Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition

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Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition
Dark Souls - Prepare to Die Edition - cover.jpg
Release dates
August 23, 2012
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at WineHQ
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at SteamDB
 Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at Wikipedia
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

Information Games for Windows - LIVE was removed from the Steam version on February 16, 2015; product keys activate on Steam.[1]
Information Using a controller is highly recommended over keyboard and mouse controls.
Information If using keyboard and mouse controls, apply the DSMfix to improve mouse control issues.
Disadvantage A terrible 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

More information Steam Community Discussions
More information Steam Users' Forums


Source DRM Notes Keys
Retail Availability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Completely optional Steam unlock.[3] Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg
Amazon.com Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg
GamersGate Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg
GameStop Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg
Steam Availability Table Icons - Steam.svg
Information All non-Steam versions require Games for Windows - LIVE.[1]
Advantage 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.
Information HD textures, fonts, and controller button prompts are available to download.


Information A GUI for DSfix is available for inexperienced users
Advantage 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.
Disadvantage 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.

Fix 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).
Information Set a resolution higher than your native display if you want a supersampling anti-aliasing (SSAA) effect.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Fix 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


Information 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.
Information Disclaimer: read the overview in the first link.

Fix 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]


Save game data location[edit]

Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\NBGI\DarkSouls
Information 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 Native support
GameSave Manager Native support

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution Hackable WSGF WS Bronze.svg 1024x720 internal resolution. See DSfix to fix.
Multi-monitor Hackable WSGF MM Bronze.svg Use DSfix together with Widescreen Fixer. For v1.0.2 & v1.0.3 use the updated Widescreen Fixer plugin.
Ultra-widescreen Hackable WSGF UW Bronze.svg Use DSfix together with Widescreen Fixer. For v1.0.2 & v1.0.3 use the updated Widescreen Fixer plugin.
4K Ultra HD Hackable WSGF Incomplete.svg Use DSfix.
Field of view (FOV) No native support
Windowed Native support
Borderless fullscreen windowed Hackable See Borderless fullscreen windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF) Hackable See DSfix.
Anti-aliasing (AA) Native support Creates an overly blurry effect (disable when using DSfix).
Vertical sync (Vsync) No native support
60 FPS Hackable Rare chance to fall through the floor when sliding down ladders. It happened to me once in 100 hours, specifically at the Tomb of the Giants entrance to Pinwheel's crypt. See High frame rate.
120+ FPS Hackable Chance to "run" slower than you walk, in addition to the issue introduced with 60 fps.[4] See High frame rate.

Borderless fullscreen windowed[edit]

Fix borderlessFullscreen 1

  1. Install DSfix.
  2. Add borderlessFullscreen 1 to DSfix.ini
  3. Save your changes.

High frame rate[edit]

Fix Make changes in dsfix.ini[5]

  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.

Nvidia Inspector[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.

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.[6]
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping Native support Mouse 4 and 5 cannot be remapped.[2]
Mouse acceleration No native support Mouse deceleration reported.[7]
Mouse input in menus Native support
Mouse Y-axis inversion Native support
Controller support Native support See Controller support.
Full controller support No native support Entering a name for a new character requires keyboard.
Controller remapping No native support
Controller Y-axis inversion Native support


Disadvantage Unintuitive default keyboard scheme, for example, 'End' brings up menu (and 'Escape' does nothing).

Fix Interface Buttons Replacer

Advantage 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


Disadvantage Mouse controls feel very jittery, with very unintuitive results when the camera collides with a wall or the floor.

Fix DSMfix

Advantage This fix maps right analogue stick of a controller to the mouse, producing a much smoother experience.
Disadvantage Some additional problems caused by negative acceleration.[8]
Information 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]

Information 'Hot swap' between keyboard and mouse controls and controller is available.[2]
Information Use of controller is highly recommended.[2]
Advantage Works well with the DualShock 3 using XInput Wrapper. PS button textures can be found here

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls Native support
Surround sound Native support Up to 7.1 output[9]
Subtitles Native support
Closed captions No native support
Mute on focus lost Native support Can not be disabled.


