How to get King's Quest V
to run in Windows 2000 or XP

by Collector

Both the DOS and Windows versions of King's Quest V will run in Windows 2000 or XP, though both have issues on modern XP machines. Most will find the music does not sound as good in the DOS version and many have had trouble getting the digital audio to work. The Windows game requires a 640 x 480 screen resolution and 256 color depth to start and XP does not give ready access to this display. Also the infamous "Out of heap" error that many encounter near the end of the game is more of an issue with the Windows version. NOTE: The King's Quest V on floppy disk only has the DOS version with no speech, so those with the game on floppies will have to follow the instructions for DOS.

DOS Version

Without DOSBox, you may need to use VDMSound to have the music track and speech in the DOS game. You will encounter the "Unable to initialize your audio hardware" (See here for more details about this error) error when you start the game. This problem may be fixed with the GOSiERRA digital audio driver patch. Do not use one of the updated SoundBlaster drivers from Sierra's FTP server as this will not only not work, but will also make the MIDI not work also. These updated drivers have caused problems in other games such as endlessly looping sound, freezes and even memory errors. Also, the GOSiERRA patch may not always work, even when playing the game in DOSBox, if you have your cycles in DOSBox set too high.

Many may still have trouble getting the digital audio to work, even after using VDMSound and the GOSiERRA patch. After applying GOSiERRA, go to your Sierra folder where your game is installed, and find the file named "KQ5.BAT" and right click it and choose "Note Run with VDMS".

NOTE: More often than not, with VDMS, the audio driver will still not initialize. If this happens, just close the game and restart it again until it works. Don't be surprised if it takes you a dozen times.

DOSBox might be a better alternative for running the DOS version of KQ5 for those with faster computers, though setting it up can be a bit involved. If you leave the large audio resource file, "AUDIO001.002" on the CD, you will also have to mount your CD-ROM drive in DOSBox, or, you can copy it to your game's folder on your hard drive. Go to your game's folder and open "RESOURCE.CFG" in Notepad and change the line:

audio = D:


audio = .\

Note: D: may be different in your file, depending on what letter your CD-ROM has.

Go to the folder where you installed DOSBox and drag a shortcut from "dosbox.exe" to your KQ5 folder. Now move the file "KQ5.BAT" from your Sierra folder to the KQ5 folder where your game is installed. Then right click on this file and choose "Edit" to open it in Notepad. In it, depending on where you installed the game, will be:

cd kq5
sierra C:\sierra\kq5\resource.cfg

Change it to just:

sierra .\resource.cfg

Just drop this bat file on top of the DOSBox shortcut to launch KQ5 in DOSBox.

You can also create a custom DOSBox shortcut for King's Quest V by following these instructions.

One other advantage of DOSBox is that you don't have to use the GOSiERRA patch for the "Unable to initialize your audio hardware" error. Back when computers came with a "Turbo" switch (a sort of speed switch,) Sierra's workaround was to turn off the Turbo switch to start the game, after which you could turn the Turbo back on. You can mimic the turbo switch solution by lowering your cycles (Ctl+F11) before starting your game. You may raise the cycles back up after the game starts (Ctl+F12).

Windows Version

NOTICE: The following information is now dated. Since Windows 3x can now be installed in the current version or a CVS of DOSBox, the Windows version can now be played in Windows 3x in DOSBox.

The Windows version is easier and less involved to get going. It may also be the best choice for those with computers too slow to run DOSBox smoothly. Most will also find the music and audio sound a lot better than with the DOS version, too. When you run the Windows version of KQ5, it checks your resolution and color depth and if it finds you have 640 x 480 and 256 colors, it will launch the game, if not it will quit. Compatibility Mode was made for this as XP does not normally offer this resolution and color depth. The problem is that the game checks it before Windows can change your resolution.

There are two ways that you can overcome this:

  • By changing your resolution in the display settings ("List All Modes..." button on the Adapter page of the Advanced settings of the display settings) before you run the game. You will have to remember to manually change it back after you are finished playing. Also, there some utilities that will easily change the resolution for you, such as MultiRes.

    If you use this method, note the refresh rate BEFORE you change it. If you set the refresh rate too high for your monitor or adapter, your display may become unreadable.

  • By making a batch file to launch the game and applying the "Compatibility Mode" to this ".bat" file so that your resolution/color depth will be correct before the game tries to launch.

With the first method you'll have to do this every time you want to play the game. The second method is the easiest way to run the game since all you have to do when you want play the game is double click the "Bat" file or even a short cut on your desktop that points to it.

Here is how to do it:

  1. If you have not done so already, install the Windows version of KQV ("SETUP.EXE" not the DOS "INSTALL.EXE".) You will need to change your resolution to 640x480, 256 colors, first.
  2. Open up "Notepad" and type or copy this:
    SCIKQ5.EXE -h .\win\winres.cfg
    and save it in your KQV folder (default is C:\SIERRA/KQ5) as "King's Quest V.bat" (the exact name does not matter but it does need the Bat extension) or you can unzip this Bat file to your KQV folder.

  3. Set this bat file to run in Compatibility mode and check BOTH the "Run in 640 x 480 screen resolution" and "Run in 256 colors" boxes.

  4. Now just right click and drag a shortcut from the bat file to your desktop or where ever you want it.

When you want to play the game, all you have to do is double click the shortcut and enjoy this game. You can even change the icon to the King's Quest V icon (right click on the shortcut, choose properties and click the change icon button.) Note: on some computers the Compatibility mode method does not like it is suppose to. Those users will have to use the first method.


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