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Issue #762: Feb 27 – Mar 5, 2022

Q: I’m a Solitaire junkie and have a wonderful game on my Windows 7 laptop. However, this 11 year old laptop is about to die and I wondered if I could transfer the game to my windows 10 laptop? I’d love to be able to put this game on my MacBook Air but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

 – Gordon H.
Miramar Beach, Florida

A:  Your question had a ring of familiarity to it, Gordon.  So, I searched the column archives over at (not .com) and sure enough, way back when the column was relatively young reader Keith S. asked a very similar question about moving Solitaire (I.G.T.M. #82, Feb 15, 2009).  In that case, and just to illustrate how much time has passed since then, Keith wanted to move it from a Windows XP machine to his “new Dell with Vista.”  Ah, those were the days! (*SHUDDER*)

People really love their Solitaire.  But have you ever stopped to think about why it was ever a part of Windows in the first place?  Windows is a computer operating system and graphical user interface, not a gaming platform.  The answer is really quite interesting, and steeped in the skills, or rather, lack of skills, of people who were early adopters of home computers.  Nowadays, skills like basic mouse usage, such as clicking on things on the screen, and performing drag and drop operations is second nature to us.  But back when Windows was in its infancy, these were relatively new concepts to people, and Microsoft developed the computerized version of the venerable old card game to give users a means to practice using the mouse.  It was a good choice, as the game incorporates all the basic mouse functions, and causes the player to use them over and over again.  The whole thing is presented in a way that’s not boring, so it’s a rather ingenious method of teaching mouse skills.  It also allows Solitaire junkies to claim that they are just honing their computer skills when their spouse yells at them for spending too much time playing on the computer.

Solitaire first appeared with Windows as part of version 3.0, released on May 22, 1990.  It was included with every version of Windows sold between 1990 and 2012, which means that it shipped with over a billion copies of Windows.  That makes it one of the most widely distributed, and most played computer game titles in the entire world!  Is it any wonder people don’t want to lose touch with this old friend when they upgrade their operating system?

Now that you know more about the history of computer Solitaire than you probably ever wanted to, let’s get on to answering your question.  While it is technically possible to move the Solitaire program files from one platform to another, in the modern computing era in which we live, I don’t really see the point.  The reason Solitaire is no longer distributed with Windows is because it is now freely available in the Microsoft Store, which is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s genius invention of the App Store.  As part of the research for this column, I took a peek into the Microsoft Store and found no fewer than sixty different versions of Solitaire available for free.  These are sure to offer a far richer gaming experience, with better graphics and more playing options than the old classic that originally came with Windows.  Your MacBook Air isn’t left out in the cold either.  The Apple App Store carries multiple free versions of Solitaire for that platform.   

• • •

 A plea from the Geek: Dear Readers, it’s once again time for me to beg and plead for you to send me your questions!  My question queue is running on fumes again, and I might just have to resort to writing about something of my own choosing, rather than answering actual questions from real people.  So, don’t put up with that balky PC, or with that brand new tech that your neighbor is using, but which you can’t quite figure out.  Send your questions to me and let me worry about finding the answers you’re seeking!  Submitting something is a breeze!  Just go to my website and find the “Submit a Question” link.  Good luck, and happy computing!

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