Windows operating system keeps getting updated. However, many times a program developed for an older version of the operating system does not get updated to support a new version of the Windows.

Fortunately, you do not have to rely on the mercy of the developer to release a new version of the program. Windows 11 allows you to run a program meant for an older version using Compatibility mode.

What is Compatibility Mode?

Compatibility Mode in Windows allows you to run programs that were meant to run on an earlier version of Windows on a newer platform.

The reason older programs do not work on the newer platforms, despite the hardware being much more powerful, often boils down to changes in the underlying architecture of the operating system. Modern operating systems have different color modes, newer ways of managing the memory, and at times, even a completely revamped I/O code.

But Compatibility Mode in Windows allows you to run a specific program in legacy mode. It emulates the environment of older architecture to achieve this feat. So, you do not have to go look for an older system to run it or downgrade your system.

However, it’s important to remember that the legacy OS that the compatibility mode emulates is an approximation and not an exact copy. So, there can be a few bumps in the road while running the program.

Now that you are a bit acquainted with the compatibility mode, let’s learn how to enable it on your PC.

1. Enable Compatibility Mode for a Program

You can enable compatibility mode for any program by simply configuring its properties. Moreover, you can either set it manually if you know exactly what version of Windows the app worked on or you can let Windows decide.

Manually Configure the Compatibility Settings

Configuring the compatibility setting for a program is a very straightforward process.

First, right-click on the executable file (.exe file) for a program. Then, click on the ‘Properties’ option from the context menu.

After that, from the ‘Properties’ window, click on the ‘Compatibility’ tab. Then, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Run this program in compatibility’ option. Now, click on the drop-down menu beneath it. Then, select the operating system the program was made for or last worked correctly on from the drop-down menu.

Next, if you had tried to run the program and were receiving a graphic error, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Reduced color mode’ option. Then, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Run this program as an administrator’ option as well.

Then, hit ‘Apply’ to save changes and ‘OK’ to close the window.

There you go, you have enabled the compatibility mode for the program. Double-click on it to run it. The program will always run in compatibility mode until you manually turn it off from the properties.

Let Windows Decide Appropriate Compatibility Settings

In case you do not know for which exact previous version the program was made for or worked correctly, you can invoke the ‘Compatibility Troubleshooter’. It will test the program and configure the required settings for you.

To do so, right-click on the executable file for the program. Then, click on the ‘Properties’ option from the context menu.

After that, from the ‘Properties’ window, click on the ‘Compatibility’ tab and then click on the ‘Run compatibility troubleshooter’ button to proceed. This will open a separate window on your screen.

Now, from the Troubleshooter window, click on the ‘Try recommended settings’ option to let Windows run it with the most widely suitable settings.

Windows will then apply suitable settings according to the environment needed by the program. Now, click on the ‘Test the program’ button to launch the program and test if it works correctly.

If the program worked correctly this time, click on the ‘Yes save these settings for this program’ option to close the window. Otherwise, click on the ‘No, try again using different settings’ to keep changing the settings and testing the program until you find the correct settings. If it doesn’t work, you can also report the problem to Microsoft by clicking on the respective option.

2. Disable the Driver Signature Enforcement

If you are experiencing an error citing driver issues when trying to run the older program in compatibility mode, the Driver Signature Enforcement policy may be creating the problem here.

To do so, head to the Start Menu and click on the ‘Settings’ tile to proceed. Otherwise, search for ‘Settings’ from the Search option.

After that, make sure you have selected the ‘System’ tab from the left sidebar to proceed.

Next, scroll down to locate and click on the ‘Recovery’ tile from the right section of the window.

Then, click the ‘Restart Now’ button present on the ‘Advanced startup’ tile. This will restart your PC immediately.

Once your PC restarts, click on the ‘Troubleshoot’ tile to continue.

After that, click on the ‘Advanced Options’ tile.

Then, click on the ‘Startup Settings’ option present on the screen.

Next, click the ‘Restart’ button present on the screen to restart your machine.

After the device restarts, you will be presented with the Startup Settings screen. Now, press the 7 numerical key on your keyboard. The PC will restart again.

Now, run the program/installer again and it should work properly now.

There you go, folks! Using the above-mentioned methods, you can easily run an older app in Windows 11 even if the developer of the software isn’t maintaining it and left you in the lurch.