Age of Empires 1 + Windows 7 SP1 = “Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw””

I installed Age of Empires I on Windows 7 SP1 x64 Ultimate. After the installation whenever I tried to run the game (Empires.exe) I get the following error right at the beginning:

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  • Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card
    and driver are compatible with DirectDraw.

    I tried to change the compatibility mode and run as administrator but it didn’t help:

    enter image description here

    I followed the instructions printed on DirectDraw or Direct3D option is unavailable but it didn’t work (and they went written for Windows XP, not Windows 7).

    In dxdiag I checked that all my displays have DirectDraw enabled:

    enter image description here

    enter image description here

    I tried to change the monitor’s resolution to 800×600 (which is the default resolution of Age of Empires I):

    enter image description here

    What else can I try to solve the issue (without having to run Age of Empires 1 on a different OS, and without having to buy anything else as I have already bought the CD over 15 years ago)?

    Note that Age of Empires I does work fine with Windows 7 SP1 in a virtual machine, so I guess it might be due to some conflict with my graphic card’s drivers (NVIDIA GeForce GTX660M).

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  • 3 Solutions collect form web for “Age of Empires 1 + Windows 7 SP1 = “Could not initialize graphics system. Make sure that your video card and driver are compatible with DirectDraw”””

    I would say it’s your drivers. I had the same problem as you. I had to reload Windows and didn’t update the video drivers to the latest and the game is working. Sims3 is also working for me now.

    The issue is a graphics card problem where your card is too powerful for the game.

    Try any/all of the following to fix the problem:

    • Uninstall the game completely then reinstall (only worth trying if the game ran at least once before you experienced the problem)

    • Update your graphics card drivers

    • Downgrade your graphics card drivers

    • Disable your graphics card within Device Manager then restart Windows (remember to re-enable after you have finished playing)

    Run Win95 in Dosbox. Then you just run the software + you can play any other oldie instead of messing with hardware settings and restoring them after playing.

    We love Playing Games, especially Video Games.