These 14 tips show how it's easier than ever to diagnose problems and fix your Windows 8 PC
At first glance Windows 8 may seem like a radical upgrade, with its new Start screen, apps, Charms and more being very different to anything that’s gone before. Beneath the surface, though, the mechanics haven’t changed quite so much. So if your programs and applications were able to run under Windows 7, then there’s a good chance they’ll be compatible with Microsoft’s latest release, too.
There are no guarantees, of course. But if you do have problems running an older application then Windows 8 provides several tools you can use to try to get it working again, and we’ll be looking at these below.
Read more: Windows 8 tips
The operating system can also help you understand and resolve many other annoying, intermittent problems, such as programs that crash or display error messages. And best of all, new troubleshooting tools can restore even some unbootable Windows 8 PCs back to full health at the click of a button.
Tip 1: Where’s my program?
With the Start menu no more, the first challenge in running any particular program under Windows 8 can be finding it. If you know the program’s name then you may be able to launch it from the Run box, just as before. To use Notepad, for instance, hold down the Windows key, press R, type Notepad and press Enter on your keyboard. The new Search tool is even more powerful, however. At the Start screen, simply begin typing the name of your application and Windows 8 will list all potential matches. Click the relevant tile to load your program. Alternatively, move your mouse cursor to the top-right corner of the screen and click the Search Charm (or hold down the Windows key and press Q). Again, just start typing the program name and Windows will list all your matches.
Tip 2: Run as administrator
What if you’ve tried to launch a program and it hasn’t worked? This sometimes happens with new versions of Windows. Low-level programs, such as security tools for instance, are most unlikely to run until they’ve been specifically updated to support Windows 8 (check the developer’s website for advice). And if the program performs some critical task – it’s a backup tool, say – you might not want to force it to run. If there is a subsequent problem, perhaps the backups don’t work, that could become a real disaster. If the program is something less vital, though, perhaps a game, one simple trick you could try is to run it as an administrator. This gives the program extra security rights and can solve many odd problems. Just right-click the application’s Start screen tile (or desktop shortcut), select ‘Run as administrator’ and see what happens.
Tip 3: Program compatibility troubleshooter
If your application still won’t launch, or a message appears that says it won’t run on this version of Windows, there is another option you can try: the Program Compatibility Troubleshooter. At the Start screen, type Control to launch the Search tool, and click ‘Control Panel’. Select ‘Category’ in the ‘View by’ list, click ‘Programs’ and ‘Run programs made for previous versions of Windows’. The troubleshooter will now appear, a clever wizard that can help you solve many problems. Click Next and it will start by listing your installed applications.
If your faulty program is listed, choose it and click Next. Otherwise, click ‘Not listed’, then Next, then Browse and navigate to the program’s executable file – the Program Files, or Program Files (x86) folders are good places to start looking. Highlight the program file and click OK to continue.
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