How to Run Older Software on Windows 10 and 11

Windows apps typically receive long-term support because of the platform’s large user base. However, there are situations when the software’s developer decides to stop supporting it, leaving you in the dark. Even though it doesn’t happen often, you would want to use your modern PC to run any programme that is necessary for your professional work. In order to assist you, we have gathered a few clever techniques for running older software on Windows 10 and Windows 11 computers. Using these techniques, you can even run programmes created for Windows XP and Windows 95 on the most recent version of Windows. So without further ado, let’s learn how to convert legacy software to work with Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Run Older Software on Windows 10 and Windows 11 (2021)

In this post, we’ve covered a number of methods for running older apps on Windows 10 and the most recent Windows 11 version. Additionally, we have provided troubleshooting instructions in case you experience driver or graphic-related issues. The table below can be expanded so that you can navigate to any part that interests you.

Make sure you have a genuine copy of the older application you want to run before we start. Users typically download older programmes from dubious websites on the internet that might contain keyloggers or viruses in order to find them. Therefore, instal a genuine copy of the programme and proceed with caution.

Make Old Programs Compatible With Windows 10 and Windows 11

1. Locate the EXE file for the older programme first. It can be an installer or an already-extracted application folder. Open Properties by doing a right-click on the EXE file.

2. The next step is to go to the Compatibility tab and check the box next to Run this software in compatibility mode for.

3. Next, choose the older version of Windows that was designed for from the drop-down option. In general, Windows XP (Service Pack 3) is recommended for operating really outdated software. For the changes to be saved, click Apply.

4. When you double-click the EXE file, the programme will execute this time without producing any errors. On my Windows 11 computer, I tested an ancient version of Winamp and a medical programme that has since been retired, and both worked without a hitch.

5. I suggest turning on Run this software as an administrator under the Compatibility tab if you’re still getting issues.

6. You can try Windows 95 and 98, Windows Vista, or even an older operating system like Windows 7 to see if it works.

7. Turn on the checkboxes for Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution and Reduced colour mode if you experience any resolution- or graphics-related errors.

8. Click Run Compatibility Troubleshooter on the Compatibility page if the software won’t even start.

9. Select Try recommended settings after that. The appropriate settings will be found by Windows 10 or Windows 11 to allow the older programme to operate on your contemporary PC.

Disable Driver Signature Enforcement to Run Older Programs

You need to disable driver signature enforcement if an older programme won’t function on Windows 10 or Windows 11 owing to a driver-related problem. The application will then instal successfully after that. This is how to accomplish it:

1. Open the Power menu by clicking on the Start button. Now click the Restart button while holding down the Shift key.

2. A blue screen will appear when the PC restarts. Click the Troubleshoot menu here.

3. Select the Advanced Options link on the following screen.

4. To enter the Startup menu, click on Startup Settings and then click the Restart button.

5. The option to turn off driver signature enforcement will then appear.

To boot without the driver signature being enforced, press 7 or F7.

Create a Virtual Machine to Use Old Software

7. Your Windows 10 or 11 computer will boot up without enforcing driver signatures. Now use the aforementioned technique, and the programme ought to instal successfully this time.

You will need to set up a virtual machine if Windows 10 or Windows 11’s compatibility mode could not execute your older programme. You will require the previous operating system’s ISO image and must use VirtualBox or VMware to execute it. If you have the CD, you can also extract the ISO image of an older operating system. Here’s how you approach it.

1. Download the virtualization programme of your choice. For a simple setup, I suggest VMware (Free, Pro version starts at $149).

2. Next, launch VMWare after installing it. Choose the Windows OS of your choice, add the ISO image, assign RAM and CPU cores, and complete the setup.

Run Older Apps in Compatibility Mode on Windows 10 and 11

3. Finally, launch the VM, and you’re done. You can instal and run older apps inside the VM just like you would on any other PC.