Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

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Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition cover
From Software
Namco Bandai Games
Release dates
Windows August 23, 2012
Dark Souls
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition 2012
Dark Souls II 2014
Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin 2015
Dark Souls III 2016

Key points

Games for Windows - LIVE was removed from the Steam version on February 16, 2015; product keys activate on Steam.[1]
Using a controller is highly recommended over keyboard and mouse controls.
If using keyboard and mouse controls, apply the DSMfix to improve mouse control issues.
A port of the console versions of the game with few configurable options.[2] Use DSfix to increase rendering resolution along with many other options.

General information

Steam Community Discussions
Steam Users' Forums


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail Completely optional Steam unlock.[3]
All non-Steam versions require Games for Windows - LIVE.[1]
All product keys activate on Steam.[1]

Essential improvements[edit]

Using DSfix with in-game anti-aliasing enabled causes the game to only use part of the screen.
Using DSfix with in-game anti-aliasing enabled causes the game to only use part of the screen.
High-resolution textures, fonts, and controller button prompts are available to download.


A GUI for DSfix is available for inexperienced users
DSfix increases the rendering resolution for better visual quality; without it the game outputs anamorphic 1024x720. It also allows the 30fps lock to be lifted, HD or other alternate textures to be used, as well as giving options for anti-aliasing (AA), Screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), Depth of Field (DOF) blurring, anisotropic filtering (AF) and many other features.
Raising the FPS cap may introduce clipping problems such as occasionally falling through elevators. You can avoid most of these issues by capping the FPS at 59.
Install DSfix
  1. Disable in-game anti-aliasing.
  2. Download the latest version of DSfix.
  3. Extract DSfix into the DATA folder in the installation folder.
  4. Edit DSfix.ini to set your resolution (for example, renderWidth 1366 renderHeight 768).
Set a resolution higher than your native display if you want a supersampling anti-aliasing (SSAA) effect.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Skip intro
  1. Install DSfix.
  2. Edit DSfix.ini
  3. Change skipIntro 0 to skipIntro 1
  4. Save your changes.

DS PVP Watchdog[edit]


Main thread


Dark Souls PVP Watchdog is a tool designed to prevent some common forms of cheating and tampering in online sessions, and gives the player the ability to ban offenders from their worlds.
Disclaimer: read the overview in the first link.
Installation of DSPVPWatchdog
  1. Download the tool from the link above
  2. Extract it in Dark Souls DATA\ folder
  3. Launch Dark Souls as usual
  4. Should an offender invade your world (or should you invade the world of a cheater), you shall be given the choice to **ban** the offender (F1), or **ignore** the warning (F5). Dangerous effects like curse, petrify and teleport are disabled and prevented during invasions and don't need any user interaction.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\NBGI\DarkSouls
For the Games for Windows - LIVE version %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\XLive must also be backed up.

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud
Syncs up to 100 MB of save data.

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
1024x720 internal resolution. See DSfix to fix.
Use DSfix together with Widescreen Fixer. For v1.0.2 & v1.0.3 use the updated Widescreen Fixer plugin.
Use DSfix together with Widescreen Fixer. For v1.0.2 & v1.0.3 use the updated Widescreen Fixer plugin.
4K Ultra HD
Use DSfix.
Field of view (FOV)
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Borderless fullscreen windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See Anisotropic filtering (AF).
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Creates an overly blurry effect (disable when using DSfix). See Anti-aliasing (AA).
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS
See High frame rate.
120+ FPS
See High frame rate.

Borderless fullscreen windowed[edit]

borderlessFullscreen 1
  1. Install DSfix.
  2. Open dsfix.ini.
  3. Change borderlessFullscreen 0 to borderlessFullscreen 1
  4. Save your changes.
  5. Select windowed mode in the game settings.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

Set AF override
  1. Install DSfix.
  2. Edit DSfix.ini
  3. Change filteringOverride 0 to filteringOverride 2
  4. Save your changes.

Anti-aliasing (AA)[edit]

Anti aliasing may be forced with the compatibility flag 0x004000C0. Sparse Grid Supersampling gives a blurry effect. Multisampling combined with transparency supersampling seems to work well (this author uses 4x on each). Some dark diagonal line artefacts are visible on my system occasionally with these settings but aren't obtrusive. DSfix's antialiasing should be turned off for this.

