Original Sims VM Setup

4 minute read

The What

Original Sims game running in a virtual machine setup.

The Why

The original Sims no longer is runnable on modern windows even with compatibility modes enabled.

The How

Step the First: Download Virtual Box

Go and download the latest version of virtual box. In some cases for games you want to download 3.0 and not higher, but it looks like for The Sims that’s not a requirement. So, latest will do.

Step the Second: Download Windows XP virtual hard disk

Go and download the windows XP mode file here. It looks like an executable, but we will not be using it like that.

Step the Third: Find an extract VirtualXPVHD

  1. Take WindowsXPMode_en-us.exe and extract it using your favorite tool, if it asks what format to use specify .cab
  2. Navigate into sources and extract the xpm file
  3. You should now see a VirtualXPVHD file, this should remain here with it’s friend files all extracted

Step the Fourth: Get a copy of The Sims with a crack

I’m sorry, it’s the only way. I’d love to tell you to mount all your original CDs and run them, but it’s not possible anymore, because of the DRM. In this case we can agree that they really did this to themselves. 🏴‍☠️

Safest bet is going to Games4theworld and downloading The Sims 1 - Complete collection. I recommend extracting the resulting zip file into a folder that you designate your shared folder for the Windows XP virtual machine.

Step the Fifth: Create a Windows XP Virtual Machine in virtual box

Most of these steps below are from this article. So, so if you’d perfer screen shots that’s the place to go.

  1. Open VirtualBox
  2. Select New
  3. Click Expert Mode
  4. Give your virtual machine a name, I suggest “Windows XP”
  5. Assign the virtual machine memory, I did 51713 MB because I was worried about The Sims running well, but 2048 MB is probably more sane.
  6. Under Hard Disk, select Using existing virtual hard drive file and select the VirtualXPVHD we created in Step the Third and click Open
  7. Now Click Create

Step the Sixth: Configure your virtual machine

  1. Click on your virutal machine in virtual box and click Settings from the top panel
  2. Click on System
  3. Under Boot Order a. uncheck Floppy and move it to the bottom b. move Hard Disk to the top
  4. Under Display increase video memory to 128 MB
  5. Optional Under your display settings change the scale factor to 200% so you can see easier on giant monitors
  6. Under Shared Folders click the “folder +” icon to add the folder created in Step the Forth and make sure you set it to Auto Mount
  7. Click Okay to close and move on

Step the Seventh: Boot your virtual machine and configure windows

  1. In Virtual Box click Start to start the virtual machine
  2. Follow the instructions to finish the install of windows
  3. Make sure to note your administrator password as part of this install (not literally, but it in a password manager if you must)
  4. Once windows has fully booted first modify your display settings: a. Right-click desktop and select Properties b. Click on Settings c. Set the screen resolution to 800x600 and the color quality to Highest (32 bit) d. Hit Apply
  5. On the virutal machine window that is running Windows XP click on Devices > Insert Guest Additions CD Image…
  6. Follow the install steps for Guest Additions

Step the Eigth and Final: Install the Sims

  1. Your virtual machine should reboot after the previous step
  2. Click on Start and then My computer
  3. Click on the mounted folder it should look something like WindowsXpFiles on 'VBoxSvr'
  4. It might ask you what to open it with and just select Internet Explorer and it will be happy and click OK
  5. Open The Sims extracted folder we created in Step the Forth
  6. Click on start to start installing The Sims and then follow the instructions in # Installation Guide.txt
  7. Make sure you’ve copied the crack as specified in the included install guide and then you can play The Sims

Screen shot of The Sims installer running in a windows XP virtual machine

Screen shot of The Sims running on a windows XP virutal machine while the sim is in PJs making breakfast

Bonus Step: Prevent windows activation from ruining your day

As Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft and is no longer purchasable there’s no easily legitimate way to activate the windows running on this VM. 🏴‍☠️

  1. Open the registery editor using by clicking Run from the start menu and entering regedit
  2. Navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\WPAEvents
  3. Update the value of OOBETimer to FF D5 71 D6 8B 6A 8D 6F D5 33 93 FD
  4. Right-click: WPAEvents and choose Permissions…
  5. In the list for SYSTEM check Deny for all permissions so windows cannot undo our previous work
  6. Click Advanced and uncheck Inhereit from parent the permission entries that apply to child objects. Include these with entries explicitly defined here
  7. Click Apply
  8. Click Copy to confirm the changes
  9. Make sure you Apply as you navigate out