Play Black & White on Windows 7

Disclaimer: I am not responsible if you mess up your computer. Proceed at your own risk!

Having installed Window 7 recently, I wanted to install my old games and see if they still worked. After several hours of installing, patching, uninstalling, reinstalling, tweaking and hair pulling I finally have Black & White working flawlessly on Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit.

Black & White came out in March of 2001, before Windows XP was released. As it turns out, I had the same problems trying to get this game to work in Windows XP that I had in Windows 7. Therefore, this guide should suffice for a Windows XP or Windows Vista install, but I will be referring to Windows 7.

If you’ve already tried installing the game and have been met with problems, I highly suggest you uninstall everything related to Black & White and start from scratch. This includes uninstalling the game, deleting the folder where you installed Black & White and removing any Windows registry keys that were left behind by the uninstaller.

I’m going to assume you know your way around regedit. If you don’t, you have a lot of reading to do.

If you are on a 32 bit system, you’ll want to delete the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black & White
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White Clan Patch
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White Patch
HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-2309910519-2795697514-4011825439-1000\Software\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black & White

If you are on a 64 bit system, you’ll want to delete the following registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black & White
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White Clan Patch
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black and White Patch
HKEY_USERS\S-1-5-21-2309910519-2795697514-4011825439-1000\Software\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black & White

Now it’s time to get to business. Pop your Black & White disc in your optical drive and start the installation. You can install the game anywhere you want. I have a separate hard drive just for games, so I installed to E:\Black & White. At the end of the installation, it will ask you (among other things) if you want to play the game–select no.

Now is a good time to install any add-ons you wish to use. Note that after each add-on you install, Windows 7 will start the Program Compatibility Assistant asking you whether or not the program installed correctly. You can select this program installed correctly for each.

Windows 7 Program Compatibility Assistant

I recommend getting the four additional creatures; the leopard, the mandrill, the gorilla and the horse as well as the villager banter add-on. You can download the football add-on now too, but you can’t install it until after you patch the game.

Before you go patch crazy and install the latest one, let me tell you what I found in my research. There were a total of three patches released, patch 1.1, patch 1.2 and patch 1.3. Patch 1.3 only adds support for the P5 glove. If you happen to have one of these, then you’ll want to get patch 1.3 but if you don’t you’ll want to stick with patch 1.2. In theory, patch 1.3 includes all the fixes and additions from both patches 1.1 and 1.2 and patch 1.2 includes the fixes from patch 1.1. this means you should be able to just install the patch for the final target version you want, but I had some problems that I think were related to the patch not quite installing correctly. There is no harm in installing each patch individually, so I strongly recommend that you install patch 1.1, then patch 1.2 immediately afterward. Finally install patch 1.3 if you have a P5 glove.

Now you can install the football add-on if you wish.

Our last step before launching the game involves configuring the audio and video settings. This is the area that caused me the most grief. Look in your start menu for a Setup entry under the Lionhead Studios Ltd folder and launch it.

Black and White setup

Since this game is now an astonishing eight years old, I’m sure your computer can easily handle the maximum detail that the game will allow. I selected Maximum Detail, the highest resolution available (1280×960), 32 bit color and fired up the game. Much to my disbelief, the game was getting less than five FPS and was flickering horribly! Not only that, but I was unable to use the menu system to exit the game. Once I alt-tabbed out of the game, it crashed.

Black and White has stopped working

I set the next lowest detail level and tried again and experienced the exact same problem. In fact, the only setting that gave an acceptable game experience was minimum detail. Are you kidding me? That’s unacceptable for an eight year old game! Luckily, you can get around this problem by using the Custom video settings.

Black and White Advanced graphics options

In fact, I enabled every single setting on this screen (exactly as shown) and got silky smooth frame rates. I have no idea what the setup program is setting when it uses maximum detail, but if you use custom instead it seems to work great.

For the icing on the cake, this game is capable of widescreen resolutions outside of those shown in the setup program. Bust out regedit again and navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Lionhead Studios Ltd\Black & White\BWSetup

Look for two DWORD values in this key called ScreenH and ScreenW which correlate to screen height and screen width respectively.

Black and White regedit screen width

Make sure you select the Decimal radio button for the base and enter your desired screen width and height in each DWORD. I’m using 1680×1050. For the full report on widescreen support, check out the Black & White wiki page on

If you still have trouble with Black & White, check out the official forums hosted by Lionhead. Good luck!

Install Need for Speed Underground and Most Wanted together

If you own both Need for Speed Underground and Need for Speed Most Wanted, you’ve inevitably tried to install them together. The first game will install and play flawlessly, however, something strange happens when you run autoplay on the second game. It doesn’t matter which game you install first, the second will exhibit the behavior I am about to describe. In my case, I had already installed Need for Speed Underground, and this is what I saw when running Autoplay off the disc for Need for Speed Most Wanted:

Need for Speed Most Wanted Autoplay dialog

Most Wanted has a play button instead of an install button even though I haven’t installed the game! The reason this happens is that both games have a main executable named speed.exe and the Autoplay program checks the registry to see if that executable is already installed. When it sees speed.exe (which is associated with Need for Speed Underground in my case) in the EA Games registry key, it assumes that Most Wanted has already been installed and gives you the option to play it. Of course, hitting play here isn’t going to work because the game isn’t installed yet.

There is a simple solution for this conundrum, but you’ll have to use the registry editor. Then again, if you’re playing Need for Speed on your PC instead of a console, you’re probably already a hardcore PC gamer and know your way around regedit. In any case, hit the Windows key + R on your keyboard to get a run dialog, and enter regedit and hit enter. Drill down on the left side to the Need for Speed game that you already have installed. If you’re on Windows 32 bit, you’ll find it in:


If you’re on Windows 64 bit like me, you’ll find it in:


Need for Speed Underground registry key

Simply right click the game key (in my case it was Need for Speed Underground), hit Rename, and add some text to the end of the key. It doesn’t matter what text you use because we’re going to change this back to the original value later. Keep regedit open and re-run the Need for Speed Autoplay for the game you are trying to install.

If everything went according to plan, you should now have the option to install. Start the install process and swap the discs out as needed.

Need for Speed Most Wanted install progress

When the game is finished installing, go back to regedit and rename the key back to its original value. Close the registry editor and you’re good to go!

Crouch toggling in Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead crouch If you have been playing Left 4 Dead for more than a few hours, you no doubt have come to the realization that crouching is a very important strategy. When a zombie horde hones in on you, it’s a good idea to huddle up with your team mates in a corner. You and another survivor can crouch in front and shove the zombies back, and two people behind can fire over your head to disperse the zombies more rapidly. Why then are you required to hold down the crouch button for possibly dozens of seconds to remain in this strategic position? I don’t know about you, but my finger gets tired holding that button down.

Fortunately, my friends, there is an easier way. If you hunt down your autoexec.cfg file that I told you about previously, you can add a command to the file to change the crouch behavior. The toggle_duck command will reverse whatever state of crouch you happen to be in; if you are currently standing up, you will crouch when pressing the button. If you are crouched, pressing the button will make you stand up. Sweetness, right?

I use mouse button 4 for crouch toggling, but make sure you insert whatever key or button you use in the following command:

bind "mouse4" "toggle_duck"

Now you just press or click once to crouch, and again to stop crouching.

I find this very helpful for the hunter as well, because you can be ready to pounce at any time without fear of standing up when in the heat of battle!