Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)

5 6 Methods For Getting Old Programs To Run On New Computers

This article is an updated and improved version of  Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help!, a “reader question” article that has proven quite popular. It seems quite a few people want their 12-year old, 16-bit, Gen 1 games to play on latest generation, 64-bit machines, (I don’t blame them) but it doesn’t always work. Here are some tips for solving the problem. They are in the appropriate order, IMHO. (These work in Vista as well.)

1) Turn off “hardware acceleration”. A common cause of errors and “playability issues” is the old games’ use (or lack of) of hardware “acceleration”, which is referring to the “video card”, or more accurately, the graphics driver. Most graphics drivers allow you to turn off the hardware acceleration (which may resolve your issue).
Click Start in the lower left corner of Windows.
Click Control Panel, click Appearance and Personalization, click Personalization, click Display Settings, and then click Advanced Settings.
Click the Troubleshoot tab, and then click Change Settings.Move the Hardware Acceleration slider until it is one notch to the right of None. This is the basic acceleration setting.
Click OK twice, and then close the window.
Restart the computer.

[you can also get there via the graphic adapter’s Properties in Device Manager]


[Note: Change Settings will be disabled if the graphics card drivers do not support disabling hardware acceleration. You may need to check the video card manufacturer’s website, and download the latest driver.]

2) You may need set the troublesome games to launch in “Compatibility Mode”, and tell them to run under Windows XP SP2. This article, shows you how. The “Compat Mode” section is about half way down the page.

3) You might need to try repeating Step 2, but this time install directly to your C:\ drive (by default, Windows will install programs to C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files(x86) folder) using the “Custom install” option during set up. This will eliminate some of the Permissions issues that keep older programs from running correctly.

4) You may also – if the game is old enough – need to turn off all but one CPU core. This is called “setting the affinity”. Also see, Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines. If this resolves your issue, the article includes a download for a tool to make this setting ‘stick’.

5) For really old, DOS-based games, install DOSBox. DOSBox is a great tool, especially for old games. I would suggest reading the tutorial, here:

6) Though I view this as a bit of a ‘last resort’, you can install a “virtual machine” and run the game in there.
* If you have the Professional, Enterprise or Ultimate edition of Windows 7, you can download XP Modewhich is really Virtual PC – for free. If you have other editions of Windows, grab Virtual PC 2007 from the same place.
* Perhaps a better alternative is using VMWare Server (free), from I have read that the VMWare handles the hardware acceleration better.

In both cases, you’ll have to supply the copy of (old) Windows yourself, and install it (into the “virtual machine”) from scratch.

… I hate to say, but it is possible that you may try all these things and get unsatisfactory results. I keep an old Pentium II machine (Windows 98) around just for playing those old games (which I wouldn’t dream of connecting to the Internet!). The games play best on the hardware/OS of their day. You might need to do the same. Or.. say goodbye to your old friends.


Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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January 25, 2011 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, device drivers, Gaming, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting, tweaks, Virtual Machine, Vista, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Windows 7 64-bit Adventures

In keeping with the times, I decided to Go 64 (bit) with my new Windows 7 install (aka “upgrade”). 64-bit computing is officially here for us Average Folk, and it has many advantages. One of the nicest is the ability to “access” more RAM memory.
(I wrote previously about 64-bit and Windows 7. See, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit)

64-bit operating systems can have lots of RAM, and since the machine I installed Windows 7 on only had a mere 3 Gigabytes of RAM.. and since my motherb180px-Memory_module_DDRAM_20-03-2006oard could accept up to 8… and.. Windows 7 64-bit can “see” 8.. well.. I decided to go and buy 8 GB’s of RAM modules and stick them in. (I am a capital “G” geek, after all..)

First, I visited the SystemScanner memory upgrade advisor tool at (a memory chip manufacturer) and downloaded it, and ran it. It told me exactly what type of RAM to buy.

In my case, the “best” my machine can accept turned out to be PC2 6400 (800 MHz DDR2), non-ECC, non-buffered. It isn’t important that you know what those things are, but it is important that the chips (aka “modules”) match the specifications. Also, good to know is, DDR2 is “dual channel”, so you want to install your modules in pairs. (The newer DDR3 is “tri-channel”, and should be installed in multiples of three.)

So that is what I asked for at the store.

It turned out that the best deal at that particular store, on that particular day, of 2 GB DIMMs of PC2 6400, was Crucial “Ballistix” memory.. a more “high end” type of performance memory favored by gamers. Installation went smoothly, and Windows 7 handled the hardware change with alacrity and ease.

(And.. I picked up an Intel® Core™2 Quad processor, which I will tell you about tomorrow.)

