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Running Games in Windowed Mode in Windows 7

written by: •edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 1/29/2011

Full screen games are great - but wouldn't it be better to be able to play some games in windowed mode? After all, it's easier to read the walkthrough this way...

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    Play Games in Windowed Mode and Chat Online!

    Although appearing to run in full screen mode, many video games can also be run in a Window. This can make some games easier to play – and almost all games easier to manage if you’re supposed to be doing something slightly more important!

    Additionally being able to run a full screen game in a window aids with accessing other applications that you might need to play the game – such as a web page or an instant messaging client.

    There are several ways in which to run games in full screen mode. These depend on the game, your operating system and any game delivery network that you might use.

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    Will the Game Run in Windowed Mode?

    The first thing you need to find out is whether the game in question actually runs in Windowed mode or not. Some games have this feature built into their display options, so have a look through the game settings for this function.

    Following this, you will need to perform some research online to see if there is a way to run the full screen game in a window. This may not yield any results as there are few games that really need to be run in this way.

    Even if you don’t find an answer to the question of whether a window view for your game is possible, you should still have a go and follow the steps below in order to find out if there is a way to successfully run the game in question in a window.

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    How Do I Run a Full Screen Game in a Window?

    We Answer: The standard manner of running a full screen game in a window is to use the properties of the desktop shortcut for the game in question.

    To access this, right-click the shortcut and select Properties, and go to the Shortcut tab. Here you will find a section labelled Target: - this is the file that launches when the shortcut icon is clicked, and it appears here in quotation ("") marks, as below:

    "c:\Program Files\The Adventure Games\Launcher.exe"

    In order to force the game to launch in windowed mode, change the line so it reads:

    "c:\Program Files\The Adventure Games\Launcher.exe" -window

    You can also try –w if -window doesn’t work.

    This method will only work if the game supports such a change. If the game doesn’t accept this switch, you might consider looking for the config file in the game’s installation folder and check if there is a manual method of forcing the game to run in windowed mode (for instance an entry that reads windowed = 0). This method is potentially dangerous however, so should not be done without expert help.

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    Windowed Games on Steam

    How Do I Run a Full Screen Game in a Window such as Football Manager 2010? Many games are installed on PC not by disc but by digital distribution, and the most famous of these services is Steam. If you have a Steam game that you wish to view in windowed mode, the method described above will not work – you will have to find another way of making the change.

    Whether you can view this specific game in windowed mode is something you will only be able to find out by checking the Steam forums. Typically, however, a similar command needs to be added in the game launcher settings within the Steam console.

    These notes on how to run the Football Manager 2010 game in windowed mode on Steam explain how this is done.

    (Screenshots by author)