Thursday, December 26, 2013

How to move Vista/7 Free Cell (and other games) to Windows 8 and 10

Update: Works on Windows 10!
Another update: Windows 10 Anniversary Update (ver. 1607) breaks this hack. However, there is another solution, check here.

Windows 8 doesn't include the classic solitaire card games (and Mahjong and inkball) contained in Vista/7 (or XP). Instead you have to download them from the Windows store and they aren't as good as the older games. So you need to move them from your Vista/7 machine to your Windows 8 machine and make a quick modification so that the games know that they're now OK to run on 8.

First you need to locate your Microsoft games folder. To do this click on start, then right-click on Computer, then left-click on Explore.


This opens Windows Explorer. You want to double-click on the C: drive and navigate to c:\program files\microsoft games\

Right click on Microsoft Games and copy the folder.

Assuming you know how to do this, now navigate to your USB stick in the same way you found the C: drive, right click and choose "paste." If you're smart enough to link your computers together you can just copy the files directly through your network router connection.

Make sure when you get to Windows 8 you copy the Microsoft Games folder into the c:\Program Files (x86)\ folder, this is where the 32-bit programs go. All the solitaire games are 32 bit, don't confuse yourself with whether or not you're using 64-bit Windows, it doesn't matter.


Now you want to navigate to c:\windows\system 32\ and find the file CardGames.dll

Copy this by right-clicking and choosing copy. Then paste this to your USB stick (or copy through your network) same as you did with your Microsoft Games folder. Copy the CardGames.dll file to each of the games folders or they won't work (they will say they can't find the file).


You might want to save your high scores and win streaks as well. To do this, navigate to c:\users\(your computer user name)\AppData\local\Microsoft Games and copy that folder to your USB stick, too. When you move it to Windows 8 put the folder in the "same place" there by dragging and dropping onto the AppData\local folder.

If Windows 8 gets fussy about what you're doing in the Program Files folder, you will have to log on as Administrator. Or do the following steps on your old Vista/7 machine. You pick.

Now you need to install a program that can edit the games applications. The reason you have to do this is that the games look for the version of Windows you're using to make sure they will work (for instance, the Vista games won't work on XP and the program needs to know that). What you're about to do is modify the program so it knows that Windows 8 is OK to run the program.

This looks scary but it's very easy as you'll see.

Go to this website and download the free hex editor:

HxD Free Hex Editor and Disk Editor

Download the zip file, extract it to the folder of your choice, double-click the "setup.exe" file, install it to the same folder and run the program. It will look like this. Go to "File Open"


Find the game you want to modify, in this case it's Free Cell.


The file will open and you will see a bunch of columns of "hex" numbers (0-9, A-F) and a column of text translations of the hex pairs.

You want to find this line: 7D 04 83 65 FC 00 33 C0 83 7D FC 01 0F 94 C0

Use Search-Find to do this. The line may start in the middle of these columns, or not. Just find the right string.


Make sure you choose "Hex-values" as well. I just searched for "7D 04 83" that was good enough.


The program will highlight 7D 04 83


Click on the 7D and change it to EB

The EB will be highlighted in red.


Now File-Save the program.


That's all. Your game will work now in Windows 8. Make this edit for every game in the Microsoft Games folder (except inkball, it isn't needed). Then navigate back to the Microsoft Games folder, right click and then click "Send to Desktop" to put an icon for the game on your desktop so you can find it easier.

Again, if you want to transfer your scores from your Vista/7 machine, in addition to transferring the Microsoft Games folder to the Program Files (x86) you want to transfer this:

c:\users\(your computer user name)\AppData\local\Microsoft Games\

This contains all your scores and win streaks and also backups of those in case you ruin a win streak and want to restore it.

If you want to start fresh just skip this step.

XP notes: Instead of moving "CardGames.dll" (because it doesn't exist) you just move the file "cards.dll" and I don't think you have to do any hex editing of the games (haven't tried it yet, I'm happy with the Vista versions).

A Google search will reveal a "patch" circulating that will do the above editing for you, if you trust the program, go ahead and try it. I found it on mydigitallife.info.


46 comments:

Katherine Creery said...

I did all of this but but was not allowed to change 7D to EB. I am the account manager. Any reason for this?

Katherine Creery said...

I did all of this but but was not allowed to change 7D to EB. I am the account manager. Any reason for this?

kidsrcool said...

Hey Katherine, I had the same problem. I went to the folder where the games were, clicked on properties, then security, and was able to change the security to allow for users to modify stuff. Then it worked.

kidsrcool said...

Thank you so much, Hike of your Life! Your explanations were so clear even someone practically computer illiterate (like me) could follow them.

