How to Fix: Program not Compatible with Windows 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Stacie M. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I upgraded to Windows 10 over the weekend, but unfortunately many of my programs appear to be incompatible. For example, a program either gives me an error and immediately exits, or it runs but doesn't work properly. If I would have known that my programs won't work with Windows 10, I don't think I would have upgraded. Is there anything I can do to make my programs compatible with Windows 10? "

My response:

When I first upgraded to Windows 10, many of my favorite programs wouldn't work properly, either - similar to what you describe. For example, VMWare Workstation 10, OpenVPN, Kodi, and xpadder all had problems - and on top of that, I had video card issues with a huge black border on another system. Needless to say I've managed to get most of my older programs working by forcing them to run under compatibility mode, and that should be the first thing you should try, but I'll also provide a few other suggestions.

Option #1: Use Compatibility Mode with Windows 10

If you have a program that used to work under Windows 7 or 8 but does not work with Windows 10, you can try and run it using the Windows 10 compatibility mode. To do so:

  1. Go to the Start Menu or desktop and look for the program you're having trouble with.
  2. When you find the program, right click it and select Properties from the dialogue menu.
  3. A new window will appear. Go to the Compatibility tab and look for the heading "Compatibility mode". Check mark "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" and choose Windows 7, first. Windows 7 is a good option because Windows 7 has been around for many years and most programs work fine under Windows 7.
  4. Now, look under the next heading marked "Settings" and check mark the option for "Run this program as an administrator". Technically speaking, it is advisable not to run programs as administrator because this is a security risk; however, most older programs assume you are running as administrator (because of the way that Windows XP was designed, for example), and therefore will not run properly unless it runs with administrator access.
  5. After the two items are check marked, click Apply to apply the changes, then click OK to close the Window. Next, go to the Start Menu and launch the program and see if it functions as it did in your previous operating system before you upgraded to Windows 10. If it does, then there is nothing else to do. If it does not, then go back to the Compatibility tab and change the compatibility mode setting for another operating system, such as Windows Vista or Windows 8 and try again.

If it still doesn't work, proceed to Option #2.

Option #2: Go Online and Look for a Possible Workaround

If adjusting the compatibility mode settings doesn't work for you, then you will need to search online for a potential workaround. This is more or less detective work and may require you to refine your searches in order to find a solution. I suggest using Google when researching your question as it presents the most accurate search results usually always at the top of the list.

For example, when I was having problems using VMWare Workstation 10 with Windows 10, I initially searched Google for "windows 10 incompatible vmware Workstation," but that didn't yield many search results for my problem. I then refined my query with more specifics and searched for "windows 10 no ethernet vmware workstation" (which pertains exactly to my problem), which then lead me to a post on a forum spanning many pages. Eventually I came across a solution on the 5th or 7th page which worked for me (specifically: I had to reset the Ethernet adapters using the Virtual Network Editor). After that, my VMWare Workstation 10 worked as it should and without having to run it as Administrator.

Another possibility is that the program you're using may be known to have a compatibility problem with Windows 10, and may be updated soon by the software developer. In the mean time you will have to make do and wait until a fix is released. If the program you're using is updated frequently, it might be worth holding out until such time. However, if the program you're using is a few years old and hasn't been updated, then a fix may not be released.

It is also possible that the program you're using may have a fix in an updated version. For example, VMWare Workstation 11 reportedly does not have the same problem I encountered in version 10.

If all of those suggestions are not a viable option for you, then you can try Option #3.

Option #3: Find a Replacement Program

If you've tried all of the above and you still can't get your program to work in Windows 10, you can try and find a replacement program online the Internet. Simply search for the name of your program you're having troubles with, followed by "freeware alternative" or "freeware similar to", or such and you should be able to find something suitable.

You may have to try a few programs until you come across one that is decent. I suggest you only research and download programs that are continually updated (within the last year or so), otherwise you will likely have the same issues already discussed in this post.

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I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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