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One of the most popular real-time strategy game franchises of all time, Age of Empires, has been around since 1997, with four main games and multiple expansions released.
Arguably the most popular game in the franchise is Age of Empire II (1999), which saw a remastered version called Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition in 2019 with plenty of new features.
AoE II: DE supports 4K resolution (Ultra HD Graphics) and includes additional content.
Besides the original campaigns, you get all expansions from the original version, different AI engines, the HD Edition (2012), new game modes (co-op), and The Last Khans civilizations.
Whether you love playing through the hundreds of hours of gameplay for world domination, battling it out 1v1 with foes on the ranked ladder, or just playing against AI, AoE has something for everyone.
But, like every game, you may run into issues when trying to get the game to work for you.
Keep reading to see how to get Age of Empires 2 working so you can slaughter your enemies and achieve victory!
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Methods to Get Age of Empires 2 Working
When it comes to getting Age of Empires 2 working on your computer, there are three main methods that you can use, which you can see how to do further down. For a quick overview, the three methods are:
- Running the game in Compatibility mode
- Disabling the game launcher
- Uninstall and reinstall the game
If these methods do not work, check out the Age of Empires Support Forum, as computers can get weird and require niche solutions to fix the problem.
Usually, though, the methods below will fix the Age of Empires 2 not working on your computer.
Method 1: Running the Game in Compatibility Mode
The first method runs Age of Empires in Compatibility Mode because Age of Empires 2 is an older game.
Older games (and older software in general) designed on older systems may not always function as they should on newer computers, so compatibility mode can often fix the problem.
Steps to run in compatibility mode (pre-Windows 11):
- Right-click Age of Empires on your Desktop.
- From the list of options that pop up, select “Run in Compatibility Mode.”
- Choose the Operating System you would like to run the game in.
- Press “Apply” and then “Ok.”
- The game will now try to load up in the operating system you selected.
Since Windows 11 is becoming the norm for many computers, if you have Windows 11 installed, follow the steps below to run Age of Empires in compatibility mode.
Steps to run in compatibility mode (Windows 11):
- Right-click on the Age of Empires Shortcut on your Desktop.
- Select “Properties” from the list of options that pops up.
- In the “Properties” window, navigate to the Compatibility Tab
- Check the box next to “Run this game in compatibility mode.”
- From the drop-down list right below, select the operating system you want to run the game in.
- Press “Apply” and then “Ok.”
- The game will now try to load in the operating system you selected.
Method 2: Disabling the Game Launcher
If you got Age of Empires 2 through Steam, disabling the game launcher is another option to try to get the game to work.
You should try getting the game to run in compatibility mode, but if that fails, you can try this method.
Disabling the Game Launcher:
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- Find Age of Empires 2 on Steam.
- Right-click it and then select “Properties.”
- Navigate to “Set Launch Options.”
- Type “NoStartUp” and press “Ok.”
- Click “Local Files” and then “Browse Local Files.”
- Rename or delete the launcher.
- Make a copy of Age of Empires 2.
- Rename that copy to “Launcher.”
- Return to the Steam Properties window and close it.
Due to the complexity of this method and the chance of something going wrong, you should only do this if nothing else is working.
Method 3: Uninstall and Reinstall the Game
The final method for getting Age of Empires 2 to work is uninstalling and then reinstalling the game.
If nothing else works, the catch-all fix for game problems will often solve them, ensuring the game downloads all the files properly. If you fx experience corrupt game files, this is the way to try.
Uninstalling and reinstalling via Control Panel:
- Navigate to your Control Panel.
- Under the “Programs” section, select “Uninstall a Program.”
- Find Age of Empires 2 and click on it.
- At the top of the list, the option “Uninstall” will appear.
- Press that to uninstall Age of Empires 2 completely.
- Restart your computer to ensure all files are removed.
- Return to whatever site you used to download Age of Empires 2 (Offical game site, Steam, Xbox Live Game Pass) and follow the reinstallation steps.
The game should now work for you!
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Age of Empires 2 is one of the most popular strategy games of all time, and it’s nice to see it still getting so much love and attention, and frequent updates long after its initial release in 1999.
Getting a game like Age of Empires 2 to work when it doesn’t want to can be a struggle at times, but by following the methods outlined above, you have a good chance of fixing it.
If you found this article helpful, check out Best Starcraft 2 Zerg Build Orders for Beginners. Until next time, happy gaming!
Why Does Age of Empires 2 Keep Crashing on my Computer?
If Age of Empires 2 keeps crashing on your computer, there could be several different issues causing the problem.
Often it is either because your video card is outdated or some of the files have been corrupted somehow.
If the problem occurred after you changed the game, whether through a mod or expansion pack download, try reinstalling and uninstalling it.
Video card problems will require you to update your drivers, which you can do via the Device Manager.
What are the Requirements to Run Age of Empires 2?
Here are the requirements for those playing AoE2 on a gaming PC instead of an Xbox.
|Minimum System Requirements||Recommended System Requirements|
|OS||Windows 10||Windows 10|
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64×2 5600||2.4 Ghz i5 or AMD equivalent|
|Memory||4 GB||8 GB|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GT 420 or ATI||NVIDIA GTX 650 or AMD HD 5850|
|DirectX||Version 11||Version 11|
|Storage||43 GB||43 GB|
Does Age of Empires 2 Work on [Windows OS Version]?
Age of Empires 2 can be played on any of the Windows operating systems since Windows 7, though you will want to ensure your computer is running sufficient hardware to support the game.
If you want to play the HD edition, which is the most common nowadays, with the different expansions, it will likely only work on Windows 10 and 11.
What exactly is included in Age of Empire 2: Definitive Edition?
If you’ve bought the definitive edition from 2019 (released for Xbox in 2023), you get the original game in 4K, all the best-selling expansions from the original and HD version, and more.
Here’s a full list of things included in the Age of Empire II: Definitive Edition:
- Age of Empire II: The Age of Kings – the original game from 1999 (and the original AI)
- The Conquerors expansion (2000), which introduced different civilizations, i.e., the Aztecs, Mayans, Spanish, Koreans, and Huns.
- The HD version from 2012 (with an updated smart AI and new visuals)
- The Last Khans, which includes the Bulgarians, Cumans, Lithuanians, and Tatars
- The Forgotten expansion (2015), the second new official expansion, introduces five new civilizations, i.e., the Incas, Indians, Italians, Magyars, and Slavs
- The African Kingdoms’ expansion (2015) includes the Berbers, Ethiopians, Malians, and Portuguese.
- The Rise of Rajas (2016) adds the Burmese, Khmer, Malay, and Vietnamese
- Lords of the West (2020) includes the Burgundians and the Sicilians
- Dawn of the Dukes (2021) includes the Poles and Bohemians
- Dynasties of India (2022) includes the Bengalis, the Davidians, and the Gurjaras
The Return to Rome (25th-anniversary expansion) features content from Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (2017)
Besides the additional civilizations and new units, the expansions also come with a host of new features, including new campaigns and maps. If you’re new to the franchise, this is the best deal. Many prefer AoE 2 over Age of Empires III and IV.
Does Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition have Steam Workshop support?
No. AoE II DE has its own in-game mod workshop.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jan has played video games since the early 1980s. He loves getting immersed in video games as a way to take his mind off stuff when the outside world gets too scary. A lifelong gamer, the big interest led to a job as a lecturer on game sound at the University of Copenhagen and several written articles on video games for magazines.