June 7, 2007

Having Problem Running Games or XP Applications on Vista

Posted in Code Speak at 2:23 am by codetiger

The main problem is that Vista security will not run the XP games / application as an administrator by default. Which means that it will block any admin processors from running. You normally get a program not responding error. Applications design for Vista have a file attached to them that tells the OS what mode the application needs to run in and what its authorization is.

To fix this

  • Right click on the .exe you want to run 

  • click on properties, then go to the compatibility tab

  • In the compatibility tab check the compatibility mode checkbox and select the platform
  • then check the privilege level, to allow the program to run as an administrator
  • Apply the settings

Vista Compatibility 

If the game or application requires access to a network or Internet you will need to add it to the firewall exceptions list.

  • Go to Control panel and double click on the firewall icon
  • click on the link (on the left) that says – allow a program though windows firewall
  • if the program you are dealing with is there make sure that it is checked, if it is not there
  • click on the add program button
  • You will be taken to a browser, were you can select the .exe that you want to go through the firewall


I found this has worked for all the games and applications I have tried. For one game the auto save feature was causing a problem, so I just turned auto save off and used quick save.

I have just installed a few games onto my vista machine that needed StarForce frontline to run the game. All StarForce frontline is, is a program that protects the disk from being copied it has nothing to do with the game (boycott: http://www.glop.org/starforce). However the game will not run if you don’t have it installed. The problem is that because StarForce needs a high admin level it will not install on vista.  StarForce Frontline has released a version that has passed “CERTIFIED FOR MICROSOFT WINDOWS VISTA” certification that it needs to work properly.Depending on what version you have, all you need to do is update StarForce. Or you can download the latest update that will run on vista.

How to update StarForce Drivers:

You will need to install the game that uses Star Force and then run the update. If you have any problems you can email Yana Goldenberg, new PR manager of StarForce at Yana.Goldenberg@star-force.com.

I have had a lot of people contact me about having problems with Star Force running on Vista. So I contacted their customer support people. The following steps are their response to my email.

Install the game, a game shortcut is usually created either on the desktop or in the Start menu. Now follow the step below.

1) Right-click on the game’s shortcut, select “Run as administrator”;
2) Run the game;
3) It will ask to reboot the PC;
4) Don’t reboot;
5) Run “sfdrvup.exe”. get from here: http://www.star-force.com/protection/users ;
6) Reboot.

I have followed the steps above and they work. 

Things to remember

·         Keep Vista updated

·         Keep video card drivers updated

·         Get updates or patches for applications running on Vista

·         Set the compatibility mode for the application to XP

·         Set applications to run us administrator

·         If you have any problems email Microsoft the problem or contact their support team. That way if enough people have the same problem they will correct Vista.



  1. mitch said,

    hi i tried to install a game called Rugby 2004 on my computr which im running windows vista. i tried to do what you have said and it doesnt work, everytime i tried to run the game it would change my reslution an make everything big an the mouse would dispare, so i would hav to ALT+CTRL+DEl an end it like that. could you plz help

  2. Icecold said,

    Yes i have that problem with rise and fall civ at war.
    I will try this now

    thaks programmer for adding this

  3. murat said,

    where do i download starforce latest version, appearently i cant play Brothers in arms EiB, and i cant find a place to download starforce..

  4. a said,

    how do you download the latest version of starforce, because i dont have it..

  5. jeff said,

    doesn’t starforce software destroy CD/DVD drives?

  6. codetiger said,

    Reply to Jeff

    Haven’t heard that it will break the CD/DVD drive. To me the worst part is that it slows the game down as the game runs though the star force drivers. The game would run faster it this step was removed.

  7. codetiger said,

    Reply to mitch

    I haven’t had this problem myself, but I do have the game, just haven’t installed it on my Vista machine. I will have a look into it and email you the fix if I can fix it.

    It looks more like a graphics problem rather than an permission problem.
    More than likely the fix will be to do with downloading the latest drivers for your video card. Or the game itself has a compatibility problem with your video card.
    Thats why I only buy Nvideo cards as most games are tested using Nvideo.

