Q

Check Windows Store apps for Windows 8 compatibility

Microsoft provides a few ways to check Windows 8.1 app compatibility, because legacy and Windows Store apps can have Windows 8 compatibility problems.

How should I deal with app incompatibility with Windows 8?

Windows Store apps are created for the Windows 8 operating system and go through a rigorous testing and certification process before being accepted into the store. Desktop applications, on the other hand, can experience Windows 8 compatibility problems, especially those created for previous versions of Windows.

If a desktop application isn't working well, and you suspect Windows 8 compatibility is the problem, go to the Window Compatibility Center and enter the name of the application in the search box. The resulting screen will show a green checkmark next to compatible applications, a red "X" next to incompatible applications or an orange exclamation point for applications that might need an update from the manufacturer or a similar solution. Microsoft offers a lot of guidance to help you run older applications in Windows 8.

You may also run the built-in Program Compatibility Troubleshooter in Windows 8, which is a wizard-driven utility that can sometimes resolve Windows 8 compatibility problems. To run the troubleshooter, right-click the application in question and then select Troubleshoot compatibility from the shortcut menu, and from there, follow the prompts in the wizard.

Microsoft suggests looking for a solution in the Windows 8 Action Center -- which is accessible from the flag icon in the notification area on the taskbar -- or by searching for Action Center.

If the application ran well in a previous version of Windows, you may want to try running it in compatibility mode in Windows 8. Just right-click the application's icon on the desktop and select Properties from the shortcut menu -- then you should click the Compatibility tab. After you've done this, select the Run this program in compatibility mode for checkbox, and select the previous operating system from the list.

Systems administrators might want to use the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), which is part of the Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit, to determine Windows 8  compatibility before installing the software or upgrading to Windows 8.

Kim Lindros is a full-time writer, content developer and project manager who has worked around IT since the early 1990s. She co-authored MTA Microsoft Technology Associate Exam 98-349 Windows Operating System Fundamentals (Wiley, 2012) and PC Basics with Windows 7 and Office 2010 (Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2010), among other textbooks. Lindros has also developed numerous college and corporate courses focused on IT security, Microsoft technologies and Microsoft Office.

This was first published in July 2014

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