Creating a Custom Compatibility Mode

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Vista

Windows® 7 provides several compatibility modes, groups of compatibility fixes found to resolve many common application-compatibility issues. While working with the Compatibility Administrator, you might decide to group some of your individual compatibility fixes into a custom-compatibility mode, which you can then deploy and use on any of your compatibility databases.

What Is a Compatibility Mode?

A compatibility mode is a group of several compatibility fixes. A compatibility fix, previously known as a shim, is a small piece of code that intercepts API calls from applications. It then transforms them so that Windows® 7 provides the same product support for the application as previous versions of the operating system. This can be anything from disabling a new feature in Windows 7 to emulating a particular behavior of an older version of the Win32 API set.

Searching for Existing Compatibility Modes

The Compatibility Administrator has preloaded many common applications, including any known compatibility modes, compatibility fixes, or AppHelp messages. Before you create a new compatibility mode, you can search for an existing application and then copy and paste the known fixes into your custom database.


The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) installs a 32-bit and a 64-bit version of the Compatibility Administrator. You must use the 32-bit version to create custom databases for 32-bit applications and the 64-bit version to create custom databases for 64-bit applications. If you create a custom database by using the wrong version of the Compatibility Administrator, the database will not open.

To search for an existing application

  1. In the left pane of the Compatibility Administrator, expand the Applications folder and search for your application name.

  2. Click the application name to view the preloaded compatibility modes, compatibility fixes, or AppHelp messages.

Creating a New Compatibility Mode

If you are unable to find a preloaded compatibility mode for your application, you can create a new one for use by your custom database.


A compatibility mode includes all of your included compatibility fixes and must be deployed as a group. Therefore, you should include only fixes that you intend to deploy together to the database.

To create a new compatibility mode

  1. In the left pane of the Compatibility Administrator, underneath the Custom Databases heading, right-click the name of the database to which you will apply the compatibility mode, click Create New, and then click Compatibility Mode.

    The Create a Custom Compatibility Mode Wizard appears.

  2. Type the name of your custom-compatibility mode into the Name of the compatibility mode text box.

  3. Select each of the available compatibility fixes to include in your custom-compatibility mode and then click >.


If you are unsure which compatibility fixes to add, you can click Copy Mode. The Select Compatibility Mode dialog box appears and enables you to select the compatibility mode that best replicates what you are trying to accomplish. After you select the compatibility mode and click OK, any compatibility fixes that are included in that compatibility mode will be automatically added to your custom-compatibility mode.


If you have any compatibility fixes that require additional parameters, you can select the fix, and then click Parameters. The Options for <Compatibility_Fix_Name> dialog box appears, enabling you to update the parameter fields.

  1. After you are done selecting the compatibility fixes to include, click OK.

    The compatibility mode is added to your custom database.

See Also


Compatibility Administrator Tool
Known Compatibility Fixes, Compatibility Modes, and AppHelp Messages

Other Resources

Testing and Mitigating Issues by Using the Development Tools