High frame rate[edit]

Make changes in dsfix.ini[4]
  1. Install DSfix.
  2. Open dsfix.ini.
  3. Change unlockFPS 0 to unlockFPS 1
  4. Optionally, change FPSlimit 60 to the desired frame rate cap.
  5. Save your changes.


There may be unintended side-effects in terms of gameplay:
  • Rare chance to fall through the floor when sliding down ladders, specifically at the Tomb of the Giants entrance to Pinwheel's crypt.
  • Chance to "run" slower than you walk.

Ambient occlusion (AO)[edit]

Ambient occlusion can supposedly be enabled with either 0x00000029 (Skyrim, soft AO) or 0x00000003 (Fallout 3, stronger AO effect). DSfix's AO should be turned off if you're forcing it here.

Input settings[edit]

Control scheme tips.[5]
Control scheme tips.[5]
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Mouse 4 and 5 cannot be remapped.[2]
Mouse acceleration
Mouse deceleration reported.[6]
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
See Controller support.
Full controller support
Entering a name for a new character requires keyboard.
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Additional information
Button prompts
DualShock prompts requires mod.
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback


Unintuitive default keyboard scheme, for example, 'End' brings up menu (and 'Escape' does nothing).
Interface Buttons Replacer
This changes the default XBox 360 icons to keyboard button icons, and gives recommended rebinds.
  1. Make sure DSfix and DSMfix are installed first.
  2. Choose a version of this keyboard interface mod.
  3. Make the keybind changes in-game outlined in the mod's description.
  4. Open dsfix.ini and make sure the option enableTextureOverride is set to 1
  5. Extract the file you downloaded into <path-to-game>\DATA\dsfix\tex_override


Mouse controls feel very jittery, with very unintuitive results when the camera collides with a wall or the floor.
This fix maps right analogue stick of a controller to the mouse, producing a much smoother experience.
Some additional problems caused by negative acceleration.[7]
Requires at least 2 bindable side buttons on your mouse, otherwise you'll still have to use keyboard buttons for parry and block (default Shift and Tab).
  1. Make sure DSfix is installed first.
  2. open DSfix.ini
  3. Change dinput8dllWrapper none to dinput8dllWrapper dsmfix.dll
  4. Download dsmfix09.zip and extract its files to the same folder where DSfix.ini is.
  5. For the Steam version download the DSMFix Patch to fix issues with the new Steamworks update, and overwrite the old dsmfix.dll.
  6. Use the dsmfixgui.exe interface to adjust settings such as sensitivity and mouse inversion.

Controller support[edit]

'Hot swap' between keyboard and mouse controls and controller is available.[2]
Use of controller is highly recommended.[2]

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 7.1 output[8]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can not be disabled.


Language UI Audio CC Notes
Traditional Chinese


Online features in non-Steam versions require a Microsoft account (optional for offline play).

Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play
Online play


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 53,80,443,3074
UDP (outbound) 53,88,3074
This game supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for automatic port configuration.
UPnP is working in the Games for Windows - LIVE version if the Games for Windows - LIVE Network Settings says "UPnP is available, in use"; if not, refer to this guide.

VR support[edit]

NVIDIA 3D Vision[edit]

The game suffers from poor Nvidia 3D Vision support.
3D Vision fix by Helix
Use together with DSfix.
3D does not work with borderless fullscreen.
  1. Download the fix from Helix Mod's web site.
  2. Extract the content to <path-to-game>\DATA

Issues fixed[edit]

Performances issues[edit]

General fixes[edit]

DATA.exe Priority
Reportedly working with Nvidia cards.[9]
  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Set priority of DATA.exe to a higher value.
Processor affinity
  • Set processor affinity to only 2 of the available processors.