So for a relatively minor investment, I brought my older HP Pavilion a1763c into the new era of 64-bit high performance computing with Windows 7. I like the improvement. Yes I do!
But I have to confess, so far, I have not been able to come even close to having enough going on that that much RAM is being utilized… maybe I need to encode some videos, or something, to see all 8 being used. But I think I would have been fine with 6 GB’s…

A note if you are considering this yourself: DDR2 memory prices are actually on the way up now, and DDR3 prices are dropping, so if your machine uses DDR2, you may not want to put off an upgrade too much longer.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 29, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, hardware, how to, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Windows 7 Onboard

Yesterday my Windows 7 upgrade disc finally arrived from Amazon. (I’m not complaining. I had opted for the slow shipping method because I’m “frugal”.) 20 minutes later, I was running Windows 7 Home Premium on my HP Pavilion dual-core desktop.

I wrote in my earlier articles on the Win 7 betas that the install process was the fastest and easiest Windows installs I had ever experienced, so I was not surprised that the “official release” retained this wonderful ability.Win7RC.jpg

Once I had my Desktop, the first thing I did was visited Windows Update, even though Win7 goes out and looks for updates during the install process. There were 7 regular updates and 7 “optional” updates available for me.
These updates are important, and the sooner you get them onboard the better, so I recommend that everyone click Start > Windows Update as one of your first moves.

Doing so had the side-effect of launching IE 8 for the first time, and so it wanted to be “configured”. I almost clicked on the “quick configure” (as I had on the beta versions) but at the last moment I noticed that the “Default search provider” has been changed to Bing.
No thanks.

Next up was to get an antivirus onboard. Since I installed a 64-bit version, and since Windows 7 is so new, I though maybe my number of choices might not be too many.. but I clicked on the “Action Center” flag and saw I had two “notices”, one of which was “no antivirus detected”. So I clicked that, and then I clicked on “Help me find a solution“.
Pretty simple.

A page opened which showed the various vendors who had products compatible for my system. I was glad to see that pretty much all (all?) the reputable vendors were listed. As I plan to test several anti-Spywares in the near future, I simply installed Microsoft Security Essentials for now.
64-bit Windows 7 is inherently already quite secure. (And you may want it for that reason alone.)

So far (and I haven’t been running long.. mere hours) I haven’t seen any difference between this “official version” and the RC 64-bit. Which I have already described in prior articles. You can be assured will write more in the future.

Related links: to see my reviews of Windows 7, and other Win7-related writings, click here.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 28, 2009 Posted by | computers, Microsoft, PC, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Troubleshooting Installing Programs On Win 7

How To Get Older Programs To Install In The New Windows 7

I have been using the various beta releases of Microsoft’s new OS since it was released to the public in January and I have reported it to be a remarkably smooth performer (to see all my Win 7 articles, click Windows 7 articles).

Currently I am putting Win7 x64 (64-bit) through its paces as I believe it will be Win7 that ushers us all into the age of 64-bit computing. And I wrote about my near-flawless transition (see, A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit).

Yesterday, my undreamed of smooth ride came up against the cold hard potholes of reality when I tried to install a Logitec QuickCam webcam. No matter what, I could not get my QC Express to function properly on Win7 x64. So i plugged in a different webcam. (btw, I had no such trouble on the 32-bit.)
Now, this is in no way a critique! Windows 7 is still a beta, and won’t be released to the manufacturer’s and public for weeks and weeks yet.

But it the experience did inspire me to tell you, Dear Reader, the steps you can take to get programs installed on Win 7, should they prove resistant and/or fail altogether.

1) The first thing to do is, you will need access to the setup.exe, so for downloads you want to Save — and not “Run” — the download.
(note: this is a good habit to get in. Download any executable and then scan it for viruses before telling it to run!)

2) Double-click the setup (aka “install”) and let it run. Usually it will install just fine. But if it doesn’t, don’t panic. Close out any windows and prepare to try again fresh.

3) Right-click on the installer, and select “Troubleshoot compatibility”.

Windows 7 will analyze why the install failed, and a window will open with a click-able option for trying again with new settings.
Just click that and the installer will go again — and usually this will do the trick!
(Often an install will fail simply because Windows 7 isn’t on the installer’s whitelist of approved OSes. How could it be? Win 7 wasn’t written yet!)

4) Should that second try fail – as in the case of my Logitec software/drivers – you can try again, this time being a little ‘commanding’. Again, right-click on the setup.exe but this time select “Properties”.

A new window will open. Click on the “Compatibility” tab, and place a check in the checkbox for “Run this program in compatibility mode”, and use the drop-down arrow to select which OS to trick the installer into thinking it’s working with. Make sure “Run as administrator” is checked.
(Programs of a rather recent vintage should accept Vista, and for older programs you might wish to try “Windows XP”.)

Now close the Properties window and double-click on the setup.exe and launch the install again. (As they say, third time’s the charm.)

