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Running Ultima Underworld I / II / Ultima 8 in Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7 by Ganesh
Version 0.95


Yes folks, its now possible to run Ultima Underworld and Ultima 8 in Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista and Windows 7! There are two ways, one is by the native Windows way using VDMSound, the other is via DOSBox. This guide will cover the DOSBox way.

DOSBox emulates an Intel x86 PC, complete with sound, graphics, mouse, modem, etc., necessary for running many old DOS games that simply cannot be run on modern PCs and operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Linux and FreeBSD.

This means, we can play the Ultima games like old times, in a DOS window, or full screen! This guide focuses on getting the game running under DOSBox.

What You Need

  1. A copy of Ultima Underworld I and/or Ultima Underworld II and/or Ultima 8
  2. DOSBox (download the Windows Win32 installer here)

Setting up DOSBox

  1. Download and install DOSBox accepting all default options - just keep hitting Next.
  2. Go to Start > Programs > DOSBox-(XX) > Options > DOSBox (XX) Options to open up DOSBox.conf.

    Dosbox Configuration File
    Dosbox Configuration File

    This is the DOSBox configuration file. Here we will configure DOSBox to properly emulate the game's preferred environment.
  3. Search for and replace the following values in the file by going to Edit > Replace > Enter Text in 'Find what' and 'Replace With'. Note: If you have already altered DOSBox, you will need to reset it by going to Start > Programs > DOSBox-(XX) > Options > Reset Options.

      Find What ..Replace it with
    1 joysticktype=auto joysticktype=none
    2 cycles=auto cycles=12000
    3 output=surface output=ddraw

  4. We need to find out what is your desktop resolution. Go to Start > Control Panel > Display > Settings. Under "Screen Resolution", it will say XXXX by XXXX pixels. For most folks, it is either "1280 x 1024" or "1920 x 1024". Assuming "1280 x 1024", we need to remove the spaces and get 1280x1024.

    Find What ..Modify/Change the value to..
    fullresolution= fullresolution=1280x1024
    scaler= scaler=hq3x

    Remember to substitute 1280x1024 with your own display resolution.
  5. Now comes some DOS Stuff. At the end of the same file, we have to add some DOS commands to setup Ultima Underworld and Ultima 8 automatically on starting up DOSBox.

    For this guide, we are going to assume that the Ultima Underworld I files are placed in a folder named "UW1" (note: keep to less than 8 characters for DOS compatibility). Ultima Underworld II is placed in a folder named "UW2". Both are in the C drive. So the DOS way to represent this folder would be

    C:\UW1 (for Ultima Underworld I)
    C:\UW2 (for Ultima Underworld II)
    C:\U8 (for Ultima 8)

    If you had placed the games in a folder named GAMES, it would look like this

    C:\GAMES\UW1 (for Ultima Underworld I)
    C:\GAMES\UW1 (for Ultima Underworld II)
    C:\GAMES\U8 (for Ultima Ultima 8)

    To get DOSBox to recognize this folder, we have to ADD the following to the END of the DOSBox.conf file. That means, going all the way to the bottom of the file and putting the below lines:

    mount c: C:\UW1 (Replace "C:\UW1" with another folder name if you are using a different folder, for Underworld I only)
    mount d: C:\UW2 (Replace "C:\UW2" with another folder name if you are using a different folder, for Underworld II only)
    mount e: C:\U8 (Replace "C:\U8" with another folder name if you are using a different folder, for Ultima 8 only)
  6. To increase the volume of the MIDI sound effects to be on level with the audio effects, ADD this line

    mixer fm +250
  7. DOSBox now recognizes the two games as two separate drives. Note that all these are emulated, so your real C:\UW1 is now a C Drive and C:\UW2 is now a D Drive in DOSBox.
  8. Save the file and close. Run DOSBox. To access Underworld I, type

    C: <Enter>

    Likewise, if you want to access Ultima Underworld II folder, type

    D: <Enter>

    And for Ultima 8

    E: <Enter>
  9. Configure each of the games by executing INSTALL at the prompt (for each game) and selecting Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster Pro for DOSBox sound emulation to work properly.

    INSTALL <Enter>

    For Ultima 8, you need to enter "Change Sound Configuration" specify as defaults, except IRQ as 7. The default 5 will not work and cause the audio effects to get cut off after the first 10 seconds.
  10. Now run the game and enjoy!

    UW (for Ultima Underworld I)

    UW2 (for Ultima Underworld II)

    U8 (for Ultima 8)
  11. To switch it in full screen, press Alt+Enter together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Where can I get Ultima Underworld I: The Stygian Abyss and/or Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds and/or Ultima VIII: Pagan?
You will need to try Amazon or Ebay second hand purchases as these games are no longer in production. Perhaps GOG may get hold of the rights soon.

