Windows Vista Doesn't Run Any of My Software! Oh, Really?

by Todd Ogasawara

I posted a blog item titled Welcome to the... First Day Vista Updates? on Windows Vista's first wide-release day (Jan. 30). For some reason, this particular blog item has attracted a number of comments with the same theme. Here are some samples (and, yes, none of these people appear to like to use the shfit key or turn off Caps Lock :-).


Rhine: my vista computer sits in the corner collecting dust because no programs can be used on it


Jayson: none of my programs seem to work with vista

In my response to ANDREW CORIATY, I said, I'm certainly no Microsoft apologist. But, it is extremely unlikely that Windows Vista does not run ANY of your applications. Could you list ALL your applications?

It is certainly true that some software either does not function quite as expected or does not run at all. For myself, I've found that Grisoft's AVG 7.5 Free Edition and the Roxio software bundled with a Dell Latitude D620 do not seem to work right. I also have some HP printer driver issues. I'm sure there are lots of other software that doesn't run outright or quite-right under Windows Vista. But, I am kind of dubious of ALL of someone's software collection not running under Windows Vista. So, does anyone (including the four people who posted comments to my Jan. 30 blog) have an example of an everyday PC (not some single purpose PC running Vista) where every single application fails under Windows Vista? Inquiring minds want to know. And, if you have major mission critical applications (say on the order order of "Intuit Quick Books") that does not work under Vista, post that here as a comment too.


Bruce Stewart
2007-05-01 09:52:31
Skype seems to be very problematic under Vista. Check out the long thread of comments on this ETel post about Skype problems with Vista.
Jim Gaspers
2007-05-03 07:04:44
Microsoft Office 1997 Service Pack 2 will not install. It is trying to install a font which isn't allowed by Vista, so the install breaks and backs out.
2007-05-11 09:39:59
No... he's right ass.... hardly ANY of my older software, or fun games etc... from the library or my own collection WORK WITH VISTA.

Vista can suck a toe!

2007-05-21 21:29:05
Vista Home Premium sucks like ---.
My new Trackmania united game doesnt run on it.
And SIMS 2 too. Blaze media pro breaks. And
most of the applications dont run on it.

Always memory exeption errors from x location to x.
Beat you vista.....

2007-05-23 09:01:32
You a computer person much? I'm assuming so, I see the confidence. So E-mail me ( and tell me what I'm not doing right here.

I installed a program, game program (Lineage II), and it won't work. Yes, it just won't work. I double click on the application, nothing happens. It just sits there and looks at me. I double-click a lot, and nothing.

Ctrl Alt Delete, and I see all the programs I opened sitting there. No RAM, no reasons to why they're not working. Just sitting there.

Again, something I'm missing? Maybe a Vista setting (Enable programs to work) type thing? Hmm...

-PC (Ironic to have those initials right now.)

Todd Ogasawara
2007-05-23 09:08:45
The comments about Skype, Office 1997, and games not working makes sense from a compatibility point of view. Games are are always a special case. I gave up playing games on all versions of Windows years ago and switched to consoles and handhelds for gameplay. Compatibility issues with video drivers and the like are maddening. Vista is actually worse in that respect since its video driver issues combined with increased security breaks games and security software alike. Comments like most of my applications don't run still doesn't help other Vista users learn what to avoid though. If you can name apps, that helps us all out.
Curt C
2007-05-29 22:18:22
hey. it sounds like you are a Microsoft apologist, here are some of the programs that wont work for me. Adobe Photoshop CS, Hal0 2, Guitar Pro 5, The Shield Antivirus 2006 and 2007, Age of Empires, Yuries Revenge. Thats all i have to complain about now. It irritates me that my guitar tablature program wont work, i keep on getting the error 202 crap, I dont much care for Vista. Microsoft is trying to make their OS for the majority of the population. Sort of like Apple. User friendly dont have to think well do it all for you but if you think you know what your doing you dont anymore. The whole UAC thing is frustrating.
2007-06-10 11:02:17
My new Toshiba laptop is going back to Wal Mart for return, Vista has convinced me to stay with Mac OSX and order a Mac Book pro. Only need Windows for Autocad anyway.

