I can't install C&C Red Alert, I downloaded it from Chip.de (which is the website of a respected german computer magazine), but when I try to start it (after mounting the CD ISOs with Daemon Tools) it says that the application is not supported cause it's a 16-Bit-Version or so, so what should I do? My operating system is Windows 7 64 Bit.

  • When you're asking for technical support, it's good to include as much information as you can. Operating system, system architecture, and the exact error message would be a good start.
    – SaintWacko
    Nov 29, 2012 at 6:04
  • I love that game, first game I was ever addicted to for the playstation.
    – Paralytic
    Nov 29, 2012 at 17:23
  • CnCnet.org has full hard disk installers for all games, with extra languages support for C&C1 and RA1, so starting from isos isn't really necessary.
    – Nyerguds
    Jan 12, 2016 at 12:18

4 Answers 4


I believe that Red Alert itself is 32-bit (and so should work fine if you can get it installed), however it sounds like the installer you have is 16-bit - 16-bit code simply won't run on 64 bit operating systems.

According to this thread the game content is just dumped in a directory on the CD and so you should be able to bypass the installer by copying these to your destination directory

  1. Create a folder on your hard disk where you want to install the game.
  2. Copy the complete contents of the INSTALL folder of the game's CD (Allied or Soviet, doesn't matter which one) to that folder you made on your hard disk.

Alternatively there is an article here which describes common methods of converting 16-bit installers into 32-bit installers - depending on what sort of installer Red Alert used this method may work.

Finally you could try installing it in a virtual machine running some 32-bit OS (or possibly even DOSBox) and then copying the installation directory off your VM onto your 64-bit machine (or just run it on the VM). If there are components installed outside of the installation directory then this might not work, but its probably still worth a try.

  • DOSBox won't work (for installing the Win95 version anyway) unless you actually install a Windows 95 on it. DOSBox itself can't run 16 bit Windows programs.
    – Nyerguds
    Jan 12, 2016 at 12:16

Seeing as it says "16 bit" it most likely needs an operating system that supports a 16 bit core. Todays processing cores are at least 32 bit.
To get this thing to run you will need a native Disk Operating System (DOS) environment. Something that was kicked out with Windows 98.
So you will either need to run this under Windows 95 or DOS.

Alternatively you could use software like DOSBox or ScummVM to get it to work, which I think will be the preferred method.
Be advised that ScummVM is designed for point-and-click-adventures, so you will most likely only get this to run under DOSBox.

  • DOSBox will defiantly work if it is the original C&C red alert as the game was made for dos/windows 95.
    – Halfwarr
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:14
  • 1
    Actually you just need a 32-bit OS - e.g. a 32-bit version of Windows 7
    – Justin
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:53
  • @Justin That is NOT true, 32 bit version or 64 bit version of windows refers to the amount of RAM it can hold, meaning a 32bit version can use up to 2^32 bytes of RAM which equals to 4 GB of RAM, 64bit versions of windows can use up to 2^64 bytes of RAM. I refer to the actual processor. the processors of today have 32 bit long instructions. instructions that are 16bit long cannot be processed, as it is an entirely different instruction set on hardware level. Please research things like that before commenting.
    – Strike
    Nov 29, 2012 at 14:57
  • 2
    Actually this is something I know a lot about - All x86 processors (including x86-64) are fully backwards compatible by changing the mode they are running in. A 32-bit OS runs with the processor in legacy protected mode, which supports both 16-bit and 32-bit code depending on the "default operation size flag" in the current segment descriptor - this means that a 32-bit OS can still run 16-bit code by using a segment with this flag set to 0. (A 64-bit OS runs in long mode which doesn't support 16-bit code and so can't do this)
    – Justin
    Nov 29, 2012 at 16:14
  • @Justin The chart you linked suggests that there is a "compatibility sub-mode" in long mode which would allow to run 16-Bit software while using a 64-Bit OS... Can you clarify this?
    – Andalur
    Nov 29, 2012 at 20:23

Recently I had difficulty to get it to work, even after following different advice on the web, and after different methods and patches, I figured out something that works for me. It expands on Justin's reply, with a few crucial details that made the difference.

I'm using Windows XP Service Pack 3, 32bit, but it might work for you (since many people with different versions of Windows seem to be reporting similar problems and error messages).


  • EA's official torrent with red alert (includes patch 1.08 in folder "Patches")
  • User created "ddraw.dll" - http://hifi.iki.fi/cnc-ddraw/
  • Software for opening ("mounting") files of type .iso (I use "daemon tools")


  • NOTES:

    • DO NOT USE THE NORMAL GAME INSTALLER (setup.exe, install.exe, whatever)
    • DO NOT UPDATE TO PATCH 3.03 (as suggested in some web guides)
    • (No need to put the Ra95.exe in any compatibility mode with older windows versions DO Need to put Ra95.exe in compatibility with windows 95)

      1. create a new directory to place the game in your drive, eg: g:\games\red alert
      2. mount one of the iso files in daemon tools (either CD1_ALLIED_DISK.ISO or CD2_SOVIET_DISK.ISO)
      3. explore the mounted iso's drive, and copy the contents of the INSTALL folder to the folder where you want the game to be (g:\games\red alert)
      4. copy the patch file, RA108USP.EXE, to the game folder (g:\games\red alert)
      5. run RA108USP.EXE in the game folder, which will extract several files, one of them Patch.exe
      6. run PATCH.exe
      7. copy ddraw.dll to the game folder
      8. Right click on Ra95.exe, go to "properties", "Compatibility", and set "Run this program in compatibility mode with Windows 95"
      9. run Ra95.exe once, should work, exit (ddraw.ini gets created, where you can set several properties, such as window size)
      10. change the window size in ddraw.ini, where it says "width=0" and "height=0", put the window size you want
      11. activate music if it can't be heard (increase music volume in options, after starting a game map)

You will probably need to mount the respective game's iso's when you want to play Allies or Soviet campaigns.

Hope this is helpful to you (or anyone else who is having trouble).

EDIT: added instruction for placing the executable in compatibility mode with Windows 95, which is apparently necessary (although ddraw says that it shouldn't be used)


redalert1.com has a download and multiplayer service that works for me on Windows 7.


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