PullMonkey Blog

30 Apr

How I got GTA San Andreas to Work with (a crappy OS) Vista

So I bought Vista thinking it was going to be like 10 times faster and 100 times better than XP. Soon after buying it I realized it was approximatly 1/2 times as fast and 50 times worse. .

I recently installed GTA San Andreas on Vista. Surprisingly (this is sarcasm) it didn’t work. My mouse would stop working randomly during the game, and when I would go to the in game menu. The game would freeze. This happend regualarly and made it impossible to play. I went to google groups hoping there might be some others who had the same problem. There were, unfortunatly most of the people who answered were apparently retarded telling people to reinstall graphics card drivers and mouse drivers even when the mouse worked fine outside the game.

Frustrated and irritated I went about solving the problem on my own. Thankfully I am such an incredible genius(or maybe just lucky). I figured out how to fix it. My solution is as follows.

The first thing I did to solve the problem was right click the GTA shortcut on my desktop and in the menu click Properties. A Properties window will come up. Click the Compatablity tab. Under Compatablitly mode, check the box that says Run this program in compatability mode for:
Then select Windows 98/Windows Me from the dropdown list. This is actually a solution I got from the web and I had to do this running the game under XP too.

The game should work fine now if you want to start a new game fresh. However my old game that I started before I got Vista was 95% complete and I didn’t want to start all over again. Since Vista is confused about its sexuality, it saves the GTA files running under its original compatability in a folder that is in a different location from the one GTA running under compatabilty for Windows 98/Windows Me. So if you were to start a game in Windows 98/Windows Me compatabilty all your saved games would not be there. So to combat this, go to the default directory where GTA saves your game in Vista. Mine was C:\Users\your username\Documents\GTA San Andreas User Files.

If you can’t find this folder, do a search for “GTASAsf1.b”. This is the file name GTA uses for your first save slot for your game. Find the directory that contains this file name. This is the directory that contains all your specific user data including defined control settings and your saved games. The folder should be called GTA San Andreas User files. I suppose you could do a search for the directory instead of the game name.

Copy all the files files in that directory.

Now get into GTA start a new game, get to a save point and save it under the first save slot. This will create a saved game in the directory that it saves Windows 98/Windows XP compatabiilty games under. Now exit the game.

Next go to the new directory where San Andreas saves it’s files under Windows 98/Windows Me compatablilty. Mine was C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\GTA San Andreas User Files, but if you cant find it, do a search for the file name listed above under SIDE NOTE. Just make sure to open the directory that contains the new save file and not the old one. I did this by checking the date the files were modified. Paste all the files from your old Vista compatability directory to this directory and write over all the files. Viola, now when you get into the game all your old saves and controller settings should be there.

Filed under: Home, games

74 Responses to “How I got GTA San Andreas to Work with (a crappy OS) Vista”

  1. By uranus on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Interesting. I found that Vista was 3.4 times slower and 24 times shittier using a linear deterministic equation.<br/><br/>Let’s hit the titty bar later to discuss.

  2. By blazeR on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    ahhh thanks man i was goin fuckin crazy tryin to get it runnin on vista! never thought to try compatibility for win 98/me, because the game wasnt made for either of those OS. anyway good man been real helpful & yeh vista sucks right now

  3. By Russ on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Everything that’s written here happened to me too, thanks for the problem solving. But I have question, should I update direct X, or install the one with the game

  4. By ben on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    What a dumb idea. This game wasn’t designed for Win98/ME and accordingly runs like crap. The game will only run in 16bit color and the graphics look like crap. At least the mouse works now, but this isn’t a viable solution due to the previously mentioned issues.

  5. By Pimp Daddy on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks dude, awesome (if not kinda weird) fix. Ben, u musta done it wrong u douche. My graphics look great.

  6. By Andy on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Ha, thanks pimp daddy. First of all Ben, you’re dumb. Second, I think you need to be a little bit more constructive. I’m not sure what your settings are, but for most people, when you run the game a window comes up asking you to select a device. Beneath the graphics card name, set your option to 32 bit if that’s how you want it. It’s the last dimention eg. 800 x 600 x 32. Also maybe if you’d start being less negative, more people would like you which in turn could lead to a more positive outlook and an overall happier lifestyle.

