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Windows 7: Age of Empires 2 Conquerors - Problems with the usual Color Fix

14 Jan 2014   #11
XyRoN

Windows 7 Ultimate x32
 
 

Apologies for my necromancy, but I again have the urge to post more details about the fix for whoever might wander here seeking a solution for a similar (or the same) problem.

I just wanted to report back after such a horrifyingly long time searching for an answer. Also, in the case of AoE2 HD, I have found that it works neatly but doesn't have the nostalgic feel I yearn for. In addition, I have now found that all "older" games (like Diablo, Fallout, Age of Empires, etc...) that run on a 256 color palette share the same problem in my case. So here's what I've found so far...

The DDraw registry fix did not work. Placing a "fixed" ddraw.dll for the game to load instead of the System32 one doesn't work either. Ending explorer.exe did not fix the problem (this worked for me before I reinstalled Windows 7). Using the PaletteStealer program (or something like that) didn't work either. Installing an older version of DirectX (DX 7.0 and 9.0c), again, didn't work. Running the games' .exe's in compatibility mode (I have tried all combinations so far) did nothing to fix the issue. Using a Windows XP VM is the only "recommended" fix which I haven't tried thus far, the reason being that my PC couldn't handle a running, stable VM with it's current specs.

All of this seemingly points to DirectX not being the culprit this time round, as all fixes on the internet seem to suggest. In fact, I have yet to find a single fix to the color problem with older games which doesn't involve DirectX or DDraw.

I might still try to reinstall Windows 7 yet again, to try and get this to work properly, as every installation previous to this one had no problem dealing with this issue (provided, with the "close explorer.exe fix") which is the truly weird and baffling part. Once again, I'm left with broken games left and right, no way to fix them and completely dry of ideas.

This is no longer a quest to fix my beloved Age of Empires 2; now this is a more encompassing problem as I've found that it also affects all "outdated" games - I will not accept "play AoE2 HD instead" as a satisfactory answer anymore.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Jan 2014   #12
mikoniko

W7 64
 
 

The only solution i found is to run it in VM. Diablo has the same problem...i know that fell
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Sep 2014   #13
terter

Win 7 64 bit
 
 

I am a necromancer, too...

By "DDraw registry fix", do you refer to the w7dd patcher with that? What worked for me (on both Win7 32bit and 64 bit) was the w7ddpatcher.exe. For a friend this did not work. For him the solution was to use both a manual fix and then the w7ddpatcher.

The manual fix was adding this to the registry:

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\DirectDraw\Compatibility\Age of Empires II Expansion]
"Name"="age2_x1.exe"
"ID"=hex:ec,33,74,3b
"Flags"=hex:00,08,00,00

You can copy this stuff into a file named "something.reg" and then double click it to import it to the registry.

Later I found out that w7dd... not working *might* have been a gfx driver / registry problem with windows 7, where DDraw/DirectX does not write the "latest game run" name into the registry key "Microsoft\DirectDraw\MostRecentApplication" every time a game is run, so w7dd... cannot read the correct value. I forgot the solution but could probably find my documentation about it when I am back on my other PC next month. I guess it was fiddling around with this key manually...


Edit: I am using the w7ddpatcher.exe from this thread:
double-u double-u double-u .vogons.org/viewtopic.php?t=25534
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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