INDIVIDUAL COMPONENTS OF SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
OS (Operating System)
This simply states what operating systems the game will run on. For instance, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 10, Mac, Linux, Xbox, PlayStation etc. Some games may require a certain service pack, which is a Microsoft update to your operating system. If you are running Windows and don't get these updates automatically, you can check for them in Windows 7 through
Start > All Programs > Windows Update.
If you are still running XP, support stopped as of April 8, 2014 Microsoft
. At the moment, you can still get Windows XP SP3
, but whether this will remain accessible is anyone's guess. Windows 7 will continue to get security updates till Jan 2020, and Windows 8 till Jan 2023. Windows 10 gives you no choice about updates and will install these automatically.
It's rare for PC games to intentionally be made not to run on the major operating systems of its day, but it does happen. For instance, Halo 2 wasn't made to run on anything before Windows Vista, even though XP was still the prevailing OS, so watch you don't get caught on this as Microsoft is pulling the same trick and now making PC games specifically for Windows 10 only. However, there are ways and means to get older games to run on newer technology, but it's unwise to just assume that they will without researching it first.
There's a feature in Windows that allows you to run programs in earlier versions of Windows. This may (or may not) fix an issue with trying to run older games. To access this feature manually on Windows 7 & Windows 10 do the following;
1. Right click on the program or game icon or .exe.
2. Left click on properties
3. Click on the compatibility tab, check the compatibility mode box.
4. Choose which options you want
5. Also choose to run as Administrator if necessary and click OK.
In Windows 8 at step 2, you can click on Troubleshoot compatibility
and choose one of the options.
If you do not have Administator rights on your computer, you may have to enable this in the compatibility tab as well. Some people consider system wide Admistrator rights a security risk, but many programs require it to allow you to make changes or to install the program.
TIP: If you have a Steam version of the game, the compatibility window will not appear by clicking on the desktop game icon properties. Instead, in your Steam folder, navigate to Steam Apps > common > name of game > game name.exe, right click on this file for the properties option, choose the compatibility tab and change as above.
CPU (Central Processing Unit)
This is the component of the computer that fetches, decodes and executes instructions. Its speed at executing these functions is usually expressed in GHz (Gigahertz). The higher the number is, the faster it processes. Dual cores, quad cores and multiple cores enable faster and faster speeds. If you don't know what you have, you should find this info about your processor in the same place as explained above in "where to find your specs." Games are designed according to the technology of the times and so many older games were made for single core systems and may run too fast on multiple cores. If you have more than one core, one possible solution to fixing such a game, if you are having problems, is to set the game to run on a single core. To do so follow these instructions.
1. Once the game is launched, while you are in the menu press ctrl, alt, delete
to bring up the program called task manager. Keep all three keys depressed at the same time to do this.
2. Click the task manager button, then the processes tab.
A list of programs currently running on your computer will appear. Choose the game.exe (eg: painkiller.exe)
and right click on it.
3. A small menu will drop down with a choice that says Set Affinity.
Click this and uncheck the cores until you have only one that is checked.
4. Return to the tab Applications
and make sure the game is highlighted. Click the button at the bottom of the dialog box that says Switch to
and you will return to the game.
The problem with this method is that you will have to set the affinity every time you want to run the game and sometimes it doesn't take. There is another way to do this that stays in effect until you uninstall the game, but the following method requires being more careful about what you're doing.
Warning: Be sure to read all of the information and comments on the following linked sites before downloading and installing. This method may not work on Windows 10.
There's a small piece of code called imagecfg.zip
that will allow you to set the configuration on any game you want to run on single core for the duration of its installation. Once this file is
downloaded, installed and unzipped to the system32 folder or sysWOW64 under the Windows folder in Local disk (C:),
you call up your
window. Command Prompt is supposed to be located in your Start menu under Accessories, however, in some cases it's hidden (perhaps for your own protection). In Windows XP, I found it by going to Help and searching for it where it conveniently included a link that brought it up. You can also call it up by going to
Start > Type in or click Run > and then type in cmd and click OK.
In Windows 7, it is located in the Start menu under Accessories, but you need to right click it and run as Administrator. Windows 8 and Windows 10 have slightly different ways of getting there. How-to Geek
A window will appear and there will be a file path showing in here that you don't want, so type in
(cd with 2 periods) and press enter,
and press enter, as many times as it takes to get down to only the C:\>
prompt as the latest line.
If you are receiving an error message, it may be that you have to run Command Prompt as Administrator. To do so, right click on Command Prompt and click Run as Administrator. NOTE:
Many software applications, including games, need Administrator privileges to run, but some people feel that setting your entire computer system to always run as Administrator could present security risks. You can research this matter and decide what's best for your situation. Digital Citizen
Once imagecfg is installed, locate your game's main .exe file by right clicking on the game's icon and examining the Properties. (If it's a Steam game you may not find the complete file path here and will have to locate it manually) If you don't clearly understand the instructions from the imagecfg link, go to metzomagic.com
and look under XP (Legacy) games corner where you will find info on what to type into Command prompt, which is basically
imagecfg -a 0x1
then, in quotes,
"the full path to your game's .exe"
wherever it is located on your computer. Type the word
and push enter to quit. If you uninstall the game and reinstall it, you will have to repeat this process. (IMPORTANT !! In case of problems, backup your original game.exe before inserting the imagecfg command in Command prompt.)
TIP: To get Windows 7 to show the full path, click to highlight the file you want in the Windows Explorer left-hand pane then left click in a blank spot in the address bar.
Ram (Random Access Memory)
Without getting very technical, this is the amount of memory storage available to programs. All programs running on your computer take up a certain amount of memory and compared to text, graphics are memory hogs. In order for your game to run properly, you need a certain amount of memory available to it. Game labels will give you the minimal requirement. (The amount of memory your system has can also be found in your system properties.) If you need more memory, additional memory sticks can be purchased and installed in your tower, but find out how to do this safely first. (not your safety, the computer's) You should consult your motherboard manual as to what kind of memory is compatible with it and what type of slots you have. This memory is not to be confused with hard drive space. Ram memory is used temporarily. As soon as the program/game is closed, it no longer needs the memory and frees up the space. You can regain some memory by disabling unnecessary programs that open when you start your computer. To find out how to do this, you can check out How-to Geek for instructions. Memory can be expressed in megabytes or gigabytes. 1,024 megabytes equals 1 gigabyte. Two 512MB sticks will give you 1GB of memory.
This is the place where all of your data is stored permanently until manually deleted by you. The game label tells you how much free hard drive space you need to install the game. When your game is not running, the files are still stored on your computer. It's not using RAM when it's closed, but it is using hard drive space. In order to find out how much free hard drive space you have
open Windows Explorer and click on My Computer. In the right window pane, highlight the folder named Local Disk (C:)
Next to it you should see how much space is being used by all the programs and files you have installed on your C: drive and how much is free. You can use the same method for other storage drives. This will probably be expressed in gigabytes. For more info right click on it and chose properties.
Alternately, in Windows Explorer you can just click on
Local disk (C:) and the info will show in the very bottom bar of the window.
You can free up space by getting rid of some unnecessary files you may have created and by doing maintenance like disk defragmentation
and disk cleanup
, which are found in
Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools.
Don't manually delete files that you are unsure of or you could do serious damage. Do a search to find out what it is. These days, newer games are requiring huge amounts of hard drive space. As with RAM, additional hard drives can also be purchased and added to your system. These can be internal or external.
is a continuation of the components of system requirements