2007-06-23 05:08:20
Why does my Photoshop CS3 can NOT! install on my windows vista? -
Stacey A
2007-06-27 11:09:52
I just got a new PC, nice little HP BUT it has Vista. Installed my Kodak digital camera software and Vista HATES it, blue screen/shut down anytime I try to access it. Also it does not like the phonics software I bought for my son. I should have stuck with pumping more memory in my old dog, at least I could use my pc. "Pretty" doesn't justify spending that kind of money on a new pc with Vista.
2007-07-09 05:21:08
AVG works fine on my Vista Home 32bit.
Only problem im having is running games on it. they start, will play fine. but about 5 mins or more. (random) it just stops completey. back to desktop as if the game wasnt even open. i checked in task manager and the programme is not running what so ever.. it is annoying. but just have to wait until microsoft has brung out some patches for everyones problem. give them about 6 months and it be sorted.
If anyone already knows problem to this could you please email me on
2007-07-17 16:10:11
I know for a fact that Vista has trouble running most software programs distriguted in stores and if you are anyone who has a particular knowledge of the Vista program it would be most appriated if you could provide some type of a fix for the issues surrounding the program otherwise you most certainly will lose curtain customer as well as any other customers that may heve been refered had the program not had so many indiscrepancies
2007-07-19 14:17:30
I've been able to bypass the error 202 by right clicking on the excecutable file and choosing "run as administrator" and then just clicking on "allow" (figuring you have that annoying UAC enabled").

I hope this helps :p

2007-07-22 14:05:21
I have Vista Ultimate, and I gotta say I dont really have that many problems with it. A restart once in a while but nothing major. All my games run, PhotoShop CS2 has no problems. Pretty much everything works. I have only had a problem with Unreal Tournament 2004. I installed it and it worked for a while but then I would click on it and nothing would happen. But thats really my only complaint. And I got a HP with Windows XP if I need to run anything that wont work :P

2007-07-25 10:54:17
My games are useless to me and so is my printer!!! Vista is a waste of money!
2007-07-26 09:27:38
i cant run world of warcraft /diablo 2 diablo 2 expantion nithor can i run my photo shop
2007-07-31 06:13:25
Vista ultimate, right out of the box both the mouse and keypad needed new drivers, Epson printer will not run either right on the unit or by network(if it is on the network it crashes the rest). Photoshop crashes. Only game - brand new rainbow six would not work asked for new driver over internet runs now but with issues, also new controller will not work at all, bought for same reason. Purchased state of the art computer $4500 for digital editing this is stupid. my win 98 puter still does all of the printing

2007-08-03 23:40:33
nothing and i mean nothing worksfor my vista pc this sucks!!!! quickbooks was my first problem and i cant even loadmy new "vistaready" canon printer .. VISTA SUCKS
2007-08-10 00:34:09
Literally none of my favorite games will run on Vista, including:

Neverwinter Nights 2
Gothic 3

And several other I've tried. I found out that I cannot switch back to XP, making me HATE this new program!

2007-08-15 23:23:59
i had to buy 4 different printers till i found one that would work on vista. and they were all vista ready. this vista is horrible. i really wasted my money. then i had to pay $148.00 to find out somethings. and guess what they do not know either. i spend the money and way over 30 hrs on the phone...
2007-08-18 08:13:19
I bought a new pc. I want to install my ms office xp professional on it and it won't let me because it's licensed on my old lap top. How do I get it on my new pc. When I put the cd in it downloaded a trial version of itself. I need the real things. My business depends on it.
2007-08-18 08:16:06
I cannot download my msoffice xp professional on my new pc. Its licensed pm my old lap top and a window comes up to say this so I can't register it on my new one. Help - I need this for my business. Thanks, Jan
2007-08-18 08:20:01
Becky - I had to download a driver to get my printer to work with my new vista pc. It works great now.
Todd Ogasawara
2007-08-18 11:16:17
Jan: Re: Your Microsoft Office XP license. A bundled OEM version of Office is specifically licensed to the purchased PC. So, you will not be able to move it to a different PC. Note that this is different from a copy of Office bought as an add-on product with a standalone license. Moreover, if using Office is indeed important to your business, you should probably not use a product that left Microsoft' standard support cycle over a year ago on July 11, 2006. You probably want to consider using a supported product.
2007-08-20 03:42:59
Hi Todd,

