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Windows and Elder Scrolls Games

15 February 2011

Many people are still playing the older Elder Scrolls games such as Daggerfall and Arena, but getting these old DOS games to run on the newer Windows versions can be very difficult. This page contains general tips and knowledge on how to get those old games up and running on the various versions of Windows. If you have further informations, suggestions, or corrections, please feel free to Contact Me.

  Win 95/98/ME Win XP Win 2000/NT
Arena Difficult Difficult Difficult
Daggerfall Easy Difficult Moderate
Battlespire Easy Unknown Unknown
Redguard Easy Unknown Moderate

General Tips


Daggerfall and DOSBox - 16 February 2004
Getting Daggerfall running with DOSBox, an alternative for running old DOS games under Windows.

Creating MS-DOS Shortcuts - 7 March 2002
Explanation of how to create a shortcut to MS-DOS on your desktop and the various properties which you can modify.

Slow Down Utilities - 7 March 2002
Information about programs which can slow old games down for better game play on fast computers.

Sound Tip - 23 June 2002
Tips on getting your Sound card working well for DOS games under Windows.

NOTES:


  1. Windows 95 (Original and OSR 2), 98 (Original and SE), and ME versions are grouped together as they are generally quite similar. Any significant differences in getting the various Elder Scrolls games to run will be noted in the relevant game section. Similarily the various NT versions have been grouped together.
  2. The Easy/Moderate/Difficult/Unknown labels indicate the general difficulty in getting the game running under the appropriate operating system.
  3. Only general setup instructions are given for each game and operating system. Your system may require additional steps depending on your specific hardware (sound card, cdrom, etc...).


Arena and Windows 95/98/ME (Unknown)
4 April 2002

I have no explicit information on Arena and these versions of Windows, so check out and try the tips for Daggerfall and Win95.



Arena and Windows XP/2000 (Impossible?)
4 April 2002

I have not heard of anyone to get Arena running under XP or 2000. Let me know if you have.



Daggerfall and Windows 95/98/ME (Easy)
7 March 2002

Fortunately, for most Win 95/98/ME systems, getting Daggerfall to run is quite simply a process of creating a MSDOS shortcut, though getting both the sound effects and music together at the same time may be difficult.

  1. Create a new MS-DOS Shortcut.
  2. Right-Click the new shortcut to modify its properties and ensure that Protected and HMA checkboxes are checked on the Memory tab. All other memory settings should be at AUTO.
  3. Other useful property settings include disabling the screen saver, exclusive mouse, and always suspend background, but these should not be required.
  4. Install the game as usual from the CD if not already installed.
  5. Start the recently created MS-DOS shortcut and run the SETUP.EXE program in the Daggerfall directory to setup your sound and music. I was able to get the sound detected easily but no music settings would work.
  6. Run the game as usual from the DOS prompt. You may see a notice about lack of DPMI memory which should not effect the game. This message can be avoided by running the game Without the CD.
  7. Hopefully the game should be running fine at this point. This has been to confirmed to work on a 'standard' Win 98 SE desktop as well as a Win ME laptop.
You may need to use a Slow down Utility to get the game to run at an accetable rate, especially if using the Cursor Based mouse mode. Other bugs include not being able to walk backwards (while running backwards is fine).



Daggerfall and Windows XP (Moderate)
22 April 2003

People have reported a variety of success with getting Daggerfall running under XP, though with a variety of methods.


Method 1: Running Under XP 4 December 2002

It is possible to get Daggerfall running directly under Windows XP, though it will take a good amount of effort (walkthrough written using WinXP Pro). Overall, using the new installer and VDMS, it isn't that hard to get working under WinXP.