Now the program should be installed and functioning properly. If not, you may have to do what I did and just try something else — in my case a LifeCam VX-1000.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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June 8, 2009 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, file system, how to, Microsoft, PC, performance, software, tech, troubleshooting, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Tech’s First Impression of Windows 7 64-bit

As I promised in yesterday’s post, Windows 7 and the Era of 64-bit, I deleted the partition on my machine containing Win 7 beta and installed a 64-bit version of the Win 7 RC.

I have to say that my first and most immediate impression is — I am disappointed.



click on images = large

Because: the only thing that clued me that I was now “rolling with the 64” was — if I looked at my system properties — I could see a tiny, normal-sized line of text saying “64 bit Operating System”.

There was no banner — anywhere — that trumpeted, Success: CONGRATULATIONS PAUL! You are now rolling with the big dogs!

No balloons fell from the ceiling.

A marching band did not fill the room and play We Are The Champions.

There was, in fact, none of that.

There also wasn’t any glitches, snags, hang ups, curious error messages… and, when I clicked on Device Manager…


There was no yellow exclamation points, red X’s, etc., indicating that I needed to put on my safari outfit and go on a device driver hunt.


So I tried plugging in a few USB devices — a camera, a multi-function printer, a joystick, and a storage device (I was, after all, all dressed for the hunt). All of them auto-installed with no action on my part — not even a click “Yes, search for drivers on the Internet”, or any of that.

Huh, again.

So I feel totally robbed. I was fully expecting to have to do some work… some troubleshooting… some driver hunting… feel some Installer’s Aggravation.

I was looking forward to it actually, as I thought it might make for some article fodder.. you know, Tech Paul Goes In Search Of The Elusive 64-bit Driver or What Size Hammer Made 64x Win 7 Fit My Machine.. or some such.

All I got was…
Fresh Windows 7 Install_Desktop

And, darned my luck, Windows Easy Transfer worked flawlessly too.


Maybe (hopefully) I’ll run into trouble with networking… stay tuned.

[update: I did recently encounter a headache trying to install a device. See, Troubleshooting Installing Programs On Win 7]

Today’s free link: to see all my Win 7 articles, click Windows 7 articles.

Today’s free download: Click here to download Windows 7

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 27, 2009 Posted by | computers, file system, Microsoft, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Windows 7 and the Era of 64-bit

I have stated in my previous Windows 7 articles that I believe that the new operating system will usher in the era of 64-bit computing (aka “x64”) for us regular folk — who have been primarily using 32-bit. Soon, everything will be 64-bit, even for us “consumers”.

Very briefly, 64-bit architecture is twice as powerful as 32, so everything will run twice as fast, and you can put twice as many programs on your machines. Ha! I made myself LOL with that one… But, wouldn’t that be nice? Too bad that’s simply not so.

So why go 64? One of the main benefits of 64-bit architecture is the amount of RAM memory the system can support and RAM is a primary factor in computer performance. 64-bit will allow systems to address up to 17.2 billion GB’s of memory (theoretically). In today’s 32-bit desktop systems, you can have up to 4GB of RAM, and Windows really only utilizes 3.
That’s just a wee bit more RAM in a 64..!

(Of course there are other benefits to 64-bit over 32-bit, and for those of you who are curious, Wikipedia spells it out nicely here.)

To see any benefit to 64-bit, the moon and planets and stars all have to align — you have to have a 64-bit operating system, a 64-bit processor, 64-bit software and device drivers, and — most importantly for us — a 64-bit motherboard that has lots of ‘slots’ to hold all those RAM memory modules.

I believe now is the time of that ‘alignment’ for us consumer-level (aka “home”) computer users. There are now fully 64-bit systems available at your local electronic gizmo superstore, equipped with 6 to 8 GB’s of RAM.
And, Microsoft has made Vista 64 x64/Server 2008 x64 quite smooth-running (I wouldn’t touch 64-bit XP, though). 64-bit drivers are no longer so hard to find.

So.. today (or, as soon as time allows), as part of my endless and ongoing efforts to be simply the best Tech Blogger in the Universe (ahem), I am going to delete my Windows 7 RC partition and install the 64-bit Windows 7 RC and put it through its paces. I will then report to you, Dear Reader, in upcoming articles my “first impressions” on how that goes.

Today’s free link: Watch an ID thief’s ‘commercial’

Today’s free download: (I have not actually tested this app) Flexcrypt Free.
Flexcrypt is an encryption toolbox that offers encryption of Text, E-mail, Files, MSN and ICQ. The editors at C/Net say “Flexcrypt offers people the opportunity to encode e-mails and IM chats, so unauthorized users cannot read the information. There are many situations where this capability may prove useful in home and business, however, users are advised to read the Help file before using Flexcyrpt Free to get the best results.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 26, 2009 Posted by | advice, computers, Microsoft, PC, performance, tech, Windows, Windows 7 | , , , , , , | 2 Comments