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Screen Resolution and Older Games

I was trying to play an old game on Windows XP, but it won’t work. I hear sound, but the screen is blank. Why can’t I see the graphics?

I ran into this the other day with an old program that my kids love. It turns out that we had to change the screen resolution to 256 colors.

What you could do is look for the monitor icon in the system tray. It probably looks like a computer screen. Double click and you should get some options for screen resolution and size (mine said “Display Modes”).


Once you get that set to 256 colors and the correct screen size, everything should be fine. After your done with the game, just set it back to your original setting.

A better way with Windows XP and 2000, however, is our old pal Compatibility Mode (more about that below). Not only can you make XP/2000 think it is an older version of Windows, you can also specify the display settings, so every time you use that program it will automatically change to 256 colors.

Right-click the program icon and choose Properties (or hold down ALT and double left-click). Select the “Compatibility” tab and look for “Display Settings”. Check “Run in 256 Colors”, then OK .


You should be able to see the program correctly. When you close out, your display settings will go back to normal.

~ David