Hopefully the following Frequently Asked Question's thread will enable community members to quickly find problems associated with installation and running of game giveaways. The following FAQ's are not an exhaustive list. There are probably many more that could be added; if any community member has other suggestions/fixes that could be added to the following this FAQ's thread, please add them below.
Thank you in advance for your help. All ideas will be acknowledged when they are consolidated into the main comment.
I've updated the thread to include the problems section that i used to include with the weekly reviews of the games given away. You can see that below as the introcuction to this thread.
Introduction to the FAQ's thread:
I've posted most of the common problems and solutions here in a FAQ thread (most of which have been suggested by the community over the years). If you do find any other fixes please post them here and I'll incorporate them into the thread when I have time (I always attribute fixes posted by the community to the member who posted them. Thank you.
If you think the game is infected - IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ
For those of you who are getting hits by your anti malware suites; it's because they are picking up the Themida based protection, which was put in place to protect the game from unscrupulous community members that were hacking the giveaway wrapper which then gave them unlimited access to a registered copy of the game, which was being put on peer to peer sites. Some community members were even uploading video tutorials on You tube telling you how to do it yourself.
Themida based applications are sometimes seen as a threat by anti-malware. I can assure you this game and hundreds before, that have given community members cause for concern have been totally safe. The game giveaway team have managed to secure well over a thousand games for us since they first started giving away games back in late 2006; firstly via the main site (Oct 2006), then via the game giveaway site (early December 2006). There has never 'ever' been an infected game given away.
If you are able to configure your anti-malware suite to allow the 'seemingly offensive' file through security, the game should then install normally. if you can't, or don't know how to, then the other way would be to temporarily turn off your protection. You do so at your own risk, but please do take into account what I've already said above; in a nut shell, every malware occurrence reported here since the game giveaway went live in Dec 2006 have been false positives due to overly sensitive anti-malware suites.
It would be against the giveaway teams best interest to allow such an occurrence as it would destroy their good standing with the big search engines and I'm sure many who have frequented this site for a long time would leave. The giveaway team use several anti-malware suites to test every game given away here.
Another thing to consider when you think the game is infected, if it really was, there would be hundreds of community members posting about the infection; we rarely more than a few posts for any particular game; though, since the gcd file that contains the Themida code was introduced in 2012 I have seen many more community members reporting infections due to the Themida based code found in the giveaways wrapper protection. However, out of the thousands of downloads each week, those numbers are insignificant and supports the fact that the results they are getting are actually false positives. They have always been proven to be so.
If you are posting late in the day I would also suggest posting in the main giveaway forums; in the game discussion section, because I cannot moderate 24hrs a day over the weekend. I've created a thread HERE for that purpose. If you've installed today's game but it doesn’t work for some reason, it should still be registered, so someone may be able to help at a later date. Unfortunately if your problem is actually downloading it, once the giveaway deadline is reached you will no longer be able to download the game unless you've already started downloading it before the cut-off. Sometimes you can still register the game after the giveaway has ended so long as you managed to start the download before the giveaway ends. I've tested this and the grace period lasts for up to 1 hour. Apart from the above instances; i.e. already installed, but having problems running the game, (with the possibility of receiving help from the community via the giveawayoftheday game discussion forum); or still downloading after the cut off period, but within the 1 hour grace period, or registering within an hour of the cut-off period. Once the giveaway period is over there’s nothing that can be done to get the game (unless its available from one of the free game sites) until the game is given away again (though that isn't always guaranteed).
It's worth checking the giveaway game discussion forums the day before the giveaways go live to see if we are getting a large sized file (I usually post a comment about approximately how large a file is if it's likely to cause problems for those with slow connections; however, if I'm particularly busy I may neglect to do this). It is especially important for those who have slow connections and even more so if the game is popular. We can have up to forty thousand (40 000) community members downloading over the 24 hour period (if the game is popular), with the bulk of community members downloading in the first 12 hours of the giveaway going live, there is always a massive strain on the giveaway servers. The bigger the file size, the more community members will be downloading at any one time. Because the bandwidth is shared equally among all community members, downloads can become excruciatingly slow, so if you do have a slow connection, its important to start your download as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Because these games are free, the giveaway owners cannot invest in more bandwidth without compromising the whole project, so we have to be satisfied with what we have at present.
