The problems that you’re experiencing could be happening for any number of reasons, but I suspect that those games are just fundamentally incompatible with Windows 8 and 64 bits.
Sure, XP mode isn’t available on Windows 8, but you can do something almost exactly like it.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
XP mode on Windows 7
XP mode in Windows 7 was nothing more than a pre-configured virtual machine that ran Windows XP. If you fired up the XP mode window, it ran a fully functional copy of Windows XP and you could open your DOS games and do anything else you wanted to within it. Your machine was still running Windows 7, and you were also running Windows XP, in a window.
“XP mode” isn’t available for Windows 8, but you can do almost the same thing with any operating system (not just XP) in Windows 8 by using virtual machine software.
Running a virtual machine
In fact, that’s exactly what I do. On my Windows 8 desktop machine, I have several virtual machines available to me. I regularly run Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even another copy of Windows 8. In the past, I’ve run Ubuntu Linux and tried out a couple of other Linux flavors.
To do this, get a copy of Virtual Box from Oracle. Install that and you will be able to create virtual machines for almost any operating system that runs on a PC.
Remember, this is like installing Windows on a completely empty machine. You’ll need the original installation media. For Windows XP, that means you’ll need the actual installation CD and a product key to activate the operating system once installed.
XP mode in Windows 7 was simple to download, install, and run. Oracle’s Virtual Box takes just a little more work.
Watch your RAM
If your machine is already tight on memory, you may not have enough RAM to run a virtual machine.
In my case, my desktop is limited to only 8 GB of RAM. I’m running Windows 8, 64 bit, and if I’m doing much of anything else I really have to limit myself to running only one virtual machine at a time. I can run two or even three, but it’s easy for things to bog down if I do anything else as the operating system in total runs out of or low on memory. If I had more RAM in my machine, I could run multiple virtual machines at the same time.
That’s the bottom line. All you’re really looking for here is virtual machine software. Once you get a Windows XP virtual machine running within Windows 8, you should be able to run pretty much everything that you used to in Windows XP.