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Windows Vista and IE games

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Windows Vista is not the most user-friendly operating system for players of IE games (Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II, Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale II) who like to install mods. Vista is very protective of its Program Files folder, and doesn't let you make a lot of changes. This can be a drawback if you are a modder, or even a player of mods.


To avoid hours of frustration, and the risk of having to do multiple reinstallations, here are some hints that might get you through it the first time.


What I had to do to get an installation that might be useful for a modder, i.e. one that will allow you to edit the .ini:

  • Ensure that all previous attempts at installation are gone from your computer, uninstalled, with all the folders the installation created deleted.
  • Create a directory in the C: drive that isn't Program Files. I called mine Gaming.
  • Create a folder inside Gaming called Black Isle.
  • Create a folder inside Black Isle called BGII - SoA (or Baldurs Gate, or Icewind Dale, or Icewind Dale II)
  • Begin to install the game.
  • When it gets to the part where the installer asks for the directory into which you should install the game, retype the path shown, substituting "Gaming" for "Program Files". For BG2, it was c:\gaming\black isle\bgii - soa. When I go to install Baldur's Gate, it will be c:\gaming\black isle\baldurs gate. You get the idea.
  • Complete the installation of BG and BG2. You'll use c:\gaming\black isle\baldurs gate for BG1 and c:\gaming\black isle\bgii - soa for BG2. Repeat for Icewind Dale and Icewind Dale II.
  • Install ToB. Since your registry shows the path to the game, you don't choose the installation directory.
  • Install official patch 26498. It's available from bioware.com.
  • Go to the folders, view properties, and select the security tab. Deselect the "read only" box.
  • Hit "apply" and go through all the hoops that Vista makes you go through to change the setting. Mostly, it's just hitting "continue".
  • Congratulate yourself for having avoided the 8 hour trial and error period it took me to figure out how to get an installation with an editable baldur.ini.

So, why is it important to have an editable baldur.ini, anyway? If you can't edit baldur.ini, you can't set Debug Mode=1, which means that you can't open the CLUAConsole, which is needed for debugging.


"But I'm a player, not a modder!" you might say. "I don't need to do any debugging."


That's right. You don't. It's the modder's job. But every once in a while, you might be asked to check a variable, or something like that. When I was just starting to play BG2, before I'd ever heard of mods, I ran into a problem with the paladin stronghold quest, and found help for the problem on a forum. The advice was to open the CLUAConsole and enter a bunch of SpriteIsDead variables. And this was with no mods installed at all, not even Baldurdash.


It's far easier to set it up this way from the beginning than it is to go back and do it all over.

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Very nice tutorial, B. This will surely save a lot of headaches for people with Vista (I already had mine. )


"But I'm a player, not a modder!" you might say. "I don't need to do any debugging."


Life without CTRL + Y is a harsh one. On the serious side, for those of you who like to progress things in mods faster, such as a romance, the console is pretty handy.

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No, when installing/modding, disable UAC (User Account Control), which not only unlocks the files, but stops the annoying messages appearing when you use some form of function.


Such as DLTCEP.



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Disabling UAC controls alone is not enough to allow editing of .ini files in the Program Files area, or at least it wasn't the five or six times I tried it, using various combinations of settings.


Your best, least complicated approach is to just install the game in a directory that isn't Program Files.


YMMV, of course. Some Vista builds are more restrictive than others, and it's only going to get worse. While it's possible that earlier mini-versions of Vista, i.e. build xyzpdq.123a.7, might not have the insane security "features" that prevent editing files in the Program File directory, more recent ones seem to. It's also possible that future versions will make even more tedious workarounds necessary.


After installing in a separate Gaming directory, I have no trouble using modding tools, or at least no trouble that I wouldn't normally have. NI still gobbles up memory, DLTCEP still works the same as it always has, etc. You've got to direct the tool to the installation, of course, but you've always got to do that.

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I'm sorry. I was not clear enough.


The actual path would be


c:\gaming\black isle\baldurs gate


All that's going on is the substitution of "gaming" for "program files". If "program files" wasn't too long, "gaming" won't be.


c:\gaming\black isle\baldurs gate

c:\gaming\black isle\bgii - soa

c:\gaming\black isle\icewind dale

c:\gaming\black isle\icewind dale ii


And for EasyTutu


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I actually had a similar problem with enabling consoles for other crpgs, such as KOTOR. I think most of the directories in Program Files have a Compatibility Files button where your saved games and temp files get kept. Unfortunately if I am modding and I save a new version of a D file, etc, I have to make sure that the newest version saved to my actual game directory, not the Compatibility one.


I ended up having to copy the ini to My Documents, edit it, and then paste it back in the BG2 folder.


Much fun. :)

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Somebody has to ask the 'damn-stupid' question: would a DVD-dump not work? What I mean is, I keep a full, working copy of all IE games on individual DVDs and whenever I need a new working game, I simply dump the entire contents of the DVD to a new folder, do my testing and then trash it again. No installation necessary.


Actually, I think I've just thought of a showstopper. I have all of the check CDs (TotSC, PS:T disc 2 etc.) loaded on virtual CD drives (Paragon CD-ROM Emulator). I bet Vista won't like that one little bit.



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Guest parasol

I wish I had seen this sooner! Thank you so much for writing this, it has been a life saver. After many re-installs and torn-out hair littering the floor later, I have been able to play Baldur's Gate on Windows 7. Thanks again!

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