2) Whenever I exit the game for Ultima Underworlds, the command prompt does not return?
Most likely you have applied Sir Cabirus's Windows patch. This patch is not necessary when you run the game under DOSBox, but it doesn't seem to do any harm other than this exit problem.


The speed is too slow / fast! How can I make it run slower / faster?
Hit Ctrl+F11 to decrease the CPU cycle usage as it may be too high, or hit Ctrl+F12 to increase CPU Cycle. In my 3GHz system, I had to bump it to 13000 cycles to get it up to normal speed. The cycles is shown on the window title bar.


The voices are booming much louder than the sound effects!
This should not be a issue anymore as the command "mixer fm +350" (already in the above config) makes the MIDI sound effects in line with the Guardian voice.


The image looks quite blurish when I play the game on my LCD screen!
Try setting the scaler value in the DOSBOX.conf file to some other alternative value described here.

For those who are using CRTs displays, you will be able to enjoy the game in its original visuals by setting the scaler to none. However, some bigger CRTs such as 19 inch CRTs do not support 320 x 200 so you have to leave it at normal2x or hq2x.

Errors? Omissions? Need Help? Know something? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

This document is Copyright(©) 2001-2010 by G.Ganesh.

Last Updated 29th October 2010

12 comments RSS of last 10 posts

new post [ expand all ]

3zraLIVE (1 posts) 3zraLIVE Every time I type u8 to start the game it says "Filename =
Mode =ReadWrite
Error =2001
DOS Error=0000
Source =FLEX\FLEX.C (66)
Program halted by code.
Rest, will need it!
posted 29 May 2015 - Reply - Permanent Link
Canukistani (1 posts) Canukistani I can't open the config file to make these changes
posted 14 Dec 2013 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin When you go to

Start > Programs > DOSBox-(XX) > Options > DOSBox (XX) Options

the file should open up in Notepad...
posted 15 Dec 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous I made the above changes to Dos Box but when I go to install U8 I keep getting the same error message regarding the sound

Halting: internal Error
where: install.C-761
reason: sound\A16SBFM.DLL

I even tried disabling the sound and it still gave the same error.

anything I can do would be much appreciated for your advise.
posted 1 Aug 2013 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin Sorry, no clue. But you may want to check out this thread and Google further if it doesn't help
posted 1 Aug 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
tonimaroni (2 posts) tonimaroni Hello!
First wanna say thx for your effort on this.
At second i have a problem with the install of ultima 8.
i´ve changed the options of dosbox like in your tut but when i try to install it begins and then it says: "an incomplete installation has been detected. please re-install .... and so on and so on...
i´ve placed the unzipped gamefiles with the install.exe in a directory c:\games ...
hopefully u r able to help me out with this dos stuff...

posted 12 Feb 2013 - show 3 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin most likely it is what it says - the copy you have has not been unzipped properly
posted 12 Feb 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
tonimaroni (2 posts) tonimaroni eh? u mean that the dl`ed file wasn`t unzipped correct?
hm...okay i try it again...and reply if i had success with that.
posted 13 Feb 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous I'm also getting this same error. I've tried downloading the content several times, extracting it to different folders each time.

The install says that it is successful, although it is done almost instantaneously after choosing 'install' from the menu. It informs me that I should use U8 to start the game.

At this point, the game says that it's starting to decompress the shape file, then dumps me to the command prompt saying an incomplete installation has happened and to please re-install.

Rinse and repeat.
posted 14 Feb 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin I have no idea. I just tried runnning U8 and UW2 on a brand new DOSBox installation on Windows 7 64 bit and it works without issue..
posted 2 Mar 2013 - Reply - Permanent Link
Unregistered Anonymous Great post and thank you for the info! Unfortunately I can run U8 as described above but cannot patch the game to the current version! It keeps giving me errors (with any patch)...

"you must run the u8patch from the current directory"

- which is bologna, because I know im in the right directory. or....

"Arguments invalid. Check patch parameters"
posted 26 Oct 2011 - show 1 replies - Reply - Permanent Link
Admin Administrator Admin are you sure you require the patch in the first place? the patch is only required for the diskette version, should not be required for the CD version

Check if the version reads v2.12 in Ultima VII, if so, it's already patch

to still run the patch, specify the full path e.g.
u8patch c:\ultima8
posted 26 Oct 2011 - Reply - Permanent Link

new post [ expand all ]

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