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Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings cover
Ensemble Studios
Release dates
Windows September 30, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) October 2001
macOS (OS X) October 2001
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings guide at StrategyWiki
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings at Wikipedia
Age of Empires
Age of Empires 1997
Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings 1999
Age of Mythology 2002
Age of Empires III 2005
Age of Empires Online 2011
Age of Empires II HD 2013
Age of Mythology: Extended Edition 2014
Age of Empires: Castle Siege 2014
Age of Empires: Definitive Edition 2018
Age of Empires IV TBA

This page is for the original game. For the re-release, see Age of Empires II HD.

Key points

Base game does not work on Windows 10 due to SafeDisc support being discontinued (UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update fixes this issue for The Conquerors).
UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update adds support for widescreen/multi-monitor resolutions.

General information

Age of Empires II Official Microsoft Site (archived)
Age of Empires Wiki Wikia for the entire series
Age of Kings Heaven Community Site and Map Archive
AoCZone Community Site for competitive gaming
/r/aoe2 Age of Empires 2 Subreddit


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
SafeDisc DRM[Note 1].
Mac OS
macOS (OS X)
Demos are available for The Age of Kings and The Conquerors Expansion.

Version differences[edit]

The "Age of Empires Collector's Edition" first released in 2000 can often be found on store shelves. It is the most cost effective way of acquiring the game, as it contains the following games on a single DVD-ROM (although initial releases supplied separate CDs for each game):
No-CD patches are already applied; the DVD is only necessary for installation - which ensures compatibility with modern operating systems; and all games are fully patched to their latest versions.
However, it should be noted that the DVD re-release of these games does not feature the Red Book audio stored as separate audio tracks on the original games' discs. As such, the game music will not be played while the DVD is in the drive.

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Windows version is sold separately, Mac OS version only in Gold Edition.
Mac OS

Essential improvements[edit]

Skip intro videos[edit]

Start game with -nostartup parameter[3]


The latest patch for the base game is Version 2.0a.
The latest patch for The Conquerors is Version 1.0c.

Unofficial Patch 1.0e (The Conquerors)[edit]

The unofficial patch for Conquerors, which includes NoCD is Version 1.0e.

UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update[edit]

The unofficial UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update patch for The Conquerors adds many fixes including widescreen support, UPnP port forwarding, and various optional tweaks. Although it doesn't include a NoCD, it will not remove a valid NoCD. If it is installed on top of Version 1.0e, no CD is required.

Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires[edit]

Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires is an unofficial expansion which adds new civilizations, maps and other fixes.


Adds Online Matchmaking and automatic UserPatch installation.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\config.xml
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\SaveGame\
Mac OS (Classic)
macOS (OS X)
Player settings are saved in <path-to-game>\Player.nfp (determines unlocked scenarios etc.)
Custom campaigns are saved in <path-to-game>\Campaign\
Custom scenarios are saved in <path-to-game>\Scenario\

Video settings[edit]

In-game options menu.
In-game options menu.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update.
Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update. Uncheck "widescreen interface style" to centre minimap and unit controls.
Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update.
4K Ultra HD
Field of view (FOV)
Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update. Select Windowed mode support, then select a resolution lower than your desktop resolution. Menus will be windowed 4:3.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update. Select Windowed mode support, then set the in-game resolution to your desktop resolution.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS
120+ FPS

Input settings[edit]

In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
For scroll speed.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Traditional Chinese


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
Online play

Connection types

Type Native Notes
MSN Gaming Zone support has been discontinued.[4] Community has moved to http://voobly.com[citation needed]
Direct IP


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 2300-2400, 47624
UDP 2300-2400
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Issues unresolved[edit]

Dell laptop compatibility issues[edit]

On some older Dell laptop models (e.g. the M1530) an issue occurs where the OS crashes and a blue-screen of death is displayed. This issue occurs after a seemingly random amount of gameplay time (from <30 seconds to 10 or 20 minutes). Many things have been tried to fix the issue including changing graphics card drivers, limiting the frame rate to mitigate overheating and running on virtual machines of different operating systems (e.g. Windows 98). As far as can be seen, this issue has never been resolved nor will it be, rendering AoE2 unplayable on the affected models of laptop. This issue can be mitigated by playing through Voobly.com game client and selecting 32-bit DirectX mode in the lobby options. It is actually caused by an unterminated loop in the graphics card driver. However, Age of Empires II HD (the re-mastered version of the game released in 2013) is unaffected by this problem.

"Access Denied - Please login with administrator privileges and try again" error on launch (Windows 10)[edit]

Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update to fix this for The Conquerors (this does not fix the issue for the base game).

Issues fixed[edit]

Windows Vista and 7 colours[edit]

Windows Vista and 7 can have issues with displaying true colours in Age of Empires II correctly.
This issue does not occur on Windows 8 and later.
See rainbow color problems in older games for further details.
UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update[citation needed]

Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update. This includes a color fix for Vista and 7, and will also set a registry flag, allowing Windows 8+ to emulate the 256-colour modes, required by the game. It will also optionally provide support for loading the windowed mode plugin, which, apart from its direct purpose, also performs software palette conversion to 32-bit, resolving said issues.

DirectDrawFix[citation needed]

Use DirectDrawFix to apply the required compatibility fixes to the registry.

LAN connectivity[edit]

This method allows gaming over LAN on modern versions of Windows.
Setting the IP address to Static and the Default Gateway to nothing[citation needed]
  1. Go to the Network and Sharing Center.
  2. Right-click on the LAN adapter and open "Properties".
  3. Highlight "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" and click on "Properties".
  4. Check "Use the following IP address:" and enter an address which is not currently being used on your network (such as 192.168.1.[1-253] e.g. ). Also change the Subnet mask to and leave the default gateway blank.

While in use, internet connection will be lost until the settings are switched back to "Obtain an IP address automatically", but LAN will function in-game.

MIDI music[edit]

Copy files from demo version[citation needed]
  1. Download the demo version of Age of Empires II.
  2. Copy the midi folder from the sound folder of the demo of AOEII.
  3. Paste the folder in the sound folder of the full game.
  4. Run the game with the -midimusic command line argument.


Music from the Conquerors expansion demo can also be used; rename the Conquerors MIDI files from music 1-8 to 9-16 to prevent replacement of existing files.
The -midimusic parameter is no longer supported in UserPatch, however its m3u playlist system allows any audio format to be used for in-game music, including WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC, and FLAC, as long as the required DirectShow codecs are installed.

"Access Denied - Please login with administrator privileges and try again" error on launch (Windows 10)[edit]

Install UserPatch: Conquerors Feature Update to fix this for The Conquerors (this does not fix the issue for the base game).

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
DirectDraw 6.1
Mac OS only.
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Multiplayer MSN Gaming Zone

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95 98
Processor (CPU) 166 MHz 450 MHz
System memory (RAM) 32 MB 64 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 300 MB 300 MB
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
DirectX 6.1 compatible
Nvidia TNT2
ATI Rage 128
16 MB of VRAM


  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[1] and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[2]