How do you get the first Age of Empires to work on Windows 7?
I don't want the 3rd, there is a huge difference between the games. I played the trial version of the third and it was the worst thing I have ever played. So many people have suggested I play the third instead it's not even funny. I absolutely love the first game though. The first is one of my favorite games ever.
Have you tried right clicking the desktop icon and running it as the administrator? Also, right click the icon and select properties and go to the compatibility tab - if it isn't already, change the 'Run this progam' section to Windows XP.
And I agree, the third game is very different to the first two...I'm not a fan of it at all. My brother prefers playing the first game like you, I prefer the second (works out well for us sharing the disks!).