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  • DocRorlach

    Vista, Dual Core & SimCity 4: How to Make Them Cooperate

    If you have any questions or comments about this article, please PM docrorlach.

    Notice & Warning:

    This tutorial is NOT for everyone. Part I is aimed only at folks with dual-core CPU’s who experience random crashes, and even then it is aimed primarily at Intel CPU’s (but it ought to work with AMD's as well).

    It is NOT the ultimate solution to all your worries! If you’ve a faulty graphics card or a card that’s acting strangely (ATI comes to mind), this will most likely not help. In such cases read the notice at the end of this tutorial – I’ve included my email address; you are welcome to send me your details and I will try and help – no guaranty given. I have a bit of experience with hardware – my first PC was an Osborne running on CPM (anyone remember that?).

    That said, a few folks have successfully applied this solution – yours truly included – and lived to see game play without CTD’s other than through faulty installations of plug-ins.

    Part I:

    The most important step you have to take is to make a backup copy of the SimCity 4.exe! Make a copy in a different folder! If you do not do that and you make a mistake during the next steps, you will have to re-install. So, please make a backup now.

    Ok, assuming that’s done, go online: http://www.robpol86....es/imagecfg.php and download the ImageCfg utility you find there. Make sure you save it in the same directory (folder) as your SimCity 4.exe.

    Then close that site before it gets confusing.

    Next step: on the Start Menu click on Run, then type CMD into the text box.


    HIT ENTER. The DOS window appears, usually showing your user path (same as My Documents when you still had Windows XP (your username instead of mine will be shown).


    For the sake of this tutorial I am assuming that your SimCity.exe is located in C:\PROGRAM FILES\MAXIS\SIMCITY 4 Deluxe\APPS. If it is somewhere else, replace the path below with the one applicable in your case. If it is on a different drive, you will need to switch to that drive first by typing the drive letter, followed by a colon (, followed by the enter key.

    At the prompt, type CD \Program Files\Maxis\SimCity 4 Deluxe\Apps, then hit Enter

    Now check, using the DIR command, that you indeed have the ImageCFG.exe in that folder. If you do, type the following command – EXACTLY - and then hit enter:

    imagecfg -a 0x1 “SimCity 4.exe”

    The parenthesis (“ around SimCity 4.exe must be typed as well, otherwise you will get an error message!

    Wait for a moment – it does not take long. ImageCFG is repackaging the EXE. You will see a series of instructions the utility is carrying out, looking something (but not exactly) like this:


    Please remember: the screenshot above is just the sample from the site - it is not what you will see!

    Once the process is complete, you’ll be back at the prompt and you can type Exit to close the DOS Window.

    Before you storm off to play again, please also do the priority fix in Part II, the two work best together.

    If you have problems, delete the fixed SimCity 4.exe (or rename it) and copy the backup back to its proper location.

    Part II:

    The following is an optional addition to the SimCity 4 Shortcut – it works only on Vista, and can be applied regardless of the CPU – dual core or single core. What it does is to change the priority the game takes over other stuff that might be running. It does not automatically put it ahead of everything else, but it will set it to high, which usually is more than good enough, and happens regardless of the load order.

    To do this, right-click on the shortcut you always use to run the game, then select Properties. The following window comes up:


    In your case it will probably say “C:\..” instead of my “D:\..” but that is not relevant here. Important is that you put the following text (copy & paste) BEFORE whatever it says on that line:

    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c START "high priority sc4" /high

    Exactly as it is shown here, including the parenthesis. Thus, the entire line will then read:

    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c START "high priority sc4" /high "D:\Program Files\Maxis\SimCity 4 Deluxe\Apps\SimCity 4.exe"

    All quotation marks (parenthesis) must be used. If you have any games switches, like

    [code] -Intro:off[/code]

    or some such, they must come at the very end. Click "Apply" or "OK" and close the dialog. You are done.


    This did not grow on my pasture, not at all. I’ve read it in someone else’s thread, here or elsewhere – I cannot recall. But it saved me from giving up on SC4 entirely. I would love to give credit to whoever came up with this solution first but I cannot remember who it was (although I do “suspect” RippleJet!)

    Final Note:

    If you still have problems, do email me or send me a PM - including all the details about your computer, your graphics cards, Windows OS, etc., that you can find. I will try and help, but you’ll need to be patient – I am not always at my PC.

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