  8. codetiger said,

    Reply to a and murat

    How to update StarForce Drivers:

    Updating StarForce drivers can improve protected applications performance and drivers compatibility. The following procedure will update the StarForce drivers on your system.

    1.Download the SFUPDATE tool as a ZIP archive.
    2.Extract and store sfdrvup.exe anywhere on your hard disk.
    3.Run sfdrvup.exe.

    You will need to install the game that uses Star Force and then run the update. If you have any problems you can email Yana Goldenberg, new PR manager of StarForce at Yana.Goldenberg@star-force.com.

  9. Lee said,

    I am having a problem running a game on my notebook which uses Vista. The game is Runaway, A Road Adventure.

    I get a Star Force error message stating ‘An Error Encountered, This program requires Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000, XP or Server 2003. If I change the compatibility mode, I sometimes get a different error message – ‘Error Message 3’.

    I have updated my star force drivers at http://www.star-force.com/support/sfdrvup.zip but this has made no difference.

    Can you assist?

    • Johnny said,


      I’m having the exact same problem Lee described above: the error 3 message with starforce after changing the compatibility setting.

      Did anyone ever figure out how to deal with this?

      • codetiger said,

        Reply to Jonny
        I don’t change the compatible mode on the star-force program. If you have used the star-force update as mentioned in the article then star-force should need vista compatible not XP.

  10. codetiger said,

    Reply to Lee

    By the sound of it, it is the game checking to see if the OS is what the game was design for. The game does not recognise Vista as a correct OS that it can run on.

    The only solution would be if the game developers released an update or patch for the game that fixes this.

    I don’t think that it is Star Force as you get a driver blocked message. With one game I installed, I got a message that the OS was was not correct, but it let me install it any way and the game did run.

    Some time games don’t allow for technology to change. I have had a game say that I can’t install because I didn’t have the required proccessor speed. This was because I have a dou core and the game was only getting the speed of a single core.

    Look at the game developers web site to see if there is a fix or even email their customer support people and tell them them problem. You could email Star Force a query what Error 3 mean, but I don’t think that it a star force problem.

    Sorry I could be of more help.

    • gamer said,

      Reply to codetiger

      ” I have had a game say that I can’t install because I didn’t have the required proccessor speed. This was because I have a dou core and the game was only getting the speed of a single core.”

      When you run the game go to the processes, right-click the game process, the click “set affinity” and take one of your processors off.

  11. Mark said,

    I have a problem with game Pro Cycling manager Season 2006. I installed game and when I wanted to play after Intro appear window Starforce Copy Protection System and told me that for running this application aI have to install another libraries. When I click yes to install it, it wrote me that my computer must have administrator rights for it. I also tried to update SF drivers as was written in your article but when I tried it response was “no installed protection drivers found to update”. It means that I do not have installed SF drivers? How could I install it? Thank you in advance for your help.

  12. Niall said,

    I am having a similar problem as Lee with “Medieval Lords: Build, Defend, Expand”. I have tried all your solutions to no avail. The error message is “This application can be launched with a release version of Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4.0/XP/Server 2003 only.” The options available are Information or OK. If you click Information you get a code to give to one of their customer service operators.

    My first instinct was to look for a patch (I hate calling customer services!) but I then found that both the Developer and Publisher websites no longer existed! The game was released under Monte Cristo, which has no useful information and I searched google for a patch but got nothing! I will give customer services a ring tommorow and see what they can do for me, and then I’ll let you guys know how I fared. {“.}

  13. codetiger said,

    Reply to Mark

    The fact that Vista told you that you don’t have admin right means before you run the application right click on the .exe and select Run as Administrator.
    To the second part when I install a game that needed Star Force, it was installed with the game. How you know that Star Force is install, Vista will tell you on start-up that it has blocked the Star Force drivers. Then update the drivers.
    Hope this works

  14. codetiger said,

    Reply Niall

    I am sorry but I don’t have a solution and I don’t think there is one. I have heard that Microsoft has been working on a compatibility update for vista. I’m not sure when it comes out but hopefully the update will fix your problem. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

  15. Matt G said,


    I’m having the same issue trying to install Dreamfall on Vista.