I have various applications loaded on my notebook (an HP Pavilion) running vista home premium which all ran on a similar notebook under XP. I won't list them all but they include Office ultimate 2007, internet explorer 7, Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla SeaMonkey, System Mechanic 7, Process Explorer, Utilities for a Palm PDA, utilities for an HP pda and an accounting suite.

The accounting suite does not work but the reason for this is obvious and related to the way security works under vista so whilst this is annoying I won't get too upset about this because I'm sure the authors will in time come up with a fix.

On the other hand several other programs only seem to run intermittently - this includes internet explorer 7 and outlook 2007 (I have not tested the rest of the office suite yet). The process can be seen to start in process explorer or in task manager but it then seem to die before displaying anything on screen. This intermittently happens for several programs and utilities.

I can therefore imagine a scenario where a set of general applications will not run under vista.



2007-08-22 09:07:47
I'm surprised by some of the problems people are having. Some must have just had the crappiest luck to have just ended up with every application that doesn't work in Vista while others like me just happen to have gotten all the working apps. I've been running Vista since Release Candidate 1. I run a fair number of apps and games, and other than AVG antivirus, a game or two, and Adobe Photoshop Elements, everything else has worked fine. I was able to replace AVG with Avast, which had a working version before official release day. Adobe released a patch for Photoshop Elements very soon after release day that got it working. So far no issues with that. I haven't tried the games that weren't working. Frankly, I was bored with Dark Messiah of Might & Magic already anyway.

Interestingly, as of June, one of the posters here has said that he was unable to get World of Warcraft's expansion pack (Burning Crusade) working. WoW and Burning Crusade have been nearly flawless on three installations of Vista in my home, on very different hardware for each (both ATI and nVidia video, too). I haven't had any installation problems with the main app or the expansion, framerates have been on par with XP, and the game has been a smooth experience. The "nearly flawless" qualification is from the earlier builds of WoW, which didn't understand the new security model. I'm NOT running as an admin on any machine. I've set up a limited account, which actually works in Vista but didn't under XP. WoW worked fine from day one, but any time a WoW patch was released, I would have to run WoW by right-clicking and doing "Run as Administrator" before it would work. Somewhere along the way, Blizzard fixed this. I run it as a limited user, and it asks for the admin password if a patch is needed (and ONLY if it is needed).

I've only run a few games so far, but with no apparent frame rate problems. I have read reports of various frame rate shortfalls vs. XP with a variety of games, but either none of the games I'm running are among those, or the differences are subtle enough to have escaped my notice.

One odd incompatibility did just come to mind. I ended up abandoning my old Compaq Ipaq PocketPC (2002) device because it wasn't compatible with the new Mobile Device Center, and the ActiveSync that works with it won't install in Vista. I wasn't thrilled with another perfectly functional product running a Microsoft OS being unsupported in another Microsoft OS. My solution was to buy a Motorola Q with my next telephone upgrade, which has Windows Mobile 5. This wasn't a perfect solution. That telephone doesn't have a touchscreen, and most of my old PocketPC apps won't install on a device without a touchscreen. That is still a problem. The software selection for the Smartphone edition of Windows Mobile is still very limited.

