Sunday, February 24, 2013

How to play Age Of Empires II in Windows 8


So recently I had an itch to play Age Of Empires II - The Conquerors again, having never finished the campaigns yet. I tried it on my 64 bit windows 8 laptop and it just wouldn't work - I tried all sorts of settings, but the game would just start, then crash, without any explanation. I tried running it in compatibility mode with all versions of Windows possible, to no avail.

Too bad the Aztecs had no cavalry.


The solution that finally worked was, adding a piece of text to the target of the shortcut which runs it:

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Age2_x1\age2_x1.exe" NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800

The issue was caused due to a direct draw conflict, which the added run parameters solved.

EDIT: This blog post is related to the original Age of Empires II, and not the Steam edition which runs on Windows 8 by default. Steam is awesome, and if you like Age of Empires II then get the HD edition here.

64 comments:

This & That said...

Thanks dude , your solution worked like charm.
however i used NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 1280 for better resolution , since i have a 24" monitor.

Anonymous said...

thanks man!!! you saved my day. Great job!!!

Unknown said...

If this works I'll be so happy. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Wish that was my only problem, I can't even install it on my Win8 laptop. It freezes installation at 51% when it tries to install the ttf font files and just can't seem to get passed it.

Tried 2 different AOEII disks just in case it was the disks. They are original genuine disks not copies and both hang on the fonts at 51%.

Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

If it stops at 51%, you need to follow this procedure:

I would suggest you to put the computer in clean boot and then try to install Age of Empires II.

By setting your system in clean boot state helps in identifying if any third party applications or startup items are causing the issue.

Anonymous said...

You are a genius! I thought that it would never work on windows 8.

Anonymous said...

It's not working dude

Unknown said...

There seems to be no Microsoft Games Folder.. Help

Anonymous said...

To Unknown from January 8, 2014:
I don't know what problem exactly are you experiencing, but if I had to guess, i'd say you just copied the path from this example and replaced with it the path in the shortcut target. That cannot work.
Solution: you need to create new shortcut and only add :

NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800

so it follows the quoted target. So for example: If you have the game installed in C:\ Age of Empires 2, the target column of the shortcut would be filled with the following text:

"C:\Age of Empires 2\age2_x1.exe" NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800


btw: Thanks to Mayank Mrug for the original post, works great!

Anonymous said...

Thanks man!

Does it also work for other games which have same compatibility issue?

Anonymous said...

so glad i found a solution! thanks

valhalla4073 said...

Thank you very much, it really worked.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm playing normal AoE 2, not the conquerors, however it does it for that too, I try to load it, the loading screen comes up, then I'm prompted with a screen saying I need to install Direct Play, or something along those lines, and I can choose to skip but it says the program may not run correctly - it's a windows screen. Any idea?

brandon lapierre said...

on windows 8 how do i edit exe files

Anonymous said...

it didnt work what shall id o

Anonymous said...

i doesn't work... my game is installed: D:\jernej\AOE2CONQ\age2_x1.exe , and i use this method like this D:\jernej\AOE2CONQ\age2_x1.exe NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800 is it wrong or what ? Because it doesn't work.. help please

Mayank Mrug said...

I'm glad people found it helpful.

I do not know if this works for other games which have the same compatibility issues as I ever since I started using steam I haven't needed to.

I think this step is still required for AOE2 Age of Kings.

@Brandon lapierre: You do not need to edit the exe file, only the shortcut of the exe file. The shortcut should be present on the desktop. Right-click the shortcut, click on properties, and you will see the 'Target' box. Then follow the instructions in the blog post.

To anonymous who posted on 12 May 2014, try setting this as the target:

"D:\jernej\AOE2CONQ\age2_x1.exe" NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800

Anonymous said...

My game (origional, CD edition of AoE II +conquerors) has installed ok, but the main menu screen is displaying in a resolution not right for my screen- it's missing the right 1/3 and bottom 1/3 of the screen. Any ideas?

Break said...

Brilliant fix. You are a genius, a magician, and an all-around pretty cool guy.

A note, though. There's this unofficial patch named "UPatch" that's been created for Age of Empires, and it allows higher, wider resolutions like 1900x1200 or 1366x768. Your fix forces the game to start in 800x600 resolution, which is weird because 1024x768 is a default resolution and it's totally better.

UPatch replaces the 1024x768 option with all custom resolutions, which are set outside of the game in a separate application. To use these high resolutions with this fix, you have to change the "800" at the end of the Target to "1024."

cheers

Break said...