  7. By Andy on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Russ, If your direct X version is more recent than 9.0 C you don’t have to install it from the game. To be safe you can install it from the game anyways. The installation wizard will check to see what version of Direct X you have installed, and if your version is newer than 9.0 C, it will finish the installation wizard without installing anything new. If your version is outdated it will install 9.0 C (which is what you need to run San Andreas).

  8. By vitron on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    The GTA SA game actually runs fine on my vista ultimate version, and ive got everything on high quility, so it looks quite good :), but I have tried it on low settings as well just to see wat happens, and it dousnt work at all.<br/>But i have had problems trying to look around either with my mouse, keyboard or left analouge stick on the joypad, but look dousnt work no matter wat. Also, Ive had problems with sound, but thats about it.<br/>Ill try the compatibilty thing, ive tried it wid campatibilty for XP, but that dont make a difference for some reason :(

  9. By Andreas on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    It freezes after 2 minutes in the game anyway :( i run vista, geforce 8600GT. any clues? i tried nvidias hotfixes and microsoft updates but the problem still remains. The strange thing is that it worked perfectly for 10 days, then suddenly it just started to crash all the time even when i tried to reinstall it 2 times. Is there a problem to reinstall this game? some old properties left? I have the newest drivers for the videocard to.

  10. By mattbuck on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Sweet, thanks. it nicely solves my problem of being unable to move while aiming if framerate limiter was off.

  11. By OMG on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Omg can i dawnload a PROGRAM so gta will never crash becouse my cousin said that there is a PROGRAM that gta san andreas will never crash DO YOU NOW WHAT PROGRAM IT IS

  12. By Michael on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    in transferring the old save data to make it work in the windows 98/me compatibility mode..dont copy all the files just copy your save game…user tracks and gallery also if necessary..(Note: please don’t copy the gta_sa.set file or else it won’t work)enjoy the game dudes…Mike

  13. By FIGLER on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    thanks man

  14. By Trampus on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    .<br/> Well YES Vista SUX !!! and NO I don’t see it getting any better with SP’s either.<br/><br/> That aside, you can install San Andreas and let it complete the install as normal ‘Using No Compatibility Emulation’ ….. the key is to get to a Save Point in GTA and start a Saved Game File Set, then ‘FIND’ (which is a beotch) the location Vista has hidden the GTA User Files …. what a fargin dud of an OS.<br/><br/> Anyway, once you have the game installed and I forgot to mention that this is for Dual Boot or Multi-Boot Machines with XP being one of the OS’s or if you have a Burn Back-Up of your Old RockStar GTA SA Install Folder ….. so once the game is installed, simply drop over to the Volume XP is on and locate the Program Folder for San Andreas and Copy the entire XP San Andreas Folder into the Vista RockStar Folder for San Andreas ….. <br/><br/> All the Plugins and MOD’s will (or should) work as well as will No-CD Patches and other junk …. I have one of the million and a half Trainers for GTA SA written for XP and it works exactly the same in Vista as in XP and I have no issues with Mouse or Joystick …. The game will freeze from time to time, but usually Tapping ESC several times will unfreeze it and the game will continue on with no ill effects.<br/> <br/> One of the main problems with Gaming in Vista is that Microsoft decided we are all stupid and need to have ‘Direct Write’ set as Default for our Hard Drives …. Go into Device Manager and Open your ATA/IDE Entries and set them to ‘Write Cache’ …. this way your Hard Drives will use its Buffer Cache as it is ‘SUPPOSED TOO’ rather than writing Directly to Hard Drive 24/7/365 …..<br/><br/> Man MS has become the Idiots of the 21st Century and there is no relief with MAC Machines either …. both Current Windows and MAC OS’s SUCK EQUALLY !!!!! They are evidently in a ‘SEE WHO CAN SUCK THE WORST’ competition and they are both WINNING BIG !!!!!!!<br/><br/> Now to get all your Saved Games into the excruciatingly hidden GTA SA User Files Vista folder, just find the sucker as stated above and copy over all your Saved Games and there she is all naked and wide open ready to Rock, Roll, and Stroll.<br/><br/> I understand that Microsoft is ran by a Gaggle of rich spoiled brat Retards (sorry Retarded People to Dis you this way by comparing you to Microsoft) and they have to SCREW Vista totally up so we will be FORCED to stop sucking the XP Tit, but at least they could have "left a little something in Vista that just mimicked XP so it would not be so fonked trying to work and transition between the two OS’s. I really LOVE those humungatoided ‘Vista ShortCut Arrows’ boy !!!!!<br/><br/> I guess when you are a Con Artist you have to keep coming up with new Con’s to play on the Consumer and if you are Microsoft, you build Vista which is the Windows ME of 2007 and beyond.<br/><br/> Love and Peace be to all Jedi ….. Live Long and Prosper …. The Needs of the Many Out Weigh the Needs of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs !!!!!<br/><br/>.<br/>