Lower-spec machine fixes[edit]

Adjust settings in DSfix
  • Disable anti-aliasing. (aaQuality 0)
  • Use lowest quality SSAO (ssaoScale 3)
  • Set a resolution lower than your native display to improve performance on older machines, at the cost of up-scaled blurriness and aliasing.
Adjust settings in game
  • Disable motion blur.
Certain areas of the game are more demanding on your hardware causing slowdown in-game. It seems that the engine, when faced with an area where it struggles to render 30 FPS, will cut down to 15FPS. The most famous is Blighttown, but large animated characters can also produce this slowdown.
Unlock the FPS cap with DSfix (unlockFPS 1), set the frame cap at 30 (FPSlimit 30) and enable Vsync (enableVsync 1) For the most part you will have the same experience, but where the game would usually dip to 15FPS it will only drop as far as it needs to (results depend on your machine).
Unlocking the FPS cap may result in issues involving broken physics and animations. Falling through elevators, corpses sinking through the ground, choppy creature animations are all observed issues.

ATI/AMD-specific fixes[edit]

Appears that ATI/AMD graphics cards are underutilised.
Set Catalyst Control Center 3D Profile
This fix sets a new 3D profile for the game.[10]
  1. Enter Catalyst Control Center and 3D Application Settings (advanced view).
  2. Tweak settings by unchecking 'Use application settings' and switching sliders to the left.
  3. Apply the 3D profile to Dark Souls.
Disable AMD Cool'n'Quiet
  • Disabling AMD Cool 'N Quiet in your BIOS can also fix the issue with low FPS.

Nvidia Optimus-specific fixes[edit]

Force Optimus To Use Nvidia Instead Of Intel Graphics
  1. Go to Nvidia Control Panel (Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > NVIDIA Control Panel).
  2. Go to Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings.
  3. Add both executables (DARKSOULS.exe and DATA.exe), and set the preferred graphics processor for both to Nvidia graphics instead of auto.


Lifting FPS-cap using DSFix[edit]

Fix Data Execution Prevention setting
  • Ensure Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is set to the default (Windows programs and services only).


Crash occurs after start screen.[11]
Rename VSFilter.dll

Monitor refresh rate[edit]

Crash when accessing in-game settings
  • Option 1: Use borderlessFullscreen and set RefreshRate = 60 in DarkSouls.ini. This setting is ignored when Dark Souls is not in true fullscreen- your desktop refresh rate will not be changed and the game won't crash when accessing the settings.
  • Option 2: Make sure your monitor is set to 60Hz before attempting to access in-game PC Settings.
Other frequencies may be acceptable, but something like 58Hz is not, nor are 120Hz, 144Hz
The crash only happens when trying to access the in-game PC Settings; it is safe to use any frequency after you have finished adjusting in-game settings.
  • Option 3: Don't even try to access the in game PC Settings, just edit DarkSouls.ini by hand.
When creating your first character, the settings may automatically be accessed.

Windows 7[edit]

Crash on startup
Run DARKSOULS.exe under Windows Vista SP2 Compatibility Mode

Windows 8[edit]

Reinstall gfwlivesetup.exe[12]
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.
  4. Uncheck compatibility mode.
  5. If none of this works, try downloading the latest windows essentials and signing in.
Steam Compatibility settings fix
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\DATA.
  2. Right click DATA.exe and go to Properties.
  3. Go to the Compatibility tab and uncheck Run as Administrator.
  4. Click Apply.
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\DATA.
  2. Right click DARKSOULS.exe and go to Properties.
  3. Go to the Compatibility tab and check Run this program in compatibility mode for:.
  4. Select Windows 7 from the drop down list.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Repeat steps 2-5 for DATA.exe (not present in the Steam version)

Controller issues[edit]

Controller not working[edit]

Make your controller the 'first' one[13]
Game detects 'first' controller driver.<
  1. Uninstall controller drivers.
  2. Reinstall controller drivers. If using Xbox 360 Controller, use these drivers: Wired and wireless drivers
Disable any non-360 controller[14]
  1. Open device manager
  2. Disable any other HID-compliant game controller

DirectInput controllers have wrong mapping[edit]

Use X360ce to fix the issue by emulating the official Xbox 360 Controller.
Use X360ce
  1. Download X360ce.
  2. Put xBox360ce.exe into the Dark Souls DATA folder.
  3. Start xBox360ce.exe and confirm creation of all dlls.
  4. Controller should be detected. Test all buttons and sticks.
  5. Close X360ce.
  6. Open x360ce.ini.[15]
  7. Go to section [InputHook].
  8. Add a line HookCOM=1 after HookMode=1.
  9. Save.
  10. Open Dark Souls, which should now detect the non-Xbox 360 Controller as an official Xbox 360 Controller.