  1. Trying to install the game from the CD probably won't work (install.exe freezes). You can either copy from another computer/hard drive and edit the Z.CFG files. You can also use the unofficial DF Installer (1.4 MB).
  2. Once the game is installed open the file Z.CFG file in any text editor (NOTEPAD) and modify the PATH and PATHCD to point to the proper paths.
  3. Note that the XP installer also includes the VDM Sound Emulator which you should install before trying to run the game (it is a MSI file in the root Daggerfall directory).
  4. Run the SETUP.EXE in your new DF directory to setup the sound. You will have to run the program with VDMS by right-clicking SETUP.EXE and choosing the Run with VDMS option (if you don't see this you haven't installed VDMS or might have to reboot and reinstall it). If you run SETUP without VDMS you will most likely not get sound in the game. To be safe, you might want to disable all sound/music the first time you run it. With my SoundBlaster Audigy the AutoDetect successfully detected a SoundBlaster 16/AWE card and the test worked fine. For MIDI I choose the MPU401, port 330, and again it tested successfully.
  5. At this point I tried to run the game but it seemed to lockup with a blankscreen where the logo should have been. No amount of fiddling with Shortcut options or disabling the sound had any effect. In order to run the game successfully you will have to run it using VDMSound. There is a DAGGER.BAT file that automatically starts and runs the game with VDMSound. You may have to edit it to set the correct path game. You can also right-click on DAGGER.EXE and choose Run with VDMS. If you downloaded and installed the VDMS GUI (which you should) you can also setup the game to run with all sorts of custom settings to get the best performance. If you get errors when starting the game it is most likely a problem with the paths in the Z.CFG file.
  6. Now I was able to run the game successfully, but with no sound. Running SETUP.EXE again I was able to get music working, but no sound effects with the default sound settings. The problem was I originally ran SETUP.EXE without VDMS and had the wrong sound settings.
  7. That's it, I now was able to run Daggerfall with no visible problems, and full sound/music. Great! If you want to fiddle some more, you can get the game to run Without The CD as well.
  8. A common problem is finding that quest NPCs, creatures, and items that are invisible (which makes doing quests difficult or immpossible). This is a common occurence of running the game under Win2000/XP and seems to be due to Windows memory manager. There is no known way around this bug other than to use a virtual OS program such as VMWare or the (more free) DOSBox.

If you had troubles getting things to work at any of the steps, or noticed something that I didn't mention here, please feel free to Contact Me.


Method 2: Startup Disk 1 June 2001

Seeing as how I went through the frustration of getting Daggerfall to run on XP last night and this morning I thought I would give you the simplest run down on how to get it working. First of all the only problem I had with it was the Install.exe going black screen on me. Dagger.exe works fine as well as Setup.exe detecting my old SB16 card for Midi and Digital setup under Auto Detect.

  1. Create a Dos startup disk for XP. Do this by right clicking A: drive and selecting Format then choosing to create a MS-DOS startup disk.
  2. Copy the entire cd to a new folder to the drive your installing Daggerfall to (DON'T name this folder Dagger).
  3. Reboot with disk.
  4. Run the install from the dos command prompt.
  5. Restart in XP.
  6. Run Setup in the C:\dagger folder (or which ever folder you installed it to).
  7. Delete the folder you copied the files to.
  8. Edit the z.cfg file to the following:
    	path c:\dagger\arena2\
    	pathcd d:\dagger\arena2\
    with c: being your installation driver and folders and d: being your cd-rom, change if necessary. You can also edit the file to get the game to run Without The CD if you desire.
Run Dagger.exe and everything should be well. Sound isn't very good and I find that the strafing speed is VERY slow so I'm going to try out VDM Sound Emulator now and try bumping the maxSpeed variable. Anyone who has found a fix for slow strafing please reply otherwise reply with any problems incurred while using my install tips.

Original Text Written by Greywolf.


Method 3: Dual Hard Drive 1 June 2001

Here's how I got Daggerfall to run under WinXP. DOS 6.22 or Windows95/98 boot disk needed, as well as a spare hard drive which will need to be formatted.

  1. First, I took my DF CDROM and copied the whole thing to my hard drive.
  2. Then I used to handy DOS 6.22 Boot Diskette to boot up the computer into DOS.
  3. Then I created and formated a FAT16 Partition on my second Hard Drive. Note that FAT16 partitions have a maximum size of around 2.1 GB.
  4. Then I restarted the computer and allowed WindowsXP to load. It will take up to 5 minutes while it realizes that a new Partition is there. After the WindowsXP loading animation (in WinXP Pro) the screen may go, and stay, black for a while. Wait it out, the OS will eventually load.
  5. Log on to the computer and copy the DF files to the FAT16 partition (the files that were copied in the beginning; the whole DF CDROM).
  6. Restart the computer and put in the DOS Diskette again so DOS loads.
  7. Go into the Directory where the DF CDROM files are at and execute the INSTALL program. The game will install.
  8. Do not configure sound as that seems to crash the DOS alot.
  9. Once the game is installed, reboot the computer into Windows.
  10. Go to the directory where the game is installed and patch it if you want to. Double click the file SETUP.EXE and configure your sound.
  11. If your Drive C: is using NTFS, you will have to make some changes in the Z.CFG file in the Daggerfall directory. Open this file with NotePad and make sure that the following is set:
    	path X:\dagger\arena2\
    	pathcd X:\dagger\arena2\
    Where "X" is the drive the game is installed on. Make BOTH of those paths identical, as Daggerfall doesn't seem to want to read its CDROM after you use my install method. After that's set, you can double-click the DAGGER.EXE file to launch the game. No compatability settings have to be made (see the Running Without a CD text for more information).

