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Reclaim the Games!

William Lynn from VA. writes:

I use Vista and my free games that came on my computer disappeared. They just are not available anymore. I had shortcuts for Spyder, Free cell and solitaire on my desktop. Can you help me get them back?

Hi, William.  Thanks for the excellent question.  My sister-in-law had a similar problem, so it’s my pleasure to help you with this.

Somehow your games have become hidden.  You didn’t mention if you recently installed any new programs or did anything with your hard drive, but I have heard complaints of certain freeware game and shortcut applications hiding the games.  I’m not sure why, but it is a problem.  Here’s how you get them back…

Click Start and then Control Panel

The images that I’m putting here are from my Windows 7 computer, but the procedure is almost the same for Vista.  In the Vista control panel, click on Classic View, then Programs and Features, then Turn Windows Features On or Off.  In 7, click on Programs, and then, under the Programs and features header, click Turn Windows Features On or Off.

This will give you a list of Windows features that you can activate or deactivate, including your games.  If the square box is highlighted, like the .NET Framework box here (circled in the picture) then that means that some of the features are turned on and some aren’t.  Click on the “+” next to the box to view an expanded list. 

If the checkbox next to Games is empty, that means no games are selected, and if you want all of them back, simply check this box.  If there’s a check in the box, that means that all of the games are selected, and something else has happened to them.  Once you’ve expanded the Games list, simply put a check in the box for the games that you want. 

I hope that this helps!

~Randal Schaffer