Windows XP Help

Windows XP FAQ - Games, DirectX etc.

1. How can I tell what version of DirectX I have installed?

Click on the Start menu, select Run and type DXDiag.exe. On the System tab near the bottom it will say DirectX Version:

2. Where can I get the latest version of DirectX?

You can download the current 9.0c version from Microsoft or from some game CDs. It is recommended to create a
restore point before upgrading DirectX as it cannot be directly uninstalled. The History of DirectX is available on Wikipedia.

3. How do I uninstall DirectX?

You need to use System Restore to go back to a state before you installed DirectX.

4. How do I get games to work in a Limited User account, they work ok as administrator?

Use the Compatibility tab on the program to run with different OS or options.
Open properties of the game folder to give yourself Modify or Full Control Rights on the Security tab.
You can also use the CACLS program (in XP Home) to apply RWC (Read,Write,Change) permissions for the program folder in question for a given user:
e.g. cacls c:\program files\gamefolder /G:user:RWC.

5. I have some XP Accessories or Games missing. How do I install them?

Open Add/Remove Programs and click on Add/Remove Windows Components. Here you can tick a box or install the components or untick the box to remove a component. Click on Details if subcomponents are available, Games can be found under Accessories and Utilities.

6. When I install and run a game it says that it cannot find OpenGL?

You need to install the latest drivers for your graphics Card as the one supplied with Windows will only support DirectX. If you have a very old graphics card such as the Voodoo cards, you may need to replace it with the latest Matrox, Nvidea Geforce or ATI Cards to run the latest games, as your old card is no longer supported. See OpenGL website for more info on this technology. You should have opendl.dll, opengl32.dll and graphic card specific drivers (e.g. atioglxx.sys for ATI cards).

7. If I install a game and it asks to install an older version of DirectX, should I install it?

No, Windows XP already comes with DirectX 8.1 and it is backward compatible with older versions of DirectX anyway, so you do not need to install it. Even if you tried, it will not overwrite whats already installed. If a game demands that a specific version of DirectX is installed, ignore it, use Compatibility Mode for Windows 98/Me instead.

If it asks to install a newer version of DirectX then yes you should install it as it will be backward compatible with previous versions or DirectX.

8. When I try to install or run an old game, it asks for Windows 9x, 2000 or NT with SPx or higher?

These games were written before XP existed. Fortunately, Microsoft have had the foresight to add a compatibility mode which is accessible via Start, Programs, Accessories, Program Compatibility Wizard. Run that and follow the prompts to get your program working. You can also access Compatibility settings via the program's Properties and click on Compatibility tab to set options manually.

9. I want to run an old DOS game, what do I need to do to get it to run?

First install the game into a folder on your hard disk. Then create a shortcut to it on your desktop like any other program. DOS program shortcuts have extra information in the Properties so you can configure memory settings, screen size, fonts and so forth, like the PIF file on older versions of Windows. If you need special startup settings such as FILES, BUFFERS and so on, you can add them to Config.NT which is in C:\Windows\System32, use notepad to edit it. You can also use a third party product called the DOSBox for more control over the DOS environment.

10. How do I test my DirectX or OpenGL drivers are working?

You can run the DXDiag.exe utility to diagnose DirectX problems with Graphics, Sound and Input devices by clicking on Display and click on Test DirectDraw and Test Direct3D buttons. For Sounds and Music click on Test DirectSound or Test DirectMusic buttons. For OpenGL, you need to download third party software to test GL software and drivers. Try the OpenGL Extensions Viewer from RealTek.

11. I cannot install or run a new game and I have latest DirectX?

You need to check the requirements for the game. Some new games require the latest and fastest graphics card for the game to work. Built in graphics chipsets such as SiS or Intel Extreme or older graphics cards such as Voodoo, ATI Rage or Geforce 2 may be too old and will only use a subset of DirectX features.Replacing the card with a newer card such as a ATI Radeon or Geforce 5/6.

12. Where can I get the latest graphics card drivers?

First try the manufacturer's web pages as they will have their own driver sets. Otherwise try AMD, NVidea, or even Driver Guide.

13. How can I tell how capable my Graphics Card is and which DirectX version it supports?

Most modern AGP or PCI Express graphics cards now support DirectX 9 since 2002. Laptops tend to use older and slower graphics chipsets and will not have as much memory or features as their bigger brothers on AGP or PCI Express cards. Check on manufacturer's website for details. Run DxDiag, and run the Display tests and check the DDI Version (currently 9 is highest).