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
Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release dates
Windows August 23, 2012
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition guide at StrategyWiki
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition at Wikipedia

This page is for the original release. For the remaster, see Dark Souls Remastered.

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
Dark Souls Remastered 2018

Key points

A port of the console versions of the game with few configurable options.[1] Use DSfix to increase rendering resolution and remove the 30 FPS cap along with many other options.
Using a controller is strongly recommended over keyboard and mouse controls.[1] If using keyboard and mouse controls, use Dark Souls Input Customizer to fix mouse control issues.
Games for Windows - LIVE DRM was removed from the Steam version on February 16, 2015; product keys activate on Steam.[2]

General information

Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
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Optional Steam unlock.[3]
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All non-Steam versions require Games for Windows - LIVE DRM.[2]
All product keys activate on Steam.[2]

Essential improvements[edit]

High-resolution textures, fonts, and controller button prompts are available to download (requires DSfix).
Dark Souls Configuration Utility is a launcher, mod manager, and configuration tool which bundles many of the following (and other) mods.


DSfix increases the rendering resolution for better visual quality; without it the game outputs anamorphic 1024x720. It also allows the 30 FPS cap to be removed, 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 introduces minor clipping problems. It is, however, generally safe to play at 60 FPS, and you will be unlikely to encounter any issues. See High frame rate for more information.
Install DSfix[4]
  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.
A GUI for DSfix is available for inexperienced users

Dark Souls Input Customizer[edit]

The Dark Souls Input Customizer (DSIC) allows full customization of the controls of Dark Souls. It uses an intuitive input system that allows the rebinding of every action to arbitrary combinations of keys or buttons on the controller, mouse or keyboard. Although this can in part also be achieved with existing tools, DSIC is much more flexible and wraps it all up in an easy to use package, with additional functionality that is specially tailored to Dark Souls. DSIC also fully includes the Dark Souls Mouse Fix, which does not have to be installed separately.

Dark Souls PVP Watchdog[edit]

BitBucket, Main thread, Download
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[4]
  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), press F1 to disconnect the offender, or press F5 to ignore the warning.
Dangerous effects like curse, petrify, egg head, and teleport are disabled and prevented during invasions and don't need any user interaction.

Dark Souls Connectivity Mod[edit]

Developer's Site, Download, NexusMods
The problem: Recent versions of Dark Souls have trouble connecting to other nodes, making Multiplayer difficult or even impossible.
Dark Souls Connectivity Mod is a tool that attaches itself to Dark Souls process, allowing it to connect to player nodes.
A side-effect of being able to choose a node, Co-Op and PvP with select players becomes possible.
Install DSCM[citation needed]
  1. Download and extract DSCM to a folder of your choice.
  2. Simply run DSCM whenever you play Dark Souls.
By default DSCM should already connect you to DSCM-Net, improving multiplayer connectivity.
DSCM and Dark Souls do not need to be started in any specific order. You can run DSCM before starting Dark Souls, or you can run DSCM after the game is already open. DSCM will "just work" no matter when it is started.

Skip intro videos[edit]

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

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.


3rd party fixes[citation needed]
  1. Use DSfix together with Widescreen Fixer.
  2. For v1.0.2 & v1.0.3 use the updated Widescreen Fixer plugin.

Borderless fullscreen windowed[edit]

borderlessFullscreen 1[4]
  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. If you leave it on fullscreen mode, the game will crash if you alt-tab.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

Set AF override[citation needed]
  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[14]
  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.


Some side effects affecting gameplay:[7]
  • Chance to fall through the floor when sliding down ladders
    • Undead Burg
      • Short ladder leading to three firebomb throwing hollows warriors.[8][9]
      • The ladder beneath the bridge with Hellkite Dragon.ref name="refcheck Mars icecream"/>
    • Tomb of the Giants
      • The entrance to Pinwheel's crypt.
  • Chance to "run" slower than you walk when frame rate is over 60 FPS.[10]
  • Jump/roll distance is slightly reduced at 60 FPS.
  • Slope interactions are slightly different at 60 FPS, may cause getting "stuck" on small obstructions from time to time.[11]
  • Undead Dragon's "toxic sludge" doesn't render properly when playing at 60 FPS.[12][13]


By default, DSfix includes a hotkey to toggle unlockFPS mid game. Simply press ← Backspace at any time to switch between 30 FPS and your configured FPSlimit.

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.[15]
Control scheme tips.[15]

Audio settings[edit]

Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 7.1 output[17]
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Can not be disabled.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Traditional Chinese


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

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
Online play
4 Co-op, Versus


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[citation needed]
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[citation needed]
Reportedly working with Nvidia cards.[18]
  1. Open Task Manager.
  2. Set priority of DATA.exe to a higher value.
Processor affinity[citation needed]
  • Set processor affinity to only 2 of the available processors.

Lower-spec machine fixes[edit]

Adjust settings in DSfix[citation needed]
  • 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[citation needed]
  • 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).