Todd Ogasawara
2007-08-22 09:42:22
Chris: Vista's Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC) is documented as only supporting devices running Windows Mobile 2003 or newer. So, that incompatibility is not a surprise (although unfortunate for you, of course). There are actually quite a few applications for the Windows Mobile Standard Edition (non-touchscreen, formerly referred to as Smartphone) devices which have been around since 2002. You might want to check out my other blog summary here that I title Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup. I post it every Monday morning. It is a summary of individual blog items from my personal mobile technology blog that primarily focuses on Windows Mobile. I'm also in the midst of writing a bunch of articles for One of them focuses on Windows Mobile applications. Look for it in the near future.
Ken Perkins
2007-08-24 16:03:18
Took delivery 4 weeks ago of Dell Inspiron 531 w/ Vista Home Premium. Virtually none of the old software I have been using on my Windows WP Prof. computer work the way they used to. Some I can't use at all. I have tried downloads to cure the problem from the software provider. I can't complete the download - Corel WPX3; OmniPage, etc. I have an Acer laptop with Vista HP, and WPX3 works ok - but on the PC, I cannot save files or get the same windows I get on the laptop. I have spent 30+ hours in the last 4 weeks and no cure. Why does Microsoft put out an operating system that screws up the working of software that worked fine on XP? How do I remove Vista and install Windows WP on my new computer. I'm not sure I want to have any more to do with MS operating systems. I went on Mircosofts website and they want me to pay 60 bucks just to speak to some one about the problems - this with new software!
ken Wainwright
2007-08-29 16:49:47
I have a Gateway computer and a Kodak 5500 Printer. I cannot get the drivers install so that my printer will work with my Gateway laptop computer.
2007-08-30 19:29:14
Right click and run as Administrator

2007-08-31 19:30:41
I have fairly recently bought a brand new computer, and naturally it has Widows Vista on it. With that said, I tried to set up a new printer with it. Nonetheless, I had trouble doing so. I bought an HP Photosmart C6180 and connect all appropriate cables, when I got to the point of installing the software, the computer stopped me saying that the software could not recognize anything other than Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. Is there anyway Vista can recognize this software? Are there any 'loop-holes'? In addition, I was trying to connect my printer with a wireless network rather than hard-wired.

2007-08-31 19:30:46
I have fairly recently bought a brand new computer, and naturally it has Widows Vista on it. With that said, I tried to set up a new printer with it. Nonetheless, I had trouble doing so. I bought an HP Photosmart C6180 and connect all appropriate cables, when I got to the point of installing the software, the computer stopped me saying that the software could not recognize anything other than Windows 98, Windows 2000, or Windows XP. Is there anyway Vista can recognize this software? Are there any 'loop-holes'? In addition, I was trying to connect my printer with a wireless network rather than hard-wired.

2007-08-31 20:39:19
becky, what type of driver did you used to install your printer with vista?
2007-09-02 09:45:08
Just tried unsuccessfully to install Nero 6 and Trend Micro Internet security on my new Vista laptop. Nero wants me to spend another $50 on an upgrade. I don't particularly like Nero anyway, and will be damned if I'll spend another $50 on their product. I didn't check to see what Trend Micro wants me to pay to play. May reformat the hard drive and re-install my Win XP. Neighbor of mine did just that after complete and utter frustration with Vista. I've already spent hours trying to figure out the simplest things (like connecting to my home network). Also figured out how to disable User account control (I highly recommend this). Got this stuff working and now can't install software! I wish somebody could give Microsoft a little competition someday.
2007-09-04 02:59:38
I have just spent a fortune on a laptop that is absolutley useless, my old machine crashed and I had to buy a new one, I depend on my notebook for design work, I have Solid works and it does not work, my business depends on this software, and it is useless, all I want to do is go back to XP, but it seems this is impossible, I cant even buy it, microsoft is forcing vista into the market and I think it is disgusting. I will take my new useless computer back to the store and hopefully find a second hand machine still running on XP so that I can actually do my work, I really don’t know what else to do! Most of my apps don’t work, but solid works is the most important.
2007-09-19 15:35:56
Window Vista won't load my Lexmark printer drivers. Works fine on Windows XP. What's up with that? I even downloaded the Lexmark drivers for Vista and still no go.
2007-09-24 11:09:49
my rollercoaster tycoon 2 and age of empire 1 and 2 wont work,
on my new laptop whit vista.
when i doubble-click on the aoe icon a message shows:
"Could not initialize graphics system. make sure
that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectCraw."

what does that mean?!