Black Screen on startup[edit]

The game's window remains black after launching and is "Not Responding" if clicked on.
The issue occurs when a Xbox 360 Controller is plugged in.
Disable HID Game Controller[16]
  1. Plug in your controller.
  2. Make sure the game isn't running.
  3. Open the Device Manager.
  4. Under Human Interface Devices disable HID-compliant game controller.
  5. Run the game.
If the above fails, try unplugging the controller and then running the game.

Minimize with multiple monitors[edit]

Fix binds the mouse to a single screen (DSFix has this feature built in).
  1. Download CursorLock.
  2. Open CursorLockSetup.exe
  3. Shortcut > Program Mode.
  4. Set DARKSOULS.exe in the 'Open Program' field.
  5. Set DATA.exe in the 'Lock Program' field.
  6. Click 'Create Shortcut', and run the game using this shortcut.

Progress bar stuck during installation[edit]

Problem may be caused by setup utility getting stuck whilst installing DirectX and Games for Windows - LIVE.
End Install Processes
  1. Make sure DirectX and Games for Windows - LIVE are individually updated.
  2. Open the Task Manager (Ctrl+ Shift+Esc) and go to the 'Processes' tab.
  3. When dxsetup or gfwlsetup show up, cancel the processes. Note: the gfwlsetup may appear only briefly.
  4. This should allow installation to continue.

Manual Save Game conversion from GFWL version to Steam version[edit]

Useful if the automatic conversion fails. However, this will only transfer your game state WITHOUT your achievements.

Manual save game conversion
  1. Open the save game folder located in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\NBGI\DarkSouls.
  2. You will find a folder named after your GFWL profile. Open it and copy the file named DRAKS0005.sl2.
  3. Go back one level and paste said file into %USERPROFILE%\Documents\NBGI\DarkSouls.

Steam requesting UAC on every launch[edit]

The issue is that Steam is trying to install Gfwlivesetup.exe but Steam also stopped supplying the executable with new downloads.

UAC fix
  1. Copy C:\Windows\System32\notepad.exe to <path-to-game>\REDIST\GFWL\
  2. Rename notepad.exe to gfwlivesetup.exe
  3. Launch the game and it will ask for UAC one last time.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio FMOD
Input XInput
Cutscenes Bink
Multiplayer Steamworks, GFWL Steam version uses Steamworks, non-Steam uses GFWL.[1]

System requirements[edit]

Operating system (OS) XP, Vista, 7
Processor (CPU) AMD Phenom II X2 545 3.0 GHz
Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 3.0 GHz
System memory (RAM) 2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon HD 4870
Nvidia GeForce 9800 GTX+
DirectX 9.0c compatible


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 HOW TO: Replace Games for Windows Live functionality with Steamworks functionality in Dark Souls™ Prepare To Die Edition for PC :: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition General Discussions
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 GameSpy: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Review - Page 1
  3. Retail version can now be added to Steam library - Steam Users' Forums
  4. New 120Hz Games Report 120hz.net: New 120Hz Games Report
  5. To the Dark Souls pc players. I made this out of frustration - thought I'd share... : gaming
  6. DO NOT BUY - Steam Users' Forums
  7. Dark Souls Mouse Fix - Steam Users' Forums
  8. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up
  9. Reddit: AMD Users Having Trouble Running Dark Souls?
  10. Fix for random FPS drops with ATI card? (now with possible fix) - Steam Users' Forums
  11. Crashed on Press start screen. - Steam Users' Forums
  12. Game crashing upon startup (Windows 7) - Steam Users' Forums
  13. 13.0 13.1 Dark Souls General FAQ - Steam Users' Forums
  14. Ps3 Controller :: Steam Community Discussions
  15. Game Compatibility List - x360ce
  16. https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls/comments/1caq34/dark_souls_not_responding/c9eqgma