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classic xp gamesDitch the shiny and slow. Get old-fashioned but familiar Windows XP games working on your Windows 7 computer. They’re ugly, but they work the way you’re wired.

It’s probably surprising to most gamers, who stopped paying attention to the default Windows games around the time Windows 98 came out, but many people still play the default collection of card games at work, instead of working. Solitaire, Minesweeper, Hearts and Spider Solitaire remain a favorite of many office workers.

As a quick Google search reveals though, many of these people aren’t happy with the Windows Vista/7 versions of Solitaire and other classics. The cards are hard to see, some rules have changed and everything just feels slower. So if you want your classic XP games back then don’t worry, it’s possible. Here’s how.

Step 1: Find A Windows XP Computer

That’s right, you need access to a computer running Windows XP before you can do anything. There’s no way around this – I couldn’t find a safe download for the files, and I can’t provide them for you because of copyright complications.

It’s OK though, because Windows XP is still very much out there. Check your closet for an old Windows XP computer, or even a hard drive from such a computer. See if your friends, family or co-workers are still using XP. Heck, you can even grab the files from a VirtualBox or other virtual machine version of XP, if you have one.

Step 2: Grab The Relevant Files

Got your hand on a Windows XP computer? Good. Open the Windows Explorer, then go to

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C:\Windows\System32

. You’ll see a warning when you do:

classic xp games

Don’t panic; you won’t break anything. Get into the folder and you’ll see the unholy mess that is Windows internal workings:

classic windows xp games

You’re going to need to scroll through here and grab a few files. I highly recommend you “copy” them to an empty folder on your desktop:

  • cards.dll
  • freecell.exe
  • mshearts.exe
  • sol.exe
  • spider.chm
  • spider.exe
  • spider.hlp
  • winmine.exe

You’re going to need

cards.dll

for most of these games, but other than that you can just grab the files related to the games you want. Get them into their own folder and you’ll have something that looks like this:

classic windows xp games

Wondering where Pinball is? It’s in it’s own folder:

C:\Program Files\Windows NT\Pinball

.

classic windows xp games

Microsoft removed this game from Windows, which angers more than a few people (my amazing wife included.) Right this injustice – copy this entire folder and add it to the collection you just amassed.

Step 3: Copy To Your New Computer

Grab the folder you just created, and get it to your new computer. You can do this with a thumb drive, Dropbox, or however you like; it doesn’t matter.

Once you’ve got the folder on your new computer, put it wherever you like. You can open the games directly from your folder, or create shortcuts to them in your start menu.

classic xp games

Your games will all run flawlessly in Windows 7, and will work exactly the way you remember. Enjoy!

Conclusion

This post helped me to figure out how to get the classic XP games, so check it out if you run into any problems. Or if you want, join me in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to answer your questions.

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  1. Allen McEntee
    November 26, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Go to "xpsolitaire.com" to get the great xp solitaire game.

  2. beatrice
    July 19, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    i would save MAHJONG of wuindows 7 but i can't find it

    thank'you

  3. beatrice
    July 7, 2016 at 8:42 am

    thank'you! It works with windos 10!

    Can i put it in a tablet also?

    beatrice

  4. KE
    June 23, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you so much! I just shared it on the Microsoft Community boards.

    It was so simple and I didn't have to risk any nasty downloads. Thank goodness I made backups though.

    Lesson: Do not 'upgrade' your Windows OS BEFORE you back up the old one... or at least keep an old clunker PC around.

  5. Robert
    April 25, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Hi Justin
    Will this hack work on Windows 8.1?

  6. Piero
    April 25, 2016 at 7:34 am

    The best version ever of Spider Solitaire is the one included in Windows XP. I have been looking for it everywhere but nothing compares.

    Though I recently found this online (browser based) version of the game that resembles it closely. As it's online it works anywhere you have a browser including macs, phones and tables.