A download manager can help speed the download up and also protect the download in case of an interruption. There's nothing as frustrating for those with really slow connections to have the connection break after an hour or so, then have to start from the beginning again. I would ask community members if you do have decent bandwidth please avoid using a manager as it does add to the number of downloads occurring at any one time, for example some download managers will download your requested file in up to 32 packets simultaneously, that effectively will take 32 download spots, thus slowing down everyone's download speeds. For those with slow downloads (due to having a slow connection e.g. a 2MB Broadband connection or less) I would advise using a download manager if the file is larger than around 200MB. My broadband connection is 100MBs, so I don't need to use a download manager, (I do have one called Internet Download Manager, but don't use it when downloading files from the giveaway site). For me a 1GB file usually downloads in about 1.5 minutes or less. My connection is quite a long way from the provider so it is slowed a little, but is still quite good at a download speed of around 12 to 14 MB's per second.
I hope the above goes some way in explaining why we sometimes have really slow downloads.
It’s always worth checking out the free games sites because sometimes the games we get here are also available for free from them. MyPlayCity (MPC) has the most with over 1400 games to choose from and TooMky Games is highly recommended as well, though sometimes Gametop will have the game when the others don't. The Musketeers: Victoria's Quest isn't available from any of the free game sites I know.
If you do download any games from these free game sites please 'do' watch out for toolbars etc. Make sure you un-check the check-boxes during installation, and, in the case of MyPlayCity, every time you boot the game up, (this may have changed now as these free game sites tend to change the format frequently). I've not downloaded any from these sites in ages so can't confirm whether they have changed....... I've posted links to all of the common free game sites below in the 'games, games and yet more games' section. If you do download a game from any of these sites you do so at your own risk. We cannot be held responsible for problems arising from an installation recommended here. :)
The gamegiveaway site is the safest site I know of where you can get free software and games. (BitsduJour is also great for free applications). The only disadvantages with downloading from here is you have to download and install within the day of the giveaway and if and when you upgrade or buy a new computer legally you aren't allowed to transfer games given away previously, unless they are being given away again after you upgrade, or if you've purchased a license. :)
You just have to look at the sites track record since the game giveaway site was created back in December 2006. No games given away here since the inception of the gamegiveaway site have been infected with malware, there are no toolbars installed, nor home pages hijacked or browsers changed. There is one slight annoyance, but that only occurs if a community member isn't paying attention; i.e. when the final window pops up after installing a giveaway, called 'the Software Informer' installation window. Some community members have complained that they were given no choice in its installation. That is not true; when the final window pops up, there are two buttons, one asking if you want Software Informer installed and the button to close the giveaway window down. Some community members have clicked on the wrong button, probably because they weren't paying attention. Thankfully Software Informer is a genuine application, that can easily be uninstalled by the usual means. It's actually a useful piece of software, especially if you have a lot of applications running on your computer. Basically the program will list the programs that need updating, or programs that have available updates. They wont be automatically installed (thus cancelling many giveaway registrations); you have to click on individual buttons to update each program/application. :D
Activating or Downloading:
If you have difficulty downloading or activating the game for example getting the message “Failed to connect. Please try again later”
You can try to download it again later or do one of the following - for example once you've managed to download the zip file and unpacked it, but it wont activate (getting the message mentioned above) Check to see if your internet explorer isn't set to offline by clicking on the file in the toolbar and making sure the work Offline is unchecked.(thanks to MrSnoozles/Mike and GMMan for that fix). If the previous suggestion doesn't work go check out previous comments from the game giveaway and look especially for comments from GMMan, Chris and Mike. They have also posted their possible fixes for this problem.
