How to Install Red Alert 1 on Windows XP


Woohoo! The original Command & Conquer: Red Alert —one of the greatest RTS video games of all time— has been released as freeware! Thank you very much EA! Although I wish I'd known you were going to do this before I went out and purchased the compilation pack, Command & Conquer: The First Decade as one of the main reasons I bought it was to get Red Alert again. (grrrr!... Oh by the way, I'll need some cheese to go with my whine here... heh heh...)

Anywho, this page will walk you through the process of getting this classic PC game up and running on your Windows XP machine without having to burn anything to a CD.

Here's an overview of what you're going to do:

  1. Download the necessary files
  2. Install a RAR extracting program (if you don't have one)
  3. Unpack the Red Alert .rar file using the RAR extractor
  4. Install MagicISO
  5. Mount the Red Alert ISO file
  6. Install Red Alert
  7. Install the XP patch and make some minor tweaks
  8. Play the game!

Okay let's start off with getting all our goodies. Here's where to...

Download the Necessary Files

Download the Red Alert game files here:
Download complete Red Alert Allied game files here
Download complete Red Alert Soviet game files here

These are File Shack downloads and will require you to sign up for a free account to execute the download. I checked it out and it's no problem. (And thanks to Dr. Watson for finding these new links.)

Download the trial version of WinRAR here:

The WinRAR program will allow you to unpack the Red Alert game files. Download WinRAR 3.80 (Trial version).

Download MagicISO here:

MagicISO will allow you to run Red Alert directly from the Red Alert ISO file on your computer instead of having to burn the game to a CD and then using the CD to run the game.

Okay now that you've got all your goodies, let's get on with how to...

Install WinRAR and unpack Red Alert game files

  1. Install WinRAR by double clicking on your downloaded wrar380.exe installation file (go with all the default settings).
  2. After installing WinRAR, use Windows to browse to where you saved your downloaded Red Alert game files. We'll use the Allied disc in this tutorial. Double click on ra95_allied.rar to open it in WinRAR.
  3. In the WinRAR program, drag-and-drop the ra95_allied.iso file to your desktop.
  4. Close WinRAR.

Install MagicISO and mount the Red Alert .ISO file

Don't worry. This is not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

Here's how to proceed...

  1. Install MagicISO by double clicking on your downloaded setup_magicdisc.exe file (go with all the default settings). This will automatically create a virtual DVD/CD drive on your computer with its own drive letter (the letter assigned to your virtual drive will depend on how many hard drives, partitions and DVD drives you have). You'll also have a little MagicISO icon in your system tray:
    MagicISO icon open in system tray
  2. Right click on the MagicISO icon in your system tray and click on Virtual CD/DVD >> [DRIVE LETTER]: No Media >> Mount...
    Mounting an ISO image in MagicISO (1)  
    Mounting an ISO image in MagicISO (2)
  3. Use the "Mount CD/DVD image" dialog to browse to your extracted ra95_allied.iso file, click to select it and then click OPEN.
  4. The Command & Conquer: Red Alert menu will appear...
    Command & Conquer: Red Alert menu screen

    DO NOT DO ANYTHING IN THIS MENU. Do NOT click Proceed, do not pass Go, do not collect $200, etc, nada, bumpkiss. Instead simply click Exit to close this menu immediately.

Now, having done all of the above, here's how to...

Install Red Alert

  1. Go to your desktop, double click on My Computer, right click on your new virtual drive with the label CD1 (J:) and click on Open.
  2. Right click on setup.exe, click on Properties >> Compatibility and then click to CHECK "Run this program in compatibility mode for: (Windows 95 should be selected by default. Leave it as such.)
    Setting Windows compatibility mode for the Red Alert setup.exe file...
  3. Click OK
  4. Now double click on setup.exe to install Red Alert. During the installation process, when you get to the screen prompting you to install DirectX 3 audio and video drivers, click to CLEAR the box beside DirectX audio and video drivers. You don't need these drivers.
    Don't install DirectX while installing Red Alert 1!
  5. A few steps later in the installation process, you'll be prompted to install Westwood Chat. If you wish to play Red Alert multiplayer online, install Westwood Chat. If not, click Cancel to skip installing Westwood Chat.
  6. When the installation finishes, you'll be prompted to restart your computer. Do this.

