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The question is pretty straightforward.

I have games such as Thief: Dark project, Thief: Metal age and Arx fatalis (Possibly the greatest RPGs of all time, but anyway) and these are fullscreen-only games.

Is there any way to make them windowed? Commands such as -window, -w, ALT+TAB or ALT+ENTER don't work with these games. I'm looking for some software or alternate way of making them windowed.

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If the game was never designed for windowed mode than I fear such thing is not possible, at least not without resorting to dangerous hacks that will most likely do more harm than good. – Shadow Wizard Jan 22 '12 at 13:29
I strongly doubt that. I have played Arx fatalis windowed before but I just can't remember how. From a performance point of view it can't do anything bad, since they're old games. Besides, there's probably software out there that does that. – Bugster Jan 22 '12 at 13:36
From what I know as programmer, the core code of the game must be changed to allow such thing - external program with such power is too risky as you can't know what else it might change on your machine. Maybe you had that possibility using official game patch you later removed? – Shadow Wizard Jan 22 '12 at 13:42
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Unless the game has the option to run windowed built in, there isn't a native way to do so, however I can suggest a few workarounds:

  • If the game is old enough to have a DOS mode, try running the game in DOSBox, it allows you to play DOS games in a window.
  • Try installing a virtual machine using a tool like VMWare, once you run the the virtual machine in a window, even if the game is running in full screen it will only take up the VM's window.
  • Look for a program that allows you to simulate a second screen as a window, then run the full screen game on the simulated second screen. A quick google search turned up a tool called SplitView, but there should be other tools for the job.

Please note at least the first two solutions require software emulation and might have some performance impacts compared to running these games "naturally", but given that the games are old in the first place, this shouldn't be an issue, unless your computer isn't too strong.

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You could also use Windows Virtual PC to run it in a Windows XP virtual machine. Free with certain versions of Windows 7. – Canageek Jan 22 '12 at 16:22

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