I have created a vastly improved version of the AOE II fix that can be found at furgelnod.com/2011/aoeii-launcher/
You should however continue to use the Game Ranger related fix found here.
First, please note that this fix is a slightly complicated implementation of simple fix. The classic game, Age of Empires II, has a major issue on Windows Vista and Windows 7 that renders it virtually unusable. The issue is that colours are drawn incorrectly and as far as I can gather this is caused by the 256-colour palette being changed while Age of Empires II is running. The palette references changed to reference colours to do with the Taskbar instead of exclusively Age of Empires’ colours. This causes Age of Empires to display the wrong colours. The solution to this is to disable the taskbar while AOE II is running and this is what my “fix” does. It is a compiled batch file that quits explorer then starts AOE II. It subsequently restarts explorer when you have closed Age of Empires. For more information on the origins of the problem and other solutions search on google or the like. I am glad to provide help for the fix through the forums on this site.
I have, in response to a comment, made another version of my fix aimed at those who use the match making service GameRanger. It is essentially the same as the previous fix only loading the GameRanger executable rather than AOE’s. My other fixes don’t work with GameRanger because it loads the AOE executables directly thus bypassing my fixes.
Please note: Due to the nature of the program all windows open in explorer will be closed and all explorer related tasks will quit (this includes copying files moving files etc.) when AOE II is running. Make sure to finish anything in explorer before using Age of Empires.
AOE II Batch File Fix and GameRanger No Explorer by Toby Johnston are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. It is a condition of this license that the programme is provided AS IS without warranties of any kind.