Mike suggests that you check to see if Internet Explorer is offline (even if you use Firefox). If it is make sure that it's online then try again.
Other fixes I've always tried re-booting my modem and/or router with some success, though Mike has said that doing that does nothing. Still, it’s worth a try if all else fails.
Corrupted or invalid files:
The setup files are corrupted. Please obtain a new copy of the program
This is usually associated with AV software such as Kaspesky. Try setting it up in safe mode. That should hopefully allow you to install the program. Failing that temporarily (at your own risk) turn off your AV software until the game has installed. The game giveaway comes with a security file called Setup.gcd which is probably the cause of the problem. Some AV software may see the file as a threat.
If you are getting the black screen problem (possibly with an error message in a blue box that says “frequency out of Range”)it usually points to a screen resolution problem. Thst is the resolution you have your screen set to may not be supported by the game; or it could be the refresh rate that is the problem.
Try setting your screen resolution temporarily to a different setting and see if that cures the problem. If that doesn't work right click on the games executable and select 'properties', then click on the compatibility mode and select the disable visual themes. This should fix the problem, if not try disabling the display scaling on higher dpi settings and disabling the desktop composition. You can also try compatibility modes for XP, especially if the game is quite old.
Other fixes include installing the latest direct X (remember that XP uses DX 9 or earlier only, Vista uses DX 10 or before and Win 7 DX11 or before). Also try updating your graphics drivers. The main two chip manufacturers are NVIDIA and ATI (now AMD) both of which offer driver downloads for free. Just go to the respective manufactures home pages and you'll find a link to the driver download page. To find out which graphic card or graphics chip your computer uses type in Dxdiag in the search field (Vista or Win 7) or the run command (XP); this opens up the DirectX diagnostics panel. click on the display tab and look to the left panel. You should easily see what graphics card or chip you are using. (This is required information when selecting the correct download from the developers site).
Data Execution Prevention:
If you are asked to turn off your Data Execution Prevention for this game to run. You can create an exception so that the game will run without having to turn DEP off. Please bear in mind it's rare that anyone even mentioned getting a DEP warning. If you are not sure how to create an exception read THIS article, which tells you how to do it.
Unzipping the downloaded file:
If you are having problems unzipping the game giveaways zip file, for example getting a message saying the file is invalid try using a different file archiver such as:
Okay, that should be enough. There are actually many more free versions available. also there are other commercial titles such as the well-known WinRAR, Stuffit, WinAce, NXPowerlite and Corel Winzip Pro, but IMO 7-Zip is probably one of the better freebies. I did purchase a copy of Stuffit when it was on sale a few years ago and recently repurchased a more up to date version when it was on offer via BitsDuJour, but didn't like the interface for some reason, so hardly ever use it.
The file is in use of another process:
In response to the following problem“the file is in use of another process” –
I suggested that you try rebooting your computer. If that doesn't work, check what programs are running in the background and turn off those that you know are not needed as there may be a conflict with something (Game Booster is a useful free program that will automatically turn off all unnecessary windows programs and you can add others to the mix via a configuration screen. Once done you can then switch everything back on via a single button.
you can download Game Booster from IOBit:
Game Booster can now be found over on the Razer site HERE
Also try clearing out your internet cache and refresh the page (F5).
W.r.t. Netbooks and problems with resolution, Markus posted a possible fix via registry editing. He said the following:
"If you install the latest Intel GFX driver and
1) Run regedit2) Search and modify all values “Display1_DownScalingSupported” from “0″ to “1″3) Restart the system
New resolution 1024×768 will be available then.#"
If you are posting requests for help late in the day I would suggest posting in the main giveaway forums in the game Game Discussion . If you’ve installed the game but it won’t work for some reason, it should still be registered, so someone may be able to help at another time. Unfortunately if your problem is actually installing it then once the giveaway period is over there’s nothing that can be done until the game is given away again (though that isn’t guaranteed). It’s always worth checking out the free games sites as sometimes the games we get here are also available for free from those as well.
