Can Windows XP games run on Windows 7?


Some of my clients ask me ‘Can Windows XP games run on Windows 7?’. Yes, of course!

Why would you want to run Windows XP games on Windows 7?

There are a number of reasons why someone would want to run Windows XP games on their Windows 7 PC. For some, it’s because there is a legally purchased game that just will not work with the newer version of Windows. Or perhaps you simply don’t have the disk space required to upgrade your operating system and all your programs at the same time.

Whatever the reason may be, running Windows XP games on Windows 7 is actually possible as long as you have a legal copy of each program. Fortunately, this process is rather simple as long as the software in question supports being installed on previous versions of Microsoft’s operating systems. Simply put all those games into an external hard drive or burn them onto a data disc before inserting them into your computer. Then, you’ll only need to follow the same set-up process you used before when setting up your game on Windows 7.

However, if for some reason the game does not run properly even after following these steps, try running it in Windows XP compatibility mode. Right-click on the shortcut or executable file and select Properties. Then, click on Compatibility tab and check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” . A dropdown menu with available options will appear; select Windows XP Service Pack 3 (or whichever version of Windows XP is installed on your computer) and click Apply at the bottom right corner of the window to confirm your selection. If that doesn’t work, manually edit the shortcut’s properties by right-clicking it again and selecting Properties. Then click on the Compatibility tab and check “Run this program in compatibility mode for:” again. Select Windows XP (or the version of Windows XP that is running on your computer) from the dropdown menu, then select Run as administrator if you are prompted to do so.

If none of these options work, you can also try installing older game on a different PC with an older operating system (for example Windows 95 or DOS) first and transferring it to your new PC using removable media like USB flash drive or external hard disk.

This will bypass the need to run the game as an administrator. To do this, simply connect your removable media and allow Windows XP to detect and browse for it. Then open Computer and copy the files from your removable media to a location on your computer. Now you can install the game by running its setup program and then just copy all those files into installation folder before playing.

Before they will run on contemporary displays, some games may need to be configured in a config file. For example, you might have to change the resolution or colour depth so that it is supported by your modern graphics card. In such cases the best way to do this is through launching a configuration tool before playing. This will either be included with the game itself or you can download it from an official website. If none of these methods work for you, there are usually ways to replace the deprecated DirectX components with newer versions that are compatible with Windows 7; this is an advanced procedure and should not be tried unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

These games will run on today’s computers like they ran on their first day out of the box. It won’t matter if they were bought on CD-ROM or installed directly over the Internet; it doesn’t even matter if they had been running all night long on your old PC. All those old games will run just fine, as if nothing has changed since then — well except faster load times and better compatibility.


Do you have older games (MS-DOS games) that you need to run on Windows 7?

No worries. You can always use DOSbox as an emulator to run old DOS games on Windows 7.

What is Dosbox?

DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library, which makes DOSBox very easy to port to different platforms. DOSBox has already been ported to many pl atforms, such as Windows, BeOS, Linux , Mac OS X and OpenBSD. Many older games were written for MS-DOS and would not run well in modern versions of Windows. A popular way to play this type of game is by using an emulator like DOSbox.

You can get a pretty comfortable setup by following the steps below:

1) Download and install [DOSBox from here][24], [the [7z SFX archive containing all you need to run games from your removable media][23] and some game specific files I prepared for my own convenience.

2) Put your game CD in your drive. It will probably autorun, just close it.

3) Browse to the game directory (e.g., F:\Games\My Old Game ) in explorer.

4) Select everything in that folder, right click on it and select “Add to compressed sfx options” A wizard will launch – ensure you uncheck “add ‘readme’ manifest” and click the unpack button.

5) Browse to [the new folder][25] created in your removable media directory (e.g., E:\My Games ) and run setup.exe in there with administrative rights (right click, run as administrator). After installation is complete you can delete the compressed sfx-options folder if you want.

6) Go back to windows 7 and find the start menu shortcut for DOSBox like this: “C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.72-win32\DOSBox.exe” -startmapper

7) Start DOSBox, go into Configuration/Keyboard mapping and reassign whatever key you want to exit to F10 now (e.g., you can assign ALT+F4).

8) Now you have to mount the directory where your game is located in DOSBox. Do this by typing something like this depending on where you mounted your folder:

mount c “E:\My Games\GameName” -t cdfs -label E:\My Games\GameName

This mounts the folder GameName off of drive E onto the virtual drive C with label “E:\My Games\GameName”, so that all future commands are issued to that folder, for example when executing “-cd” or “-x”. If the name of your game file (e.g., GameName.exe) contains whitespace characters make sure to surround it with double quotes.

9) Now type in your game’s file name as if it were a DOS command. For example, to play Unreal Tournament I would type “ut” and the game would boot up. If you experience problems and get an error message like:


You can launch Dosbox from your start menu and simply drag the game’s executable onto Dosbox shortcut in order for it to run inside DOSBox window. If y ou don’t want DOSBox to start after running a game then right-click on its shortcut and select “Properties”. Go to “Misc” tab under “Shortcut” category and check on option “Close on exit”, then click OK. Of course , if you install Daemon Tools Lite which can be downloaded from developer’s site.

If you are still unsure how to do this all, one of our computer technicians should be able to help you.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...