    Enjoy!

    http://spidersolitaire.online/

  7. Mosab Khalid
    March 31, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Pls Can You You Upload These Files On Some Website Like "Mediafire-4shared-google drive"
    Cuz I Don't Have A Old Windows Xp

    • Justin Pot
      March 31, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Microsoft could come after us with takedown requests, sadly, or we totally would.

  8. varden
    January 17, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks this works fine with 10 Cheers!!!

    • Justin Pot
      January 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      We're happy you've got your game back, enjoy!

  9. Carol
    January 8, 2016 at 11:49 am

    THANK YOU! This worked for me! :)

    • Justin Pot
      January 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      I'm so glad the article was helpful! :)

  10. Derek Baggs
    September 9, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Justin

    I loaded the files as you suggest although ' Freecell ' was the only one I really wanted so it's the only one I have tried. The problem is I can't move any cards between columns or from the freecell anywhere either manually or by double click. The only moves I have is from column to the freecell or from column to stacks. Normally double clicking any card will cause the card to move between columns or if none is available it will move to available freecell.
    Your help would be appreciated.

    • Justin Pot
      September 9, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Hey Derek, I'm not sure why this would be the case sorry.

    • Marilyn Downs
      September 29, 2015 at 2:06 am

      Derek, try re-installing your video card files for your computer. Sometimes windows 7 and windows xp experience video card difficulties from transition from one to the other.

  11. Pete_Linden
    July 12, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Justin,

    Thanks for the help on XP Solitaire.

    I am also looking for a :Circle The Cat" game which is an executable under Win7. Do you know where I can find one?

    Pete Linden

    • Justin Pot
      July 12, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      Do you mean Rodent's Revenge? I've never heard of Circle The Cat...

  12. George McKinney
    April 22, 2015 at 2:59 am

    My XP box died ( I think it was just the power supply ), but that gave me an excuse to "upgrade " to a refurbished Win 7 machine,
    I also got a SATA/IDE to USB3 adapter because I needed some old docs from the XP machine . Just pulled the drive from the dead box, plugged it into the adapter and into my new USB port, and followed your instructions ( and grabbed the docs I needed as well ).

    Spider Solitare and Solitare the way my fingers remember!

    Thanks,

    • Justin Pot
      April 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      I got a USB adapter for old hard drives recently, it was a very good investment. Glad you got your games working!

  13. Ginny
    April 15, 2015 at 2:57 am

    I had already done all that you suggested to get xp hearts game over to my win 7 but when I start the game the screen is very small and I can't get it bigger. Any suggestions. Right now I use the magnifier in win 7 but that is a pain

    • Justin Pot
      April 15, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      This is part of the reason Windows stopped including the games: resolution has changed a lot since 2001. I don't think there's a solution.

  14. Patrick Dreier
    April 8, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    single use Windows XP Pro x64 is the best Solution.

  15. Patrick Dreier
    April 8, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Hello!

    Windows 7 Windows Virtual PC can't see the burner.
    Windows 7 he have not one column Startmenü.
    Windows XP find DVD burners and he have one column Startmenü.
    You can you also Dualboot from Windows XP and Windows 7.

    • Dave Puckett
      May 28, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Patrick, When you have your virtual machine fired up, you should still be able to access all the drives on your box. I put all the files in a folder on the VM desktop, then copied to one of the other drives on the actual physical box...

  16. Pete
    April 3, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    I transferred the files as described from my old XP desktop to my Windows 7 laptop. Everything went well until I went to play hearts. A hearts game started on my laptop but it is nothing like the old hearts game on my desktop. It was only playing against a computer and not people. Very confused why this occurred if I'm running files from the old computer???????

    • Justin Pot
      April 3, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      I believe there were two different Hearts games that came with XP: one online, one off. I'm not sure how to extract the online game, or if it's still working.

  17. JC Dicus
    March 7, 2015 at 12:37 am

    This is friggin great. I bought a used stripped down computer with win 7 installed to use on line since my XP was no longer supported. As advertised the solitaire games were slower than christmas but your solution worked flawlessly. Can't thank you enough.