Cursor disappears or isn't present:
Fix by Andy:
Here's the comment Andy posted I'll rewrite it at a later date:
Fixed NO CURSOR (used Control Panel, Display, Set Custom Size Text DPI to 149% and then got CURSOR back - found fix on internet HERE). With my normal Display 'size of text' always set at: Larger - 150% had the CURSOR disappear but mouse moved & highlighted menu items.
Getting a Failed to set video mode error message:
Many video card manufacturers do not offer support for OpenGL within Windows 7 or Vista - this will cause a Failed to set video mode error message when GoldSrc-engine games attempt to load in OpenGL mode.
If you encounter this error when attempting to load GoldSrc-engine games, (for example Counter-Strike, Half-Life) please see the Reset Video Settings and Force a Video Mode article for instructions to use the game launch option -soft (software mode) or -d3d (faster performance than software mode, lower graphics detail) as a workaround.
Memory Access Violation:
If you get a Memory Access Violation (MAV) with an older game try the following fixes:
Run in admin mode
try using compatibility mode for XP
What is a MAV?:[/size]
A Memory Access Violation occurs when the program attempts to use something which does not actually exist or an error due to incorrect syntax being used for a command.
Calling commands on 'entities' (a line of code or discreet program within a program) which don't exist is the most common cause of MAVs, but other common sources of MAVs include referring to images and sounds which don't exist.
Opening the Event Log/Viewer:
If your game crash'a with no warnings or error messages, you may be able to find out why it crashed by opening the even viewer and looking at the event log. to open the event viewer:
To open up the event viewer in all versions of Windows, use keyboard shortcut Windows Key+R to open the Run dialog, (or open Start menu and click Run). Type eventvwr.msc and click OK.
Graphic Drivers and Direct X
Often a problem can be due to an old driver. If none of the above suggestions fixes your problem, try updating your graphic and audio drivers. Details of the these can be found by opening up the Direct X diagnostics panel. to do this type dxdiag in the search field. One opened you can find out which model of graphic card and/or audio card (or graphic and audio chip if these are integrated in the Motherboard) your computer is using. You then have to find the developers web page (usually Nvidia or ATI/ASUS for graphic cards, and click on the link to their driver section. Fill in the details, usually model number or file if it's an integrated chip, and the OS you are using. Once downloaded and installed you will need to reboot your computer before the driver takes effect.
You may also need to update your direct X. This can be updated directly from Microsoft. I've linked to it in one of the questions above.
Microsoft's Visual Studio
If you are running Win 7 or above, some old games may not run unless you have older versions of Microsoft's Visual Studio, which uses Microsoft's C/C++ runtimes from 2005
The original information was supplied by Mikiem2 in THIS post and here is a copy of what he wrote in response to a particular game giveaway that several community members had problems running
Rather than install those runtime files the game's developers included them in the game's folder -- that sometimes works, but here it doesn't in win7 [& I assume later versions of Windows], so those files have to be installed if you don't have them already... otherwise if you double click game.exe the game shows an error message & won't run, & if you use the MPC launcher it silently dies.
Anyway, as above I had to install those old runtime files for the game to run in my mostly virgin copy of win 7 in a VM. I had a link which I included in a comment on the download page, but the comment didn't make it [no big deal since it took 3 min to write], & I didn't save the link anywhere else -- the 2005 C/C++ runtimes are available at microsoft[.]com @ their download center. Note that they will leave leftover temporary files from the installation in the root folder [c:\], & note that there is a security update available for them [the update doesn't appear to include the 20005 runtimes, so can't just install that update].
You could also check out the other FAQ's thread that's more related to the application side of the giveaway project, but is still applicable to the games side of the project. You can find that thread HERE
Whizzy posted the following:
Gamebooster is still as free as can be Wabbit :)There where plans to make it payware but appearantly they choose another route, it's now re-branded Razer GameBooster but available from the same link you already posted
Also which might be nice to know:
DirectX 10 and 11 are not backward compatible with DX9, Many games that have DX9 listed in the requirements actually need DX9 specifically, 10 and/or 11 won't work.
