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How to Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10

information   Information
Most apps created for earlier versions of Windows will work in this version of Windows, but some older apps might run poorly or not at all. You can try using compatibility mode or run the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter on most programs to detect and fix common compatibility problems.

Starting with Windows 10 build 15002, Microsoft enabled high-DPI support improvements by default for some Windows desktop apps, you can now enable them yourself for other GDI-based applications, too! To do this, youíll need to find the applicationís .exe file, right-click on it, and select Properties. Go to the Compatibility tab, and turn on System (Enhanced) DPI scaling, and click OK. This setting overrides the way that applications handle DPI scaling (which sometimes uses bitmap stretching and can result in applications rendering blurry) and forces them to be scaled by Windows. The setting that was previously labeled "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings" is now referred to as Application scaling. This works only for apps that use GDI.

See also: High-DPI Scaling Improvements for Desktop Applications in the Windows 10 Creators Update - Building Apps for Windows

This tutorial will show you how to change compatibility mode settings on older desktop apps for your account or all users in Windows 10.
Note   Note
If changing compatibility settings doesn't fix the problem, try the following.
warning   Warning
Donít use compatibility mode on antivirus programs, firewall software, backup software, disk utilities, or on system programs that came with Windows. This might cause data loss or create a security risk.

CONTENTS:
  • Option One: To Manually Change Compatibility Mode Settings for an App in Properties
  • Option Two: Automatically Change Compatibility Mode Settings for App in Program Compatibility Troubleshooter
  • Option Three: To Manually Change Compatibility Mode Settings for an App in Registry Editor





Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10 OPTION ONE Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10
To Manually Change Compatibility Mode Settings for an App in Properties

1. Right click or press and hold on a desktop app or it's shortcut that you want to change compatibility mode settings for, and click/tap on Properties.

2. Do step 3 or step 4 below for what you would like to do.


 3. To Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Only Your Account (current)

A) Click/tap on the Compatibility tab, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot above)


 4. To Change Compatibility Mode Settings for All Users

Note   Note
You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to do this step.


A) Click/tap on the Compatibility tab, click/tap on the Change settings for all users button, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

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5. Do step 6 or step 7 below for what compatibility mode you would like to use.


 6. To Turn On Running App in Compatibility Mode

Note   Note
Runs the app using settings from a previous version of Windows. Try this setting if you know the app is designed for (or worked in) a specific version of Windows.

A) Check the Run this program in compatibility mode for box, select the latest version of Windows that you know the app is designed for or worked in, and go to step 8 below. (see screenshots below)

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 7. To Turn Off Running App in Compatibility Mode

Note   Note
This is the default setting.

A Uncheck the Run this program in compatibility mode for box, and go to step 8 below. (see screenshots below step 6)


8. Under Settings, check or uncheck the ones you want, and click/tap on OK when finished. (see screenshots and table below)

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Settings Description
Reduced color mode Uses a limited set of colors in the program. Some older programs are designed to use fewer colors.
Run in 640 ◊ 480 screen resolution Try this setting if the graphics for the program appear jagged or are rendered improperly.
Override high DPI scaling behavior (build 15002) You can select to override high DPI scaling behavior if scaling to have scaling performed by either Application, System, or System (Enhanced).
Run this program as an administrator To always run the program elevated as administrator. If you aren't signed in to your PC as an administrator, this option is unavailable.






Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10 OPTION TWO Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10
Automatically Change Compatibility Mode Settings for App in Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

1. Do step 2 (context menu), step 3 (properties), or step 4 (Control Panel) below for how you would like to open the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter.

2. Right click or press and hold on a desktop app or it's shortcut that you want to change compatibility mode settings for, click/tap on Troubleshoot compatibility, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

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3. Right click or press and hold on a desktop app or it's shortcut that you want to change compatibility mode settings for, and click/tap on Properties.

A) Click/tap on the Compatibility tab, click/tap on the Run compatibility troubleshooter button, and go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

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4. Open the Control Panel (icons view), and click/tap on the Troubleshooting icon.