If you try playing Red Alert now, you'll probably get an error message reading "The procedure entry point SMapLS_IP_EBP_12 could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.DLL".
The procedure entry point SMapLS_IP_EBP_12 could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.DLL
To avoid getting this error message, you'll have to...

Install the Windows XP Patch

  1. After installing Red Alert and restarting your computer, click here to download the XP patch and save the XP patch (RA108USP.EXE) to your Red Alert installation folder. (By default, this is C:\WESTWOOD\REDALERT).
  2. Then double click on the RA108USP.EXE file to open the patch. This will create 3 files in your Red Alert folder named Patch.exe, Patch.rtp and Patch.txt.
  3. Double-click on Patch.exe to apply the patch.

Now if you try to play Red Alert, you'll probably get a black screen of nothingness and/or a strange error message saying "A privileged instruction was executed at address" blah etc.
A privileged instruction was executed at address...
To avoid getting this error, you'll have to...

Set the RA95.EXE Compatibility Mode

  1. Go to your Red Alert installation folder (typically C:\WESTWOOD\REDALERT)
  2. Right click on RA95.EXE and click on Properties >> Compatibility
  3. Click to CHECK "Run this program in compatibility mode for:" (Windows 95 should be selected by default. Leave it as such.)
  4. Click OK to apply the setting.

ALL DONE.   :o)

Now you can play Red Alert. (Woohoo!...)

To do this:

  1. Right click on the MagicISO icon in your system tray and click on Virtual CD/DVD >> [DRIVE LETTER]: No Media >> Mount...
    Mounting an ISO image in MagicISO (1)  
    Mounting an ISO image in MagicISO (2)
  2. Use the "Mount CD/DVD image" dialog to browse to your extracted ra95_allied.iso file, click to select it and then click OPEN.

Play the Game

After mounting the ra95_allied.iso file (as per above), you can play the game by simply clicking on Start >> Programs >> Westwood >> Red Alert >> Red Alert Windows 95 Edition. (You can drag-and-drop this start menu button to your desktop to make a handy shortcut.)

The installation process above will permit you to play all the Allied missions, the first Soviet Mission and Skirmish. To play the rest of the Soviet missions, you'll have to extract the Soviet disc ISO file and mount it using MagicISO (see above).

The Scroll Rate is Too Fast in Red Alert!

If you've got a blazingly fast state-of-the-art gaming computer meant to run the likes of Crysis or Bioshock, the scroll rate in Red Alert will probably be way too fast (i.e., scrolling will consist of zipping instantly from one side of the battlefield to the other).

You can remedy this by doing one of two things:

Tweak your REDALERT.INI file

Here's how to do this:

  1. Go to your Red Alert installation directory (typically C:\WESTWOOD\REDALERT)
  2. Locate the REDALERT.INI file and open it in Windows Notepad. Then find the following line:


    and change it to:


  3. Save the file.
  4. Now to prevent Red Alert from overwriting this setting when you run the game, right-click on REDALERT.INI, click on Properties and click to CHECK 'Read Only' beside Attributes.
  5. Click OK to apply and you're all set.

This should slow down the scroll rate enough to make Red Alert playable. However, if you find the scroll rate is still too fast, you may want to...

Get Mo' Slo

Mo' Slo is a great little program that will allow you to run certain classic PC games and applications at their proper speed by slowing down your computer. It will cost you a few bucks but it'll be worth it if you're a serious classic PC gamer. This will handle all your old PC games that run in Windows (like Red Alert) and can't be run through DOSBox. The version you'll need is Mo'Slo 4BIZ.

On my Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (no video card), I put 20000 in the Mo'Slo 4BIZ 'Slow to' setting and then I ran Red Alert and set the in-game Scroll Rate setting to the lowest. This ran the game beautifully with the game speed running smoothly and the scroll rate perfect (for my tastes anyway).

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149 Responses to How to Install Red Alert 1 on Windows XP

  1. Randy says:

    I'm loading this off of the original disks onto an Xp machine and had the black screen issue even with compatibility in 95 mode set. Mine was fixed by running the "aftermath" CD. Game runs fine except that now the game is huge (even in the 480x600 mode), you can see a more limited area of the map and my eyes are killing me!. I have a moderately large Flat Screen and want to run the game smaller. IS there a simple way to run it like it's in an old 17 or 19in screen?

  2. Doll says:

    I already installed and followed correctly the instruction, but when i try to play the red alert it says "unable to allocate primary video buffer ABORTING. What is it??? And how do i fix it.. anyone??? PLEase....