  15. By Anonymous on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    The compatibility switch also seems to fix the mouse and (my) crash issues on Windows XP x64. I just finished all unique jumps in Los Santos in one go while testing the mouse in the menus, map, and Alt-tabbing between jumps. Unlike before, it ran perfectly the whole time.

  16. By Jed on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I tried to change the compatibility mode to "windows 98/ME" and i clicked the "Run as administrator" but still, when i play the game, it still has the letters flashing on the screen. How can i solve this problem? Can someone help me please? Thank you! and Merry Christmas!

  17. By Pehrson on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    For Trampus etc.:<br/><br/>You are SO wrong. Benchmark tests have actually shown Vista to be significantly faster on 3D games than XP. If you update your drivers, that is.<br/><br/>The reason? XP not being updated for new technology like Vista is.

  18. By P on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Cheers for this solution!

  19. By Pieter on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Although i’m very happy with the fix you’ve provideded, i can’t agree with your vista experience. Vista here works quite faster on both gaming and working environement.

  20. By HDW on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    dude thx a ton it helped me a lot only thing i did different is a ran it under XP not 98/me only problem i have now is the tones r kinda green but i think a fresh install will fix that right up thx for the post saved me time and frustration

  21. By wenshu on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    sadly this does not work for me. i have vista (32 bit). i also updated by video drivers. the game crashes after the introduction movie ends.

  22. By Ring_of_Fire on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    The fix for this is to disable the "Windows Event Log" service, and then reboot computer… http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k166/MWarfare/event_log.jpg&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;IMGhttp://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k166/MWarfare/event_log.jpg/IMG&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;a href="http://s88.photobucket.com/albums/k166/MWarfare/?action=view&current=event_log.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i88.photobucket.com/albums/k166/MWarfare/event_log.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a><br/><br/>Happy San Andreas! Not only your mouse will work fine, you can also Alt-Tab during gameplay and the game won’t even crash. Also, you can change the priority and turn off compatibility mode and the game STILL won’t crash. Make sure you delete [.set] file after doing this, though.

  23. By Ring_of_Fire on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=VaDrxbi1GdI&lt;br/&gt;&lt;br/&gt;&lt;object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/VaDrxbi1GdI&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/VaDrxbi1GdI&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object><br/><br/>Here is a video for y’all that had been having issues…

  24. By Ring_of_Fire on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    <object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/VaDrxbi1GdI"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/VaDrxbi1GdI" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>

  25. By Ring_of_Fire on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Here’s another fix, make sure to restart computer after doing this -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Td3_ssgvxI

  26. By Ha on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    XP sucked when it came out too dont be so damn hostile to vista. can u direct x10 on xp, no ha ha u fail. If you was this bothered about gaming youd have dual boot anyway and if u were a serious gamer ud have direct x10 and vista for upcoming games.

  27. By Ricky on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    To fix the flashing text and numbers you need to update your graphics drivers.

  28. By Jesant13 on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Andy, thank you so much for posting these instructions. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is working much better than before and I have experienced no more of those freezing problems.

    If you ever need to contact me, I use the http://www.gta-sanandreas.com forums. My name is the same here as it is there.

  29. By mido on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    thanks man!
    i actually played a little with the compatibility setting but i only tried the xp and win 2000 modes.

  30. By salil on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I tried to change the compatibility mode to "windows 98/ME" and i even tried all other modes,i clicked the "Run as administrator" but still, when i play the game, it still has the letters flashing on the screen. How can i solve this problem? Can someone help me please? an error saying display driver idfx has stopped responding and fully recovered plzzz help.

