Anonymous edits have been disabled on the wiki. If you want to contribute please login or create an account.

Warning for game developers: PCGamingWiki staff members will only ever reach out to you using the official mail address.
Be aware of scammers claiming to be representatives or affiliates of PCGamingWiki who promise a PCGW page for a game key.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 cover
Westwood Pacific
Electronic Arts
Re-release Sold Out Software
Release dates
Windows October 25, 2000
Metacritic 84
Monetization One-time game purchase, Expansion pack, Subscription gaming service
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives Bird's-eye view, Isometric
Controls Multiple select, Point and select
Genres RTS
Themes Europe, North America, Africa, Oceania, Antarctica, Sci-fi, Space
Series Command & Conquer
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 on HowLongToBeat
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 on IGDB
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 on MobyGames
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 on Wikipedia
Command & Conquer 1995
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 1996
Command & Conquer: Sole Survivor 1997
Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun 1999
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 2000
Command & Conquer: Renegade 2002
Command & Conquer: Generals 2003
Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 2007
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 2008
Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 - Uprising 2009
Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight 2010
OpenRA (unofficial) 2010
Command & Conquer (2013) Cancelled
Command & Conquer Remastered Collection 2020
Renegade X (unofficial) EA

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 is a singleplayer and multiplayer bird's-eye view and isometric RTS game in the Command & Conquer series.

A sequel to Command & Conquer: Red Alert was pitched by Westwood Studios co-founder Brett Sperry in 1999 to the studio's then-new Irvine subsidiary Westwood Pacific. Hence, it was the first game in the series developed by largely a separate team, but the main Westwood team at Las Vegas contributed cutscenes, audio/music and input regardless. The game uses a heavily modified and optimized engine from its immediate predecessor, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, albeit forked from a pre-release build.

The Yuri's Revenge expansion from October 2001 added two new campaigns, new units, and for the first time in the franchise, a third faction playable in both singleplayer and multiplayer.

Post-release support included 6 patches for the base game and only 1 for Yuri's Revenge, as well as a semi-official map editor (FinalAlert) compatible with both titles. While no official modding tools were released, the game quickly received a sizable modding and mapping community, whose projects remain popular well into the 2020s.[1]

The game and its expansion were first released digitally on October 2, 2012 on Origin as part of the Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection package. On March 7, 2024, they were released on Steam for the first time as part of The Ultimate Collection with compatibility tweaks, with the EA App version mirroring the changes on the same day.

The game has considerable issues running on newer operating systems without modification, mainly caused by the broken DirectDraw renderer preventing the game from launching, combined with the deprecated SafeDisc 2 DRM[Note 1] in the retail version. Community efforts have resulted in multiple viable alternative renderers, all of which are included as options in the CnCNet client, which is also used for accessing the community-run CnCNet multiplayer service. The official multiplayer service, Westwood Online, was redirected to the also community-run XWIS server in 2005 in agreement with EA's German community team[4], and using the in-game multiplayer menus lead to it without any additional configuration, but this service is presently seldom used due to CnCNet's quality-of-life improvements.

The base game included the World Domination Tour game mode in multiplayer, but as neither XWIS nor CnCNet have the necessary code to host it, it is no longer playable.

General information

Command & Conquer Wiki - A wiki for everything Command & Conquer-related
Project Perfect Mod - The most expansive RA2 mod site.
CnCNet (multiplayer replacement; Yuri's Revenge expansion required)
XWIS (legacy multiplayer replacement, default server lookup leads to this service)
Red Alert 2 section on
Red Alert 2 section on C&C Communications Center
Red Alert 2 section on
Yuri's Revenge section on
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SafeDisc 2 DRM[Note 2]. The installer for the base game is also DRM-protected, but not the one for Yuri's Revenge.
Bundled as part of Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection; includes the Yuri's Revenge expansion. Pre-packaged with DDrawCompat. Included with EA Play.
Manual link for EA App purchase.
DRM-free after installation through Steam client (notes may include more details)
Bundled as part of Command & Conquer: The Ultimate Collection; includes the Yuri's Revenge expansion. Pre-packaged with DDrawCompat. Included with EA Play (Steam).
Steam DRM removed on March 9, 2024.[7][8]
SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows Vista and later (see above for affected versions).
Retail versions include custom DRM code which can sabotage the game by destroying all units and structures owned by the player after 30 seconds, triggering an automatic defeat. It can occur on legitimate copies under certain circumstances - see Auto-defeat after 30 seconds for instructions to fix this.


Type Notes
Expansion pack The expansion pack includes a new faction, new campaigns, maps, and units.
One-time game purchase The game requires an upfront purchase to access.
Subscription gaming service Available via EA Play.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Yuri's Revenge Explicitly requires the base game to be patched to v1.006.

Essential improvements


Patch 1.006 for Red Alert 2 fixes general bugs, network and exploit issues - available from, C&C Labs, Patches-Scrolls and GameFront.
Patch 1.001 for Yuri's Revenge fixes bugs, crashes and a problem when multiple CD drives are plugged in - available from, C&C Labs, Patches-Scrolls and GameFront.
Both patches are already included in The First Decade and The Ultimate Collection releases.