Edit: Woops. I just remembered that this fix is for Age of Empires II in the first place. I figured out that it worked for Age of Empires 1 (and the expansion pack Rise of Rome) because I know that both games use the same engine. My previous comment makes no sense given that this is a post about Age of Empires II.

oh welllllll x_x

Anonymous said...

Hi Abhinav Here, I have just installed the game and game starts just fine but it does not takes the full width of my screen.. how can i fix it???

Anonymous said...

It really works! thanks dude

Anonymous said...

How to play with gameranger. The above specified method does not work with ganeranger as the shortcut file cannot be added as the source file.

Anonymous said...

I've done all this and it still pops up the error message. What do?

Anonymous said...

I dont understand do i put a text in? I have an external cd drive and I don't know how to get it working help

Gokul Krishnan said...

Hi dude, I couldn't even install AoE2 in my lap (WIN 8 OS). If i tried to install i received error message as "COULD NOT INITIALIZE THE GRAPHICS SYSTEM. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR VIDEO CARD AND DRIVERS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH DIRECT DRAW" Kindly help me to resolve this issue. Anticipating your reply.

Anonymous said...

i cant get AOE to startup even with the text in the shortcut, don't know whats wrong. It starts to load and then just stops

Anonymous said...

Wow, man!!! That's amazing, although the graphics still a little bit blurred, but thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

for those who do not understand computers, what do I need to do?

atomicgasman213 said...

For those of you that are still having issues...after adding NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800 to the target, right click on the AOE The Conquers icon and click on Troubleshoot Compatibility. Follow the direction and make sure to test the game with prompted by the troubleshoot. Once you have started a new game and you see that it is functioning, make sure to quit out of AOE2.. WE AREN'T DONE YET. After you exit out click next on the troubleshooting program. This prompts your computer to save the settings so that AOE2 can run properly in the future. Hope this helps!

LikeASir Craft said...

I need help. When i try to add the text to the target field in shortcut properties it says that the text is invalid. Can someone please help me, i really want to play this game

Femia Cools said...

Just installed on Samsung Ativ500T smart tablet (with keyboard), that has windows 8. Works fine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, i searched a lot in this, and yours finally worked!

Anonymous said...

Worked perfect for window 8 but any fix for Windows 10

Anonymous said...

I hope we can find a fix for Windows 10 soon!!!

DavidG said...

The above worked, but only after I also downloaded the CD 2.0b patch from aoerealm.com. Otherwise it wouldn't even try to start up. Adjusting the number to something larger than 800 to match my screen resolution works as well.

Unknown said...

I'm sorry but i can't get it, probably because of my English.I didn't understand if i need to rename something or what. Shortcut it's a kind of "folder" sinonymous? i'm driving crazy! Where do i need to pud this text " NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800 " ?

Help me to understand please. PS i speak Italian

Anonymous said...

I found a patch for ages of empire 2 from "http://aok.heavengames.com/, you want the core patch and have population of 1000, and other core improvements then use 1.4 of the update, then enjoy the game again
James

Anonymous said...

AOE Age of Kings previously worked on my lap top, I think I had Windows 7, but now when I try to play it, it shows that the game is loading, then nothing happens. I've tried to change the target field in the shortcut properties and a pop up screen said it was invalid. Anyone have any advice?

Mike said...

Hello, I have Windows 8.1 and I'm hardly trying to install & play AoE for the sake of my childhood. However my laptop has other plans
What am I to do?

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Can you say more clear what is to do, I didn't understand anything.

Mike said...

Shortcut is when you double-click on an .exe file and press *Create Shortcut* and the shortcat has the same icon as your .exe file but has a small pointer on it. (It basicly opens the original final when you open the shortcut) Hopefully I helped you.

Unknown said...

How and where do you add in the additional programming text? I have the age of kings and conquerors expansion CDs, both of them won't work.

Alex B said...

Adding on to November 22: I tried the Target patch, but no success.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Age of Empires II\EMPIRES2.EXE" No Startup Msync NOSC Mfill 800
That's what the program is saved under.

Please help, I miss playing this game :(

Anonymous said...

I can't get Age of Empires Conquerors to work. I introduced the game to my kids and we play on 3 different computers; and they love it. We've moved and I've changed various things on my computers to increase performance. Two of the computers no longer run AOE. I click on the icon and nothing happens. I've tried changing compatibility mode, downloading the CD 2.0b patch from aoerealm.com and adding No Startup Msync NOSC Mfill 800 to the target. Nothing has worked. I'm not ready to give up on the game. Any suggestions.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't work for me in the slightest. My issue is that when I try to launch the game (whether through the shortcut or not) nothing happens. The timer appears, indicating that it is loading, and then I get a message that asks: "Do you want the following program from an unknown publisher (EMPIRES2.EXE) to make changes to this computer?"