ATI/AMD-specific fixes[edit]

Appears that ATI/AMD graphics cards are underutilised.
Set Catalyst Control Center 3D Profile[19]
  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[citation needed]
  • 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[citation needed]
  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[citation needed]
  • Ensure Data Execution Prevention (DEP) is set to the default (Windows programs and services only).


Crash occurs after start screen.
Rename VSFilter.dll[20]

Monitor refresh rate[edit]

Crash when accessing in-game settings[21]
  • 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[citation needed]

Windows 8[edit]

Reinstall gfwlivesetup.exe[22]
  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[citation needed]
  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.
DSfix[citation needed]
  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)


Turn off Custom Direct3D support[citation needed]

Controller issues[edit]

Controller not working[edit]

Make your controller the 'first' one[23]
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[24]
  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[citation needed]
  1. Download X360ce.
  2. Put xBox360ce.exe into <path-to-game>\DATA\
  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.[25]
  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.


Jittery mouse controls[edit]

Mouse controls feel very jittery, with unintuitive results when the camera collides with a wall or the floor.
Use raw mouse input fix[citation needed]

Xbox button prompts always shown[edit]

Add keyboard/mouse icons[citation needed]

Run the game at screen refresh rate[edit]

Fullscreen mode defaults to 60 Hz, even if the screen refresh rate is set higher than that.
Set refresh rate manually[citation needed]
  1. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  2. Open DarkSouls.ini.
  3. Set RefreshRate to the screen refresh rate, e.g. RefreshRate = 120.

Black screen on startup[edit]

The game's window remains black after launching and is "Not Responding" if clicked on.
The issue can also occur when a USB DAC is plugged in i.e. Fiio E17K.[citation needed]
NVIDIA drivers: Create a profile in NVIDIA Control Panel[26]
  1. Start the NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. Navigate to Manage 3D settings.
  3. Select the Program Settings tab.
  4. Click Add and navigate to <path-to-game>\darksouls.exe. No profile changes are necessary.
  5. Click Apply, then run the game.
Disable HID Game Controller[27]
  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.
Disable HID-Compliant consumer control device[citation needed]
  1. Plug in your USB DAC.
  2. Make sure the game isn't running.
  3. Open the Device Manager.
  4. Under Human Interface Devices disable HID-Compliant consumer control device.
  5. Run the game.
If the above fails, try unplugging the controller and then running the game[citation needed]

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[citation needed]
  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[citation needed]
  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.

Game only uses part of the screen[edit]

DSfix anti-aliasing conflict
DSfix anti-aliasing conflict
Using DSfix with in-game anti-aliasing enabled causes the game to only use part of the screen.
Disable the in-game anti-aliasing[citation needed]

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[28]
  1. Copy %WINDIR%\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.
UAC fix using Regedit[citation needed]

This method will force Steam into thinking it's installed already

  1. Make a txt file
  2. Copy the following code into it
  3. Save it as a .reg file
  4. Run it & Merge it
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00




Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
64-bit executable


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio FMOD
Cutscenes Bink
Multiplayer Steamworks, GFWL Steam version uses Steamworks, non-Steam uses GFWL.[2]

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 GameSpy: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Review - Page 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 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
  3. Retail version can now be added to Steam library - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  4. http://www.pcgamer.com/dark-souls-review/
  5. https://steamcommunity.com/groups/frameratepolice#curation/app/211420/
  6. DSFix 1.8 | metaclassofnilblog
  7. undead burg short ladder by Link Satonaka, fps overlay in top right corner
  8. Verified by User:Mars icecream on 2016-11
  9. 80+FPS running demonstration by Link Satonaka, fps overlay in top right corner
  10. floor collision issues by Link Satonaka, fps overlay in top left corner
  11. Watch Bananasaurus_Rex on Twitch - last accessed on November 20, 2016
  12. Dark Souls internal rendering resolution fix (DSfix) - Page 111 - NeoGAF - last accessed on November 20, 2016
  13. New 120Hz Games Report 120hz.net: New 120Hz Games Report
  14. To the Dark Souls pc players. I made this out of frustration - thought I'd share... : gaming
  15. DO NOT BUY - Page 3 - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  16. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up
  17. Reddit: AMD Users Having Trouble Running Dark Souls?
  18. Fix for random FPS drops with ATI card? (now with possible fix) - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  19. Crashed on Press start screen. - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  20. Verified by User:Link Satonaka on July 2016
    I discovered these workarounds myself
  21. Game crashing upon startup (Windows 7) - Page 2 - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  22. 23.0 23.1 Dark Souls General FAQ - Steam Users' Forums (retrieved)
  23. Ps3 Controller :: Steam Community Discussions
  24. Game Compatibility List - x360ce
  25. Verified by User:Link Satonaka on April 2017
  26. https://www.reddit.com/r/darksouls/comments/1caq34/dark_souls_not_responding/c9eqgma
  27. Verified by User:Link Satonaka on July 2016
    I discovered this fix myself