Windows Vista Help


1. Does Vista comes with DOS?

Vista runs with a NT/2000/XP kernel rather than the old kernel like Windows 9x/Me. With XP it is not possible to boot to DOS mode. Although you can boot off a DOS disk, the C: drive must be formatted as FAT32 if you want access from DOS. XP can emulate DOS but does not support Real Mode drivers or some old DOS tools. If you wish to use such old programs then either stay with Windows 9x or install XP on a second partition on your hard disk along side your existing operating system! You can configure the DOS environment by editing the Config.nt and Autoexec.nt text files in c:\Windows\System32. You can configure a dos program, by creating a Shortcut (PIF file) to the program on the desktop, then configure screen and memory (Conventional, XMS, EMS) options via Properties.
To load a windows DOS shell, go to Start, Run, type Command and you can run DOS type programs, type Exit when done.
Try Dosbox for extra DOS compatibility including 286/386 realmode, EGA/CGA/VGA support, PC-Speaker/Tandy 3-Voice/Adlib/SoundBlaster sound support and XMS, EMS memory support. Also try Vogons web site for Forums on getting old games to work on new OSs.
You can also access the Recovery Console, without having to load Windows, if you need to diagnose problems from the command prompt.

2. Can I get old programs to run under Vista?

Yes, you can get old programs to install and run using the Program Compatibility Wizard which will allow Vista to run as a Windows 9x, NT, 2000 or XP machine. So, if a program fails to run or install natively in Vista you can fool it to think its an older OS. See the Compatibility tab of the properties of an Program file or shortcut to a program file. If a program fails to install, set the Compatibility mode to older Windows for the Setup.exe program on the CD.

You can install Virtual PC or VirtualBox to run and emulate another version of Windows hosted on your Windows Vista system, but will need a Windows CD to install the other OS.

3. Where is IIS (web server) in Vista?

Windows Vista Premium or better comes with a web server called IIS 7 which can be installed via Start, Settings, Control Panel, Programs, Turn Windows Feature on or off, Internet Information Services. Tick the box next to IIS and click OK.

You can set up your web pages in the default C:\Inetpub\Wwwroot folder or a location of you choice using IIS Manager console.

4. How do I share a printer on an Vista with an older PC?

Yes, you can enable sharing on Printers in Vista with older versions of Windows. Vista provides three levels of drivers: x86, x64 and Itanium in Type 3 User Mode drivers in the Additional Drivers tab for other versions of Windows.

5. How do I manage disks in Vista?

Windows Vista uses a graphical interface called Disk Management which can be accessed via the Computer Management console in the Administrative Tools. This will allow you to create, delete, modify, shrink or expand partitions and assign drive letters.

On the command prompt you can access disk management with the diskpart.exe command.

6. How do I backup files in Vista?

Vista Home comes with the Backup Status and Configuration tool located in Accessories, System Tools which can be used to do regular backups of files. You can backup to Hard disk, CD, DVD or to a network location. Windows Vista Business or better comes with a more advanced backup tool.

7. Can I use DriveSpace or Compressed drives or disks with Windows Vista?

No, Windows Vista does not support DriveSpace, the disks must be uncompressed first to use with Windows Vista. If files need to be compressed, please compress them into zip format with utilities such as Winzip. Windows XP has a built in feature to uncompress Zip files in Explorer.
You can compress files or entire folders by opening the properties of the file and folder, select Advanced and then tick Compress contents to save disk space.

8. I cannot run Java applications or Applets. Where can I download Java?

You can download the Java Runtime files 6.0 (JSE) from Oracle's Java website. You can also download the Software Development Kit (SDK) and program developments tools such as NetBeans (5.5 or later) from the same site.

9. How can I network my older PCs with Windows Vista?

First make sure you have the Client for Microsoft Networks and TCP/IP installed and configured which is available on all versions of Windows. Also, check the Workgroup name you are using, for 98/Me/Vista it will most likely be Workgroup, on Windows XP it will be called MSHome. You need to change the new PC's workgroup name to match the existing workgroup. Also make sure File and Print Sharing is enable on all PCs and usernames and passwords are set up the same on all machines.If you have a Firewall enabled, you should make sure that File and Print Sharing is excluded from the firewall to allow sharing through your firewall.

