Microsoft is finishing the deployment of the new major version of its client operating system, Windows 10 2004. As in each new version of the system the running applications is a critical point in professional and corporate environments and one of the aspects to value in the migration of equipment to new operating systems.

Microsoft strove to maintain software backward compatibility in the development of its latest system. Logical thinking about the strategy of offering the free update from Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The result is that a large number of applications for those systems also work on Windows 10.

But not all of them work by default, as well as those programmed specifically for previous operating systems. If you have to run old applications in Windows 10 2004, we remind you of some alternative methods to achieve it.

Compatibility settings

Windows 10 includes a compatibility mode for running older applications. To access it:

Right-click on a program icon or .exe file and go to Properties. Click on the Compatibility tab. In compatibility mode choose the system where you knew it worked. It is available from Windows 95 to Windows 7. The tool also incorporates an automatic wizard that checks the best compatibility values ​​for each application. It tests other available options, reduced color mode or resolution.

Execute as an administrator

Most old (already legacy) applications developed for Windows XP need to run in administrator mode, something that is not available by default. It was not a good idea to run all applications as administrator because a malicious application could take control of the entire system and hence the implementation of UAC (User Account Control) starting with Windows Vista. These applications will not run properly until you grant them certain permissions. If an old application does not work for you in Windows 10, it is a method to try.

Right-click a program icon or an application executable. Execute as administrator.

32-bit or unsigned drivers

64-bit versions of Windows 10 require 64-bit signed drivers. The process is extreme if you are using a relatively new PC with UEFI BIOS as in order to improve security and stability they prevent installing unsigned drivers. If you need to run an old application that needs 32-bit drivers, you will not be able to do it in the usual way, but you can do it this way:

Hold down the shift key while rebooting the system. Once rebooted you will enter a special Windows 10 mode. Select Troubleshoot – Advanced Options – Startup Settings. Reboot the system to disable the mandatory use of signed drivers.

Virtual machines

The professional versions of Windows 7 included a special feature called “Windows XP Mode.” It was a free and fully functional version of the system that worked as a virtual operating system and as a means to open old programs within Windows 7. Windows 10 does not include this mode, but we can achieve the same by virtualizing software, installing systems like Windows 7 or earlier.

16 bit software

16-bit applications do not work in 64-bit versions of Windows 10 because the system does not include the WOW16 compatibility layer that allows these types of applications to work. It will be rare that you have to use such old applications, but if that is the case, the solution is to use a 32-bit version of Windows 10 that does include this compatibility layer.