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Make Program run in 256 Color mode in Win 7

August 5, 2010 at 11:22:39
Specs: Windows 7
I have a program that I've found only runs when I set it to run in 256 color mode. Is there a way to set it so only the program uses 256 color mode? This ran just fine until I upgraded to Windows 7, and I tend to multitask and 256 color mode impedes my other programs.

See More: Make Program run in 256 Color mode in Win 7

August 5, 2010 at 12:02:16
Check "Run in 256 colors" in the compatibility tab of the exe properties.

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August 5, 2010 at 13:08:26

Thank you for the reply. I have that application to do that, but it changes the whole computer to 256 color mode which makes my other programs REALLY hard to read. Is there a way to just have the 1 program run in 256 color mode while leaving everything else alone?

Best regards,

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August 5, 2010 at 13:32:20
As the 256 color setting refers to the monitor setting, it's rather obvious that it cant be done for a window on the screen, so it's all or nothing.

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Related Solutions

August 5, 2010 at 13:45:27
Okay. I wasn't sure if there was a program or another way of fooling the program into thinking it was running in 256 color mode instead of having to change the complete display.

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August 5, 2010 at 13:47:48
It actually can be done for an individual program ("screen") if you follow LMiller7's advice.

You set 256-color mode in the system display properties. Instead, do it in the application's compatibility tab. Like this:

1) right-click the executable (somefile.exe) that you want to run in 256-color mode
2) click Properties
3) click the Compatibility tab
4) check the "run in 256 colors" box
5) click OK

Now, every time you launch this program - and ONLY this program - it will run in 256-color mode.

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August 5, 2010 at 14:05:32

I've gone through those steps. When I start that program, my entire display changes to 256 color mode. And then my other programs become really hard to see. Unfortunately, the "Run in 256 color mode" is the only option that allows this utility to run. I've tried compatibility mode with every OS it allows me to try and none of them work. Yet the 256 color mode applies to everything and that makes my other programs unusable at the same time.

Best regards,

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August 5, 2010 at 14:14:38
Ok, gotcha. You need to *switch* between apps at different resolutions. Yeah, that will be problematic.

What about running this one app in a virtual machine with its resolution set to 256 colors? The VM would be isolated from the host OS, which could still continue to run other apps at full resolution.

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August 5, 2010 at 14:18:09

I've never used or setup a virtual machine before. I'll go ahead and look into that and see where it gets me.

Thank you.

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August 5, 2010 at 14:35:44
Cool, good luck! It's fairly simple, although it might seem confusing at first. Post a new thread if you get stuck :)

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August 5, 2010 at 14:39:49
I can understand your problem but I don't think there is a solution.
The issue is that 256 color mode is fundamentally different from the higher color modes. 256 color mode uses a palette to indirectly specify display colors, giving it capabilities not available in other modes. Many older games rely on this. Using a palette is quite impractical with 64K colors and more.

Since the display hardware lacks the capability of displaying two or more modes at the same time, 256 color mode is all or nothing.

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August 5, 2010 at 14:41:34
I posted the above before I saw the suggestion about a virtual machine. That might be a viable alternative.

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August 5, 2010 at 14:59:46
M$ has a video that shows you how to "Make older programs run in this version of Windows," along with cautions when using compatibility mode in Windows 7 (& Vista). Go HERE to watch it and learn what you do to avoid potential problems.


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