2007-09-28 04:14:40
photo explosion deluxe 3.0 will not install on vista home premium. installshield wizard is interrupted before install completed. is something not set correctly, same when run as administrator
Paul Madders
2007-10-11 13:26:16
I have just brought a nice PC, loaded with Vista. My printer will not load, although recohnised says cannot find priner drivers etc. I have tried loads of websites to no avaail. The printer is the phillips crystal 650? Please help
2007-10-12 13:44:05
Here is what i am facing with vista and skype.
the moment the skype is active, all windows vista items dont work, for eg on clicking on shutdown button doesn't cause any action, so is the case when I try to run calculator, or even Internet Explorer.
When I quit from the skype it all start working as expected.
2007-10-13 20:24:57
Why should I have to re-buy half my software to use Vista? I am a graphic artist, have been for 9 years; that means I make very little money--it was hard enough for me to buy a new computer (I need it for work obviously)let alone have to spend hundreds of more dollars to use it!!! (And no, most employers don't provide these programs, they almost always forget how little they pay you and think you have the same money they do)... This really sucks, I literally have a computer I can't use!!!!!! This is the first time ever my software didn't work in the latest release of windows- and I have been working with windows since windows 95!!!!
Steven Sherez
2007-10-15 21:05:20
When I went from Windows 98 to windows ME, much of my software and my printer and scanner, as well as all my security software and many other types of software wouldn't work. The same thing happened when I went from ME to XP, so this problem is nothing new. What is new is that Microsoft took so long coming out with Vista, that XP was around for so long that people got to buy much more hardware and software for it (XP) then they did for any other generation of Windows. Maybe Microsoft should have settled for more of an evolutionary, rather then such a revolutionary leap of technology.

Supposedly Microsoft will add a comparability layer that will address many comparability problems that exist now. Oddly enough, if you still use 16 bit software that you bought for Windows 3.1, Vista will support it (including the help files that used winhlp16.exe). Microsoft has released a patch that allows you to use help files that depended on winhlp32.exe (although many of the help macros still won't run).

Microsoft was in such a hurry to finally get Vista out the door, it didn't have time to address many problems, and to fine tune the software. I'm sure that future service packs will correct many of these problems.

Steven Sherez
2007-10-15 21:12:34
To Cathy:

Perhaps this is why most Graphic Artists use Apple computers, rather then Windows computers?

Steven Sherez
2007-10-15 21:27:06
Gee, if I were a software developer, I just might welcome a version of Windows that forced the public to buy a new version of my software at full or at least upgrade price. Could it be that this was no accident, and that Microsoft did this on purpose (you even have to buy new versions of Microsoft software!). I imagine that after Vista was released, so were many former Microsoft developers. This gave them many new jobs to go to after they were let go by Microsoft. By the way, have you noticed that no software companies have released patches that allowed old favorites to continue to work with Vista?
2007-10-19 15:08:27
it dosent run any og my programs either
2007-10-20 19:59:02
To Steven Sherez,
Thank you for the advise - I can't afford an Apple, otherwise I would have one. I do know they are much better for graphics and have a lot less problems than PC's. Believe me, where I live, the only people who use Apples are the ones who work at a newspaper, and that is only at work.. Graphic artists don't get paid much here, even Network administrators only make about $15.00 an hour--I've been playing the lottery so I can Move and buy an Apple...Ha, but then I wouldn't have to work--that would be cool..
2007-10-20 20:01:59
P.S. If you skipped ME and went from 98 to 2000---you wouldn't have had those problems--ME was horrid and XP followed right behind!
2007-10-20 20:05:31
P.S.S. These aren't just Microsoft programs that aren't working
2007-10-21 12:30:42
Windows vista is horrible ive tried every thing to get my Diablo 2 program i just bought brand new to work and nothing.

2007-10-24 06:04:23
i dont likw vista