    • Justin Pot
      March 9, 2015 at 1:05 am

      I'm glad the article was helpful for you!

  18. Piet
    January 27, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Justin I still play internet reversi on my broken XP laptop but the laptop is near its end so I want to copy the files on my win8 laptop because I believe its possible, but I'm no pc guru... I do believe there is some clever guys who know how. Maybe you can find a solution somewhere somehow sometime. thx for trying.

    • Justin Pot
      January 27, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      I'm afraid I can't figure this out right now, don't have a copy of XP on hand. Maybe someone else will see this and help?

  19. Piet
    January 26, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Please help... yes everything works fine for the card games, but the other xp games like internet reverse etc. do not work?? thx

    • Justin Pot
      January 26, 2015 at 11:20 pm

      I didn't try any of the Internet games out, but I'm guessing they don't work anymore because the web service that powered them shut down. No idea, though, sorry.

  20. BRockyC25
    December 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    I do not get sound......... but the game runs fine.....spider solitaire.

  21. Steve Bubendorf
    December 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Thanks, Justin.  I try to keep everything as legal as possible on my computer.  I've never been sure whether bringing a program forward from an old version of the OS would be considered a violation of the license, or not.  I guess I thought that technically, it would be considered a violation.  I've always thought it excessive to make it a violation to bring one small program forward, say a photo viewer, or game, or whatever, that worked better in an older version.  I guess if it is technically a violation, the line has to be drawn officially somewhere, although like you say, they probably wouldn't care in this case because they certainly have much bigger fish to fry.  Thanks again for the answer to my question, and for the nice post.

  22. Pete Crane
    December 2, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Gadzooks.
    I have W-7 Pro.
    Fired up the Virtual XP and had all my old games.
    Just copied and pasted from XP to 7 Desktopnew folder.
    Thanks for the tip.

  23. Steve Bubendorf
    December 2, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Oops!  That should have been "games", not "cames".

  24. Steve Bubendorf
    December 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

    What is Microsoft's attitude toward copying these cames forward from version to version?

    • jhpot
      December 2, 2011 at 9:27 am

      They haven't said anything officially, but I can't imagine they'd care.

  25. Mtemplet
    December 2, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Are you saying software designed for a 32 bit system will run on a 64 bit system?

    • jhpot
      December 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      I sure am! The Win 7 screenshots above are all from 64 bit systems.

  26. Anonymous
    December 2, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I once moved some old Win95 games to my XP system - because I loved JEZZBALL.  :)   I wondered if I could get Spider Solitaire onto my Win7 machine.  Now I know I can.

    • jhpot
      December 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Use this new power responsibly!

  27. Agni Chattopadhyay
    December 1, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Any idea how to run "Plus! Dancer" of "Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition" in Windows 7?

    • jhpot
      December 1, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      If the downloads you have don't work I'm not sure how to make them. Sorry.

  28. Kyle MacDonald
    December 1, 2011 at 1:39 am

    Woot! Now I can go back to always winning in Solitaire with Alt + Shift + 2. Who doesn't love winning?

    • jhpot
      December 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Everyone likes winning, Kyle. Everyone.

  29. Red
    December 1, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Great article!  I grabbed files from an Asus EEE PC with Win Xp!

    • jhpot
      December 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

      Enjoy!

  30. RocketMan
    November 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    Didn't find spider.chm or spider.hlp .  These are help files though..the game will still play.

    • jhpot
      December 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Glad it still worked for you.

  31. Dl Fetters
    November 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Could I add games from Windows Vista Ultimate to a Windows 7 PC? I am thinking of Microsoft Tinker being able to run this game directly from my Windows 7 PC, and without having to go to sign into Windows Live? 

    • jhpot
      December 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      I don't know how to do that. You could try Makeuseof.com/answers, though.

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