Daggerfall:Running under Windows

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Advance Warning[edit]

There is a serious memory issue when running Daggerfall under a modern Windows-OS such as Windows-XP. This issue causes the quest object to be invisible, hence it will be nearly impossible to find or kill a quest object, since it can not be seen. Once the quest is active, switching to DosBox or similar applications doesn't solve this problem, since the quest data is already stored in your savegame, you have to start the quest from the scratch. Always keep that in mind because, if you embark on the Main Quest or a quest line, you will have serious troubles. In addition to the problems with the quest object strafe, backwards moves, climbing, swimming and jumping are almost impossible to perform. Considering all these facts, it is highly advised to use DOSBox when running Daggerfall under a modern Windows-OS.

Running under Microsoft Virtual PC 2004[edit]

Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 is now a free download to promote the upcoming 2007 edition. Installing Daggerfall (or Arena) under it is a simple process; you merely need your original copy of DOS 6.3 or Windows 95 (which also includes DOS 6.3). Once set up correctly the game should run fairly well. Computer speed and NTFS partitions may or may not still be an issue, but running in a DOS mode will probably help. It might not run smooth enough in older computers (Athlon XP or older Pentium 4, for example)

Using VDMSound to run Daggerfall under Windows XP[edit]

Running Daggerfall with VDMSound is a functional method of playing the game especially on lower end Windows systems, which might not be able to run a fully emulated DOS environment functionally. This is also the method Bethesda recommends. The game can be installed with either the unofficial fan-made installer (1.4MB), or the Bethesda WinXP Installer available on FilePlanet (44MB). Download the file and let it install while having Daggerfall CD in your CD-ROM drive. When it finishes go to the Daggerfall directory (default C:\DAGGER). You should not use the VDMSound package included with Bethesda installer, as a newer version is available. Keep in mind, that Bethesda does not officially support either of these programs.

NOTE: If you change the installation path, make sure you keep Daggerfall in a directory which complies with the DOS-compliant 8.3 convention: no spaces, no more than 8 characters in a file or directory name, and no more than 3 letters for file extension. You can't install Daggerfall under e.g. "C:\Program Files\Daggerfall."

Patching and installing VDMSound[edit]

Download and install the latest official Daggerfall patch. This will help solve many potential problems before they even occur.

VDMSound is hosted on SourceForge, download the latest VDMSound 2.1.0 and install it. Now head to the Daggerfall directory, right-click setup.exe, and choose "Run with VDMS". Use the default settings in the VDMS wizard. When the DOS box has opened, input the next settings in the setup unless you change the equivalent defaults within VDMSound:

 Digital Device: Sound Blaster 16/AWE32
 Port: 220
 DMA: 1
 IRQ: 7
 MIDI Device: Sound Blaster 16
 MIDI Port: 388

You can test both Digital and MIDI sound to see if you can hear them. If everything is in order, select "OK" and choose to save the configuration.

Using Speedset to fix game related issues[edit]

Despite VDMS, you are likely to encounter many glitches, such as rapidly rotating villagers or randomly falling through surfaces due to modern processors being too fast for the game. Download Speedset and extract its contents in your Daggerfall directory. This is the recommended method, as Speedset is created by the same person as VDMS. You can try to use similar slowdown programs if you encounter difficulties (like TURBO). Turbo is a Windows executable and throttles the whole system instead of throttling a single program.

Speedset is used by adding the next line in DAGGER.BAT (simply open it in Notepad):

 speedset nn.n

Where "nn.n" is a number between -100.0 and 100.0. Negative numbers decrease the cycles given to the game (slowing it down), while positive increase them (making it run faster). The numbers equal a percentage of the total processor speed. You will have to experiment with the correct value for your processor for the game to run without glitches (or running at all). The game begins to definitely behave erratically somewhere around 450MHz range, while it's original recommended hardware requirement was a 66MHz 486DX system.

Creating virtual drives to resolve a glitch[edit]

The final problem on modern hardware is the Invisible Quest Items/Monsters Bug (see Advance Warning). This bug was thoroughly examined and solved on the official Elder Scrolls Forum. The bug appears as missing (invisible) items and monsters, which make completing some quests impossible. NOTE: This bug is irreversible for saved games which have already begun the quests. In majority of the cases the working solution is to have three hard disk partitions, two of which are either NTFS or FAT32. Those two partitions must also be between roughly 40MB and 1GB in size. Daggerfall does not need to be installed on either of those partitions.

Most common computer setups have more than enough system RAM to use virtual drives to bypass the bug. Simply download and install the freeware program ImDisk. ImDisk can be invoked from any path, so this is the only thing you have to do with it besides editing your batch file.

You will now have to edit DAGGER.BAT in your Daggerfall main directory to use these tools. After this final step it should look like this:

 imdisk -a -s 50M -p "/fs:fat32 /q /y" -m x:
 imdisk -a -s 50M -p "/fs:fat32 /q /y" -m y:
 speedset nn.n
 imdisk -d -m x:
 imdisk -d -m y:

Where you should replace "x:" and "y:" with drive letters of your choice, and "nn.n" with a value between 100.0 and -100.0.