10. Can I dual boot with an older version of Windows?

Yes, you can. It is important that you install the older version of Windows first, preferably the C: drive, and then install Windows Vista on another partition.
WindowsVista will then store its boot files on the main boot volume (usually C:) .

11. Can I access NTFS partitions from DOS or Windows 9x?

Yes, with the help of some third party software called NTFSDOS or 'NTFS for Windows 98' from SysInternals. There are other useful utilities on this site as well.

12. Where is Outlook Express in Windows Vista?

Vista comes with a new E-Mail program and a new Address book setup. In Vista, it is called Windows Mail, your old address book will be stored as Contacts in your user profile. You can import your old mail and address book in to Windows Mail via File, Import, Messages (or Windows Contacts) into a new email account, which can also be imported from Outlook Express.

13. Which software will NOT work on Windows Vista?

Older versions of Antivirus products, disk utilities , CD/DVD Burner software such as Easy CD or Nero or earlier and some Internet Security products. Check with the manufacturer for compatibility before installing them. Ideally, remove such products from your old Windows installation before upgrading to Windows Vista as they may prevent successful installation.

14. I am unable to access Serial or Parallel ports with my old software?

Due to the nature of Windows Vista and to make it more stable and secure. Software must use operating system functions to access hardware and not directly like under DOS or older version of Windows. You will need to find newer versions of the software or rewrite yourself using Window's OS functions.

15. Is there a compatibility kit I can use?

Try the Application Compatibility Toolkit from Microsoft.

16. How can I create a DOS boot disk from Windows Vista?

Insert a floppy disk in the A: drive, open My Computer, right click 3 1/2 Floppy (A:), and select Format and then select opton Create an MS-DOS startup disk. This will conain dos and a few startup files on the disk. It will NOT contain any CDROM drivers like Windows 98 boot disks. Other types of Boot disks can be found at
If you do not have a floppy disk drive, or want to use a bootable DVD ROM, then you can build a Windows PE disk. This will give a cut down version of Windows which allows you to deploy Vista or diagnose Vista problems

17. How do I format a 720K disk in Windows Vista?

Windows supports 1.44M disks with Format command and using My Computer. To format 720K disks, you need to use the extra parameters of the Format command from the command line. Enter the command: Format A: /N:9 /T:80.

18. I cannot view some video files with Windows Media Player 11?

Try changing the View mode from Full Mode to Skin Mode (Ctrl + 2) which may be more compatible with older video files.

19. I cannot open HLP files on Windows Vista?

Windows Vista does not support the old .HLP files as it does not have the Winhlp32.exe program anymore. See KB 917607 for more information and the download WinHlp32 tool.

20. I cannot open the Security Policy (secpol.msc) console?

The security policy console is no longer provided on the Home editions of Vista. The only way to make security changes is to use Regedit or the various Tweak tools for Vista.
Download DTweak or TweakVI. Some security settings can be found in HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System.

21. I cannot connect to shares using the old NTLM v1 authentication?

Windows vista uses NTLMv2 by default which is more secure than the old NTLM method. You can change the authentication using the Security Policy editor (secpol.msc) in
Local Policies, Security Policies, Network Security. If you do not have access to secpol.msc, then you can change the registry for LSA services in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\ CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa and change the LmCompatibilityLevel from 3 to 1 (use NTLMv2 secuity if negotiated so you can use both systems). See KB 823659.

22. Is Window Media Encoder compatible with Windows Vista?

No, the old Window Media Encoder series 9 is not compatible with Windows Vista. This has been replaced with the new Expression Media Encoder 4 which you can download from Microsoft. The Media Encoder comes with a new interface which you can import many different video and audio video types (wma, wmv, avi, mov, mpg, wav etc) and create and encode new projects with it.