FIX: Command and Conquer: Generals won’t run on Windows 10

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Command and Conquer Generals is one of the most iconic real time strategy games ever created. It has withstood the test of time and it still holds an active player base even after almost 20 years. But these players are encountering some issues when running the game on modern Windows 10 machines.
  • If C&C Generals or C&C Generals: Zero Hour are having issues like not launching on your PC, then our guide will walk you through how to fix them.
  • Real time strategy games are some our favourites and we try to play as many as we can. For more coverage of the this genre, make sure to follow our RTS hub where we post the latest news are reviews!
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how to solve Command and Conquer: Generals won't run on Windows 10

Command and Conquer Generals is a popular real-time strategy game released back in 2003, so it’s expected to have some issues with Windows 10.

If you’re having problems with Command and Conquer Generalspan on Windows 10, you should have a closer look at our solutions.

How can I solve problems with Command and Conquer: Generals?

If you want to fix issues with Command and Conquer Generals on Windows 10 you can try one of these solutions.

1. Create a new options.ini file

First thing we’re going to do is modifying one game file a little bit. Here’s exactly what you need to do:

  1. Go to C:UsersusernameDocumentsCommand and Conquer Generals Data folder
  2. Inside it create a new text file called options and paste the following into it:
  • AntiAliasing = 1
  • CampaignDifficulty = 0
  • DrawScrollAnchor =
  • FirewallBehavior = 1
  • FirewallNeedToRefresh = FALSE
  • FirewallPortAllocationDelta = 0
  • GameSpyIPAddress =
  • Gamma = 50
  • IPAddress =
  • IdealStaticGameLOD = Low
  • LanguageFilter = false
  • MoveScrollAnchor =
  • MusicVolume = 0
  • Resolution = 1024 768
  • Retaliation = yes
  • SFX3DVolume = 79
  • SFXVolume = 71
  • ScrollFactor = 16
  • SendDelay = no
  • StaticGameLOD = High
  • UseAlternateMouse = no
  • UseDoubleClickAttackMove = no
  • VoiceVolume = 70
  1. Save the file and change the extension of your file from .txt to .ini. To do this, you must enable file extensions for known type of files. Right click the options.txt file and choose Rename from the list. Now rename it from options.txt to options.ini.
  2. After creating new options.ini file you can patch the game to version 1.04 if you want.
  3. Try starting the game and see if it works.

For a better gaming experience, we recommend downloading Game Fire (free). It will help with various gaming issues, such as freezes, crashes, low FPS, lags and slow PC.

2. Buy Command and Conquer Ultimate Collection

If you own Command and Conquer Generals on a CD your game might not work on Windows 10 due to some compatibility issues, and then the only solution is to purchase Command and Conquer Ultimate Collection or just buy the digital version.

The digital version doesn’t come with some limitations and issues like the CD version.

Compatibility issues are common in Windows 10, especially with older games. But most of the developers still didn’t release an official word if their ‘older’ games will become compatible with Microsoft’s newest operating system.

However, if everything else fails, you can always run Command and Conquer Generals on a virtual machine. If you’re interested in the best virtual machines for Windows 10, check out this article.

3. Update Windows 10

If Command and Conquer Generals won’t work on your Windows 10 PC, you might want to try updating it. Even though Windows 10 is a solid operating system, certain bugs and glitches can occur.

Microsoft is working hard to fix those bugs, and if you want your PC to be bug-free, it’s important to keep it up to date.

To make things easier, Windows 10 already automatically checks for updates, so you won’t have to do that manually. However, due to certain errors, you might skip an important update.

On the bright side, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do that quickly by pressing Windows Key + I shortcut.
  2. When Settings app opens, navigate to Update & Security section.
    Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour opens then closes
  3. Now you’ll see the status of your PC and the last time you checked for updates. Click Check for updates button.
    Command and Conquer Generals you have encountered a serious error

Windows will now check for updates and download them in the background. After downloading the updates, they will be installed as soon as you restart your PC. Once your PC is up to date, check if the problem still appears.

If you experience any issues when checking for updates or if the Check for updates button is missing, take a look at this guide to make sure that you will solve the problem quickly.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

4. Modify your registry

According to users, you are unable to run Command and Conquer Generals on your PC because SafeDisc DMR feature is disabled. However, you can enable this feature by making few changes to your registry. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Click OK or press Enter.
    Command and Conquer Generals please login with administrator privileges and try again
  2. In the left pane, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicessecdrv.
  3. In the right pane, you should see secdrv DWORD, double click it to open its properties.
  4. Set its Value data to 2 and click OK to save changes.
  5. Close Registry Editor.

After doing that, check if the problem is resolved. Keep in mind that this solution won’t work for you unless you can access the key from Step 2. If you don’t have this key on your PC, you can just skip this solution.

Can’t access the Registry Editor? Don’t worry, we’ve got some easy solutions that will certainly help.

5. Use Command Prompt

If Command and Conquer Generals won’t run on your PC, you might be able to fix this problem simply by running a single command from Command Prompt. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. In the Windows search box type cmd, right-click the first result and the select Run as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter sc config secdrv start= auto and press Enter to run it.
    Command and Conquer Generals keeps minimizing

After doing that, you should be able to run Command and Conquer on your PC.

If you’re having trouble accessing Command Prompt as an admin, then you better take a closer look at this guide.

