How to Use Windows 8.1’s Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

Upgrading to Windows 8.1 from the older Windows versions like Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 has its own set of steps which are easy to follow compared to doing the same major task back in the days of these previous Windows editions (XP to Vista, Vista to Windows 7 or XP directly to Windows 7).

Most of the time, installing a newer Windows operating system edition meant losing your old files or having them backed up to a separate partition or external storage device in a manual manner but with Windows 8.1, everything happens like a breeze with the help of some tools that were developed to assist even those novice users and the other average ones who don’t have too much knowledge on the geeky side of Windows.

After Windows 8.1 gets installed into your old computer that was able to pass all of the system requirements, there might be some problems with the other older applications that still needs to get updated so they can be compatible with Windows 8.1. When this happens, you can either update them one by one or if there’s still no available update for the program or app that will make it work smoothly with Windows 8.1 then you can choose to run the program or app in the mode that it is designed to run in.

Yes! This step is actually possible with a free and very useful utility in Windows 8.1 that is called “Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter” and in case this is your first time to hear about this tool then this tutorial will surely be of great help to you especially if you are planning to run some incompatible programs and apps in your newly upgraded Windows 8.1 machine.

Accessing the Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter Utility

Just like the other Windows 8.1 tools, there are varied ways in accessing the Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter and we will be showing you the easiest methods here. First, we will start with the one that is easiest to do. To start, you will need to open the Start Screen by clicking on the Start Button or by pressing the Windows key and once this screen opens, simply press again on the Windows + S keys to open the Search screen which will slide in from the right edge.


Once the Search screen appears, simply enter the word “compatibility” into the search input box that is located on its top portion and wait for a few seconds until the search results starts appearing just below it. Once you see the search results, look for the one that says “Run programs made for previous versions of Windows” which you will need to click in order to open the “Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter” tool.


Now, there’s another way in accessing Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter on your Windows 8.1 machine. To do this, simply access the Control Panel by right-clicking on the Start Button in order to access a hidden but very useful menu that will appear at the bottom-left portion of the screen. From here, you will need to click on the link that says “Control Panel”.


After doing so, you will be taken to the main Window of the Control Panel where you will need to click on the link that says “Programs” as you can see on the screenshot below. The “Programs” section is the one that contains all available options for the programs that are installed on your Windows 8.1 machine.


Now, on the “Programs” Window, you should be able to find the link that says “Run programs made for previous versions of Windows”. This link will now open the Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter tool and you’re now ready to run the program that is not compatible with the Windows 8.1 operating system that you have just installed on your computer.


How to Use Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

Now that you have learned the easiest methods in accessing the Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter tool, it is time to learn the steps in using it on your newly upgraded machine so you can run programs that are not yet compatible with the brand new operating system that has just been loaded to your old computer. To start, you will need to click on the “Next” button which is found at the bottom-right portion of the screen as highlighted below.


The Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter tool will then scan your computer for all programs that are not running well with Windows 8.1 and once it is done searching, it will return a list of all the programs that it was able to detect. If the program that you are trying to run is not on the list that is found on the Window that follows, you can simply click on the option that says “Not Listed” and just browse to the location of the program.


After selecting the program or finding it (if you selected the Not Listed option), you will need to click on “Next” and the Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter tool will again scan for any issues with the selected program. After it is done scanning, you will see a Window that contains two other options for you to proceed. From here, simply click on the one that says “Try recommended settings” in order to run the program using the recommended compatibility settings on your Windows 8.1 machine.


Right after clicking the first option for running the selected program on the recommended settings, Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter will then apply the settings which would take a few seconds and when it is done, you will be taken to a Window that looks like the screenshot below. From here, you will need to click on the “Test the program…” button and try to use the program to see if there are problems that you might encounter. If you see that the program works well, simply hit the “Next” at the bottom as shown below.


After hitting the “Next” button right after you test the program, you will then be taken to a Window that asks you if the problem has already been fixed. There are three answers/options in this section which you can choose from according to what had happened when you tested the program itself. If it worked properly, you can select the first options which says “Yes, save these settings for this program” as highlighted below.


If things didn’t work that smooth when you tested the program with the recommended compatibility settings, you can try it again using different settings by clicking on the second option and lastly, if you finally did the first and second options but still the program didn’t work properly, you can choose to report the problem to Microsoft and check online for a possible solution which is what the third option is for.


Only use the “Troubleshoot program” option if you have already tried running the program on the recommended settings but it still didn’t work as it is supposed to. Just open Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter again and hit the “Troubleshoot program” option to find out what’s wrong with the program itself.

Making Incompatible Programs Just Got Easier!

As you can see, Windows 8.1 has a very efficient tool that helps you use even the programs that are not compatible with it and the best thing about the tool itself is that it is very easy to use and it guides every user through all the steps involved. There’s no need of searching for program updates especially in times that you really need to run an incompatible program. Just run it using Windows Program Compatibility Troubleshooter and you’ll surely be able to get it work as needed!