I installed Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (one of my favorite games) and
managed to get it to run under Vista. It was not easy though. Basically it
needs administrator privleges and some extra compaibility beyond the basics.
Due to its inability to handle modern processors there are extra steps as

Here are my steps:

1 - Install the game as normal (note that it appears in the Game Explorer!)
2 - install the update4 patch (available around the web) - note: right-click
and "run as administrator"
3 - install the xp/2000 compatibility patch (available around the web) -
note: right-click and "run as administrator"
4 - set the executable to run as administrator (right click on program,
select properties, then security). Note, the compatibility modes are not

At this point the XP community fixes the .ini file and everything is ok. On
Vista, note that the key .ini file is empty, this won't be populated until
the game runs once and it crashes in TERRAN.EXE

5 - install the Microsoft Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.0 and run the
Compability Administrator with admin privleges (right-click and select "run
as Administrator"), note: there is a pre-installed Alpha Centauri fix but it
does not work under Vista
6 - create a new Application Fix in the Compatibility Administrator, select
the "terran.exe" file in the Alpha Centauri folder as the key file.
7 - Alpha Centauri requires the following Compatibility Modes to run:
8 - Run Alpha Centauri from the Compatibility Administrator. This will
generate a "CPU not supported" msg and populate the .ini file before it
9 - manually edit "alpha centauri.ini" file as follows:
change line: ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=0
to read: ForceOldVoxelAlgorithm=1
note: since the .ini file is inside the "program files" super-security area,
it cannot be edited directly, even by an administrator. Instead, save to the
desktop and then drag-and-drop into the folder to save the changes.

10 - the game should work correctly under the Compatibility Administrator
now. the drawback is that it asks for the location every time.

For a permanent fix, do the following

save the Compatibility Administrator application fix file as "Alpha Centauri
in Vista.sdb" in the default game location (c:\program files\firaxis
games\sid meier's alpha centauri)

1 - Start a command prompt by: StartOrb - programs - accessories - command
2. Type: sdbinst "C:\Program Files\Firaxis Games\Sid Meier's Alpha
Centauri\Alpha Centauri in Vista.sdb" (note the double quotes are

this installs the sdb file into the system so whenever the game is run, it
will use the appropriate compability modes.

it should run correctly from the Game Explorer now!

I hope that helps anyone trying to get this great old game to run