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Friday, March 27, 2009

How To: Improve Backwards Compatibility in Windows Vista and Windows 7

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Microsoft changed the indexing structure in Windows when they made Vista which causes some programs not to work in the new OS, however Vista and 7 have a hidden feature that allows old programs that ran on the old indexing system to work again. Strangely, Microsoft hasn’t enabled this by default but it is an easy “feature” to regain. (Windows 7 Beta 1 is depicted, however the same principals apply to Vista.)

1. Open the Control Panel and (in classic view) select “Programs and Features” from the menu.

2. In the left panel, select “Turn Windows features on or off.”

3. Wait for the list to populate and make sure that the “Indexing Service” feature is checked.

4. Select “Ok” and wait for the feature to be installed.

Windows 7 has a new feature to help enable compatibility mode for old programs; right click on an application and there is an entry “Troubleshoot compatibility.” Selecting this will open a wizard that asks a series of questions about what happens when you attempt to launch the program and Windows figures out which settings to apply to the program.

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