    Notes:
  1. This method may or may not work for you, but it works well for me.
  2. I am using Windows XP Professional.
  3. I copied the DF CDROM to my hard drive because it takes forever to install off the CDROM when in DOS.
  4. Don't copy the CDROM file to the root of a hard drive. It will have 'unusual' effects if you do so. I learned the hard way...My hard drive now Autoruns like a CD-ROM... This may not work on WindowsXP Home.
  5. BE CAREFUL WHEN CREATING A FAT16 PARTITION!! Make sure you are formatting FAT16 on a partition or hard drive OTHER then the partition your Windows is on. If you accidently format your windows partition, you will have to reinstall Windows. When in FDISK, first thing you need to do is select OPTION 5 if you are creating a partition on another drive. Remember that FAT16 cannot be above 2GB in size.

Again, be careful if you are going to use my method. I am not to be blamed if you screw-up and kill your Windows.

Original Text Written by Toller.


Daggerfall and Windows 2000 (Moderate)
22 April 2003

The following works for daggerfall on win2k, but the problem of not being able to go backwards persists (and this used to be my favorite tactic!).

  1. Copy the whole DAGGER directory from the CD to your hard drive. You might still need to copy the files ARCH3D.BSA and DAGGER.SND which are found in the PACKED.DAT file. You can find both of these files on the French site Daggerfall FAQ. Alternatively, run the Daggerfall setup program if you can get it to work.
  2. Make all files NOT Read-Only!
  3. Download newest patch (v2.13) and update Daggerfall
  4. Create a file in your DAGGER directory on your harddrive called z.cfg and paste the following lines into it:
    		type dfall_huge
    		path F:\dagger\arena2\
    		pathcd H:\dagger\arena2\
    		fadecolor 0
    		mapfile d
    		rendergame 1
    		user 1
    		startMap 179
    		region 17
    		helmet 0
    		maxSpeed 200
    		controls betaplyr.dat
    		maps mapsave.sav
    		CHEATMODE 1
    		MAGICREPAIR 1
  5. Adjust the path and cdpath settings to match your configuration
  6. Create the Save0 Save1 Save2 Save3 Save4 Save5 folders in the dagger directory.
  7. To solve the problem of not being able to move backwards, use a Slow Down Utilities.
  8. In order to setup the sound properly, use the VDMSound Program.
Note that you can also use the DF Installer (1.4 MB) utility to automatically do most of this for you.

You may encounter quest NPCs, creatures, and items that are invisible. This is a common occurence of running the game under Win2000/XP and seems to be due to Windows memory manager. There is no known way around this bug other than to use a virtual OS program such as VMWare or the (more free) DOSBox.

Contributions by Cobbie.



Daggerfall in DOSBOX (Moderate)
16 February 2004

DOSBox (sf.net/projects/dosbox/) is a relatively new project aimed at getting old DOS games to run under Windows (and other operating systems). Recently, as of v0.61, DOSBox is capable of running Daggerfall reasonably well and, assumably, support will only get better in time. The following is a brief walkthrough of getting DOSBox setup and running Daggerfall. This should work under any operating system supported by DOSBox (Windows 95 or later, Linux, etc...).

  1. Go a get the latest release of DOSBox, v0.61 or later, and install it.
  2. You may wish to disable sound in Daggerfall initially and then later enable it (run SETUP.EXE in Daggerfall's directory). You may also have to edit DOSBox's configuration file in order to get sound working properly.
  3. Start up DOSBox. Type Intro or help to get basic commands. For those familiar in using DOS or a command prompt, it's very much the same thing with some extra commands.
  4. Mount the drive where Daggerfall is installed. For instance, on my computer it's E:\DAGGER\ so I mount it with the command MOUNT E E:\DAGGER. It's relatively important to mount the game so it's in the right spot. If I mounted it differently (MOUNT C E:\DAGGER) I would have to modify Daggerfall's Z.CFG file and update the game's location.
  5. I'm running the game without a CD (see the Without the CD hack) so I don't have to worry about mounting the CD (see DOSBox's readme file for CDROM options).
  6. Start the game as normally (do a E: and a CD DAGGER or whatever to get into your Daggerfall path). For running the game without a CD you can start with FALL.EXE Z.CFG (or use a pre-setup batch file), otherwise a simple DAGGER will do.
  7. At this point it should be noted that currently (v.61) DOSBox's support for protected mode games (like Daggerfall) is in its early stage and so it needs a very fast computer in order to run the game. For instance, on my 2800+ AMD I can get Daggerfall to run pretty much full speed without sound. Future versions of DOSBox will likely decrease the CPU requirements.

    You may notice that it takes several minutes to initially start the game and load a save game. This is simply due to the high CPU requirements of DOSBox apparently.

