Replace The Terrible Windows 7 Games With The Classic XP Ones

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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.

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

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Comments (37)
  • Pete_Linden

    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

      Do you mean Rodent’s Revenge? I’ve never heard of Circle The Cat…

  • George McKinney

    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

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

  • Ginny

    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

      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.

  • Patrick Dreier

    single use Windows XP Pro x64 is the best Solution.

  • Patrick Dreier

    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

      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…

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.