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I am having problems installing or running a game with Windows Vista or Windows 7. What should I do?
Posted by Joseph Paolinelli on 13 October 2011 10:01 AM

Should you have trouble installing or running a game with Windows Vista or Windows 7 there are a few troubleshooting options available to you. Please note that once these options are set you should not have to makes these changes again for the specific application. After the application is closed all default options for windows should be reverted back and not affect any other applications. All the options mentioned were designed by Microsoft for the sole purpose for trouble shooting. They should not have any adverse affects and if there are any concerns all changes can be reverted by going back though the steps below and disabling the mentioned options.

Run in Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode allows newer operating systems to run older applications & games with fewer conflicts. This is helpful because some applications designed for earlier operating systems can have issues running in Windows 7 or Vista (they didn’t exist for compatibility testing at the time), and their new features might cause conflicts with a seasoned game or program.

Steps for running in Compatibility Mode

  1. For Patching Problems: Right-click the icon for the game.
  2. For Installation Problems: Right-click the setup.exe icon.
  3. Click Properties.
  4. Click the Compatibility tab.
  5. Check the box next to Run this program in compatibility mode.
  6. Select the version Windows XP SP2.
  7. Click OK.

Disable desktop composition and visual themes

Desktop composition and visual themes are options in Windows Vista and Windows 7 that enhance the appearance of your desktop. An example of this would be Windows Aero, which is a visual option that allows your windows and applications to have a transparent boarder around them. Disabling visual themes and desktop composition allows applications to run without these options. When you exit the applications these settings will be restored.

Steps for disabling Desktop Composition

  1. In the Compatibility mode tab go to the section labeled settings.
  2. Check the box for Disable desktop composition and Disable Visual themes.
  3. Click OK.

Run as Administrator

Running an application as an administrator is required for many applications to ensure that it is run with the proper permissions for Windows. Even if your user account has administrative privileges this does not always mean that the application is being granted the proper access. This is typically needed when running applications on systems where there are multiple user accounts or when attempting to run older games.

Steps for running as administrator

  1. For Patching Problems: Right-click the icon for the game.
  2. For Installation Problems: Right-click the setup.exe icon.
  3. Select the ""Run as admin"" option.

Additional Information

It is important to note that these options are not available with Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows ME.

If you do not see these options in Windows Vista or Windows 7 then your account may not have the proper privileges to use these functions. Please make sure to contact your system administrator for assistance in modifying your permission levels in Windows.