    When I update the drivers I get the message “no installed protection drivers to update”. I checked on my laptop and there are indeed no hidden Starforce drivers on there.

    The issue seems to be that I need some version of Starforce to be on my laptop before it can be updated to the correct one. Where can I download this? If not the driver alone then I know that some freewre has it bundled but anyone know which? The game won;t seem to install it has been able to run ‘properly’.

  16. codetiger said,

    Reply Matt G

    I have sent an email to Yana Goldenberg, new PR manager of Star Force explaining your problem. As soon as I get an answer I will add it to the article. This seems to be the biggest compatibility problem between Vista and XP at I am aware of.

  17. codetiger said,

    Reply To Matt G and all those with problem installing star force

    The people at star force emailed me how to install Star Force on Vista.

    Install the game, a game shortcut is usually created either on the desktop or in the Start menu. Now follow the step below.

    1) Right-click on the game’s shortcut, select “Run as administrator”;
    2) Run the game;
    3) It will ask to reboot the PC;
    4) Don’t reboot;
    5) Run “sfdrvup.exe” from here: http://www.star-force.com/protection/users/ ;
    6) Reboot.

    Let me know if this doesn’t work, so I can find a solution. A lot of people have been having a problem with star force and vista.

  18. Lance said,

    I have the new Ancient Wars Sparta game. The outside of the box states that it will run on Windows Vista. The game is installed and teh “read this first” message states it may have difficulty running on Windows vista. I will try the run as administrator to see if this fixes the problem. has anyone else had troubles with Vista telling them they are not an administrator and cannot perform the action, even though you are the only user of that machine?



  19. codetiger said,

    Reply To Lance

    First thing, if a game does not say that it is vista friendly then change the compatibility to the OS that the game says will run fine. I had a game where I set the OS to windows 95/98. The game worked fine but would not work in XP or vista mode.

    Secondly, Unlike XP/2000/98 vista does not allow a user to log on as an administrator. When you are logged on you are just a user. If an application needs administration rights to run you will get a message box that says a program needs admin permission to run. With a continue and cancel button. This is normal behavior for vista it is not an error. However if your user log on permission does not have admin access you will need to change your user account permissions setup to admin type (group). (I have vista business).
    Note that this only means that you are allowed to give permission to programs that need adim rights. You also have to set the .exe of the program that is to run in admin mode as mentioned in the article.

    I hope this helped you.

  20. luke said,

    im trying to get blitzkrieg 2 to work! i open game an i get a message saying only a MS version windows 95 upto xp will work. i right click the icon, properties, check the compatibility box but it wont let me check the run as admin box? any ideas?

  21. codetiger said,

    Reply To luke

    I think the problem is that you are not logged on as a user with access to admin rights. Otherwise you should be able to tick the admin option on compatibility tab or in the right click menu.

    Make sure that the user you are logged in as is in the admin group. If the user account is not then vista won’t display the admin option or allow you to select it.

    If you right click on the .exe or shortcut. In the menu you will see run as Admin with the shield icon. This will run the game in admin mode for that instance.

    Try installing your games in the public folder as different folders require a different level of admin. An example is root of C:\. This folder requires the user (game) to be an admin to write data to this location. So a game would require admin permission to save game data here. This means that the game may not need admin rights to run the game.

    Hope this was some help to you.

  22. your mom said,

    the game “Medievil Lords” will NOT work for vista i have tried everything u have stated and it still says..

    Protection system

    information ok
    this application can be lauched with a release version of microsoft Windows
    95/98/ME/ NT 4.0/2000/XP/ Server 2003 only.

