I can't seem to find anything online that would suggest I can play this game legally without a CD. Not to mention, the CD I own has a chunk of it missing (it still plays fine and installs fine), and having it on multiple computers is a hassle because of the CD always needed requirement.

Is there any way to do this? Whenever I try playing without a CD, I get this:

enter image description here

  • 8
    Age of Empires II HD is available on Steam Aug 18, 2013 at 20:21
  • I had it come pre-installed on a computer ten years ago, which didn't require a CD. I'm not sure that helps at all or not though. :P Aug 18, 2013 at 20:30
  • 3
    A friend gave the deluxe edition to me in 2nd grade, around 2003. I have no intention of rebuying AOEIIHD when I can have tons of nostalgia with the old one, and for free
    – childe
    Aug 18, 2013 at 20:55
  • 2
    @Retrosaur I expected that, which is why I posted this as a comment, However, it might help others that have the same question and are willing to buy it on steam. Aug 18, 2013 at 21:11

5 Answers 5

  1. Buying it on Steam isn't a bad idea. There's a good community that sprang up around it, and you'll get Steam multiplayer along with some slightly better graphics. They also actively update AOE2:HD based on requests from players with things you won't get from the CD.

  2. If you want to run what you have without a CD, I would recommend downloading the unofficial/soon-to-be-official expansion Age of Forgotten Empires It includes a color fix for Windows 7 and removes the need for a CD.

  • 2
    Do you have a source for the "soon to be official" part? I've always known it was unofficial, but the "soon to be official" part is news to me.
    – jw013
    Aug 19, 2013 at 3:29
  • 1
    @jw013 It's on their FB page.
    – childe
    Aug 19, 2013 at 4:06
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    While this answer is great and all, I have a key problem. I lost the box along with the Conquerors CD ages ago, and the requirements for the expansion are to have the Conquerors CD. Is there any way I can do this with just the base AoE?
    – childe
    Aug 19, 2013 at 4:13
  • @Retrosaur Hmmm, that makes things a little harder. You can try downloading the manual version and running the fix executable found in the .zip. Otherwise you can try googling for a CD fix but be careful what you download. Aug 19, 2013 at 19:03
  • @oamlyya - Is it possible the key is stored in the registry somewhere?
    – Robotnik
    Oct 13, 2015 at 8:02

In most places it is legal to make copies of software for personal use so long as only one copy is run at one time. I am not a lawyer and this isn't legal advice, but I believe this is true in the United States, Canada, and Europe so long as the CD doesn't have any copy protection.

Therefore, for personal use, in such places you can legally make a binary image file of the disc (an "ISO") and then use virtual drive software to load the image so that it appears to be a CD drive with the disc in it. I've done this personally with my very played copy of Oblivion since I started to get concerned about disc damage.

I won't recommend any particular software because it depends so much on your exact OS and sometimes on you disc drive, but any CD cloner and any virtual CD drive software will do the job.

  • 1
    In short, just put the cd, copy it into your drive with any virtual cd drive program, mount it. Tada! Official and also no need to read it from the actual cd.
    – Arkl1te
    Apr 22, 2014 at 8:59
  • 1
    The other way is by using one of the no-cd fixes from gamecopyworld website.
    – Arkl1te
    Apr 22, 2014 at 9:00
  • so long as the CD doesn't have any copy protection I think the original AoE2 has protection.
    – n611x007
    Aug 30, 2016 at 6:23

Back in the days when I played it with friends in my LAN I made an image from the CD and mounted it with daemon tools. Worked fine.


This might not have to do with your question, but if by multiple computers you mean playing with people connected to a private network at home then this will be useful. When I play with 5 or 6 people at home and 2 discs are required, we have to take the cd out of the host computer and put it in someone else's, wait for the "cd" to appear by that person's name, then put the disc back in the host computer and start the game quickly. We have 2 discs but we always lose one so this method always comes in handy.


Try to install the DLC mod: The forgotten Empires.

Its installer can also launch the game, and it works fine without the disk and also as the main launcher for the game. You can get it from here: http://www.forgottenempires.net/aof

I installed the game but couldnt run it, because the oficiall launchers were giving me errors, but that solved my problem (and also the problem of the disk)

Just make sure to paste and leave it on the main game folder before and after installing it, then create a shorcut and move it to where you want.

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