This batch file will create two virtual 50 megabyte FAT32 drives (with drive letters "X:" and "Y:" respectively, change the letters to suit your drive configuration). It will then load up Speedset to throttle your processor in order to prevent the game running too fast. The final two lines will unload the virtual disks after you quit the program. You now have Daggerfall running with sound, with corrected speed, and with system-dependent bugs eliminated.

Finalizing setup[edit]

In your Daggerfall main directory, you can now right click on DAGGER.BAT and choose "Run with VDMS". You can use the setting "Use default configuration", however the game does not use EMS and some advanced options in VDMS (namely "Cap DOS timer frequency" and "Try to reduce CPU usage" under the performance tab) might help if you're experiencing slowdowns. After clicking "Next", choosing "Remember my settings" will create a runnable shortcut for VDMS, you can also choose to copy this shortcut on your desktop.

The game should now run error free with full sound, when started by double clicking on the newly created shortcut. If you experience stuttering/corrupt sound you can try replacing Sound Blaster 16 with Sound Blaster Pro in the setup utility. Some computer setups will experience sound errors during the cutscenes, changing card type won't fix this. If you still see erroneous behavior (e.g. rats not moving towards you and swirling wildly around in the tutorial cave) experiment with the speedset value: it needs to be lower.

DOS Startup Disk for Daggerfall and Windows XP[edit]

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\

Here, C: represents your installation driver and folders, and D: is your CD-ROM. Change if necessary to match your actual drive configuration.

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.

Dual Booting Under WinXP[edit]

Here's how I got Daggerfall to run under WinXP (DOS 6.22 or Windows95/98 boot disk needed).

  • First, I took my DF CD-ROM and copied the whole thing to my hard drive.
  • Then I used to handy DOS 6.22 Boot Diskette to boot up the computer into DOS.
  • Then I created and formatted a FAT16 Partition on my second Hard Drive.
  • 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.
  • 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 CD-ROM).
  • Restart the computer and put in the DOS Diskette again so DOS loads.
  • Go into the directory where the DF CD-ROM files are, and execute the INSTALL program. The game will install.
  • Do not configure sound as that seems to crash the DOS a lot.
  • Once the game is installed, reboot the computer into Windows.
  • 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.
  • 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 CD-ROM after you use my install method. After that's set, you can double-click the DAGGER.EXE file to launch the game. No compatibility settings have to be made.


  1. This method may or may not work for you, but it works well for me.
  2. I am using Windows XP Professional. This may not work on Windows XP Home.
  3. I copied the DF CD-ROM to my hard drive because it takes forever to install off the CD-ROM when in DOS.
  4. Don't copy the CD-ROM file to the root of a hard drive. It will have 'unusual' effects if you do so, like launching Autorun as if your HD is a CD.
  5. Be careful when creating a FAT16 partition! Make sure you are formatting FAT16 on a partition or hard drive other than the partition your Windows is on. If you accidentally format your Windows partition, you will have to reinstall Windows. When in FDISK, the 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.

Running Under Windows 7 and Vista[edit]

See instructions for DOSBox in dedicated article.

However, while DOSBox is the recommended method (see above link), you can still play Daggerfall using the Command Prompt on 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and Vista. The instructions are the nearly same as above for Windows XP, except that there is an additional step, which is to enable full-screen mode.

This is because in Windows 7 and Vista, DOS fullscreen mode is disabled unless your graphics/display driver supports it (see Microsoft KB926657 [1]) or you use the workarounds described on Ludwig Ertl's website [2].

Option 1: Install Windows XP Graphics Card Drivers[edit]

If your video card has Windows XP graphics drivers available, then the easiest solution is to install them. Afterwards, you are done and can now use the Windows XP steps on this page above to get Daggerfall to work well.

This is because Windows 7 and Vista BOTH support Windows XP graphics drivers, which by default enable DOS fullscreen mode.

Option 2: If no Windows XP Graphics Card Drivers are available[edit]

In this case, the main workaround is to disable your video card's drivers temporarily while running DOS.

The main part of the workaround is summarized as follows:

  • Install Ludwig Ertl's free conhostf.zip patch [3]:
    • Download and then decompress CONHOSTF.ZIP [3]
    • Go to the extracted folder 'bin' and then its subfolder 'fullscrswitch'
    • In this sub-folder ('fullscrswitch'), right click on the file 'conhostf.inf' and then left-click 'Install'
  • Install Ludwig Ertl's free NTVDM patch [4]:

Depending on your videocard the above may be sufficient to get Daggerfall to work in full-screen and move on to the Windows XP fine-tuning steps above.

However, on some videocards, more steps are required to enable the VGA graphics modes before going to the Windows XP steps:

  • For some Intel Graphics Cards, there is an issue which can be patched with the free IntelVidFix.ZIP file from Ludwig Ertl's website [5]. Note that there is a newer version called '32bitiofix.zip' which requires you to register a free account on his website but is also free to download: (Click here).
  • On some videocards, there is an issue where the VGA ports are blocked. To unblock them, you need to download Martin Sulak's patch [6].


DaggerXL is a rewrite of Daggerfall's game engine the eventual goal of the project is to create an updated playing environment for the game, capable of being run on modern operating systems (as opposed to being run in DOS, or through DOSBox).