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]

Graph_Acc

[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, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/compatibility-tricks-for-old-programs-new-machines/ 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: http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/DOSBoxShortcuts#Windows

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 www.vmware.com/products/server. 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.

Progress!

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 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help!

Attention: I have posted an updated and more complete version of this article, here: Windows 7 – Old Games Won’t Play.. Help! (Updated)

Reader Asks For Help After Installing Windows 7

Q: I had Windows XP and Windows 7 was recently installed. I hate Windows 7. My kids can’t play their games. Something about hardware acceleration driver. I want to know if I can switch to my XP. I do have the 7 recovery CDs that I made when I got the computer. Is there an easy way of switching? I’m not a tech person. I do not know alot about computers, but I do love and miss my XP. Can you help me?

A: Dear Reader,
Unless the person who upgraded you to Win 7 made a full backup of the XP (such as a “disk image”) before they installed, then no — there is no “easy way” back to XP. You would have to format your hard drive, install XP, install all your programs, and then copy back all your data. (Maybe.. that’s what you mean by “7 recovery CD’s”? Did you run Norton Ghost? Or, Acronis True Image?)
But XP is obsolete, not for sale any more*, not terribly secure, and no longer fully supported by Microsoft (and soon to be unsupported totally). It really isn’t the thing to do to “go back”…

Why don’t we focus on getting the issue resolved so that your kids can play their games? There are several approaches.
1) The “hardware acceleration” is referring to the “video card”, or more accurately, the graphics driver. Most graphics drivers allow you to turn off the hardware acceleration (which should 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. [Note: Change Settings will be disabled if the graphics card drivers do not support disabling hardware acceleration.]
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]

The path in your address bar is: Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Display > Change Display Settings > Advanced settings.

Graph_Acc

2) You may need set the troublesome games to launch in “Compatibility Mode”, and tell them to run under Windows XP SP2. This article, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/compatibility-tricks-for-old-programs-new-machines/ shows you how. The Compat Mode section is about half way down the page.

3) You may also – if the game is old enough – need to turn off a CPU core (or, now, cores), called “setting the affinity”. Also see, Compatibility Tricks for Old Programs, New Machines.

*see Comments

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

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January 6, 2010 Posted by | advice, Compatibility Mode, computers, device drivers, how to, PC, performance, software, tech, Windows 7 | , , , , , , , | 24 Comments