    • codetiger said,

      Reply to your mom

      I don’t think the game will work because it is the game itself and not vista that is coursing the problem. Most game when they startup will check the version of the OS (windows). So that it knows what dll’s to load. It sounds like the developers of medievil made this check specific, which means that it will check the OS and version, if it does not find a match for Windows 95/98/ME/ NT 4.0/2000/XP/ Server 2003, it thinks the game will not run. This is lack of foresight on the developers side. They should check to see if the windows version is greater that windows 95. Try to find an update that is a vista fix (if there is one). I have had this problem my-self and could not get it working.

      Something else I have done to get a game working was when you install the game, browse the DVD to the setup file. Right click on setup file -> properties -> compatibility -> and the set compatibility mode and the admin rights. I had to do this for a game, nothing else I tried would work.

  23. hey said,

    codetiger i love you!!!!

  24. Octane said,

    I did what you said at the top of this page but my game mage knight still wont work on vista. Now it keeps saying insert the right dvd rom disk then try again and i am putting the game disk in. It’s like no matter what i try this game just wont work on vista.

    • codetiger said,

      Reply to Octane
      I have this game and it runs on my Vista (business) fine. I have never had the problem you are having. You can try going to the compatibility tab and untick run this program in compatibility mode. I had to do this for a few games. But my problem was the mouse, not responding. Make sure that you have received Windows updates for compatibility. Service Pack 1 for Vista (which is big!!!!) has all the updates. Something else I have done to get a game working was when you install the game, browse the DVD to the setup file. Right click on setup file -> properties -> compatibility -> and the set compatibility mode and the admin rights. I had to do this for a game, nothing else I tried would work.

  25. fadi said,


  26. pat said,

    Hi, i tried to change the compatibility mode, but then now there is another error:
    “Launching the protected application in compatibility mode is impossible. Please turn off the compatibility mode on the compatibility tab of the shortcut’s properties dialogue”


    • codetiger said,

      Sorry I have never had this problem. Not sure what could be the problem.

    • codetiger said,

      Reply to pat
      Don’t apply Windows XP compatibility to a game.exe for a game that says it is for vista. If a game is labeled made for Vista and it is not working then the problem won’t be fixed by changing the compatibility mode. Updating your hardware drivers or your windows environment will most likely fix your problem.

  27. Robot said,

    Hi there, im having the same problems as others above with silent hunter III on vista ultimate, I run the game whether in administrator or not and before the game loads i get a ‘Protection System’ Error that ‘your mom’ stated above. Also when running the update from starforce it says no drivers to update.

    When i tell it to run as admin it doesn’t ask me to reboot, does that matter?

    And i try to run the update util while the error box is up but that also has no effect.

    Oddly enough my housemate who has virtually the same spec system and the same OS, has no problems what so ever, same OS same anti-virus, and same version of the game (bought two copies at the same time).

    I also tried to install the game to a laptop and have the same issues

    Ive been searching the net for a solution but alas nothing works.

    • codetiger said,

      What about Windows Updates. Does the computer that the game works on have Vista Service pack 1. I know that there is a lot of compatability improvements in Service Pack 1. With starforce you don’t want to restart you computer until you have install the starforce update. If starforce was not installed properly then you will get a Drivers Blocked error when you starup windows. Windows vista is weird I Have a 32-bit home, 32-bit business and 64-bit home. You would think that if a games run on one it will run on the other. But that is not the case. Microsoft really screwed it up this time. I think that hardware can make a difference. My 64-bit as a lot of problems with games.

  28. Ritchie said,

    Hello Codetiger,

    You seem to be the guy to ask for compatibilty problems. I had a nostalgic moment and bought Hidden & Dangerous 2 which says its Vista compatible.
    Installs as normal, but when running the game I get; “Wrong disk in drive”.

    I have disabled UAC, and I am running it as Adminstrator, no joy. I have also tried running it for XP compatibilty, still no joy.

    I have a feeling that it could be because my system is 64 bit, however Im hoping there is an answer.

    All the best


    • codetiger said,

      Early builds of vista 64-bit had a lot of problems. Most had to do with problems with hardware drivers (eg.graphics cards). However if you get the latest updates for your hardware, you will find most of your problem will be fixed. When I got my 64-bit system it only play 60-70% of the games I was installing. Now all games play on my system.

