Getting Diablo 1 Working on Windows 7 Guide


With Diablo 3 just weeks away from release, many of you may be taking a trip down memory lane prior to launch and revisiting the original Diablo. As you know, getting older games working on Windows 7 can be a right pain in the ass, but it can be done with some perseverance.

Site reader Mark dropped a mail over to let us know that his guide to getting the original Diablo working on Windows 7 has recently been updated and it will really help anyone wanting to get the IPX/SPX networking protocol working, getting the free VPN Hamachi to allow fiends to play over the Internet without Battle.Net and walks you through everything step by step. The guide will basically get you up and running so it’s worth a read if you are stuck.

Thanks to Mark for sending that over, hopefully many of you will find it very useful.

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  1. Playing D2 at the moment…i just cant play D1 anymore, No running plus the “ranged playboy bunnies” which walk faster than my worrior are extremly annoying 🙂

  2. Install HellFire, you can run plus you get many cool additional dungeons. Moooooooo, I’m just a cow alright ?

  3. I’d like to know how to run Diablo I in a window!
    Monitor resolutions have changed so much in the years since it was released, it would be nice to run it in it’s native (plus none distorted, if you have a wide monitor) resolution.
    Does anyone have a solution?

    • maybe you could try VMware Workstation ? Havent tested it myself though

    • If you want to run it windowed, you’ll have to use some sort of virtual machine application.

      If you want to run it full screen, you can do so in Windows Vista/7 without issue. If you have a widescreen monitor, there should be some setting on it to let you add black bars to the side (eg, not stretch the image). If you’re running on a widescreen laptop then you may or may not have the option to change that behaviour on the monitor, but your graphics card driver might be able to do it.

    • It’s probably doable with AutoHotkey.

  4. for any PSP owners out there , there is a way to run Diablo I on your PSP , but it involves CFW . it’s basically just copying the PS1 version on to your PSP . PM me if you want to know more

  5. yeech how can anyone play that DOS-like pixelated mess anymore? meanwhile I find this far more amusing

    http://www.incgamers.com/News/31082/activision-blizzard-being-sued-over-online-patent-infringement

    kikikikiki that’ll teach em for taking out offline SP from D3     

  6. Ooo this is nice. I was trying to play Diablo I a while ago but quit because of the color issues.

  7. Beat it a couple weeks ago…it was very different (and much less challenging) than I remember it being playing as a boy.

    • I agree on the less difficult part, but then I was about 8-9 years old when I first played it (oh how it frightened me!) As for different? Dunno what you mean, I still get all the same feelings when racing through, especially when hearing NPC’s talk or your char reads… “Pleeeeeeeease, no hurt, no kill. And next time, good bring to you!”

  8. I’m curious, I downloaded Diablo I off the internet (4shared specifically), full game, and I am able to play it with no problems. Well, there are some minor problems, there is no music and no cinematics/cutscenes, but other then that, everything else works, and it is a full game. I am running Windows 7 Professional and without re-configuring anything I am able to play it perfectly well. Not that I am complaining of course. I am running it on laptop, HP Probook 4520s with Intel i5 processor with 2.69 Ghz, and Radeon HD 6370.

  9. Another question here:
     
    This topic made me download D1 and Hellfire, and I have used the notepad way around the color problem. Thing is though, how do I make it apply Hellfire as well? D1 works flawlessly on my Win7 64bit machine, though Hellfire suffers from the same color problem? What am I missing here?

    • OFFICIAL DIABLO COLOUR FIX FROM BLIZZARD:
      http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/rainbow-or-washed-out-colors-windows-7 

      Just put that in all caps to catch the attention of people who commented about the same thing below.

      Also, that page doesn’t mention it, but if you want to play multiplayer characters in Diablo you need to update it to the latest patch. The older (and original retail 1.00) version stored your character files in the C:\Windows\system directory! Blizzard didn’t know any better back then. That worked fine for XP, but on Windows 7 with the various permissions, it simply won’t let you store characters there.

      This is also the reason why Hellfire won’t let you create multiplayer characters, because the latest Hellfire version is 1.04 and so it still tries to save your characters to that protected directory. Similarly the official Blizzard colour fix only works on Diablo 1.09 so probably won’t work for Hellfire. It’s a registry key with a magic incantation in it, so maybe you could work out how to apply the incantation elsewhere, or try contacting Blizzard support and see if they’ll help?

      You *might* be able to rig up something with Hellfire to prevent it saving to windows\system with a virtual /symlinked directory, but I’m not sure how your mileage would go there. 

      Another option, if you’ve got Windows 7 business (?) or Ultimate is to play Hellfire using the virtual PC XP Mode: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx

  10. Honestly I never got the compatibility mode to work, here what I do to fix the weird rainbow colors that show up due to differences in how that game dies coloration code:

     – Right-click on desktop, go to Personalize
     – Select the theme “High Contrast Black” (It’s REALLY ugly, but it’s just for while you are playing)
     – Right click on desktop again, go to Screen Resolution
     – Now just leave this screen up while you play (it will be in the background)

    And viola! color problem solved. I’m not exactly sure why you need to leave it open, maybe it has to do with some related process being able to correct the colors or something. 

    • Actually just leaving the resolution window up is enough, you don’t need to change the theme. Better yet you can just use the official Blizzard fix and don’t have to do any of that stuff at all.

