How to Know if a Program is Compatible with Windows 10

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Bill V. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

We have two computers running Windows 7; one of them has the white Microsoft logo on it which says it's ready for the Windows 10 upgrade, while the other one does not. I'd like to upgrade both computers to Windows 10, however, we have a very important Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet set up and I would hate to find out that I can't use the spreadsheet after upgrading to Windows 10. Is there a way to know if a program is compatible with Windows 10? "

My response:

I've been asked this question quite a bit lately and the easiest way to find out if your programs are compatible with Windows 10 is to run the Windows 10 installer and have it report to you what is not compatible (if any). You can run the installer one of two ways: first, by double-clicking on the white Microsoft Logo next to the clock, then choose "Start the upgrade now", or by downloading the Windows 10 ISO and running the setup.exe.

How to Know if your Program is Compatible with Windows 10

Once the Windows 10 installer has been initiated, it will check and see if certain programs are not compatible with Windows 10, then provide you with a report if there are any conflicts. If there are no conflicts, you will be presented with the "Ready to install" window, where you can either click Next to proceed with the upgrade, or you can click on the Red X at the top right of the window to cancel out of the upgrade and go back to the desktop.

If you don't have the white Windows logo in your tray bar, you can download the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft's website using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool, mount the ISO image once it's been downloaded, and then run the setup.exe from the virtual DVD - this is all explained in my article on how to mount an ISO image. After doing all that, the compatibility report will run during the install - just as I mentioned above.

If you are worried about clicking on the wrong thing and that Windows 10 may 'accidentally' install on your computer, then I suggest you run do a disk image backup of your system before you run the Windows 10 installer. Should you decide to install Windows 10, I still recommend doing the disk image backup first, in case there are any major issues during the upgrade - plus, you can roll back to your previous operating system at any time should you wish. If you need help setting this up, contact me and I'll do it for you using my remote desktop service.

An Alternative Way: Forcing the App Appraiser

Another way to get the Windows 10 compatibility report is to initiate the app appraiser from your Windows 7 or 8 machine (instructions below). This will only work if you have the white Microsoft logo by the clock. Please note, however, that some folks have trouble using this method as it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours to run, and then it may not produce a report at all unless you forcefully set the date 1 month ahead (for example). In that case, I suggest you simply run the Windows 10 installer using the methods I described above, as it is guaranteed to run the compatibility report.

Instructions for the app appraiser are as follows:

  1. Click Start and type in "cmd" (no quotes); wait for CMD.EXE or Command Prompt to appear, then right click it and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Highlight the text below with your mouse:

    schtasks.exe /Run /TN "\Microsoft\Windows\Application Experience\Microsoft Compatibility Appraiser"
    echo this is a dummy line
  3. Right click over the text above and select Copy. Next, go to the administrative command prompt, then right click in the middle of the window and select Paste from the dialogue menu. The command you highlighted in Step #2 should now output to the window.
  4. Wait anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours for the report to run (there is no 'progress bar'). Then, double click on the Windows 10 logo in the tray bar near the clock, and the compatibility details should be listed. If you don't see the compatibility details, you can try adjusting the clock so that it is 1 month ahead; doing so will 'force' the details to update.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

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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ecash's picture

Just a consideration..
Open office is a NEAT program and compatible accross a WIDE margin..
Is win10 compatible?

RobinUK's picture

For what it is worth, I run Lotus 123 Release 9 with win10 home 64, without any problems. I have compatibility set to XP service pack 2, and it works fine for the fairly straightforward demands I make of it. I can't remember what the issues were without the compatibility set. Generally it seems to be the open and save dialogues that get in a mess. In my limited experience pretty ancient software will run quite happily in win 10 with the right compatibility setting.