The Civ 4/Vista Survival Guide ----------------------------------------------------- Windows 7 users take note. Civ4 runs on ALL versions of Windows 7, including the 64 bit versions!!! The process for installing and running Civ, Warlords, and BTS is exactly the same for Win 7 as it is in Vista. All of the tips and whatnot in this guide apply to installations of Civ on a Win 7 systems. Both 32 and 64 bit. ----------------------------------------------------- Well, I've been hanging out in the tech support forum quite a bit lately, and I've been quite dismayed to see so many people having issues with Civ and Vista. As a result, my room mate, Zylornck Davis, and I have done quite a bit of research, and along with some help from the good boys and girls at his engineering firm, we've put together the Civ/Vista Survival Guide. So, without further ado, let's get to it, shall we? Disclaimer: This is meant to be a general guide to using Civ with Vista. Later in the thread there will be some (hopefully useful) instructions on how to configure and install/run Civ under Vista, and how to install and use mods, as well as a few troubleshooting tips we have collected. This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list, and not all installs of Vista are the same, especially with OEM versions. Some of the suggestions in this thread may not help you with the problems you experience. We hope that this will be comprehensive enough for most, but please understand that we can't test every possible configuration. Also, the advice and information in this thread is provided on an "as is" basis. This is also a work in progress, and will be periodically updated with new information and corrections as available. Zylornck and myself take no responsibility for any borked systems, messed up files, or broken save games resulting from the use, or inability to use any of the information here. If you don't know what you are doing, then get some help (In person, preferably) from someone who does, k? First, some basic information: - Vista is not the enemy. Its' initial incompatibilities and problems were largely fixed by SP1. SP2 is now out, and offers a few small fixes and hardware updates. We both have updated to SP2, and there have been no issues, except that SP2 broke Firefox (Ooooh! Big surprise there! But it's been fixed until the next service pack.) By and large, Vista is a relatively stable OS. (Yes, really!) Remember, XP was a mess until SP2 came out, and everybody hated it at first, too. - The bulk of the problems experienced by users of Vista are largely due to incorrect or out of date drivers, software that isn't quite compatible with Vista, and the peculiar requirement to run some things in administrator or compatibility modes. A big problem with Vista early on, was software that was not written for, or poorly ported (from XP or '98) to operate with Vista. - Vista was almost a complete rewrite of Windows, and is very different from XP, both in many of its' core functions, and the operation of the user interface. Drivers for Vista were a nightmare in the beginning because of lazy or misinformed developers who didn't really understand the new OS, or didn't take the time to learn its' new procedures and requirements. That situation has improved dramatically in the past year. - Microsoft recently said in a discussion on the rollout of Windows 7, that over 10% of printer driver installs still fail under Vista, a statistic that they find unacceptable, and they are hoping that it won't be that way under Win 7. The MS representative also mentioned that the bulk of the problems are due to a lack of cooperation by a couple of printer manufacturers, and a refusal to allow MS to certify and distribute the drivers under the Windows Update system. [Source: Slashdot] - Both Nvidia and ATI have had issues with getting their graphics driver packages to operate correctly with some Vista installations/hardware setups. - Nvidia drivers were quoted at Slashdot as being responsible for 30% of system crashes for Vista in 2007, and this even resulted in a lawsuit being filed against Nvidia by Windows users. Just recently, my ATI video driver update broke Media Center and I had to do a system restore to fix it, so ATI isn't perfect either. - There are fundamental differences between 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Vista, but by and large, anything that runs on 32 bit will run in the 64 bit version in a 32 bit mode, and does so automatically. The exception is that 64 bit Vista requires signed drivers to install things. There is a way to turn that requirement off, but that's beyond the scope of this little guide. - Vista will not run properly, and will cause problems if you do not have Vista compatible drivers installed for both hardware, and any software you plan to use. This should be immediately obvious to anyone, I would think. That means graphics card, audio card, HDMI, IDE controller, USB... everything. You can't expect an OS to run properly if it doesn't know how to use a resource in your computer the right way. It's like driving a car without knowing about the brake pedal... - Most importantly, neither Zylornck or myself work for Microsoft, and we don't hold any MS stock either. We did this to contribute to the CFC community, because we can't make mods. He has no time, and I'm inept. Vista 32 vs 64: There is fundamentally no difference between the two versions of Vista that can be seen by the end user in normal day to day operation. The exceptions are: 1. 64 Bit has two "Program Files" folders. One called "Program Files" and one called "Program Files (x86)". Any 64 bit program you install (usually, but not always) goes into the "Program Files" folder, and a 32 bit program goes - guess where? At this point in 64 bit support, you will find most of your programs will install into the x86 folder. It's not a big deal. They run the same, it's just that 32 bit programs themselves can't see more than 2 GB of RAM, unless they are specially coded. You may have 4 Gb of RAM in your computer, but that's total system RAM. That means that the OS, any hardware that needs a physical address, and your video card all take a chunk out of that memory, and that reduces your total to less than 4 GB. Eg: A computer with 4 GB, and a 512 MB graphics card will usually have just over 3 GB (possibly less) of usable system RAM for applications. Some new motherboards have a "remap" feature that puts the hardware addresses above system memory, thus freeing up some extra RAM. My MB has that, and I have 8 GB (I use 64 bit). My hardware addresses are remapped to start above the 8 GB boundary, saving me some space below for applications. There is more technical detail there, but that's beyond the scope of this thread. 2. It's said that you can't install 32 bit drivers in 64 bit Vista. We would argue that point, because both Zy and myself have done it. If the driver is signed, it seems to go in just fine, though 64 bit does prefer 64 bit drivers. So there are exceptions to that rule. 3. Some programs that do "special tricks" with processor time slicing, addressing, and memory shenannigans might run fine on 32 bit, but may mess up on 64 bit. The bulk of current software that we have used seems to work just fine on both. 4. Software written for older versions of Windows (95, 98, ME, etc.), may not run on either version, or only 32 bit, even with compatibility mode enabled. This has to do with the way that Vista was written. MS couldn't do some of the improvements they made to utilize improved hardware and still retain compatibility with older versions of Windows. If this bugs you, deal with it. It's the 21st century, things change. 5. A program designed for 64 bit Vista will usually not run on 32 bit. The reasons for that should be obvious... Most programs, however, are available in a combined 32/64 bit version, or 64 bit versions are available separately. End of section 1.