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It's in a program's or program-shortcut's Properties/Compatibility tab. Various OS modes may or may not be available for any particular program. MS's compatibility mode, imho, is a "feature" that is far from a real "solution"; I think of it more as a makeshift patch or bridge that MS will never keep up with in developing true and reliable inter-OS functionality. As functionality may range from "yes, perfect" to "nope, don't work", I'd be more rather inclined to trying emulators, virtual machines, or real machines.
Nice to hear your 486 is still going. I'm temped to see if my old 66MHz 486 will still fire up. The metal in the chassis- it's built like a tank compared to the tin boxes that house modern PCs.
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