Trouble Shooting Guide for Games (Win 95 or 98)! - Mr. Bill's Adventureland

Mr. Bill's   AdventurelandHOME



A Brief Trouble Shooting Guide for Games
in Windows 95 or 98!


  1. Always check the developers and/or publishers website for information about troubleshooting the game that you are playing.  Maybe there is a patch for it or some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that may solve your problem.  I guess I should also mention that you should also look through the README files that may be on the CD.  Also be sure to look through the Game Manual (YES, READ THE MANUAL).    You just might find an answer to your problem in one of these often overlooked places.


  2. Maybe the game will not run under the operating system you are using, like Windows 2000 or Windows ME.  Check the game manual.


  3. Some older games cannot recognize a scrolling (wheel) mouse.  Even a fairly new game like 'Discworld Noir' (1999) cannot work with a scrolling mouse, and the player will often get kicked back to the desktop.  If you have a scrolling mouse and you suspect that it may be the problem, then try either changing the driver to one for a two-button mouse or, easier yet (if you have a two-button mouse available), switch to the two-button mouse.


  4. Game is too dark!  How do I Brighten the game from the computer rather than at the Monitor?

    This is how to find it for my NVIDIA GeForce2 GTS Card.  Right click on Desktop, click on Properties, then Settings tab, then Advanced (lower right), then your video card tab (Name of your card), then the Additional Properties button (lower left).

    For my older computer with a Matrox Millenium II Card.  Right click on the Desktop, click on Properties, then click on the Color tab.

    Then just experiment with the different Buttons and Tabs on the various windows or screens that pop up until you locate the Gamma adjustments for your card (if in fact they are there).

    If these examples don't help you, then go to the Website of the Manufacturer of your Graphics Card to see if you can find info on your particular Graphics Card or built in Graphics Chip (or whatever it is) that is on your computer.


  5. Also be sure to check the manual for the game's color and display area requirements.  Many older games require 256 colors, and most games require a 640 X 480 display area setting.  Without the proper color and display settings you may just end up with a BLACK screen.  Many people have their display area set to 800 X 600 or greater today for surfing the web, and this is not compatible with most games.

    To change these settings, do the following:

    • Right click on the desktop.
    • In the menu that pops up click on Properties (at bottom of menu).
    • Click on the tab named Settings (at top of this window).
    • On the left-hand side you see the words Color Palette (Win 95) or the word Colors (WIN 98) and a black arrow (pointing downward) either to the left of these words (Win 95) or below these words (Win 98).
    • Click on the black arrow and select the correct Color Setting as described in the Game's Manual.
    • On the right-hand side of this window you see the words Display area (Win 95) or the words Screen area (Win 98), again with the black arrow either in front of these words (Win 95) or below these words (Win 98).
    • Click on the black arrow and select the correct setting for the Display area or Screen area as described in the Game's Manual.
    • If you do make changes, then the button on the lower right (with the word Apply) will highlight (become functional).  Click on the Apply button.
    • At this point you may have a Compatibility Warning pop-up box appear.  This pop-up box occurs only when you are making a color change.  This pop-up box gives you the option to Restart the computer with the new color settings or Apply the new color settings without restarting.  Which you choose is up to you, but I usually leave the small black dot in the small circle to the left of Apply the new color settings without restarting (the default choice).
    • Next, a Display Properties pop-up box will appear indicating that Windows will now resize your desktop, which may take a few seconds.  You have nothing to choose here other than to click on the OK button.  If you are only changing Screen area or Display area and not Colors, then only this Display Properties pop-up box will appear and not the Compatibility Warning pop-up box indicated in number 9 above.
    • Next, a Monitor Settings pop-up box will appear that says, "You resized your desktop" and asks, "Do you want to keep this setting?".  Click on the Yes button.
    • Finally, you should check to see if the game will now run properly using these new settings.  So close any programs that you have opened, restart the computer (Start, Shut Down, Restart), close all programs that run in the background (like virus scan and screensaver programs), and then start the game.  If you don't restart the computer like this before trying to play the game, then it is possible that the game will not read the new settings.


  6. If you are using Win 98, do not have your computer set up to run Active Desktop in a View As Web Page.  It will tie up system resources (Memory - RAM).  This setting is the default setting for Windows 98, but it's generally not compatible with games.  Right click your mouse on your desktop.  A menu pops up.  If the Active Desktop portion that says View as Web Page has a check mark in front of it, then click on View As Web Page in order to remove the check mark.


  7. Video (Graphics) and Audio Acceleration Settings:

    Experiment with the following settings, but remember to put them all back where they were either after playing the game (if something helps) or if nothing helps, change it back right away.

    A. Video (Graphics) Acceleration:  Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, double click on System, click on the Performance tab.