  11. Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Having problems with color on Windows 7? Explorer is actually the process causing wonky colors. If you kill the explorer.exe processes while playing, the funky colors are fixed. There are guides you can search for on the Internet.
     
    Here’s one I wrote just now for the relatively computer-illiterate.
     
    1 ) Open Diablo.
    2 ) Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to bring up the Task Manager.
    3 ) Click the “Processes” tab.
    4 ) Select “explorer.exe.”
    5 ) Click “End Process.”
    6 ) Repeat steps 4-5 as necessary until all “explorer.exe” processes are closed.
    7 ) Press and hold Alt and while holding Alt press Tab once to bring up the focus switcher. Do not release Alt.
    8 ) While holding Alt, press Tab until Diablo is highlighted.
    9 ) Release Alt to switch focus to Diablo.
    10 ) Play Diablo.
    11 ) When finished press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to switch focus to the Task Manager.
    12 ) Click the “Applications” tab.
    13 ) Click “New Task…”
    14 ) Type “explorer” in the dialog box.
    15 ) Click “OK.”
    16 ) Close the Task Manager

    • See my reply above for the proper, official Blizzard colour fix, so you won’t have to do any of this malarky. That reply is apparently in moderation, so you’ll just have to wait for it to be approved before you can see it.

      • Oh neat. That would make the method I posted obsolete. Cheers!

        • My comment is still stuck in moderation. Posting again here and hopefully it’ll go through this time (no all caps start):

          http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/rainbow-or-washed-out-colors-windows-7 
          Just put that in all caps to catch the attention of people who commented about the same thing below.
          Also, that page doesn’t mention it, but if you want to play multiplayer characters in Diablo you need to update it to the latest patch. The older (and original retail 1.00) version stored your character files in the C:\Windows\system directory! Blizzard didn’t know any better back then. That worked fine for XP, but on Windows 7 with the various permissions, it simply won’t let you store characters there.
          This is also the reason why Hellfire won’t let you create multiplayer characters, because the latest Hellfire version is 1.04 and so it still tries to save your characters to that protected directory. Similarly the official Blizzard colour fix only works on Diablo 1.09 so probably won’t work for Hellfire. It’s a registry key with a magic incantation in it, so maybe you could work out how to apply the incantation elsewhere, or try contacting Blizzard support and see if they’ll help?
          You *might* be able to rig up something with Hellfire to prevent it saving to windows\system with a virtual /symlinked directory, but I’m not sure how your mileage would go there. 
          Another option, if you’ve got Windows 7 business (?) or Ultimate is to play Hellfire using the virtual PC XP Mode: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/download.aspx 

        • I just tried posting my comment again and the new one is stuck in moderation as well!

          I’ll just paste the link to the official blizzard fix and leave off the rest of my commentary (about multiplayer characters and hellfire).

           http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/rainbow-or-washed-out-colors-windows-7 

  12. I actually run diablo just fine without any compatibility settings on 7 professional. The only thing I do is use a nifty batch file to get around the color issue.
     
    @echo off
    taskkill /f /im explorer.exe
    diablo.exe
    pause
    start explorer.exe
    exit
     
    Toss it in your D1 folder… create a shortcut to it on your desktop… and enjoy.

    This won’t help with the IPX however, but you can connect to battle.net.

    • For reference, taskkill isn’t available on Windows Home and Home Professional. Only on the more-feature-rich versions. This batch file would throw an error on the less-feature-rich versions.

      Otherwise a perfectly cromulent solution! 🙂

  13. I would really hope Blizz gives us Windows 7 compatible D1 on the USB drive.

  14. Thanks for the article, been having a lot of fun with D1 again. Didn’t think I could go back, but I’m enjoying the slower pace compared to D2.

  15. I found a simple method when I was going through this last week. I did it without having to set compatibility mode at all. All I had to do was set the desktop background to a solid color. Some people also suggest leaving open the “set resolution” screen but I didn’t have to do this.
     
    So basically all I had to do to fix the “on acid” color malfunction was change my desktop image to pure black (or any solid color).
     

  16. I’m the Mark mentioned in the article, and I’ve read all the above comments. Thanks for posting it up, Elly! I am honored to see you again. 🙂

    I’m glad you guys are getting some use out of it. Someone wanted to know if it worked with Hellfire, it should.
    For anyone having issues with the colors, kill explorer.exe and leave it dead. You’ll need to run diablo using the run command built into the task manager, or use the batch file posted in the guide, or a variant posted above in the comments by “Menarus” 
     
    @starrise, taskkill is available in all versions of windows that would require the fix 😉
    @softshack, running Diablo in a Window is can be accomplished using a virtual machine, as Icy Mental,  Lolzebracakes, and Lanthanide have suggested. While VMWare Workstation will work, Oracle’s Virtual Box is free, as is Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007, and I personally recommend VMWare Player, which is also free. If you need a guide for that, please feel free to message me or check back on my website. I’ll be writing a guide for virtual machines later. 🙂
     

  17. Interesting. I installed Diablo 1 on WIn 7 ultimate with no problemns, not compatibility modes neccessary. It worked like a charm

  18. Thanks a lot for this guide, I was obliged to play LAN with Windows XP until now.

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