Installing Alpha Centauri Alien Crossfire on Windows 7

This is kind of a random post, but its something I ran into this week on vacation after getting a copy of Soldout Softwares Alpha Centauri with the Alien Crossfire expansion pack. If you’re like me and tried installing the game from the cd, the setup.exe just hangs. But never fear there is a way to get it working!

Step 1 – Make a directory somewhere on your machine, but not in program files, or program files(x86). Otherwise in order to save you will have to run the game as an administrator. What I did was create a directory structure on the root of my drive “DRIVE:\Firaxis\Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri\”.

Step 2 – Copy the contents of the “programs” directory from Disc 1 to the directory we created above. Now copy the Directories FX, MOVIES, and VOICES into the directory. Now your structure should look something like the following,

Now do the same with CD2, copy the contents of programs to the root of the same directory and then copy FX/MOVIES/VOICES, and just acknowledge the file overwrites. At this point you now have a “working” copy of the game, you just run Terran.exe, or Terranx.exe in order to play, but you will probably have a few odd issues with windows not appearing, and low resolution. So I recommend you follow the rest of the directions posted at this forum (2nd post).

In case the above forum post is deleted or something I wanted to have the info here as well, but I encourage trying the link above first.

I run Alpha Centauri and it’s expansion Alien Crossfire on Windows 7 64-bit with no problems. However the following are a few of the things I’ve had to do to make them work the best they can:

Once you apply the Windows XP Compatibility patch then you are almost good to go for Windows 7 64-bit. If you are getting an error message then try to re-download that patch or run the patch itself in a compatibility mode perhaps with the “run as administrator” option.

You are almost ready to go. Before you even install any patches first make sure the installation folder is not within either the “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)” folders. This is because Alpha Centauri (and Alien Crossfire) put their save games within their folders. Starting with Vista and newer this will not work because of User Access Control. So, choose an installation folder outside of “Program Files..”

Alpha Centauri’s native resolution is 800×600. You can change this however: in the installation folder, find a file named “Alpha Centauri.ini” and open it with NotePad. In that file, Under “[Alpha Centauri]” add two lines:

Video Mode=1024

The first line will tell the game to run at 1024×768 which is the maximum resolution using DirectDraw that the game can run with. The second line tells the game to not use DirectDraw and it will instead run at your desktop resolution.

Not done yet!  Alpha Centauri itself (not Alien Crossfire) has a bug when running at your desktop resolution. In the main menu the menu’s are not visible. This makes getting into a game practically blind luck. There is a fix however:

If you have Alien Crossfire, get this patch: Here. Also get this patch: Here. Rename terran.exe and terranx.exe (if you have Alien Crossfire) so you have backup’s of them. Then unarchive the first patch into your SMAC folder then unarchive the second into it as well overwriting any files (but keep backups of any overwritten files). You can skip the first archive if you don’t have Alien Crossfire. Either of these patches will fix the menu not being visible when using the DirectDraw=0 option. So, you’ll be at your desktop resolution and everything will work with these unofficial patches. Both unofficial patches also come with something extra: AI improvements! That is just bonus on top of getting them to work at desktop-resolution!

Almost done! Go back to the “Alpha Centauri.ini” file. Under that put in:


This line if it doesn’t already exist. With the unofficial patches you can use “=0” but if you don’t use those patches then you will need to set it to “=1” or they will crash.

All of these instructions assume you can get Alpha Centauri to it’s last patch: the Windows XP/2000 patch. If you can do that then these instructions just “fix it up” to be the best it can be on a modern system.

If anything is unclear or I can help further just post back. Post back regardless whether you get it working or not!

Also, Alpha Centauri itself is now available on Good Old here: Link. I don’t know how well the unofficial patches will work with that version but that version is “turn-key”: it’s super simple to install and get going!

And enjoy 🙂

14 thoughts on “Installing Alpha Centauri Alien Crossfire on Windows 7

  1. Thanks so much – I just ordered a copy of this game and was about to freak out that it wasn’t working. Oddly enough, other than copying all the files over, I didn’t have to do a damn thing to get it to work and display perfectly on my computer. Thanks again!


  2. Thanks for this – I got Alien Crossfire working fine on Windows XP, but Windows 7 I was having issues with. The original Alpha Centuari worked fine, it was just the expansion pack. I will give this a go tonight, thanks again!

  3. Unfortunately this didnt work for me. When I run up Alien Crossfire, it tells me my CPU is not supported and crashes. the original though works fine!

  4. I massively failed! I edited the .ini file, but….when you start the game up first time, it creates another entry, under [PREFERENCES] with it set to =0. Changed that to 1, got rid of the original entry, all is well again.

  5. May you succeed in every endeavor! I’ve put this forum to notice of two friends and they send their regards as well. Thank you.

  6. I have followed your instructions with one exception and still get stopped : “terranx.exe has stopped working”.

    The exception: “install.exe” seem to work fine, so I did not go through the steps to manually transfer the files to HD.

    Other questions. One, does the Alien Crossfire cd have files for both SMAC and Crossfire ? They seem to, so I did not use my other SMAC cd.
    Two, does your suggestions for adapting to Windows 7 display mean that I do not have to run the games in Windows XP compatibility mode ?
    Three, My SMAC cd, when loaded into the HD, worked fine. The Crossfire cd, when loaded, has proved impossible to fix. (Hence, my presence here.) Note,the Crossfire cd worked fine on earlier, XP loaded computers and still appears clean and unscratched. Was there a difference in the two cd’s when manufactured ?

  7. Question for you Loktar–why must we copy only those files you mentioned from the disk to another folder instead of the entire disk’s contents?

    • I honestly cannot remember why.. I’m pretty sure those were the only directories that Alpha Centauri would access the CD drive for (movies, sounds, etc) and the other files were for the install. I’m not 100% though.

  8. I try to install and it goes into the install and installs the sound but it gets to 47% of movies and stops. please help if you can.

  9. Sorry about commenting again I have it installed but now I can’t play It says my CPU is not sported and the game may crash but it never gets to the menu.

  10. “Probloms installing old games”, locate Alpha Centauri.ini file and change “ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=0” line to “ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=1”. The message about CPU will popup, but the game will load and run

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