    1. Click on the Graphics button (bottom center of window), then set the Hardware Acceleration (on the Advanced Graphics Settings window that comes up) to either the third mark from the left that says (underneath this slider bar) Most accelerator functions, or the second mark from the left that says (underneath the slider bar) Basic accelerator functions, OR all the way to the left which says (underneath the slider bar) None.  You will probably find it set all the way to the right at Full.  Where you set this graphics acceleration is pretty much dependent on how old the game is.  Most New Games seem to work best at the third mark (Most accelerator functions).  Older Games will probably do best at None or Basic accelerator functions (first or second mark).

    2. Click on File System (lower left of window), then click on the CD-ROM tab.  Adjust the Supplemental Cache Size: AND/OR change whatever is in the box to the right of Optimize access pattern for: to whatever might be appropriate for the age of the game.  Check the troubleshooting area of the Game Manual or the Readme file on the CD-ROM for some help with this.  Newer Games seem to be best at Large cache size (all the way to the right) and with Quad speed or higher chosen.  Older Games may need a lower cache size, or better yet, the Optimize access pattern for: set at No Read Ahead.  Experiment!

    3. Click on File System (lower left of window), then click on the Hard Disk tab.  The rectangular area to the right of Typical role of this computer (machine) should say Desktop computer.  For New Games and probably most other games the Read-ahead optimization should stay at Full (all the way to the right).  Older Games may need to be set at No Read Ahead.  Experiment!

      Try just one of the above (1, 2 or 3), and then another... maybe more than one.  You never know what will help.

    B. Audio Acceleration:  Click on Start, then Settings, then Control Panel.  Double Click on Multimedia, then select Audio Tab (at top), click on Advanced Properties under Playback, then Performance Tab, and finally slide the Hardware Acceleration for Audio Playback to whatever position seems appropriate.  Again Newer Games seem to work best when moved to the left one notch.  Underneath this slider bar it should now say Standard acceleration:.  It was probably all the way to the right at the Full setting.  Older Games may need to be set lower (further to the left).

    My computer with Windows 95 does not have this Audio Acceleration option.


  8. Games require a lot of memory (RAM) to run, especially the videos.  Make sure that other programs are not running in the background, like virus scanning programs and screen savers, etc.  They use up memory (RAM).  They can also interfere with the opening and running of a game as well as installing a game.  Many of these programs show up as icons on the lower right-hand side of the Task Bar at the bottom of the Desktop.  If you right click (right mouse button) on each, you should see an option to close or disable it.  The more memory you can give back to the game, the better or smoother it will run.  Also if you have been playing another game or working on the Internet for awhile, then a big part of your RAM is tied up and not available to the game.  Usually I will restart the computer to clear out the used up memory (free it up for the game), then close all of the other programs on the task bar, and then start the game.

    Another way to close still more programs in order to get more of the RAM needed to run the game is to hit the Control (Ctrl), Alt, Delete (Del) Keys (in that order, and not releasing the previous keys until the Del Key has been pressed down).  You will then be given the option to End Task of the programs that are presently open.  After you click on End Task, another window will pop open asking if you really want to end that program's task.  The only 2 programs that you DO NOT WANT TO CLOSE (End Task) are EXPLORER and SYSTRAY.  You need them to play the game.


  9. If the installation procedure of the game gives you an option to choose more than one size of installation, you may wish to choose full install (if you have enough room on your hard drive) because a game can run faster from the hard drive than from CDs.  This particular option usually helps a game to run more smoothly, without choppy videos and/or sound.


  10. Sometimes a game does not install correctly the first time, but may install perfectly the next time.  For example, it took me 3 uninstalls and reinstalls to get 'Amerzone' to run correctly.

    I would suggest uninstalling it first by using the Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel (Start, then Settings, then Control Panel, then double click on Add/Remove Programs, then scroll down to the Game Title and double click on it and uninstall).

    Remember!  Make sure that other programs are not running in the background, like the Internet, virus scanning programs, firewalls, screen savers, etc.  They use up memory (RAM) and can interfere with the installation of a game as well as the opening and running of a game.

    If you have a High Speed Cable Connection and your computer automatically goes online, then unplug your cable connection before you turn on your computer.  You will get an error message... ignore it.  Now you can turn off your browser, the firewall (Internet security) and the virus protection programs and whatever else opens, and then install and play the game without all the other programs taking up valuable memory and interfering with performance.

    Now re-install and hopefully all will be well.


  11. Older games may not like the default settings on our newer and faster machines that have fancy 3D Graphics Cards and High Acceleration.

    Click on Start, then click on Run, type in dxdiag and click on OK.

    Under the Display Tab try Disabling  or  Enabling  Direct3D Acceleration, and then see if the game runs OK.  You can also try the other two things:  Direct Draw Acceleration  and  AGP Texture Acceleration.


  12. Disabling  DirectSound  may help with some games and/or Sound Cards.

    The best way to disable DirectSound is through whatever software was loaded with your sound card.  If that isn't an option, then you can click on Start, then Run, type in DXDIAG, click on OK, then click on the tab for Sound and move the slider bar to the left in order to lower the  Hardware Sound Acceleration Level.

Revised February 20, 2002


Mr. Bill's   Adventureland
Copyright  January 2001
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