Solution is to simply re-install (or install in the case of vista/7/8 systems since they never had 9)the DX9.0c setup which can be found at:
This will not break the DX10/11 setup you currently have, it just ads some missing .dll files
I link to file-hippo because I know the site to be safe and they don't use downloaders like many other sites that give you toolbars and such. They simply host the file OR redirect you to the official download. They also provide a free update checker (available as install and as portable for on a stick) which can check for updates for a cr@pload of programs ranging from admin and networking tools to notepads and media players and everything in between
It's always preferable to link to the original source, in this case Microsoft.
Thanks for your help.
Tosh posted December 21st 2013 the following fix when getting the message saying the file was corrupt.
Try restarting your computer in “safe mode with networking” then extract the files and install. Do remember that in safe mode all of your security is circumvented.
The following information and suggestions was posted by BUBBY 6 years ago, This used to be a separate sticky, but covered some of the same suggestions above. I've moved it here to keep everything together.
For games that "don't work" one possible reason is the video card & drivers (usually DirectX) - it doesn't help that it seems to work for everyone else.
More and more games require a recent 3D capable card - but how do you know if your card is "good enough"?
(in laymans terms) A DirectX (or Direct3D) is the way lots of games display graphics, play sounds (among other things) and with each new version, new "tricks" and "capabilities" are added to what is possible by DirectX.
Many newer games take advantage of the "newer tricks" and not only do they need the newer version of the DirectX software to be installed - but they also need a graphics card or chip to be installed that is capable of performing these tricks when requested by the software. (Yes, video cards have a DirectX capable/compliant version also)
For example - Vista comes with DirectX 10 installed, but without the combination of a directX 10 game and a directX 10 card, you won't see any benefits - and most games will fallback to DirectX 9.
If you have a game that needs "DirectX v9.0" to work - just installing the DirectX version 9 software for example, will not necessarily work if you have a "DirectX 7" video card. In fact the game probably will not load, or it may crash, or lock up and freeze, or just run slowly with poorer quality. But chances are excellent it will not be as much fun as you were hoping.
So How do you tell what Video Card you have, and what directX it supports?
Run a copy of GPU-Z from http://www.techpowerup.com/gpuz/
or look up your card (most major cards listed) http://www.techpowerup.com/gpudb/
What is this "Pixel Shader support" that this game needs
To see if your card is good enough: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_shader
For Intel 'cards': http://www.intel.com/support/graphics/sb/cs-014257.htm
(The software is still in beta so obviously it doesn't recognise every video card - but getting better all the time).
When posting about problems getting a game running or unexplained crashes when starting, please include some information about your system as it helps trying to find if there are any common factors between different people who might be having similar problems.
How does your system compare to the requirements.
The name of the Game (no pun intended).
Operating System & Version.
Video Card Name/GPU/Memory Size
Hopefully with a little more information we will be able to get some people running (or at least determine why they cannot).
For each game - try to reply to existing topics for a particular game - don't start a new topic. Having 20 different topics (one per user) for a single game - only makes it harder for everyone and can require submitting 20 solutions. Let's keep it together.
Final word (for now)
Often the problem lies with the security software you are using. I've mentioned countless times over the last several years that the game giveaway team have maintained a malware free site since its inception back in December 2006. They test every program given away, both applications and games using several well known malware suites to ensure the widest possible cverage of possible new malware.
I've had a few issues installing some games and applications recently, but found temporarily disabling my security until I'd installed the program fixed the problem every time. As soon as the program was installed, I'd reboot the security.
If it’s not the malware suite you are using, it could possibly be a conflict with something you are running behind the scenes. Check the event logs to see if there are any useful messages that could indicate a conflict, or other problem that is preventing the problem. (To access the event logs type Event Viewer in the search field)
I hope the above advice is sufficient to fix most community members problems.