Fixing Compatibility issues in Windows Vista

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Using Custom Installation to Resolve Compatibility Issues

Some applications are near enough to Vista compatible, with just a couple of domains caus­ing problems, that a little tweak can make them run properly. For the programs which are already installed and facing compatibility issues you need to uninstall them. This can be done by going to the Start menu → Control Panel → Uninstall a Program. Now start the installation setup again and choose the Custom installation option, or whatever gives you the most control over the installation settings. Install the application with as few of the options as possible because the simpler your setup is, the less likely that you will face problems. If your software includes a component that runs in the background, you may be asked if you want to run it as a service or an application. Since Vista and XP treat these services differ­ently altogether hence try the application option instead.

Running in Safe Mode

Sometimes you will find that some application may not install or run at all in Vista. This is because of the fact that there’s a conflict with some other application on your system. You can simplify this issue by closing all run­ning applications, include­ing all unnecessary applications with icons placed in your sys­tem tray. You can also try installing these kinds of applications from the Safe Mode by rebooting your PC, pressing F8, and then choosing the Safe Mode option. Running into Safe Mode starts Vista with the minimum of drivers and no startup applications at all, cutting the chances of conflict to a minimal. But running Vista in Safe Mode also blocks many Windows components, and the installation programs that verify serial codes online won’t work. But if you are struggling hard to get a program working, it is worth a try.

Checking Device Drivers and Using Third Party Applications

You might have noticed that some of the old or buggy device drivers will occasionally prevent things from running properly. You can check this out by running the Device Manager. To go to the Device Manager, click on Start and type devmgmt.msc in the Search box. Look for devices marked by a faulty yellow exclamation mark and double-click on the hardware facing the problem to mend it. If all seems well here, you can still try updating other drivers yourself. Video drivers carry utmost importance, so expand the Display Adapters section of the Device Manager tree and double-click on your graphics card. Now click Driver to find your current device driver version, and then click Update Driver to see if Windows can find a latest version. If this doesn’t work, you can visit your graphics card manufacturer website to see if there is a latest driver available.

Some pre-Windows 95 applications (remember DOS games we used to play) just refuse to run in Vista. The solu­tion of this problem lies in making the application think that it’s running on an older version of Windows and not in Vista. This can be done by a tool called Dosbox which is a clever tool that can emulate DOS. This is a free application and you can use it to run old games, such as the original Doom, as it takes care of the video and sound compatibility issues. Another freeware called FreeDOS is a similar utility with the ability to build bootable DOS CDs.

This post is part of the series: Resolving Compatibility issues in Windows Vista

This series covers the compatibility problems faced by common user in Windows Vista and effective tips and tactics to overcome these difficulties.

  1. Resolve Compatibility Issues in Windows Vista – Part 1
  2. Resolve the Compatibility Issues in Windows Vista – Part 2