How to Install and Run The Sims 1 on Windows 8

Written by cinderellimouse
I recently decided to install all my old The Sims 1 games on my new laptop. 

They seemed to install quite happily but when I tried to run the game, it would crash straight away. 

After spending a lot of time searching for help, the only advice I could find was to:

  • run the game as administrator
  • use windows compatibility mode

None of which worked for me.  🙁

Not one to give up easily when I’ve set my mind to something, I spent a lot time uninstalling, reinstalling, complaining, brandishing-a-screwdriver-at-my-laptop-in-a-simlike-menacing-fashion… until FINALLY something worked!  I’m not quite sure what that something was, but let me talk you through the steps I took, and hopefully it will work for you too!  ^.^

  • First make sure any old installation attempts are completely removed!  First, uninstall any old sims 1 games using the windows control panel.  Then open up your files with Explorer and remove all traces of the game from C: Program Files and Program Files (x86).  I just deleted the whole Maxis folder, but be careful you don’t accidentally delete any other Maxis games that might share the file.
  • At this point it might be a good idea to restart your computer, just to keep things tidy.
  • Pop the base game disk into the drive but DON’T let it auto-run.  Cancel out anything that pops up.  Now, using Explorer, click on the disk, open the ‘Set-up’ file and double-click the file ‘Setup_English’ to run it (I guess you could choose any language).
  • The installation process should have started.  Follow the instructions BUT when it asks you to choose a location, change it from ‘Program Files (x86)’ to ‘Program Files’.  So it will have the destination ‘C/Program Files/Maxis’ (I just deleted the ‘(x86)’ bit).
  • You can follow the installation as normal.  You don’t need to register the game, you can choose ‘register later’.
  • Once everything is installed, DON’T use the launcher to run the game.  Instead, open up the newly installed Maxis folder (which should be in C/Program Files).  Open the ‘The Sims’ folder and find the application file simply called ‘Sims’ (for me it has a blue octagon shaped icon).  Right-click the icon and choose ‘Run as administrator’.

Hopefully your game should run!


I installed all the expansions in the same way, by ignoring the auto-run, and running the installation by finding the ‘Setup_English’ file instead.  It seems to automatically follow the same destination as the base game, so you don’t need to worry about that.  Just remember to avoid the launcher and run the ‘Sims’ application as administrator each time.

I find that I can’t jump between windows while playing: the game will either freeze or the graphics will go all glitchy.  So once your playing you can’t pause to tweet about Bella slapping Bob Newbie.  But at least the game is quick to load and save!


Feel free to ask me for help and I’ll do my best!  You can always find me on the official Sims 3 forums or on Twitter!  ^.^

Good luck and Happy Simming!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Damn it didn’t work for me. It opens for like 2 seconds then minimises. The only thing I did differently was when you said ‘open the ‘Set-up’ file and double-click the file ‘Setup_English’’, I only had a set-up file so I clicked on that, there wasn’t a setup_english file. Also I don’t really understand what you mean by ‘explorer’.

    • Explorer is the program where you go to get to your folders. Also known as File explorer or Windows explorer. it is not the same as Internet Explorer. But the names can be very confusing.

      As for your issue. try and make a short cut on your desktop from that set-up file.
      Right click the short cut, go to properties and you get a small window.

      Go to the shortcut tab if you are not already there.
      There are 3 things you can try.
      Add -w at the end of the ‘target’ line (spacebar -w)
      or -r800-600

      See if that works.

      (I found a link to someone who posted an image of it on the forums: http://forums.thesims.com/en_US/discussion/comment/14081048/#Comment_14081048)

  • Didn’t work. There is no dish in the drive. Please insert a disk into drive E:. Despite the disk still being in the drive.

  • Great advice but my issue was different. It installed flawlessly I’m running in compatibility mode and as administer however there are glitches with the graphics. It won’t show what actions I tell them to do in the corner and everything in build and buy is a blank square. I am running from the file that you said. I’m going to try to restart the game.

  • Please can you tell me what you mean by “Explore” do you mean the internet
    I really don’t get what you mean by it

  • You have to pretty computer illiterate to understand what he means by “explorer”.

    Very simply put, to “use explorer to open a file” just means “open a file” forget he even said it.

  • This is great, thank you for sharing!
    I’m running into the same problem as you did, however, when I try to reinstall, I can’t seem to change the file path? When I ran the installer for the first time, I went with the (x86) file, but now I’m not even being asked for where to install (and the prompt for the registration key also doesn’t appear). Do you have any idea how to fix that? Again, thank you for providing this tutorial!

