Computer Guide

How do I run old programs in Vista?

by George Skarbek - 15th April 2008

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Running old programs in Vista

Q: I have a windows program Encarta Interactive World Atlas 2000 Installation & Resources Green Disc and Atlas itself. Alan Simpson's VISTA Bible Compatibility writes Click on Start - All Programs - Accessories - Program Compatibilities Wizard. The highlighted is not shown on my version of Vista Home Premium 32 Bit.
Should I upgrade?

A: No you should not upgrade as it will make no difference as what version of operating system you are using.

There are two ways to get around this problem. One way is to run that program in a Compatibility Mode. The way to set it is to open Windows Explorer and then to right-click on your program, select Properties and then you can select the compatibility operating system such as Windows 98. In testing I have managed to run a 20 year old DOS game in Vista.

Another solution is to download the free Microsoft program, Virtual PC, and install whatever Microsoft operating system your program needs and then run your program there. Virtual PC is not that hard to use for anyone who has a bit of computer knowledge.


Moving My Docs

Q: Sometime last year there was an article about moving the "My Documents" folder to a second hard drive. I am now confronted with exactly this computer task as a member of a volunteer group. Their relatively small "C" drive is full of applications etc. I can't remember the method and can’t find how its done. Can you help?

A: You will be surprised as to how easily this is done, it’s getting started that is the only hard part. Using Windows Explorer, right-click on My Documents, select Properties and under the Target Folder Location click on the Move button and you will be given a choice of where you wish to store your documents.


Identity problem

Q: I believe my favourite email identity has been used recently by spammers. I am being blacklisted --- or whatever --- as mail sent by that identity is being rejected by the addressees. Is there anything I can do to redress this wrong?

A: You should obtain the full error message and ask your ISP what it means.

If it is due to spamming then unfortunately there is nothing that you can do. It is easy to fake an e-mail return address and spammers pick up real addresses and use them until they become blocked and then they start with another one. The automated anti-spam systems that ISPs use cannot tell if the e-mail is from the real you or from a spammer. They just block it.

Realistically all that you can do is to either ask your ISP if they can give you another ID (some will but there may be a fee) or alternatively you use a free account such as Hotmail or Gmail to send and receive e-mail from that account which to the one that appears to be blocked.


Making easily identifiable USB devices

Q: I have a question that you probably will say No to, but here goes. I use several USB drives and to prevent copying to an incorrect one is it possible to have more identification then just the label.

A: Actually the answer is Yes. In fact there are two things that you can do. One is to assign a specific drive letter for each device. To assign a drive letter to your USB drive or CD, open Control Panel and select Administrative Tools, Computer Management, Disk Management, and now when you right-click on the drive you will see a menu to Change Letter. Ignore any warning messages when altering the drive letter. You can have M for mail, S for spreadsheets etc. At the same time you could give the drive a Label appropriate name under Properties to further assist in identification.

The second way is to have a distinctive USB drive icon. If you have several USB drives it can be beneficial to have a separate icon for each to appear in Windows Explorer when you insert it. The way to achieve this is to copy an icon to that drive and then use Notepad (found under Accessories) to create a two line file that reads:
where MyIcon.ico is the name of your icon. If you do not have any then you can either search you hard disk for *.ico or use Google to search for “free icons”
Having created that file you must save it as “Autorun.inf” onto your USB drive. Please note that the quotes in the filename are essential as by default Notepad save files as .txt.


To look at the e-book in PDF format, Computer Guide, based on these columns click here