  31. By Jesper on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Can I be your husband or wife, or something?
    That tutorial totally kick ass!
    LOVE YA! :D

  32. By Vlad on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for sharing your information.

  33. By Michael on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Andy, you’r the MAN! Now it really works :D

  34. By Speel on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Crashes my XP.

  35. By John on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Hello, um yes I got mine to work also, before I came t this site.
    Um I have a problem, in my GTA SAN ANDREAS user directory the B files aint there(save files) and neither is the SET file(the save slot holder, able to have b files)

    So basically I cant get a save file and move to a place, I would like to know how to get my SET file back and able to use B files.
    So plz if you can help me anyone I would be gratful.:)

  36. By James on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I cannot get it to work on my vista at all. It will install upto the point where there is a cop standing with his gun then it will say data3 file missing and cancel back into windows. Anyone help me.

  37. By Neubagreere on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Lend money to a bad debtor and he will hate you.


  38. By Natboy01 on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I’m still getting flashing letters

  39. By Icx on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply


  40. By v on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    it works!!

  41. By steini on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    ooooh THANK YOU SO MUCH!! :)

  42. By jamesdurnousow on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    i run windows vista home premium 32bit and have an 8600GT with the lastest drivers and the game will screw up halfway through the install and i cant even play it , this is what it says H:\data3.cab Error (cyclic redundancy sheck) and then it just closes it down its the same problem as the other guy called James a few posts above here, PLEASE HELP

  43. By Johnny on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Well it still don\t work at me and it appears some letters on screen…
    what I must?

  44. By Eric on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks bro!
    This saved me!
    Keep it up

  45. By Haflo on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks alot andy !!!!
    You really saved me here , today i was on the verge of formatting my PC and rolling back to XP Because of All the San andreas problems - which are Exactly what happened to you .
    Lucky i googled the problem :) Ever since i changed compatability it never crashed again, Although i dont understand why adjust it to windows 98/ME and not XP ( The OS which SA was designed for )…
    Thanks again and vista sux ! :)

  46. By amy70 on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I still get strange letters appearing on my screen

  47. By Lonelyboy on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    hi gays……
    Is this about san andreas only? or also vice city?
    can anyone tell me?please

  48. By ladytaz on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    for those having troublle with the installation, it is probably due to cylic redundancy.i had to borrow a friends disc to install because my disc was messed up. hope this helps

  49. By Laurence on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    What Video card do you use, and how much does it cost???

  50. By mattf007 on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    This didn’t work. San Andreas still keeps freezing randomly and after the cutscenes of missions. Anything else i can try?

  51. By sdsdsd on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    This tut really helped as I´m running the save files and set files from my old harddrive that had GTA on it.
    The OS was XP and now I copied the files from old XP GTA san A folder to the new destinatiion folder.

    So now everything is runnig smoothly on my vista 64 machine !!

  52. By bobdealer on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply


    thx man, this really helped!

    You are really DA MAN! ;)

  53. By Alfred on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    damn compatability doesnt work
    useless atm

  54. By MattB on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    so yah, I bought this game and dled it. Did what he said, changed the properties. Yet it lags like a mofo I’m on Vista Home Premium

    Manufacturer: TOSHIBA
    Model: Satellite A205
    Processor: Intel(R) Celeron(R) CPU 540 @ 1.86GHz 1.86 GHz

    Memory (RAM): 2,00 GB
    System type: 32-bit Operating System.

    Please help!!

  55. By Sant on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    THanks man, you are the best I couldn`t get the game saves to work.


  56. By Paul on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks a lot for this article!
    I also had same problems in Vista.

  57. By bob` on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    the cycle redundancy check is cause by a lacking in the sound card or drivers eaisest way to fix is to do a cutsom install and unselect the sound option that comes up. should install fine but i havent gotten past a gta_sa.exe has stoped working error when it goes to the first load screen.

  58. By Jonathan on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    As a few people have said, we all bitched and complained when XP came out too because games we’d loved under Windows 98 no longer ran. Come to think of it… Same goes when Windows 95 hit the shelves and DOS games stopped working!

    As with all the others, the solution is there if you’re prepared to look.

    In this case, I followed the instructions here and they worked really well. With a fresh install, I set the compatibility settings, ran the game, configured the keys, tested the mouse and saved a game. Then I located the savegame and overwrote it with my backed up copy from my XP computer.

    NOTE: I did not overwrite any files at all except the single savegame I wanted to replace. This leaves the configuration files as they should be.

    I used the "Windows XP SP2" compatibility option and have suffered no loss in speed or graphic detail / resolution. I’m running with my savegames transferred from my XP machine. In fact if you ONLY copy the savegame files, you can switch between the two OSes as you like.

