Windows Task Manager & Compatibility Troubleshooter

We’re going to look at a couple of utilities in Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 this week – Windows Task Manager and the Windows Compatibility Troubleshooter.

The day may come when you need to find out what version of software you’re using. You may be asked by tech support so they can narrow down a problem, or you may need to verify you have the latest version or patch/update. This how-to works for any software you’re running on your computer. Here’s how:

Windows Task Manager

Open Windows Task Manager – for Windows 7, go to the start button and type in ‘Task Manager’ and select it. For Windows 8.1, click the start/windows button and type in ‘Task Manager’. For Win 7, just select Task Manager and for Win 8.1,  you should see the Task Manager icon, click on it.


Windows Task Manager
Windows Task Manager


You should see a box somewhat like above. The first section reflects all the apps or programs that are running.  Next, you’ll see background processes. These are usually programs related to those that start with your computer.

I scrolled down to Dropbox, running in the background and right-clicked the icon and chose ‘details’. Then another box pops up (like the Dropbox Properties one below). There are several tabs – choose the details tab and here is where you find the version of the software. It’s just that easy.


Windows Task Manager
Windows Task Manager showing what version of a program I’m running


Run Compatibility Troubleshooter/Change Compatibility Mode

You can find this tool when you’re in the Task Manager. It’s under the Compatibility Tab. This tool is here to help you run older programs with a newer Windows OS (operating system). It’s a step-by-step wizard interface. When you click to start, Windows will search for what problems you might be experiencing and will ask you to click to fix it then. You can do that or click on the next to see a list of programs that might have compatibility issues. This process may not be the same for you because the program will react to your particular case, so keep that in mind.

It’s a nice utility to know about in case you have an old program you still need to use.

windows compatibility tool
Windows Compatibility tool showing the ability to run Outlook in Vista, etc.


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