Language UI Audio CC Notes
English Native support Native support Native support
Traditional Chinese Native support No native support Unknown
French Native support No native support Unknown
German Native support No native support Native support
Italian Native support No native support Native support
Korean Native support No native support Unknown
Polish Native support No native support Native support
Russian Native support No native support Native support
Spanish Native support No native support Unknown


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

Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
LAN play Unknown
Online play Native support


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 53,80,443,3074
UDP (outbound) 53,88,3074
Advantage This game supports Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for automatic port configuration.
Information 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]

3D modes Native Notes
Native 3D Unknown
Nvidia 3D Vision Hackable See Nvidia 3D Vision.
TriDef 3D Unknown
iZ3D Unknown

NVIDIA 3D Vision[edit]

Information The game suffers from poor Nvidia 3D Vision support.

Fix 3D Vision fix by Helix

Information Use together with DSfix.
  1. Download the fix from Helix Mod's web site.
  2. Extract the content to <path-to-game>\DATA
  3. Extract DSfix to another folder.
  4. Rename d3d9.dll to res.dll
  5. Copy res.dll to your DATA folder inside Dark Souls.
  6. Open up DX9Settings.ini
  7. Make sure it looks like below, where ProxyLib should be changed to wherever res.dll is on your system.
ProxyLib=C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition\DATA\res.dll
UseEndScene = false

Issues fixed[edit]

Performances issues[edit]

General fixes[edit]

Fix Data.exe Priority

Information Reportedly working with Nvidia cards.[10]
  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Set priority of data.exe to a higher value.

Fix Processor affinity

Set processor affinity to only 2 of the available processors.

Lower-spec machine fixes[edit]

Fix 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.

Fix Adjust settings in game

  • Disable motion blur.
Information 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.
Advantage 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).
Disadvantage 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]

Information Appears that ATI/AMD graphics cards are underutilised.

Fix Set Catalyst Control Center 3D Profile

Information This fix sets a new 3D profile for the game.[11]
  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.

Fix 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]

Fix 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 Fix Data Execution Prevention setting

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


Information Crash occurs after start screen.[12]

Fix Rename VSFilter.dll

Monitor refresh rate[edit]

Information The crash only happens when trying to access the in-game settings- it is safe to use any frequency after you have finished adjusting in-game settings.

Fix Crash when accessing in-game settings

  1. Make sure your monitor is set to 60Hz before attempting to access in game settings.
Information Other frequencies may be acceptable, but something like 58Hz is not, nor are 120Hz, 144Hz
Information Alternatively, if you experience this crash, save time by editting the config file with a text editor.

Windows 7[edit]

Information Crash on startup

Fix Run DARKSOULS.exe under Windows Vista SP2 Compatibility Mode

Windows 8[edit]

Fix Reinstall gfwlivesetup.exe[13]

  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.

Fix 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.

Fix DSfix

  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]

Fix Make your controller the 'first' one[14]

Information 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

Fix Disable any non-360 controller[15]

  1. Open device manager
  2. Disable any other HID-compliant game controller

DirectInput controllers have wrong mapping[edit]

Fix Use X360ce

Information Use X360ce to fix the issue by emulating the official Xbox 360 Controller.
  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.[16]
  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]

Information The game's window remains black after launching and is "Not Responding" if clicked on.
Information The issue occurs when a Xbox 360 Controller is plugged in.

Fix Disable HID Game Controller[17]

  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.

Fix If the above fails, try unplugging the controller and then running the game.

Minimize with multiple monitors[edit]

Advantage Fix binds the mouse to a single screen (DSFix has this feature built in).

Fix CursorLock[14]

  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]

Information Problem may be caused by setup utility getting stuck whilst installing DirectX and Games for Windows - LIVE.

Fix 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.

Fix 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.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
64-bit executable No native support


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. 80+FPS issue demonstration by Link Satonaka, fps overlay in top right corner
  5. New 120Hz Games Report 120hz.net: New 120Hz Games Report
  6. To the Dark Souls pc players. I made this out of frustration - thought I'd share... : gaming
  7. DO NOT BUY - Steam Users' Forums
  8. Dark Souls Mouse Fix - Steam Users' Forums
  9. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up
  10. Reddit: AMD Users Having Trouble Running Dark Souls?
  11. Fix for random FPS drops with ATI card? (now with possible fix) - Steam Users' Forums
  12. Crashed on Press start screen. - Steam Users' Forums
  13. Game crashing upon startup (Windows 7) - Steam Users' Forums
  14. 14.0 14.1 Dark Souls General FAQ - Steam Users' Forums
  15. Ps3 Controller :: Steam Community Discussions
  16. Game Compatibility List - x360ce
  17. https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls/comments/1caq34/dark_souls_not_responding/c9eqgma