      To see if you need to update drivers for your hardware go to Control Panel->Device Manager->select the device type(eg. Display Adapter). You will then see what graphics card you have installed. There are 2 ways to find updates, let windows search for them automatically or manually find the driver on the manufacturers website.

      To search for drivers automatically right click on the device and select Update Driver Software and then select Search Automatically for updated Driver Software. I prefer the manual approve (don’t always trust windows).

      Manual System is. Double click on the device in the Device Manager Sreen, this should bring up the properties form. Select the Driver tab. Here you will find what version your current driver is. Now do a goggle search for the device name(eg. ATI Radeon HD 7600 Series). If you follow the trail you will find your self on the manufacturers web site. Find the driver downloads for your device. You should see a list of all the versions. Check to see if there is a greater version your current version. If there is download and install.

  29. some genuinely superb content on this website , thankyou for contribution.

  30. Tiberius said,

    I recently purchased a game by the name of Pax Romana and having all of the above problems stated with StarForce Protection. I would be most greatful if someone, anyone could help to find a solution to the problem and get the game to play. Thank you.

  31. Tiberius said,

    Im currently running windows vista ultimate and I followed all of the instuctions given but ended up with the following appearing ‘This program requires windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000/XP/ or Server 2003’ and this continued to appear even after using compatibilty mode aswell. I would be most greatful if you have any more suggestions on how to solve the problem. Thank you.

    • codetiger said,

      Hi Tiberuis

      What you could try is uninstall the game and starforce. Then on the install file right click and select properties, then go to comparability tab, tick run program in compatibility mode and select the XP option. Now install the program and starforce, apply the starforce update. Restart and try to run. I don’t know if this will work, but I have done this for Gangster 2 that had the same problem. Don’t apply the compatibility mode to the games .exe. First try to run it to see what happens. The reason I suggest this is because with Gangster 2 if I applied the compatibility mode there was a problem with the mouse. I don’t think the error “This program requires windows 95/98/NT 4.0/2000/XP/ or Server 2003” is coming from startforce. If it was a starforce error you will be told on startup of windows that the starforce driver are blocked. And I have seen this error with old games that don’t use starforce. The other thing I would do is make sure that you have the Vista service pack 1 installed. There is a lot of computability fixes in service pack 1. The other thing you can do is get the patch for Pax Romana (http://www.fileplanet.com/142624/140000/fileinfo/Pax-Romana-1.02-Patch-%5BEnglish%5D) and apply it after you installed the game. Hopefully this will help.

  32. josh777 said,

    I have a game i installed called dead to rights and i have a dell vista basic machine and when i went to play it for the first time a configuration thing before the game starts up and then i click play a message pops up saying it will only play on OS win 95-xp so i thought i could simple put the main(game) exe. into compatibility mode, but i get the same error in xp and 2k, then when i put it into 98/me and 95 is says its impossible to launch protected applications in compatibility mode. i don’t need the install CD in because i did the full install and it never restarted like some of the other people said their other games did. i tried this StarForceAntiFileSystemBlocker to try and get past it but now i get a 1072 error code and previously tried Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit that is suppose to enhance and customize compatibility modes. but after clicking every different option i felt as though it wasn’t going to help me. I just want the os protection system to go away and/or the ability to use compatibility mode. if someone had a solution to my problem and could help me it would be much appreciated. thankyou

    • codetiger said,

      The problem is that the game needs compatibility mode and starforce won’t let you run the game in compatibility mode.

      The easiest solution is to remove starforce from the equation. download a crack for the game that removes the startforce check. Then run the game in compatibility mode. (I don’t condone breaking copyright but you own the game so you have a right to its content. )

      If you still have problems running the game in compatibility mode see if there is an emulator that will run the game. I have use dosbox for old games. However I don’t know if dead right will play through dosbox, it might be to new.

      The only other thing I can think of is create a virtual machine with XP on it. It is a lot of hassle for a game. However if you have other old games around then it might be an idea. Just make sure that you give the virtual computer enough cpu and memory to run the game.

      Good luck

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