  • I can’t save the game. I’m glad it’s finally working and I have been enjoying it. But I hit the save button and it throws an error saying ‘an error has occurred and the game cannot be saved’ Almost makes me not want to play because I have to start all over every time I play. That’s half the fun to build up the people, etc. Do you have any ideas on how to fix this? Thanks.


    • I don’t think there is a way to fix this 🙁 I think we have to accept that The Sims 1 won’t work well on Windows 8.

  • Thanks sww for answering. I will continue to play. Someone told me to use xbox 360 but that uses the TV I believe…don’t know anything about that but I want to be able to play my games while my husband is watching his programs on TV. Besides, I really like the original Sims.


  • Thanks for posting this! I can now play the sims on my laptop!!! However I do have a glitch i was wondering if anyone knows how to fix. When pop-ups (like from a phone call or when dueling in magic town) come up, they are invisible and the game pauses but if I click around the screen i eventually find the okay button. I can still play the game, but it is a bit of a pain. Thanks again for your help!!

  • I tried to run Sims, but a pop up comes up and asks about an unknown publisher. I clicked yes, and it started to run, but immediately stopped. Any ideas on a fix?

  • Thanks so much! I’m so glad I can play an old favorite on a new computer!! I have the Deluxe Edition, and there wasn’t a “setup_english” option in my folder, just a “setup” option. It worked anyways!

  • What order should the expansion packs be installed in?

    I did Living It Up and am now trying to run House Party but a dialogue box pops up and says I installed them the other way round each time I try to run the game.

    • Hi Annabel,

      The Sims 1 expansions should always be installed in order they were released. So that means in this order:

      The Sims: Livin’ Large (or The Sims: Livin’ It Up in the UK)
      The Sims: House Party
      The Sims: Hot Date
      The Sims: Vacation (or The Sims: On Holiday in the UK)
      The Sims: Unleashed
      The Sims: Superstar
      The Sims: Makin’ Magic

      You can leave out expansion packs you don’t own.
      Odd though, because House party did come after Livin’ it up.

  • I am having a problem—went through the setup instructions and put it on “run as administrator” and changed the conpatibility. (I have Windows XP.) Still not working! I tried installing it the other day and it worked but then I messed up and tried putting expansion packs on in the wrong order so I uninstalled and deleted all the files.
    Also, a box pops up when I try to install it that says “use the launcher”. What the heck does this mean?! Help! Really want to play these old games again!


  • Do you know how to change the resolution in the game? Im playing on Windows 8 and the screen is stretched making the graphics blurry. Thanks!

  • not working… :(. First run through I was able to run the program, get in but when i tried putting a family in a house it would not load the family to the house and when i said save it would say there was an error. I tried uninstalling through control panel as well as delete in explorer, and restart, then tried reinstalling following your directions and now it wont even open the game.

  • my sims 1 complete collection game has not been working on Windows 7. i’m gonna try re-installing it with this method soon.

  • I’ve done everything as you demonstrated here, but when mine gets to the loading screen (when the words are scrolling on the bottom), mine forces close. Any suggestions?

  • Didn’t work for me:(( Got up to the installation part where it gives you the percentage of how much it has installed. Came to 5% and stopped and an error popped up talking about cyclic redundancy check? Tried many other ways but I guess it’s just not for me unless anyone else has any other suggestions to help!?

  • Thank you so much for this! I can’t tell you how many times I uninstalled and reinstalled with no success but this worked!

  • I followed your instructions, and after hours of fiddling around (with various issues, including ones that I could have avoided) I am able to either A. Get to the launcher, and when I select the resolution, nothing happens, or B. Run the program as an administrator with / without compatibility, and then the mouse shows a loading sign and stops. Nothing happens. Any help with this please, I would highly love to play this game again, as it was one of my favorites as a child.

    • Hi! Are you trying to install it on Windows 10?

      If you are. It is because Windows 10 has trouble with SafeDisc and SecuRom, and it won’t play from the CD.
      So sadly, it won’t work.

    • I have the same issue, but I am not running windows 10 just windows 8, none of the solutions here worked for me

  • Whenever I put the disk in after uninstalling The Sims: Deluxe Edition (the only way it lets me uninstall it is to restore my laptop to before I installed it!!) It completely bypasses the “Select Location” part and just goes straight to where you put in the serial number. Any idea how to fix this?