  8. You can make the game run faster by increasing how much real CPU time DOSBox uses with CTRL+F12. You can increase the speed slightly more by skipping frames via CTRL+F8.
  9. I found that the mouse only worked when running Daggerfall in full screen (or try CTRL+F10).
Once you get the game running under DOSBox, you should be perfectly free from some of the annoying bugs under Windows such as movement not working or the infamous invisible quest bug.



Battlespire and Windows 95/98/ME (Unknown)
4 April 2002

I have no explicit information on Battlespire and these versions of Windows, but assumbably its much the same as Daggerfall and Win95.



Redguard and Windows 95/98/ME (Easy)
4 April 2002

I know Redguard works just fine under Win95 and assumbly under 98/ME as well. If you need more information check out the Daggerfall and Win95 section.



Redguard and Windows XP (Moderate)
20 October 2003

Redguard works under XP if you download Gildos. This is shareware so unless you pay $20 a ugly Gildos logo spins about. You have to install the 3DFX version and start it from the Gildos consle. The software version doesn't work.

Includes Contributions from Rob.



Creating a MS-DOS Shortcut
7 March 2002

For many of the Elder Scrolls games in most Windows versions, all you need to do to get the game to run is to create a MS-DOS shortcut with the appropriate settings.

  1. Right-Click on the desktop and select New Shortcut.
  2. In the window that pops up, type COMMAND.COM in the text box and click the Next button (you can choose a specific COMMAND shell by typing the complete path or browsing for the file).
  3. Select an appropiate name for the shortcut, as desired, and click the Finish button.
You now have a new MS-DOS shortcut on your desktop. To edit the properties for the shortcut right-click the shortcut and choose Properties.
  1. The Memory tab contains important configuration properties which can greatly help in getting some old games to run. Generally selecting Auto for all memories and Protected Memory will work with the majority of games, but some may require fine tuning or specific memory settings.
  2. The Misc tab also contains several relevant properties. Usually we wish to disable the screen saver and ensure the background is always suspended (to prevent the game from running if we ALT-TAB out of it while playing). Some games require the mouse to be in exclusive mode to work properly. Again, some games will not work if you ALT-TAB out of them so the shortcut keys may need to be disabled.
  3. The Program tab contains general shortcut information as well as the Advanced button for making the shortcut run in DOS mode. In DOS mode Windows is essentially shut-down and the computer runs under DOS 7.0. Some games work better or require that you run in DOS mode. When running in DOS mode you can specify custom CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to use if required allowing a great deal of flexibility.



Sound Tips
23 June 2002

Getting sound and music out of older DOS games under windows can be a chore, if at all possible. Below are some general tips on getting the sound working.

  1. Some games look for a BLASTER environment variable to set up the sound (assuming a Sound Blaster or compatible). You may have to add a line SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T3 to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. This indicates the default settings of 220h address, IRQ 5, DMA 1 and Type 3 (Sound Blaster v2.0). Depending on your Sound Card and setup, you may need to change these values.
  2. General midi on Sound Blaster/Compatible cards is usually at an address of 330h, but again this depends on your configuration.
  3. Many sound cards install Legacy drivers for the card for using DOS games under Windows. To check, open up your Control Panel (START => SETTINGS => CONTROL PANEL) and open the System window. Goto the Device Manager panel and expand the Sound, Video, and Game Controllers line. Look for any devices with DOS or LEGACY in the name. Double clicking these devices will open a window which should contain the card settings (look in the Settings and Resources panels. Use these values when setting up your DOS game's sound. Again, much of this may vary depending on your operating system and specific sound card.
  4. For some games, it may not be possible to enable both music and sound effects at the same time. Try enabling just one or the other if you are having problems with using both at once.
  5. Choosing the PC Speaker, when available, is often the best choice for older games.
  6. For Windows NT/2000 systems, download and install VDMSound to help get sound and music working with DOS games under NT. In order to run a program with VDM, Right-Click the EXE file pick Run with VDMS. If all goes well, the autodetection routines in the game's setup will find the correct sound settings. Note that you may still have trouble getting both the sound and music operating together at the same time.



Slow Down Utilities
7 March 2002

Many of the older DOS games were created to work well on Pentiums, 486s, and even 386s, so the typical computer these days is greatly overpowered. Often this creates problems within the game as the computer runs much faster than the game can handle. Typical problems include loss of control (too fast or too slow to move), sound glitches, or even crashes. There are several programs available which can 'slow' down your computer to an acceptable speed allowing such older games to run.

TURBO.ZIP, 50 kb, 26 January 2002
A free utility for slowing down your computer under Win95 or NT (and assumbly under other more recent windows versions).

MOSLO.ZIP, 3 kb, 1 October 1998
A useful DOS program for running those really old games on those stunningly fast pentiums. This freeware utility can slow your computer from 1 to 99% making those games much more playable. Does not always work well under Windows.



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