6. Run the game in Compatibility mode

Windows 10 is a new operating system, and sometimes older applications might not work properly with it. Fortunately, Windows has a useful feature called Compatibility mode that might be able to fix this problem.

This feature allows you to run older applications on your PC, and it might be able to help you with some older applications. To use Compatibility mode, do the following:

  1. Locate Command and Conquer Generals shortcut, right click it and choose Properties from the menu.
    Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour won't start
  2. Now go to Compatibility tab and check Run this program in compatibility mode for. Select Windows XP from the list and check Run this program as an administrator. Now click Apply and OK to save changes.
    Command and Conquer Generals not launching

After doing that, try starting Command and Conquer again and check if the problem still persists. Although Compatibility mode is a useful feature, it’s not a universal solution, so it might not be able to fix your problem with Command and Conquer.

7. Copy the game files

According to users, they managed to fix the problem with Command and Conquer Generals simply by copying a couple of game files. This sounds like a peculiar solution, but several users reported that it works, so you might want to try it out.

To perform this solution, do the following:

  1. Go to the game’s installation directory.
  2. Locate game.dat file and create a copy of that file in the same directory.
  3. Now delete the original game.dat file.
  4. Rename the copied game.dat file to game.dat.
  5. Now locate generals.exe, create a copy, remove the original and rename the copy to generals.exe.

After doing that, try to start the game again. Several users reported that this solution worked for them, so feel free to try it out.

8. Create a new user profile

According to users, you might be able to fix this problem simply by creating a new user profile. Sometimes your user profile can become corrupted causing this and many other problems to occur. To create a new user profile, simply do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to Accounts section.
    Command and Conquer Generals keeps minimizing
  2. In the left pane, select Family & other people. In the right pane, choose Add someone else to this PC.
    Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour won't start
  3. Now select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Command and Conquer Generals not launching
  4. Now choose Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Command and Conquer Generals please login with administrator privileges and try again
  5. Enter the desired name and click Next.
    Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour black screen then exit

After doing that, switch to a new user profile and try to install Command and Conquer Generals again. If you’re experiencing issues with your Microsoft account, take a look here to solve them.

Are you also experiencing problems with older games in Windows 10? And is there any game you’re not able to play since the upgrade? Tell us in the comments. Don’t forget to leave there any other questions you may have and we’ll be sure to take a look.

Windows 10 is playing tricks on you and won’t let you add a new account? Keep it in check with this guide.

FAQ: Common issues with Command and Conquer: Generals

  • Will Command and Conquer Ultimate Collection run on Windows 10?

You should be able to run C&C on your Windows 10 with some tweaks, as shown in our guide.

  • Why Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour won’t start?

C&C: Generals won’t start because of missing files or admin privileges. To create the options.ini file, follow the steps detailed in this guide.

  • Why Command and Conquer Generals is not launching?

If the game isn’t launching, be sure that both your game and Windows 10 are up to date. If you’re unsure how to do this, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide on how to update your game and system.

  • How to fix Command and Conquer Generals please login with administrator privileges and try again?

This problem can appear if you’re not using an administrator account to start the game. To fix this problem, you can simply create a new administrator account.

  • Why Command and Conquer Generals Zero Hour opens then closes, black screen then exit?

This is a common problem with both Command and Conquer Generals and Zero Hour expansion. The solution is to create an options.ini file like shown above.

  • Why am I getting Command and Conquer Generals encountered a serious error?

Sometimes you might encounter this error message while trying to run Command and Conquer. If this happens, you might want to consider purchasing Command and Conquer Ultimate Collection or installing the game from EA’s Origin launcher.

  • Why Command and Conquer Generals keeps minimizing?

This is another common error that users reported. You can find a fix for this error in our troubleshooting guide.

  • How do you install Generals Command and Conquer?

If you have the game on CD/DVD, simply insert the disk into your computer and run the installer. Alternatively, if you’ve purchased the game as a digital download but can’t install it, you should try the fixes suggested in our guide on fixing Origin installations.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in March 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2015 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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  • none of this works for me
    I am trying with a CD version of the Last Decade with Generals/Zero Hour
    I am running Windows 10 and tried every compatibility mode
    I am at my wits end

  • for some reason my computer always cracks disc one of this game for both my ultimate and the original CD game and its really frustrating me and the CD version was my friends version and he is not very happy either this has happened with both my computers even though I’ve put them in properly they still crack everytime and its really frustrating and annoying too.

  • hi i tried to play c&c deluxe edition on Windows10. The computer keeps on asking me to login under administrative privileges and when i do it takes me to the world map. but still cant pay the game. i tried downloading the patches before playing and it also did not work.

  • I got the collectors edition. And i have an error report if i want to start the game “Make sure that DirectX 8.1 or higher is installed on your computer. In addition, your graphics card must meet the minimum requirements.” My Graphiccard is good enough to play new games on highest quality and i have directX 12. Can you help me?

    • Change the resolution settings in the options.ini file according to your current screen resolution. I’d the same issue and resolution settings change fixed it for me!

  • Well i did something but i don’t know if it will work for u ..i had same
    problem ,simply i bought new laptop with win10 while old one has win7
    and c&C running on it but it isn’t on win10..i did dump thing but i
    worked ..i copied “EA Games ” folder in programs file x86 and c&C
    file data on “Documents” and paste them on win10 in same directories and
    game worked fine without any modifications ..try it and tell me if it