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How to Play Classic Windows XP Solitaire in Windows 10

Posted by Jim Tanous on May 16, 2016
classic solitaire windows xp

Microsoft Solitaire was (and in many homes and offices, may still be) the ultimate time waster. Included with every copy of Windows from Windows 3.0 in 1990 to Windows 7 in 2009, Solitaire provided a reliable outlet for honing card skills and killing time. But Microsoft retired “Classic Solitaire” in Windows 8 and Windows 10, opting for a new universal app called the Microsoft Solitaire Collection. While the app is free and offers more game modes than Classic Solitaire, it also includes ads which require a monthly subscription to hide. If you don’t like the new Microsoft Solitaire Collection and prefer the simple approach of Classic Solitaire, here’s how you can run the original Windows XP version of Solitaire on your Windows 10 PC.
Before we get to the steps on how to play Classic Solitaire in Windows 10, it’s important to note that you’ll need access to a Windows XP installation for this to work, as we’ll be copying the Solitaire files from that version. It’s also important to note that, despite their similar appearance, only the Windows XP version of Solitaire will work in Windows 10; the versions of Solitaire for Vista and Windows 7 are not compatible and won’t run in Windows 10.
windows xp solitaire
Once you have access to a Windows XP PC or virtual machine, launch Windows Explorer and navigate to C: > Windows > System32. We need to copy the two Solitaire files from this directory, so prepare a USB flash drive or set up a network transfer and then find and copy the following files:

cards.dll
sol.exe

Next, transfer these files via your preferred method to your Windows 10 PC and copy them to your local drive. You can place the files anywhere, but make sure that you place them both in the same directory. For example, on our Windows 10 PC we created a new folder on the C: drive called “Games” and placed both cards.dll and sol.exe in that directory.
windows xp classic solitaire windows 10
Finally, just double-click sol.exe and you’ll see the Classic Solitaire window appear on your Windows 10 desktop.
windows xp solitaire windows 10
In our testing, the game is fully functional just as you remember, with the ability to change rules, scoring, and the design of your Solitaire deck. The only limitation is that the built-in Help features fail to load as they rely on the Windows XP Help platform which is no longer present in Windows 10.
solitaire windows 10 win
If Classic Solitaire proves to be all that you remember and you want to keep it around, just right-click on sol.exe to create a shortcut which you can place anywhere, or right-click and choose to pin the game to your Windows 10 Start Menu or Taskbar.
If you ever want to remove Classic Solitaire from your Windows 10 PC, just delete both cards.dll and sol.exe. There’s no need to officially uninstall the game as it is contained entirely within those two files.

6 thoughts on “How to Play Classic Windows XP Solitaire in Windows 10”

Piotr Grochowski says:
If you want help, just copy help files from XP’s C:\Windows\Help to 10’s C:\Windows\Help
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Wapiti says:
Definitely works, thank you!!! Now I will finally figure out how to play Solitaire (without looking it up on the Internet)!
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Piotr Grochowski says:
Sol and freecell give me a 0xc000007b error, while hearts won’t run at all.
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George says:
Oh man the nostalgia. How did you think of this? I had almost forgotten this one since long ago haha.
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Piotr Chmiel says:
Yes, run virtual machine like Virtualbox, install xp inside, have fun
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Rick says:
This method does not work with the latest Windows 10 upgrade that was installed this week. When I run sol.exe I don’t get the classic one, somehow it’s redirected to a different version of solitaire. Why do they screw this up every time there’s a major upgrade to Win 10?
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Stacey Q says:
do you know of any method to fix this or anywhere i can go to get help? I’m having the same problem too, so annoying.
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Piotr Chmiel says:
You’ve chosen the most annoying system available and now complaining it’s annoying. If you were a bit less ignorant you’d already have alternative os on your computer. Don’t feed the MS monster, then you won’t be bitten 🙂
Jack Hughes says:
Thank you so much, it worked like a charm,solitaire,freecell and spider.Back to the past in one swoop!
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