might yield more detailed or specific instructions on dealing with that particular error. Here's a common error and potential work-around:
Runtime Error 200
This is a very common error when trying to run DOS games on XP, and it is caused because your computer is simply too fast for the game. Imagine that! In order to have even a chance of getting the game in question to run, you're going to have to give your computer a sedative. This can come in the form of a program called Mo'Slo. The “TPPatch" component of the program can, potentially, alter the game in order to get it to run on your XP system. Their website offers more sage advice.
If you want to avoid a third party program, you can try this manual adjustment to slow down your hyperactive computer:
1. Navigate to and right-click the game's .exe file. Choose Properties.
2. On the Program tab, click Advanced.
3. Check the box for "Compatible Timer Emulation" then click OK, Apply, and OK again.