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Old games have funny colors (16 colors?) artifacts under Windows XP and Windows Vista

Posted on 2007-11-24
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Last Modified: 2013-12-26
Hi,

I love playing old games on my $3,000.00 computer. Laugh at me if you'd like. :-)

The bottom line is that on all my old games like Fallout 2, Civilization III, Age of Empires II, and StarCraft the games have tearing and a lot of the colors (particularly in water) show up in 16 color colors. I have updated my Direct X to the latest and ensured that the graphics drivers are updated as well as all others. I have also tried running the programs in compatibility modes and none of it seems to make a difference.

I started experiencing this with XP. I am now running Vista Ultimate 32-bit. I have an nVidia GeForce 7900GTX with the latest drivers from nVidia's site. My PC has 4GB corsair RAM and is pretty much a workstation/gaming pc. I use it for work and play. Anybody have any ideas about how to get this fixed without keeping an old junker computer with Win 98 around on it to play these games?

Thanks in advance!
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Question by:Pugglewuggle
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☠ MASQ ☠ earned 500 total points
ID: 20345262
Yes, install a virtual machine within Vista.
 - Install M$'s Virtual PC 2007
http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=04D26402-3199-48A3-AFA2-2DC0B40A73B6&displaylang=en
 - Create a virtual PC with about 128MB RAM
 - Install Windows98SE from CD (this takes a good half hour)
 - Install your older games on it.

Virtual PC will emulate an S3 graphics card and SB sound and you can then install all your old games (including DOS based) and run them full screen as if Vista was never invented :)
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20346848
Cool! I had read that somewhere else but I thought somebody was just overcomplicating things.

So, just out of curiosity, these games will run okay on Windows 2000? I have 98SE but 2000 is much more stable. I would like to give it about 256MB RAM to use. I have 4GB Corsair Dual Channel DDR2 800 MHz. Will this be okay?

One other thing about MS VPC 07... I installed it before and the install ended prematurely and errored out. I tried to install again and it won't let me install because the program is detected as already being there but I can't uninstall it. Am I stuck or is there something I can do? Also, can I run more than 1 OS on VPC, for example, have 1 2000 machine, 1 XP machine, 1 Linux machine?

Thanks!
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20346856
Oh yeah, and as far as the hardware emulation goes, can I tell VPC what kind of hardware to emulate or does it automatically give the machine an S3 graphics card? For example, can I have it emulate an nVidia GeForce 4 Ti or Mx card?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20347078
You're stuck with the hardware (none of the games you mentioned should have a problem with the VESA based S3 and if you have a more advanced 3D game it *should* be portable into XP
(Quick explanation of why the emu devices were selected:
http://blogs.msdn.com/virtual_pc_guy/archive/2005/01/26/361361.aspx -  Also helpful for DOS based games when setting the SB environment)

TBH I play all my older games (that won't work in XP) in 98SE rather than Win2K as on the whole they weren't devised for an NT environment and 2K is not really a gaming platform.

You can allocate as much RAM as you can spare above 1GB that Vista will reserve.  If you allocate multiple virtual PCs then while VPC is running this RAM will be unavailable to Vista.  You can have VPC's running pretty much any x86 based OS - all you need is the install media.

Uninstalling is a pain.  According to M$ you need to run the install again from the command line using MSI but with the /x switch
see: http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/4/c/44ccd131-67fb-4224-a96e-193be1765b43/relnotes.htm

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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20347761
There is some info there about passing the MSI commands through the EXE.

The only file I have is the setup.exe file that is downloadable from Microsoft.

I tried: setup.exe /v "Virtual_PC_2007_Install.msi " /x
as well as a few other combinations and I can't seem to get it to work. Crappy documentation on MS's part.

Any ideas?
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20347790
Okay, I got it to work using the
setup.exe /c
to extract the MSI file and then using
msiexec.exe /x "Virtual_PC_2007_Install.msi"

This, in turn, gives me an error that says: "This Action is only valid for products that are currently installed"

Argh! Why don't they just give it a regular uninstaller. Please also note that the original installation did not complete successfully either.
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20353083
OK, I got VPC installed. It was a crazy deal.

I now have issues with my copy protected original CDs such as Age of Empires II and Civ 3. Any ideas?
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20353824
What kind of copy protection issues?  You should be able to run them from your CD Drive, the VPC emu addresses this directly.  If you are using ISOs this is a different story.
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20354047
I am not using ISOs, I am using the original CDs. I thought this would take care of the copy protection problem as well... regardless of guest OS. I had to install Daemon Tools on the Windows 98SE guest OS just to get Age of Empires to work, but Civ 3 still doesn't - the SecurROM gives me an error. Please advise me on what I need to do to get this working. Thanks!
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20360105
Hmm - this is SafeDisk's CD emulator checker kicking in.  Stealthed Daemon should work but the disk is seeing the driver as an emulated CR-RW.  This hacks & cracks clause in the membership agreement prevents me offering a solution to this.
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20360121
well, Civ 3 uses SecuROM. I just sent them an email. It is really crap that I can't use the software I paid for on a VM due to copy protection software.
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by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 20360878
Sorry, yes SafeDisk on AoE SecuROM on CivIII.  TBH I guess Firaxis never envisaged people playing CivIII in a virtual environment :(
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20362317
Yeah... I got an email back from SecuROM saying that no securom apps can be used on a VM. THat's complete crap. Screw securom. >:(
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by:Pugglewuggle
ID: 20618837
Is there any way to give MASQUERAID some points? If it were not for his suggestions, I would have never been able to install VPC correctly and at least try to get the games working.

Thanks!
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by:modus_operandi
ID: 20850310
Force accepted.
modus_operandi
EE Moderator
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