    • Hi! That is a pesky problem! Have you checked it really was completely uninstalled? By going to “C/Program Files” and “C/Program Files (x86)” and check if there really isn’t a Maxis folder or check in and EA folder you see if there really isn’t a sims folder. Maybe it already recognizes a location. Other than that, I wouldn’t know what is going on. Sorry

  • When i found this, i actually hoped to be able to play the SIms 1 now. but even tho i did as you wrote up there, nothing worked .-. after i klicked on the button to start the game, it crushed. i even looked at the task manager, but the game will show up for like 3 seconds and then it dissapears. i guess i have to accept that theres no chance for me to play this game

  • You can get Sims 1 to work in Windows 10, but it won’t be a snap. You’ll have to add the outdated safedisc/securom driver that is known to be a security risk, and start Windows in something called “test mode” that may introduce further security risks. I honestly do not know how bad these risks are – for me, being able to run Sims 1 is worth it. If you’re worried, please do some more research on this before continuing!

    The way I did it was to follow steps 1-7 “The cool new solution” on this page:

    In my opinion, the last few steps are not quite right. I followed them and was not able to start test mode. I did this instead:
    8. Right click on the windows icon (where the start menu used to be) and click Command prompt (Administrator). Type the following: bcdedit -set testsigning on
    and hit enter. Then restart.
    9. When Windows 10 starts up again, you should see some weird text about a build number in the lower right hand corner. This is normal and means you have successfully started test mode.
    10. Try to start up Sims 1 in the method stated in the original post.

    If you’re worried about security, you can repeat step 8 after playing but with “off” instead of “on,” then restarting to exit test mode. Kind of a pain but it works for me!

  • May I ask you to you mean with “it would crash straight away”? Did it crash when the game was loading or only after entering the first neighborhood?

    I sucessfully installed the sims on my windows 8 and loaded and entered the neighborhood very fast and well, but inside the neighborhood it kept loading over and over again all the extra neighborhood, from holidays, magic town, etc. which made impossible for me to do any other action in the game. Is this what happened to you as well?

    • Explorer in WIn7+ can be kind of a pain. In explorer, try clicking on the CD/DVD icon on the left side of the screen. Clicking the right side will cause the disc to auto-run and you won’t be able to see the contents.

  • I know this is an old thread but I hope you will get notified. I am trying to follow your instructions but when choosing the file it won’t let me place maxis into programs. I get a pop up about that file not being writable? Please can you advise me of what to do?

    • Hi, that probably has something to do with administrator rights – either that you don’t have them, or that you need to run the install program as administrator? You can also try installing into a non-program folder like C:\Maxis, that should work.

  • Hello, I know this is an old article. Okay, so I reinstalled Sims Complete Collection using compatibility mode XP 3 (my computer recommended to use that one in particular) and with Admin Privileges on so it’s nice and installed. Unfortunately, when I go to run the program, my screen flashes black like it’s going to start then crashes before anything can be loaded in game at all. I have “Run in 640 x 480” checked along with the compatibility and admin boxes in the properties window. I am also running the program itself, not the launcher. Nothing even pops up if I don’t have the resolution box checked, so I figured that’s the main issue. I’m running Windows 8.1. Also, my install path is “E:\Maxis\The Sims” on an external.

  • Hello, I try to run the Sims 1 Starter with Window 7 and I try to follow you instructions but I couldn’t find the Setup_English file, I wonder what should I do and I am looking forward to your respond.

    • It’s REALLY hard to get Sims 1 going in Windows 10. I left a long comment above on how to do it, but finding a copy of secdrv.sys is very difficult. I couldn’t find it on Google so I ended up copying it from an old Windows 8 machine. You might decide it’s not worth the hassle.

      • At least some of the expansions have secdrv on the disc (Makin’ Magic has it on the first disc, for instance). That should eliminate some people’s need to Google it, I’d think.

        It also works with no-CDs since they skip the DRM entirely. I had a Makin’ Magic one before secdrv not loading was a problem for other reasons (mostly to play around with modifying for widescreen-hackage on my 7 machine) but that’s gonna be the most convenient option for some people, especially if their computer is like mine and is completely missing a built-in CD drive (we have an external one we used to do the install, but…).

        • I have what I believe is the original European release of The Sims, and secdrv.sys is on the disc.
          Unfortunately, my Windows 10 Pro v1909 seems to run into a problem before even getting to that stage. The installer (Setup.exe) will start, but not show anything. Sometimes it will max out one of the CPU cores, sometimes it just idles around doing nothing. Compatibility modes don’t seem to work.
          From what I understand, this is before any SecuROM driver would be loaded, and I should at least be able to install the game. I assume that I can’t really apply a patch or workaround unless I manage to install the game first.

          • Yes, it is should be independent of the sec thing. I have the exact same OS and was able to install Sims 1 Deluxe (US version), before signing the DLL. I ran setup.exe straight up, no compatibility mode or run as admin (but installing in somewhere other than Program files).

            So it’s still possible to install some versions of Sims 1 on W10. I wonder if it’s just a problem with that particular version, or maybe your discs?