FIX: Age of Empires 2 doesn’t work in Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
Passionate about all elements related to Windows and combined with his innate curiosity, Ivan has delved deep into understanding this operating system, with a specialization in drivers and driver troubleshooting. When he's not tackling... Read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Age of Empires 2 is a classic strategy game played by many users, but it causes problems on the new operating systems.
  • If you can't run Age of Empires 2 on Windows 10, you may need to use a system optimizer.
  • Sometimes compatibility with your operating system can be limited, so make sure you run the game in compatibility mode.
  • Also, make sure your game is up to date to avoid unexpected problems.
How to fix Age of Empires 2 in Windows 10
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Windows 10 is used by millions of people worldwide, but just like with many other operating systems, sometimes there are problems with older software.

Speaking of old software, sometimes older games such as Age of Empires 2 won’t work on Windows 10, but luckily, there’s a fix available.

This article will give you the right solutions to help you solve this problem, and enjoy your favorite game, so be sure to check them out.


How do I get Age of Empires 2 to work on Windows 10?

1. Use a system optimizer

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You can get Age of Empires 2 to work on Windows 10 with just a couple of clicks, because this is a completely automized software.

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2. Run the game in compatibility mode

  1. Right-click Age of Empires 2 shortcut, and choose Properties.
  2. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check Run this program in compatibility mode, and select the operating system from the list.
  4. Click Apply, then OK.

Since Age of Empires 2 is a very old game, maybe running it in the compatibility mode could solve the problem.

If you’re running Age of Empires 2 on Steam you might try the following solution.


3. Disable the Age of Empires 2 launcher

  1. Open Steam, and find Age of Empires 2.
  2. Right-click it, and choose Properties.
  3. Go to the Set launch options.
  4. Type NoStartUp, and click OK.
  5. Click Local files, and then Browse local files.
  6. Delete or rename Launcher.
  7. Create a copy of AoK HD.
  8. Rename the copy of AoK HD to Launcher.
  9. Go back to the Steam properties window, and click Close.

If running the game in the compatibility mode didn’t solve the problem, you can try with disabling the game launcher.


4. Make sure your game is up to date

If you want to be sure that you do not encounter other problems on Windows 10 with this game, then you need to run the latest version of the Age of Empires 2.

If you’re not running the original version of the game, we suggest you to buy now Age of Empires 2 HD, or the Definitive Edition, which comes with additional content.


Want to play old-school games on Windows 10? Check out this guide.


We hope that these solutions helped you solve the problems with Age of Empires on Windows 10. If you have any questions or suggestions, reach for the comment section below.


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Most of these suggestions aren’t a fix. Telling me to rebuy the game and other services doesn’t fix the issue.
It cant be that hard to fix a problem from 25 years ago.

I’m not sure if it’s a bug; but my monks, camels and bombard cannons disappear unless I click on the idle military button.There may be other units too that disappear. Does anyone else have the same problem and is there a way I can fix it. Also, the middle of my Town Centre sometimes disappears as well and ranged units that fire disappear for like half a second.

There is a solution to this problem, all you have to do is replace a file, no updating, no special permissions or compatibility issues, just load the game and replace the file. I have made a post explaining how to fix this but it is awaiting moderator approval most likely because what it contains may not be allowed or simply because everything may have to go through this process. I leave it up to them to decide but hopefully they can edit my post so it can be displayed and help others.

I forgot to say that it is the Safedisc protection that prevents this game from working because it is no longer supported by Windows 10. You have to bypass it somehow.

Hi Allan,
any news on this? It’s very frustrating not to be able to play.
FYI I did download a version which was supposedly modified to block out the dll call to safedisc and it did work for some months, but with recent updates to windows 10 it has stopped working too. I get the error “Initialization Failed” on both the modified versions of Age of Mythology and Age of Titans.

Ok, I cannot run my AoE at all. Tried to run in compatibility in Windows XP mode, and nothing happens. Installed without a problem. Tried to start it up, and nothing happens. I see the little circle next to the arrow for a few seconds, and then it disappears. Nothing happens after that. Can someone help?
I am running windows 10.

I’ve just upgraded my Sons computer to Windows 10. I then installed Age of Empires 2 from the disk. Came up with error issues. I then Unstalled it then re-installed it again. I actually re-installed it 3 times (didn’t unstall it again after the 1st time. Then I got the following error: could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with directdraw. Now I had another issue. I found a solution to that problem at another site. to simply find your .exe file to launch the game, (mine being empires2.exe) right click it, go to properties, then Compatabality tab and make it run
on 640×480 screen resolution, then apply and run the .exe. Mine is now working. Haven’t tried The Conquerors Expansion yet…here’s hoping

This article is not true. As of Sept 10 2015, there is still no way to play Age of Empires on windows 10 from the disk. None of the fix’s work.

my program (disk) was working properly before I upgraded to Windows 10. Now it just has a loading sign and will not open. I have tried opening with all previous versions. no luck, I have also tried uninstalling it all together and reinstalling. with no luck. Age of Kings, and Conquerors are both not working.

Same problem. The compatibility settings do not fix anything. Still won’t work on windows 10. It is sad that Microsoft will not allow their own game to be played on windows 10.

Vmware player and windows xp installed on it.If you have a pc capable of running windows 10 well you will be able to run a virtual machine with XP specs (one core and 512 mb ram).Always install the vmware tools on it because that gives you hardware acceleration for the gpu,and you can play any old game you want.Ive played Red alert,carmageddon,and aoe without a hitch.

Adrian: any specific instructions to accomplish the tasks above would be appreciated… thanks…

First of all please check whether or not you have virtualization capabilities on your cpu.If you own an AMD CPU and you run Windows 10 ok there are 90% chances of having AMD-V.On the intel side things are not that easy and you must check with CPU-Z if you have such capabilities (look at the “instructions” tab and see if you have Vt-x at least .if you have vt-d even better).Once you have these simply download Wmware player (free for home use) and configure a virtual machine with simple hardware for xp.Assign only one core to the virtual machine, 512 mb ram and a 40 gb disk.At this point you have a black virtual machine.Insert a windows xp cd (or point the wizard towards a windows xp iso) and Vmware will automatically detect the os and use “easy install”.From there onwards the process is pretty much straightforward.Once XP finishes the install, Vmware will attempt to install Vmware tools which includes a virtual GPU for basic gpu acceleration (you get a directx 9.0 C capable VGPU).This step is critical in order to run games.Once everything is finished,download/mount age of empires on your pc and you can start playing. Note:Windows 10 (pro) has a built in virtualization program called Hyper-V.DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT use Hyper-v in conjuncture with Vmware because it causes networking problems.If you have problems along the way post back.