As we install new programs on our computer through compatibility mode, it is possible that, after a while, we will not know which ones are started in this way, so it will be necessary to manually review them one by one. With this tool we can see all those programs that run in compatibility mode.
What is and how to change the Compatibility Mode
When we talk about Compatibility Mode, we are talking about a set of tools that are responsible for adding code snippets to older programs so that they can work on the most current operating systems. In this way, the softwares start to run as if they did in a previous version of Windows. Those programs that have been developed for a Windows specific version may require the use of this mode. Without its use, the application could experience bugs and functionality problems. This mode can be found in both Windows 10 and Windows 11.
To be able to change the Compatibility Mode, just look for the executable file or the software shortcut. Once found, we click on it with the right mouse button and within the context menu select the option “Properties”. In the new window that appears, we click on the “Compatibility” tab.
In the Compatibility Mode section we mark the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” box. In the drop-down menu below we select the Windows version for compatibility with the program we want to run. Finally, we click on “OK” to save the settings.
How AppCompatibilityView works
It is a simple program developed by NirSoft that is responsible for displaying a list with all the software that is running with different compatibility settings, which are stored in the Windows Registry. The routes where they are stored are the following:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Microsoft / Windows NT / CurrentVersion / AppCompatFlags / Layers
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / Software / Microsoft / Windows NT / CurrentVersion / AppCompatFlags / Layers keys
Along with this, it will allow us to both modify and eliminate the compatibility settings of both one and several applications at the same time, as well as optionally, export all this to a report in HTML, TXT, CSV or XML format.
Once we run the application, it scans all the information stored in the Windows registry and shows it to us organized in its own interface. In its main window it shows us a list with all the entries of the programs that are running under the Compatibility Mode in our system. All recovered data is displayed in a structured and organized manner.
They are distributed in columns showing the name of the application, the user and the version of Windows to which it is assigned. It also shows additional details about administrative rights, desktop composition and visual themes, file version, and most of all, the compatibility string.
The application is specially directed for system administrators, as well as advanced users, who will be able to carry out all kinds of configurations and operations on these programs without too much effort.
Add and remove compatibility entries
Those programs that appear with a red background color mean that they are no longer in the system. If need remove themIt will simply be necessary to select it and click on the «Action» tab. Later we select «Delete Selected Items».
To add a new entry, simply drag its .exe file from Windows Explorer and drop it onto the main AppCompatibilityView window. Later we click on it with the right button and use the option “Set Windows Version Compatibility Mode” (Establish the compatibility mode of the Windows version).
Next, click on “Add Compatibility Option” so that compatibility options are included for the new entry.
Just right-click on one or more entries and a context menu will appear that will allow us to change the batch compatibility settings, in just a few clicks. Among the actions that we can configure are:
- Set the Windows version compatibility mode, allowing you to run programs in a previous version of the operating system such as XP, Windows 95, Windows 98, etc.
- Eliminate the compatibility mode: we can eliminate the compatibility mode added from the application itself or from the Windows compatibility options.
- Add compatibility option: allows us to add a compatibility setting to the selected programs.
- Remove compatibility option: added from application as from Windows compatibility options.
AppCompatibilityView is a free program that we can download directly from this link to the NirSoft website. The application is portable, so it does not require any installation process or additional DLL files, and can be executed from an external storage device such as a hard drive or a pendrive. The utility is compatible with any version of Windows, from XP to Windows. It also supports compatibility with both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. To start using it, we simply have to unzip the downloaded .zip file and then run the executable file AppCompatibilityView.exe.
Alternatives for MS-DOS programs
In the event that we look for an alternative to AppCompatibilityView to be able to execute programs that have been developed in MS-DOS, we suggest the following:
If instead of running Win32 applications we want to run programs and games developed for MS-DOS, we can use the DosBox emulator. It can be used legally to convert our computer into MS-DOS and to be able to use old games and software again. It allows us to emulate all types of CPUs such as PCs 286 and 386 in real or protected mode to adapt them to our needs. We can download it for free from the developer’s website.
It is another emulator with which you can run both programs and games in MS-DOS. This software offers compatibility with network functions, being one of the most complete options that we can find since it is adapted and optimized to be executed in modern versions of Windows. We can download vDOS for free from this link on its developers’ page.