in Game Additions

AOE II Launcher (Age of Empires II Display Fix)

This software is a well-presented automated version of a simple fix, effectively it exits explorer, launches AOE II then reboots explorer once you have exited the game. Now to outline the problem that this fixes.

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 AOE II is running. The palette references colours to do with the taskbar instead of exclusively AOE’s colours; this causes AOE 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 batch file that quits explorer then starts AOE II. It subsequently restarts explorer when you have closed AOE.

Why use an installer?
The reason this is implemented using an installer is because it makes configuration extremely easy the installer can make both the batch file to suit your system, referencing either the original or expanded version of AOE II, and create shortcuts to the batch file in convenient places.

Installer Notes
Please note you do not need administrator privileges to install this fix, however you will need to install it on each user profile you use AOE II in.

General Notes
Because of the nature of the programme 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 II through the launcher.

Download Links
I have removed these temporarily as I have realised that they contain some significant errors, a replacement will be posted here in the future. (Edited: 2016-09-29)

Why another?
Whilst my previous fix worked and did help a number of people I felt that that idea needed a refresh so I used similar concepts to put together this self-creating batch file within an installer, named AOE II Launcher as the solution. I’ll make a note here too that I actually finished this shortly after releasing the previous fix but due to laziness never got around to uploading it.

AOE II Launcher for Windows Vista/7 by Toby Johnston is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. This license is available on the internet at It is a condition of this license that the programme is provided AS IS without warranties of any kind.

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  • Age of Empires II Display Issue Fix | Furgelnod's Fyrgilnadium Wed, 2015-06-03

    […] 7 comments I have created a vastly improved version of the AOE II fix that can be found at […]