Stuart said...

Is there a different Hex code change for Windows 8.1?

Hike of your Life said...

I am using 8 so I couldn't test an 8.1 version even if I wanted to. I haven't seen a hack for 8.1 on Google search, you might be stuck with the Windows Store version (yuck).

Stuart said...

Thanks for your reply.
I won't let Microsoft dictate so will probably use virtualisation and resurect my Nikon slide scanner too.
Stuart.

Hike of your Life said...

I hear you on that. I have XP and Vista machines I'm not planning to stop using anytime soon, though I'll have to be a little careful with what I do with the older one.

Stuart said...

The Hex code is the same for Windows 8.1. I tried again and it worked.
I am now a happy man. Thanks so much

Anonymous said...

I just recently changed from Vista to Windows 8.1 and was very disappointed with the 8.1 game options. I'm very pleased that I can now have my Vista games without having to download the ad-ridden games in Windows 8.1. I did have to run the Hex application as "administrator" to get the 7D to change to EB, but that was it. I was able to complete the entire process. Thank you so much for the clear instructions and for sharing your expertise.

Hike of your Life said...

Thanks for the update on Windows 8.1. I currently use 8 and I'm on satellite (metered) internet so upgrading to 8.1 is pretty much impossible!

Anonymous said...

Great help. Thanks for taking the time to post such an easy fix

David said...

Thanks for posting this. The move to 8.1 is traumatic enough. This worked a charm

Anonymous said...


Great instructions, but the hex editor says "Can't find '7D 04 83'". Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

There appear to be distinct versions of Spider Solitaire (and possibly for the other games), a 64-bit version which cannot be fixed by the guidance herein, and a 32-bit version which behaves just as it should. I borrowed a copy from a friend's 32-bit Vista machine and all is well.

Anonymous said...

This method works well for 32-bit Spider Solitaire but not for the 64-bit version which came installed on my 64-bit ASUS in 2009.The same may be true for the other games - I haven't tried them.

Hike of your Life said...

I have 32-bit version of Vista and when I moved the games to Windows 8 64-bit they work fine there. Don't know about 64-bit Vista or 7, but always remember Google is your friend in this, it's where I learned the trick (apparently a 32-bit trick only).

Bill Duncan said...

I got to the "change to EB" stage, but the hex editor cant find 7D 04 83. I even copied and pasted the whole string. Any clues?
Bill D

Hike of your Life said...

I'm not sure why you wouldn't find the 7D string but my guess is you are using 64-bit Windows 7, which would be different and I don't have the solution for that.

Steve Cooper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Cooper said...

I too, tried it using Vista games on 8.1. I found the correct 7D line and edited it to EB, but it will not run. I was able to use the XP games from the CD, so I'm somewhat appeased, but I sure like the Vista Solitaire better and would love to find a fix for that. My 8.1 is 64 bit, but even running Solitaire in Compatibility Mode, it still won't run.

Anonymous said...

No luck for me on Windows 8.1. The HXD could not find the hex codes.

Anonymous said...

No luck for me on Windows 8.1. The hex strings were not found and the exe's do not open.

Anonymous said...

Worked fine for me moving Vista 32 bit to 8.1/64 I used find and replace in xvi32 hex editor (because I already had it) and pasting the find string in both find and replace and then changing the 7D to EB in replace with.

Thanks hugely for this.

Steve Cooper said...

If anyone still needs these games for 8 or 8.1, 32 bit or 64, here is a YouTube video that has it all, with all the hacking done for you. All you have to do is download and execute the provided files. It even has a file that contains three games from Vista that were left out of Windows 7.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_DIZpGjhvE

Anonymous said...

Wonderful - it works! Thank you so much. I don't feel so lost now.

Anonymous said...

The Hex editor needs to be run as administrator

Unknown said...

This procedure works perfectly for Windows 10 as well and unlike the mentioned You Tube files can not introduce any malware.

The editor does need to be run as administrator, but if you do all of them at once, it goes very easily with the search string remaining and the hex search remaining as well. Just make sure to cancel if you get a warning it will change file length, then try to select again.

Anonymous said...

If you update your machine to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and reinstall the programs as described, the high scores, games won, etc are preserved and will be shown as before at the end of a game. Very nice, since I worked hard to get up to 43% won on Mahjong Titans.

Anonymous said...

I was not able to locate the hex string either - probably due to retrieving the game files from a 64 bit version of Windows 7. So, I gave the You Tube link above a try. It led to a link with a zipped archive of all the Windows 7 games as well as a handy install program. It did not set off any malware or virus alarms and appears to work perfectly. As also mentioned above, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my Freecell wind streak had even been preserved.
I was most interested in the Freecell from Windows 7 as the replacements offered in the Windows store, though free, all have inferior graphics (imho). Thanks to all who contributed to this thread.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! My thanks to everyone. Freecell now working great on Windows 10.