A) Click/tap on the Run programs made for previous versions of Windows link. (see screenshot below)

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B) Click/tap on Advanced, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

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C) Uncheck Apply repairs automatically, and click/tap on Next. You will need to be signed in as an administrator to be able to use the Run as administrator option if you like. (see screenshot below)

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D) Select the app (ex: CCleaner) you are having compatibility issues with, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

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E) Check Fix program box, click/tap on Next, go to step 5 below. (see screenshot below)

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5. Click/tap on the troubleshooting option you want to use. (see screenshot below)

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6. Follow the rest of the onscreen instructions in the troubleshooter until you are finished troubleshooting the compatibility issue with the selected app.. (see screenshots below)

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Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10 OPTION THREE Change Compatibility Mode Settings for Apps in Windows 10
To Manually Change Compatibility Mode Settings for an App in Registry Editor

1. Press the Win+R keys to open Run, type regedit, and click/tap on OK to open Registry Editor.

2. If prompted by UAC, click/tap on Yes.

3. In regedit, navigate the location below that you want to use. (see screenshot below)
Note   Note
If the Layers key is not there, then right click or press and hold on the AppCompatFlags key, click/tap on New, click/tap on Key, type Layers, and press Enter.


(for current account only)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers


(for all users)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Layers

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4. Do step 5 (set) or step 6 (remove) below for what you would like to do.


 5. To Set Compatibility Mode Settings for an App

A) In the right pane of Layers, right click or press and hold on an empty area, then click/tap on New, and click/tap on String Value. (see screenshot above)

B) Type in the full path of the app's exe file (ex: "C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCleaner.exe") you want to change compatibility settings for, press Enter, then double click/tap on the full path in the right pane to modify it. (see screenshot below step 3)

C) Type in a one or more combinations of data values from the table below for how you want to run the program as, click/tap on OK, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

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Note   Note
If you use more than one compatibility setting, then you must enter them like below in the order they are listed in the table below.

~ [Privilege Level] + [Settings (value(s) with space between)] + [Compatibility Mode (only one)


EXAMPLE ONE:
To run a program as if it was in Windows Vista SP2 (Compatibility mode), and Reduced color mode 16-bit (Settings), and to run as administrator (Privelege level) you would type this exactly:

~ RUNASADMIN 16BITCOLOR VISTASP2

EXAMPLE TWO:

If say you also wanted to add Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution (Settings) with the above example, you would type this exactly:

~ RUNASADMIN 640x480 16BITCOLOR VISTASP2


Privilege level Data value
Run this program as an Administrator RUNASADMIN

Settings Data value
Disable display scaling on high DPI settings HIGHDPIWARE
Override high DPI scaling behavior. (build 15002) Scaling performed by: Application HIGHDPIWARE
Override high DPI scaling behavior. (build 15002) Scaling performed by: System DPIUNAWARE
Override high DPI scaling behavior. (build 15002) Scaling performed by: System (Enhanced) GDIDPISCALING DPIUNAWARE
Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution 640X480
Reduce color mode (8-bit 256) 256COLOR
Reduce color mode (16-bit 65536) 16BITCOLOR

Compatibiliy mode Data value
Windows 95 WIN95
Windows 98 / Windows ME WIN98
Windows XP (Service Pack 2) WINXPSP2
Windows XP (Service Pack 3) WINXPSP3
Windows Vista VISTARTM
Windows Vista (Service Pack 1) VISTASP1
Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) VISTASP2
Windows 7 WIN7RTM
Windows 8 WIN8RTM


 6. To Remove Compatibility Mode Settings for an App

A) In the right pane of Layers, right click or press and hold on the full path of the app (ex: "C:\Program Files\CCleaner\CCleaner.exe") you want to remove compatibility settings for, and click/tap on Delete. (see screenshot below step 3)

B) Click/tap on Yes to confirm, and go to step 7 below. (see screenshot below)

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7. When finished, you can close Registry Editor.



That's it,
Shawn