How to play old games in Windows 10

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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  • 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 it 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 can I run old games on Windows 10?

1. Do old PC games work on Windows 10?

What you can do to see whether you can run old games in Windows 10 is you 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).
  • Tweak some more settings – also on Properties, choose the “reduced color mode” or run the game in 640×480 resolution if needs be.
  • Use DosBox for really old Dos games.
  • Try using a virtual machine.
  • Run the troubleshooter on the game which doesn’t work.

2. Run the Programs compatibility troubleshooter

  1. Click on the Start button and select the Settings option (the cogwheel).
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on Troubleshoot from the left pane, then click on Additional troubleshooters from the right.
  4. Scroll down, select the Programs compatibility troubleshooter, and click on Run the troubleshooter button.
  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 install issues on the latest Windows OS version.

3. Download the games that are still compatible

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 has announced a while back:

So as of today we’re adding official Windows 8 support for most of the games in GOG.com 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 with 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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Frequently Asked Questions

  • You can use the Program compatibility troubleshooter to find out if a certain title works. We have an excellent guide to help you play old games on Windows 10.

  • Sure you can, but you will need a DOS emulator for Windows 10 to play it.

  • Yes, of course, but you will need a dedicated emulator to run the games on Windows 10.

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I’m having display issues with Papyrus Nascar Racing 3. when I load the game it seems to always just want to run in a small box in the middle of my screen. I cannot get it to fill the screen so that I can see it well enough to play it. I’ve tried everything from the compatibility settings to even setting my PCs display to 800×600. Nothing seems to be working. I have my PC connected to a 32″ HD tv so I was thinking maybe that was the issue so I started messing with the display mode on my tv to see if I could fix the issue. That was also a dead end. I have no idea what to do short of trying to find an old windows xp PC or Laptop but I really don’t want to do that just to be able to play one lousy game. Is there any other suggestions you can give me to try?