Tim and Atsuko said...

Our computer (OS: Vista) has started to show fault on battery and we decided to purchase a laptop with Windows 10. We were really disappointed that our favourite games like Spider Solitaire and Mine Sweeper were not there (other than advertisement version available in Windows Store). I followed step by step on your instruction, and now I can use the games we had on Vista! We just like to say 'thank you very much' for sharing your knowledge! (I had missed your instruction 'copy CardGames.dll to each game folders' at first though;)

Anonymous said...

I followed your instructions but the editor could not find the hex string in freecell or solitaire... Any suggestions much appreciated as I am going through a game dry spell!

Hike of your Life said...

I think (not sure about this) that the string to search for is different if you're using 64 bit Vista, which I have found has a lot of things different from the 32-bit version. Can't help you using the hex editor since I have no examples to work from, however there is a mention of a video in the comments above, you could take your chances with that. It may set off a malware alarm but anytime a DLL is modified, that will happen.

Anonymous said...

Hike I have been trying this on Win 8.1 and every time I try changing the Hex value it keeps saying access is denied to write. I went into the properties as kidsrcool had said worked. If any one can tell me any thing that might help it would be appreciated Thank You

Anonymous said...

Hike I have been trying this on Win 8.1 and every time I try changing the Hex value it keeps saying access is denied to write. I went into the properties as kidsrcool had said worked. If any one can tell me any thing that might help it would be appreciated Thank You.

Hike of your Life said...

Try running the hex editor as administrator. Right click on the program, you'll see the choice in the list. Also make sure you have closed the card game before you edit the DLL, that would also deny access.

Anonymous said...

Hike , I went to the u-tube URL that Steve Cooper commented on and did what it said and It worked Great. Thanks for the update on the administrator and thanks to all the people on here with the comments and help for all of us that know just enough to get our self in to trouble some times.

Anonymous said...

WOW Yes it works in windows 10 too!!!

Brilliant step by step guide.

For those who cannot find the 7D, have you made sure to select "Hex-values" in Datatype in the search? I forgot a few times and it wouldn't find it.

As said above you need to use HxD as administrator in Windows 10 (right click on the app and choose "run as administrator")

Dig Solitaire said...

Thanks for sharing such very helpful detail. I was looking for this solution for a long time.

Free Solitaire Online

Anonymous said...

Just had a Windows 10 update on 8/3/16.. build 1607. Everything worked just fine until this showed up. I went through the steps again with all fresh files, but still no good. Tried running the compatibility wizard but it didn't work either.

Uncle Bill strikes again?? got any ideas on how this might be fixed now?? thanks,

Hike of your Life said...

Uncle Bill hasn't graced my four machines with the update yet, I'll let you know how it goes. Be sure to put the games into the Program Files folder. My dad upgraded his computer from W7 last week and he wanted the games back, I found out that putting it in the users folder won't work.

I'll keep you posted about the anniversary build, hope we're not SOL on Solitaire!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, it worked on 8/8.1/10 until I did the "adversary" upgrade.. so it was in the right folder and hasn't moved. In fact, I deleted it and copied a fresh one back in just to check it out.

My laptop is Win 10 also, but hasn't gone through the "trans-mortification" yet. Everything works like it should on the laptop.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! My wife has enjoyed keeping her Windows 7 games after upgrading to Windows 10, but when her system got upgraded from version 1511 to version 1607, she was not happy. Unfortunately, there are so many posts about how to "fix" v1511, it is still difficult to find any mention about the fix for v1607. Thankfully, I found THIS blog!!! Even more thankfully, it actually works!!!

Anonymous said...

In the comments on: https://windows.gadgethacks.com/how-to/bring-back-microsofts-classic-no-bloat-games-windows-for-free-0166605/ it shows for 64 bits to look for the code "3B C6 0F 4C" and change "3B C6" to "39 CO".

However it looks like the anniversary update stops both the 32-bit and 64-bit hacks from working. I tried to change before but couldn't find the code (was editing 64-bit version), have now come back to try again and found the solution to 64-bit, however when I copy to Program Files and try to open I am unable to open, I think due to Microsoft adding something in which others are mentioning. I believe I am on v1703. Would love some way to open the files and get them to run. Is there no way to get this to work after the update without having to download and install?

Hike of your Life said...

I don't know of any way to make the original programs work anymore in Windows 10. I've used the download listed above, it works great! I have not tested to see if you can keep your records/streaks, those files are located in AppData folder.