How to Play Old Games On Windows 10

Run your favorite old games in Compatibility Mode

by Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of... read more
Reviewed by Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Vlad Turiceanu
Passionate about technology, Windows, and everything that has a power button, he spent most of his time developing new skills and learning more about the tech world. Coming... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • You got nostalgic about a title you used to have fun with? This guide will help you play old games in Windows 10.
  • If the game is too old you might need to use a DOS emulator or a virtual machine.
  • A good solution to see if you can run the game is to use the dedicated troubleshooter.
  • Buying and downloading the game from websites that adapted the titles can also help you.
How to play old games in Windows 10

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We all get nostalgic sometimes and we remember the games we used to play on our old PC but can we still play them on Windows 10?

We’re going to take about the easiest way that you can take to make sure old games run without problems in Windows 10.

Running old games on your new Windows 10 system isn’t impossible, but you might encounter big problems with some, if not the majority of them.

There are plenty of tips, tricks, and advice that we can offer you, but there’s a method that we have personally tested, and we recommend it to all of you.

That way, you’ll make sure you can run the good old Duke Nuke, Quake, and others, as well as MS-DOS games on Windows 10, and enjoy the good old times.

How to play old PC games on Windows 10?

What you can do to see whether you can run old games in Windows 10 is make sure you follow these general guidelines:

  • Always run the game as administrator.
  • Enable compatibility mode (go to Properties and from there choose an older Windows version).
  • Use DosBox for really old Dos games.
  • Try using a virtual machine.
  • Run the troubleshooter on the game which doesn’t work.

Run Old Games in Compatibility Mode

The most recommended method to play old PC games on your Windows 10 device is to use the Compatibility Mode setting. It is easier than having to run the game as an Administrator every time you open it.

From the Compatibility menu, you can also enable the following settings: reduced color mode, running in 640 x 480 resolution, running the program as an Admin and registering the program for restart.

1. Navigate to desktop shortcut of your game or to its .exe file in the installation folder.

2. Right-click on the .exe file to bring up a menu.

how to play old games on windows 10 menu exe

3. In the menu, click on Properties.

how to play old games on windows 10 properties

4. Navigate to the Compatibility tab in the upper side of the window.

compatibility tab how to play old pc games on windows 10

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5. Here you can find the Compatibility Mode section.

how to play old pc games on windows 10 compatibility mode run

6. Check the box below this section and select from the drop-down menu which OS you want to run the game to run in compatibility mode for.

7. Click on Apply and OK to save the changes.

Use the Programs compatibility troubleshooter to check if you can run the game

  1. Click on the Start button and select the Settings option (the cogwheel).
  2. Click on Update & settings
  3. Click on Troubleshoot from the left pane, then click on Additional troubleshooters from the additional troubleshooters
  4. Scroll down, select the Programs compatibility troubleshooter, and click on Run the troubleshooter compatibility troubleshooter
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the troubleshooter.
Note icon
Note: If your games use SafeDisc or SecuROM DRM, Windows 10 won’t run them properly. In order words, due to digital rights management schemes, some older games on CDs or DVDs will be affected by installation issues on the latest Windows OS version.

Download the games that are still compatible with Windows 10

Unfortunately, sometimes we have to face the truth, as the best way to make sure your favorite old games run on Windows 10 is to buy them from a place where their compatibility has been certified.

So, unless they work by applying the above-mentioned fixes, a good idea would be to get them from Steam, but the best place is on the Good Old Games website. Here’s what the website announced a while back:

So as of today we’re adding official Windows 8 support for most of the games in catalog. There are currently 431 titles fixed, tested, and reported to be working properly under Microsoft’s new OS.

Note that most of these have not had the master builds updated, so you shouldn’t need to redownload the installer or anything.

Some of the titles, our build ninjas performed their usual magic on, and they’ll work now in Windows 8–and we’re even adding Windows 7 support to a few.

We’ll also be adding more Windows 8 games as time goes by and we’ve got time to apply some fixes to more of the classic games in the catalog.

If you think it’s too much to pay a few dollars for some good old games (sic), then be on the lookout for some sweet deals, as there are always some.

We’ve used the GOG service and have downloaded plenty of old games and all of them are working! So, go ahead and download them and let us know if this did the trick.

Also, if your budget is limited, check out our selection with the best games under 10$ to get right now and start having fun.

Budget can be a problem, especially when it comes to newer games. However, there can also be an issue with PCs with lower specifications.

Luckily, we also have a list of the best games for low-spec Windows 10 laptops if your device has a more modest configuration.

However, we hope that our solutions helped you play old games on Windows 10. If you have any other suggestions, share them in the comments section below.

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