Getting non-XP games to work on XP



Hey peeps. I have recently be buying up some older games designed for 95, 98 but not for XP. Some I have managed to get working without problems but others just will not work no matter what I do.

I was thinking of using a DOS emulation program to get these up and running (unless you want to suggest other ways) and was wondering which was the best allrounder.

Cheers guys.


usually if an old game doesn’t work for me on xp i try the windows xp compatibility mode (something which they just introduced in xp, but never in NT). Right click on the shortcut or the exe, select properties, then select compatibility, tick the box that says “run this game in compatibility mode for”. Theres now options for windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 and Me. Choode one, if it doesn’t work try another, although i can’t see the NT one being much in the way of usefullness.

One last thing to note is that sometimes you can’t run these games in hardware mode, like for g-police, i can only run this in software mode. Sometimes theres patches to make them work however.


Cheers but I have already tried that. I’m a good fiddler and cracking on trial and error. Actually on your NT point there I have found more work on that setting than any other.


have you used the compatability wizard it’s much better than just ticking the box and choosing an os from the list, the wizard asks a heap of questions and runs them per your answers.

the compatability wizard was also in w2ksp2 so it’s not just “something which they just introduced in xp”


I dont think I have had a single game that didnt work on XP Pro. I think I had to use the compatibility mode to get the original Civilisation to run though.

Ben :slight_smile:


Although it’s not free, Virtual PC is pretty nice… I use it to run DOS (for compat. and testing), Win98 (for compat. and testing), and Linux (so I could use it without having to reboot).


@ slayerking, sorry didn’t realise it came with the service pack, never had w2k long enough to properly play with it.


Forgive my ignorance but how exactly would a dos emulator help run win 95/98 games? I think I may have an old free dos emulator somewhere from back when I decided to play with some old dos games for a while, or is it something complex? I have a few older games that will not run (and a few that are buggy). I was kind of thinking of getting my old crappy e-machines up and running again with win98 on it but I would rather run them on my good computers if possible. Fyi I have tried teh compatibility wizard with the ones that do not work.


If it’s a Scumm game (LucasArts adventures) then use Their emulator is rock stable.
If it’s a coin op arcade, use Mame. Semi-rock stable :slight_smile:
If it’s a win9x , just use Windows XP’s compatibility mode


I just re-read my post and maybe it was unclear (at least it seems that way to me now). I had the emulator from playing dos games but it is win 95/98 games that I am having problems with (the dos games ran fine). There are a couple that I have tried every possible setting in xp’s compatibility mode and they still will not run right. I was just curious how you would go about running them under dos?
Maybe this is where I am getting confused. When you say dos it makes me think old ms-dos. I am aware that dos stands for disk operation system and therefor can apply to any os. Are you guys talking about an emulator for win95/98 kind of like what you would use to run pc software on a mac (but designed to run win 95/98 software on xp)? Is there such a program?


For pure DOS games (eg: Duke Nukem 3D etc etc) you do need an emulator because these games need to talk to the hardware directly and there is no way on earth they will work via XP usually because of the VESA graphic modes they use. Patches produced by enthusiasts are available for many of the best and a quick search on the web will usually locate something. The best DOS emulator in my opinion is “DOSBox” available from Don’t expect too much though. When run via an emulator the later old DOS games will be too processor demanding for all but very high end systems.