  3. shadowsundew7 says:

    thanks for the really helped me a lot...already install and run perfectly...again thanks dude...

  4. Arthur says:

    I still have the original box of Red Alert ( double cd ) and the Manual-book :oP
    I installed it on my WindowsXP, and did start it in compatibility-mode 95 after putting the patch-files in the Westwood==>REDALERT map... so far so good... it WORKS..! The movie play's the game works but...........NO SOUND... what now ?

  5. Jayson says:

    It comes up 'could not locate setup.exe' and when i double click setup. It says 'attempt at invalid adress' or summin like that.. Help ASAP

  6. lance60 says:

    if anyone got a buggy colors, enable 256 colors in the exe's compatibility tab

  7. andyplatt says:

    Hey there, my problem is that when I try to run the SETUP.EXE file in windows 95 compatibility mode it gives me an error message that says I need to find an x86 or x64 version of the program. I noticed that I'm not the only one with this problem but I can't see a response that addresses the problem. Can you help me out?

  8. eduard says:

    goood be a game funatic

  9. Major Slack says:

    @Degru, The labels are either CD1 or CD2. I'm pretty sure CD1 is the Soviet installation and CD2 is the Allies.

  10. Degru says:

    I am installing this through DOSBox, as I have an x64 system, and I was wondering what is the right disk label to use when mounting the disk. I am using the command "mount d c:\path_to_extracted_iso -t cdrom -label redalert_label". I just need to know what to replace redalert_label with so that I don't get the insert CD message.

  11. wengster says:

    i clicked on the SETUP.EXE thing but it just wouldn't open. im envy of those who manage to play it already

  12. Major Slack says:

    @Kaycee, Not sure. Never tried it.

  13. Kaycee says:

    Dude, thanks. :p it totally worked. but i have to ask, will it work on red alert 2 also?

  14. Chase says:

    Your solution worked perfect man, thank you so much for the help! I've been dying to play this for months and nothing I tried worked. You sir, are a gentleman and a scholar. It was easy enough for me to follow while most of the way plastered. Well done.

  15. Milonakes says:

    Ok, so i'm trying to play Ra95 again, but there is no sound. I installed it back few years and it worked fine, until now.

    Any suggestions what is needed to fix no sound problem?

    PS; Playing Red alert while baked is the SH*T!!

  16. jon says:

    how do i change it from rar to iso file

  17. gurinder says:

    i love this games

  18. how to free download red alert games

  19. Peter says:

    When i right click on setup.exe and click on properties and select windows 95 and click ok and then when i want to run the setup it does not work.

  20. Hammartime says:

    nvm about my last comment, but im getting no sound with the 'dos' version, also very frustrating

  21. Hammartime says:

    Hey, everything got setup to what i believe working condition up to the point where you have to download the xp patch (i am using an xp) but when i press the underlined-link thing i get the 'black screen' asking me to overwrite the previous versions that ive downloaded, so i press 'y' then the screen goes away and nothing happens, help please

  22. joe johnson says:

    Thanks to those responsible for this page, and guide. You've made my girlfriend very happy, and you've made me look good.

  23. harshil says:

    I get an error msg writing "could not find RA.EXE" wat should i do?
    i had downloaded allied disc. please please help.
    m crazy 4 dis game.

  24. Troet says:

    Forget post 117 - I installed Counterstrike and Aftermath from cd and the "insert cd" error is gone.

    Now when i start a skirmish using one of the Mega 8player maps, it says: unable to read scenario !

    Anyone got an idea on how to fix that?


  25. Troet says:

    I run WinXP SP2 in VMware with Win7 64bit as host.
    RA 1 (both Allie and Soviet) works fine.

    I installed both Counterstrike and Aftermath (mounted their ISO's as virtual cd using Magic ISO) but when i start them and choose either "play Counterstrike missions or Aftermath missions" it keeps asking for the cd, while the cd is actually still loaded as virtual cd.

    Does it has to be a physical disc (if so, i'll just burn the ISO on a disc) or is there any way around?

    Thanks in advance

  26. ghile says:

    nice too see this again

  27. con says:

    sorry what i was trying to say was i download the patch and when i run the setup i get a black screen for few seconds then it gos and nothing happens ??

  28. con says:

    hey dude got as far as installing the patch and i just get a black screen click on the download and click run any idears ????

