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Solutions: How to run your favorite old programs in Vista

I am 76 years young. I quilt and embroider for my enjoyment and hopefully my family's, but many of the programs that I purchased over the years to help with the quilting and embroidery are not Vista compatible. Most of these vendors are no longer even around. If they are, they want me to purchase a new and much more expensive program I can't afford. So here I am with my lovely new computer but I have lost much of my ability to design my own quilts and do my embroidery. Is there some way to overcome this?

Maybe. Vista has a feature called the Program Compatibility Wizard that allows you to fool an application into thinking it is still running on a previous Windows version. Try this: Open the Program Compatibility Wizard by clicking the Start button, Control Panel, Programs, and then click, "Use an older program with this version of Windows." You need to find the executable file for one of your embroidery applications. The wizard provides a few options for helping you locate it, such as which version of Windows you want to try. You may need to try a few combinations. This can also be accomplished by right-clicking the application executable from within Windows File Explorer and selecting Properties, Compatibility. However, the Wizard is the way to go for most users not as familiar with the compatibility options.

I am using Windows XP. When I sign on in the morning I get an error as follows: "error loading nvcpl.dll, the process cannot access file because it is being used by another process." I can X out by clicking OK and continue without problems but would like to get rid of this error.

Nvcpl.dll loads the Nvidia Control Panel, which is part of your graphics card software suite. You can try reinstalling the drivers by downloading the latest version from Since this is not a critical piece of software and is not necessary to run your graphics card, you can also just eliminate it from starting as follows: Click Start, Run, type MSCONFIG and click OK. Click the Startup tab and uncheck the line: NvCplDaemon = RUNDLL32.EXE c:\windows\SYSTEM\NvCpl.dll,NvStartup (or something similar to this).

Somehow Real Player has taken over my music. All of my songs used to be played by Media Player. I just clicked one and it played. At some time Real Player converted all the icons. I can right-click and opt for Media Player, but otherwise it plays in Real Player. Real Player became such a nuisance that I deleted it. Now, I have to select Media Player every time I click on the icon. How can I convert all these songs back?

Real Player is a real nuisance and I keep it off my system for this very reason. You just need to change the default association back to Windows Media Player. Right-click any of your media files and choose "Open With … ." Scroll down the Programs list and select Window Media Player. Make sure you click the "Always use the selected program to open this type of file" option and then click OK. If for some reason you do not see Windows Media Player listed under Programs, you can browse for WMPLAYER.EXE under the C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\ folder.

Send questions to or Personal Tech, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions are answered only in this column.

Solutions: How to run your favorite old programs in Vista 06/30/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 11:31am]
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