Windows Vista compatibility problems – Part 2 – Two possible solutions
Method 1 – The internet detective
Case study – Aliens Vs Predator (AVP) Gold Edition
In our Windows Vista compatibility mode video you saw us trying to run a game called “Aliens Vs Predator” under Windows Vista. First of all we tried the compatibility mode options, but the software still refused to run.
Next, we Google searched for patches for the game. There was only ever one patch published. The link for the patch was dead on several sites, but eventually a working link was found. However, even after patching, the game still would not run.
At this point, you might think we were out of options. However, after a little more research on the PlanetAVP forums we discovered that the game was now open source (i.e the program code was available to the general public) and that using this source code, one user had produced their own AVP patch. After installing this patch, the game ran perfectly, hurrah!
We recommend this method as the starting point when trying to troubleshoot any Windows compatibility issues. The first thing to check is with the original publisher or author of the software. Download any patches or updates from the publisher or developers website if possible and then try again.
If the publisher is no longer in business, then perhaps there was a patch published before they disappeared. Sites like Fileplanet for example, host patches for older games.
Finally, many old cult video games from decades ago have been released into the public domain. Some games have even had their source code (programming code) released to the public. Games like this are often maintained and updated by enthusiasts long after the original developers and publishers have abandoned them.
If the software you are trying to run is a productivity application, perhaps there is a compatible product that will open the data files/documents that the old application produced? Again, you’ll need to sleuth your way around the internet to find out.
Method 2 – Dual booting
Configuring dual boot systems can be complex but it is often worthwhile, especially for gamers
You’re brand new Windows Vista or Windows 7 equipped PC can almost certainly run Windows XP quite nicely too, (assuming you can find Windows XP drivers for all your hardware). Setting up more than one operating system on a single computer is usually called “dual booting”. Some adventurous users even triple or quad boot between versions of Windows and various flavours of Linux! When you want to change the operating system, simply power down and reset your computer then select your alternative operating system from a special boot menu. Alternatively, you can use a removable hard drive caddy and simply swap one operating system drive for another one.
This approach is quite appealing in some scenarios. If you set up Windows XP on your PC, then naturally you’ll get 100% compatibility with Windows XP software. This is great news for game players who’ve amassed large collections of video games over the years that Windows XP has been available. Unlike the emulation and virtualization options that we discuss later in this article, your Windows XP installation will run as quickly and smoothly as possible, with full access to your computers hardware.
There are several rather large drawbacks to this approach too. Firstly and most importantly, configuring your computer to dual boot is a complex process, one that varies from machine to machine and one that can certainly end in disaster if not done correctly. A full discussion of how to set up a dual boot system is beyond the scope of this article. Secondly, it’s worth reiterating that in order to switch from one operating system to another, you must shut down the current operating system then reboot the alternative. While this probably won’t matter to gamers, the inconvenience of having to save all your work, shut down all your applications and switch operating systems like this in order to run a desktop or productivity application may be too much for most users.
The next part of the article discusses two important technologies for running older sofware on modern hardware, namely emulation and virtualization. Click the link below to move to the next part of the article.
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