How to Force Open a Program in Windows 7

By David Taylor

Applications that were written for earlier versions of Windows are not always compatible with Windows 7. Over the years Microsoft has adopted a radically different security model that prevents programs from having complete control of your machine. Additionally, some programs depend on old drivers that may not be available in your operating system. Windows 7 includes a compatibility mode that tries to make older programs run on newer systems.

Right-click the program or shortcut to the program, and then click "Properties."

Click "Compatibility" from the list of tabs.

Select "Run this program in compatibility mode for," and then select a version of Windows from the drop-down menu. The default option of "Windows XP (Service Pack 3)" is suitable for most older programs.

Click "Run the program as an administrator" if you have an administrator account and are sure the program is trustworthy. This setting gives the application full access to the system, as it would have had in older versions of Windows.

Double-click the program or shortcut to open the application in compatibility mode.


Check with the program's vendor to see if an updated version is available.

Change the compatibility mode if the program won't open.