Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

xpgames icon   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP OnesDitch 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

C:\Windows\System32

. You’ll see a warning when you do:

solitaire warning   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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

games system32   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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:

xpgames folder   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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

C:\Program Files\Windows NT\Pinball

.

xpgames pinball   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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.

xpgames on7   Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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.

Got your useless games working, but want more useless fun? Get Nyan Cat progress bars, because they’re awesome.

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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20 Comments -

Dl Fetters

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

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

RocketMan

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

jhpot

Glad it still worked for you.

Red

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

jhpot

Enjoy!

Kyle MacDonald

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

jhpot

Everyone likes winning, Kyle. Everyone.

Agni Chattopadhyay

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

jhpot

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

Anonymous

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

Use this new power responsibly!

Mtemplet

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

jhpot

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

Steve Bubendorf

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

jhpot

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

Steve Bubendorf

Oops!  That should have been “games”, not “cames”.

Pete Crane

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.

Steve Bubendorf

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.

BRockyC25

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