Every time I click "yes" the timer reappears and then vanishes after a couple of seconds, with no other effect. I tried the OP's fix, but nothing. I tried it in every compatibility mode available and as normal but nothing worked.

In case it helps, I have the disc, not the Steam version, and the game ran perfectly before the windows 8.1 update. I haven't installed windows 10.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Same for me, can't get it to work under 8.1. Anything I can do?

Matt Leary said...

Same issue. Game doesn't seem to even try to start. See it for a second on Task Manager and then it vanishes. Have tried all the fixes listed including different resolution #'s in the target (I believe mine is 1080- 1920x1080), various compatibility options, running troubleshooter, and installing the patch from aoerealm.com to no avail. The compatibility troubleshooter declares it to be an incompatible program.

Mayank Mrug said...

What OS are you running it in? I've only tried the non-steam version on Windows 8, 64 bit, not Windows 8.1 or Windows 10. Since Steam released the HD version of the game I haven't had the chance to install the non-steam version and the CD is in storage somewhere.

Matt Leary said...

Same issue. Game doesn't seem to even try to start. See it for a second on Task Manager and then it vanishes. Have tried all the fixes listed including different resolution #'s in the target (I believe mine is 1080- 1920x1080), various compatibility options, running troubleshooter, and installing the patch from aoerealm.com to no avail. The compatibility troubleshooter declares it to be an incompatible program.

Unknown said...

Thanks it does work. Changed compatibility to Win7 helped when loading directplay.

Anonymous said...

It just doesn't work, it installed just fine but every time I try to play, nothing happens, I've waited, I tried doing the thing you did, nothing works, I think I'm just gonna have to find something else

Anonymous said...

hey its not working its showing same error Age of Empires had stopped working in startup it never starts i am using windows 8.1 X64

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paul grotrian said...

Let me try this again I have a acer laptop running 8.1 i am playing aoe 2 age of kings and I have got the game to work here is what I did installed with compatibility set to win 7 then I had to install the 2.0b patch I am running the game with compatibility set to xp pack 2 then used the command line options as explained above I had to set Mfill 800 it would not work if I tried using 1280 I could the change resolution once I got into the game hope this helps for others trying run under 8.1

paul grotrian said...

Let me try this again I have a acer laptop running 8.1 i am playing aoe 2 age of kings and I have got the game to work here is what I did installed with compatibility set to win 7 then I had to install the 2.0b patch I am running the game with compatibility set to xp pack 2 then used the command line options as explained above I had to set Mfill 800 it would not work if I tried using 1280 I could the change resolution once I got into the game hope this helps for others trying run under 8.1

Unknown said...

Greetings. I followed you instructions for the AOE fix but it still isn't working. I am running Windows 8.1 in 64. I run the fix on both AOE 1 and 2 Original editions going back to year 2000 or sooner. I haven't tried the new packaged version that has AOE 1 and 2.

"C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Age2_x1\age2_x1.exe" NoStartup Msync NOSC Mfill 800

Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

Unknown said...

i'm really confused on this process and would love some help to bring back the game of my childhood

AP-1138 said...

So I tried right clicking on the shortcut, but the only thing that happens is the loading circle appears, goes for about 30 seconds, and then my whole screen restarts along with moving the shortcuts for the game and force closing anything I have open except for the internet browser. A similar problem happens when I try to use my file explorer, but that problem has been around for a while. I've learned to work around it, but I can't right click anything in it without the program crashing. And now it does this for when I try to right click on the AOE 2 and AOE 2: Conquerors shortcut. I'm so fed up with this computer and all of it's problems. I don't know what to do.

Unknown said...

I have tried this method and it still doesnt work. It just changes the screen res for a sec, then closes. i have absolutely no clue what to do. please help

Anonymous said...

Three years out of date. Find something better, people. This doesn't work.

Mayank Mrug said...

Whoa, over 50k views on this single post. I hope it helped even half of you people.

Like Anonymous said above - this is now three years out of date. I apologize but since then:

a. I've updated to Windows 10
b. I've started playing Age of Empires II HD, available on steam. This version runs smoothly without any difficulties on most modern computers, and is available frequently for $5 during a sale.

If the steam version doesn't work for you, try posting a question on steam forums, people are very helpful there. Since I can't find my installation disk I will not be attempting to try a non-steam version of the game on my computer.

Unknown said...

right clicking on .exe there was some kind of security unblock option that worked for me

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