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Getting The Sims 2 Working in 2020

Purpose of this article

To explain how to get a free copy of The Sims 2 Ultimate Edition and set it up properly to run on Windows 10.

The game was tested on 10/10/2020 on Windows 10 Home Edition 64-bit version 2004 (OS Build 19041.508).

Where to get the game

The game seems to be abandonware at this point. It is no longer either sold or supported by EA, and it does not seem like it is possible to buy a new copy of the game.

The game has been archived at the Internet Archive since 2018, so it is very likely to be available there indefinitely unless EA decides ask for removal for some reason. You can get it via direct download or torrent here. I used the torrent option and had no issues.

How to install the game

First, unpack the RAR archive using a file archiving tool. I prefer 7-Zip.

I always scan downloads with a couple different malware detection tools before running an executable. I uploaded the setup file to VirusTotal, and it did not detect anything suspicious.

Run the setup.exe file and follow the instructions. Uncheck the options to add a desktop shortcut/start menu shortcut. Once installed, the game will take up about 14GB of space.

Once installed, navigate to the game directory > The Sims 2 Mansion and Garden Stuff > TSBin > Sims2EP9.exe. There are executable files in the directories for each expansion, but this is the most recently-released one. So this is the file you want to make a shortcut for and use to run the game.

Add an entry in Windows Firewall (optional)

I block any program in Windows Firewall that has no business sending outbound network traffic, and this qualifies. You don't necessarily have to do this, but I do for a couple reasons:

  1. In the unlikely case that there is some malware lingering around or some dubious data collection going on by the publisher of the game, it slightly mitigates the risk of bad outcomes by not allowing the executable to directly send outbound network traffic.

  2. It prevents the game from trying to connect to EA or any other servers to get updates or anything else that may screw up the stable game installation.

The steps for adding a Windows Firewall entry are:

Configure game options to get things running smoothly

At this point, the first thing you will want to do is run the game from the shortcut you created to make sure it runs properly. The game will take a long time to load the first time you start it up and load everything up. After the first time, loading screens are pretty quick, and everything runs normally.

If the game boots up correctly and allows you to enter a town, you can go ahead and exit the game. Here are the steps you will want to complete to fix graphics issues:

  1. Go to the game directory > The Sims 2 Mansion and Garden Stuff > TSData > Res > Config , and open the file Graphics Rules.sgr in a text editor. Ctrl+F to look for the option “ScreenModeResolution” and look for the setting $Low. Under this heading, you will want to change the first 2 lines (uintProp maxResWidth and uintPropmaxResHeight) to your monitor's resolution. In my case, I used 1920 for width and 1080 for height, and this worked properly. If you use a larger or less-common resolution, you may need to test this out to make sure it works properly.

  2. Start up the game again, click into a town, and go to to options > Graphics options. You should now have the ability to change the game resolution from 800x600 to your monitor's native resolution.

  3. I left all of the other graphics options on max with one exception. You may notice that your sims have a large black box under their feet, and this is a bug with shadows. If you go to graphics options, you may find that the option to change shadows is greyed out. To correct this, first you must click into an actual lot (house) on the map. Once you do so, re-open the graphics menu and change the option for Shadows from “High” to “Medium” and apply your changes. This should fix the black box shadow issue.

After these changes, you should be good to go!

Published: October 12, 2020.
Last updated: October 12, 2020
Correction and Edit History:
*License Info: This article is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0