    Good luck!

  59. By Dgseo on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    I love you.

  60. By B on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll try it. My San Andreas On Vista Home Premium 32bit doesn’t even launch the executable and I have tried several things, next I will try rolling back the compatiblity mode. Wierd thing is Vice city installed and ran without a hitch, even my colledit and map mods. I have the 2008 version of MS-developer so a may just rebuild the darn executable, if I do I will post it at GTA forums. To the other comments, every version of Windows is worse than the one before it, you tend to remember win95 with fondness cause your pulling your hair out in win98. The trend never changes, I had to hack the user-level access control out of the system registry in Vista before I was willing to even try any games on it. Weird thing is after I did that I did get a few Dos-mode games to work in Vista (Doom2, Quake1, & Carmageddon 1) Still tring to get Carmageddon 2 to have sound but everything else works. Anywho, Vista is like any other piece of CRAP from microsoft, don’t expect them to fix it, the user community will end up doing all the work just like every other version of Windows.

  61. By Alex96' on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    PLZ HALP! I did it all but i cant find nor the new user file ( C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\GTA San Andreas User Files ) nor SIDE NOTE ? where is it? plz halp me!

  62. By bnm9417 on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    hey man! i think i’ve found the solution to this problem without doing anything more than a simple double click…

    Just go to the Task Manager (Windows key + R .. type taskmgr .. press Enter) and kill (if running):


    then just start GTA San Andreas and… voila!

    it actually works for me .. even when i have the worst OS ever made .. yes, worse than any VISTA .. VISTA STARTER ..

    NOTE: Do it every time before you start GTA San Andreas ..
    NOTE2: Once you’ve started and played GTA without problems, you wont need to do this anymore .. whenever your PC stays turned on or in the same account
    NOTE3: After a few days (or maybe weeks) .. you wont need to do this even if you turn off your computer… [many times i dont have to do that "kill" process .. now i

    simply start my GTA .. and it works fine .. MANY TIMES, not always]

    For those who dont want to bother killing processes .. u can download my "kill-n-play" batch (i know its a stupid name) just click here to go to the download page .. its

    only a few KiloBytes…

    Download Here: http://cid-4c138c91424da1f8.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Warez/KILL%7C_N%7C_PLAY.rar

    well i hope this could help any in need of playing GTA San Andreas..

  63. By Anette on Apr 30, 2007 | Reply

    Find the files you are looking for at download-the-movie.net the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  64. By J on Jun 24, 2010 | Reply

    I did all the things, but when i start up my game it freezes and i have to cancel it. Help ?

  65. By J on Jun 24, 2010 | Reply

    and sorry for my bad english, i’m swedish.

  66. By rodo on Sep 22, 2010 | Reply

    damn such a simple solution, yet doesnt work for me :/
    been having this problem for about a year and still no fix. wtf man my pc is cursed :(

  67. By ram on Oct 1, 2010 | Reply

    on vista some strange letters appear when gta-san-andreas run

  68. By GAURAV KR. on Jan 4, 2011 | Reply


  69. By jamesc on Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

    THANK YOU SO FREAKIN MUCH. BEEN PLAYIN TILL 80% BEFORE THIS. awesome technique. now i continue without crashes or freezes. thanks again

  70. By IWANTGTASATOWORKONVISTA! on Jul 6, 2011 | Reply

    always i click on the desktop shortcut it says “gta_sa.exe stopped working” anyone that knows how to fix it? please.

  71. By WiiTold on Aug 22, 2011 | Reply

    Hi, if you’r so smart, try to make out how to solve this problem in GTA:SA bought on Steam :) When i’m setting compatibility mode on 98/ME i receive the info that have to turn off this mode :)

  72. By miami boi on Jun 13, 2012 | Reply

    i have a problem i have a dell xps. i meet all the requirements and what not for the game. the only issue i have is when it is copying the files from the cd to a folder an error message pops up saying cannot copy data3:invalid MS_DOS function. note i tried to install it from the cd itself it says the same thing. so i tried coping the files into a new folder…. and says the same thing. does that mean my cd doesn’t work?

  73. By Dar_bok on Nov 4, 2012 | Reply

    I cannot explain how relieved I was to read others were having this same issue. Thanks soo much for this fix. I am forever in your debt~

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