Workaround for incompatible apps in Windows 7

After dumping the 64-bit version of Windows 7 and going back to the 32-bit version, the first thing I did after the OS install was to get my Belkin N+ USB wireless adapter working so I could download OS updates from the Internet. So I needed to run an installer program to install the required drivers for the Belkin device. When I tried to do so, I immediately got an “Application can only run on Windows 2000/XP/Vista 32/Vista 64 platforms” and the installer quit. What the heck? I was able to get the the 64-bit version of this installer to work on Windows 7 64-bit, but the 32-bit version won’t install in Windows 7 32-bit?

So, I called the Belkin support line by phone and spoke with their India out-source support person. In speaking with her, she obviously wasn’t much of a tech person and basically told me that the Belkin USB wireless adapter that I bought three weeks ago was not compatible with the Windows 7 OS. Her suggestion was for me to return the device for a refund. Now, that is absolutely ridiculous, since Windows 7 is based on the Vista OS, and as such the driver for Vista 32-bit OS should work with Windows 7 32-bit.

So after some googling, I discovered an answer to this problem: Troubleshooting Compatibility option

If you right click on an application, you will see the “Troubleshooting compatibility” item in the popup context menu as shown below:


If you select this item, a troubleshooting dialog window will come up assisting you in running this executable file in a specific OS mode. I did this with the Belkin Driver installer application. On the first screen that popped up, I selected “Troubleshoot program’ to continue with this process.


The next screen will ask you what problem you are having with running his particular application. In my case, I selected the first item to help me run this application in Windows 7.


On the next screen you’ll be asked what version of Windows did this application run in the past. For my situation, I selected Vista and continued on.


Finally, we get to the last screen which will launch the application with specific settings. I just clicked the “Start the program…” button and the Belkin installer application installed the necessary drivers without a hitch.


So why did I have to jump through all these hoops to run an installer executable that ran just fine on my previous Vista system? I don’t know. It seems really strange that you need to do this procedure.

So what happens if a person buys a new computer with Windows 7 installed, and they try to use this particular Belkin Wireless Adapter? They will most likely get the same error message I got, call the Belkin phone support, and ultimately return the device thinking it doesn’t work for Windows 7. And imagine all the other hardware devices out there that could potentially have the same issue? Not a good start for Windows 7 by any means. 😦

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