  29. Fabricio says:

    I also have installed with sucess, but the game plays only in a very very small windows. I mean, a really unplayable resolution. How to solve that?

  30. chris says:

    hi i did every thing you guys put on here but it still ends up saying smapls_ip_ebp_12 could not be found please help me !!!!

  31. paul says:

    Im getting No file called SETUP.EXE
    in either allied or soviet disc.
    Followed all the steps word for word

  32. angga says:

    yeah when i instaled this game
    it has request a serial codes,
    how to do that???
    i dont understand.......

  33. Gabe says:

    Nevermind about the previous message. I have sound but when I try to play the game itself (the singleplayer) It keeps saying I have to insert the disc inorder to continue playing the missions. Can you help?

  34. Gabe says:

    I can play but I don have any sound. Any suggestions?

  35. SAM says:

    ive got to the step where you need to install, i have gone to compatability and done that stuff, but when i click setup it says attempt to access invalid adress.. PLEASE HELP I WANT THIS GAME SO BAD

  36. Escroto says:

    Hey, please, could u help us out here? I have the same problem as RA_UltimateFan, felix and Arran...

    Basically, we're all running Windows 7 Home Premium, and we can install the game and everything else runs fine, but when we try to install Westwood Chat, we're not allowed, since it asks says it's not compatible with our Windows version, and says we should find a x86 or a x64 version of it.

    Any help would be appreciated, thanks ;)

  37. Dino says:

    Helo to all i instaled red alert and works fine, but i have one problem my picture size is very small. How to get full screen ?

  38. Doc Martin says:

    it works but you all must know that this is not so easy any more, you must find and install setup magicdisk as the magisiso will not install as a full product any more.
    this is due to some one wanting to make fast buks plus it will only let you have a 300mg drive and not the full what ever you want.
    So you must go for an older version at
    so give this a try.
    i know it works on my AMD 64 3200+ system with XP
    and i have it working inside of Ubuntu 10.10 with windows under Vware works great and you have more control over the way you wish to have it setup than on windows XP on its own.
    All the best to you all out and about LINUX ROCKS

  39. Ronald says:

    after installing red alert and reboot my computer. then install the patch. run the patch in the red alert folder.
    set the exe file in windows 95 mode. still get the massage kernel32.dll problem. i use windows xp sp3.

    best regards ronald

  40. Pixelsmack says:

    Us 64bit WIndows users would really appreciate it if someone could link a PRE-INSTALLED version of RA. Basically after you have installed it...go to the folder and zip it up. (EA Games did this for CnC but not RA for some reason)

    64bit Windows users cannot run the old 16bit installer.

    Since EA has officially release RA as a FREE download there is no violation.

    Thanks! (please email me if you have)

  41. joely says:


    Okay I've followed all the steps and its all good until I get the last part which looks like the easiest step where you need to check RA95.EXE and ensure that it is ticked in Windows 95 Compatability mode to avoid getting the "Black Screen". I'm still getting the Black Screen for some reason as everything else has been fine. I noticed that in an earlier post that Johnson had the same problem and so I followed the directions/response that was given but I'm still having no luck with it, because when I go to the Virtual Drive and double click on SETUP.EXE it does nothing....any ideas or tips would be very helpful. Cheers

  42. kjwanista says:

    can i do this on red alert 2 also??
    i dont like the old red alert 95 version....

  43. matko says:

    everything is normal and when i play game it just freez

  44. jeeez says:

    im tryna install it but it aint workin it keeps sayin that its only 4 windows95 n ive got xp... ive been tryna download this game since ages man. u c da step wer u go 2 my computer, cd setup n double click it doesnt wrk dis msg pops up: its only for win95

  45. Judge says:

    Hey man EXCELLENT forum loved it! Remember playin this game as a kid now i can again lol. The only problem is when i play the game the screen is all mashed up like someone pulled and pushed rows around if you understand that. Any ideas how to fix it??

  46. nyk says:

    i got to the mount CD/DVD and it says "fail to mount CD/DVD!" :/

  47. gie tayag says:

    i love red alert 1

  48. SUSCHI says:

    now i tried it on my notebook with XP and service pack 2 and it works... but here on my desktop pc with sp 3.... nothing can somebody check this out????

  49. SUSCHI says:

    i've got the same problems.... (setup.dll and isres dll not found..bla...bla...)
    what xp-service-pack do you use ????

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