CnCNet YR Client

Download link
Requires the Yuri's Revenge expansion patched to version 1.001.
Includes a variety of custom graphics renderers, each fitting different configurations: cnc-ddraw, ts-ddraw, DDrawCompat and DxWnd.
Settings changes apply to the main executables of Red Alert 2 and Yuri's Revenge.
On Windows 11, Yuri's Revenge specifically (but not the base game) requires the Use legacy display ICC color management option in the compatibility settings to be enabled even when using these alternate renderers.[9]

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\ra2.ini[Note 3]
<path-to-game>\ra2md.ini[Note 3]
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/2229850/pfx/[Note 4]

Save game data location

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\*.sav[Note 3]
Steam Play (Linux) <SteamLibrary-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/2229850/pfx/[Note 4]

Save game cloud syncing

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud


In-game options screen.
In-game options screen.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
See Widescreen resolution.
See Widescreen resolution.
4K Ultra HD
See Widescreen resolution.
Field of view (FOV)
Run the game with -win command line argument. Requires to be run in 16-bit colour mode unless a custom graphics renderer is used.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Using the CnC-DDraw renderer.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Vertical sync (Vsync)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
60 FPS
Videos display in 15 FPS. Framerate is tied to game speed, and skirmish/multiplayer can go up to 60 FPS (for campaigns, use the -SPEEDCONTROL command line argument to enable the speed slider).
120+ FPS
If using the CnCNet YR Client, the "MAX" speed setting is available, but it can result in uncontrollably fast game speeds and is not recommended.
High dynamic range display (HDR)

Widescreen resolution

Regardless of the settings applied, the Yuri's Revenge main menu is hardcoded to 800x600. These changes apply to the in-game resolutions of the base game and expansion, as well as the base game main menu.
To make these methods work in the EA App and Steam (2024) versions of the game, first open <path-to-game>\DDrawCompat.ini in a text editor and add the desired resolution(s) at the end of the SupportedResolutions entry or delete that entry entirely.[10] Without this step, the game will default to the default three resolutions.
Modify the configuration file, method 1
  1. Go to <path-to-game>
  2. Open RA2.ini (base game) or RA2md.ini (Yuri's Revenge) with any text editor and type the resolution there:

Where ScreenHeight and ScreenWidth are the desired resolution.

Modify the configuration file, method 2
  1. Go to <path-to-game>.
  2. Open RA2.ini (base game) or RA2md.ini (Yuri's Revenge).
  3. Under the [Video] value, insert AllowHiResModes=yes.
  4. Save the file, then run the game.
  5. In the options screen, all standardized resolutions should be visible.
Main menu "cheat code"
  1. When in the game's main menu, simply type HIRES.
  2. In the options screen, all standardized resolutions should be visible.


In-game key map settings.
In-game key map settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse controls can't be changed. LMB is for selection/orders, RMB is deselection/viewport panning.
Mouse acceleration
Can only change scroll speed
Mouse sensitivity
For scroll speed.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Touchscreen optimised
Only if touch input doubles as mouse input (tapping = LMB, holding = RMB, etc.). No special touch-screen controls or touch-screen control-overlay
Controller support
Controller types


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
The Traditional Chinese versions have forced subtitles enabled in-game due to the presence of subtitle.ini (RA2) and subtitlemd.ini (YR) which other versions do not have.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Traditional Chinese
Fan translation, download.
Fan translation and full dubbing by TSF(link to catalogue), download.
Fan translation, download.


In-game network settings.
In-game network settings.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
LAN play
8 Versus, Co-op
Uses IPX protocol. Requires a LAN patch to be replaced with UDP (ModDB, or IPXwrapper.
Alternatively, the CnCNet YR client includes its own workaround.
Online play
8 Versus, Co-op
Lobbies point to XWIS by default since October 6, 2005 as part of an agreement with EA.[4] CnCNet is a more popular alternative.

Connection types


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 3840, 4005, 4808, 4810, 4995, 7000-7002
UDP 1234-1237
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

Issues fixed

String manager failed to initialize properly

This issue manifests as an error window reading ***FATAL*** String Manager Failed to Initialize Properly.
Run the game in compatibility mode for Windows 98/ME and as administrator. Choose "Change settings for all users" if the options are disabled.[11]

"Player already has the same serial" error

This solution refers to retail versions of the game.
Add missing registry value
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Westwood\Red Alert 2 (base game) and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Westwood\Yuri's Revenge (expansion)
  2. Make a new string called Serial.
  3. Enter a valid serial key as the string text (each player must have a unique entry). Incorrect values trigger the 30-second defeat DRM.

Auto-defeat after 30 seconds

Is triggered by DRM, even on legitimate installations.
This solution refers to retail versions of the game.
Check game's serial key registry entries[12]

See "Player already has the same serial" error

Clean reinstall of the game as administrator[13]
Fully re-install the game with administrator privileges in hopes the registry keys will be correctly created.

Rendering issues

The following rendering problems are handled by the solutions below:
  • Game running only a black screen on startup (occurs when the game engine tries to render in VRAM)
  • Game is purple/green colored and displays only on the other half of the screen
Install the CnCNet YR client and choose an alternative renderer until ideal performance is reached
Manually setting up cnc-ddraw renderer
  1. Disable the compatibility mode of the game's RA2.exe and RA2MD.exe executables.
  2. Copy the files from the .zip of cnc-ddraw custom renderer to the Red Alert 2 installation folder, replacing those present. If using the CnCNet YR client, use its options menu to select cnc-ddraw among renderer choices.

If the problem persists only in Yuri's Revenge when exiting from playing to the menu, try to set renderer=opengl in ddraw.ini; auto or direct3d9 may be causing the problem.

Manually setting up ddwrapper renderer

Download Aqrit's ddwrapper and extract the ddraw.dll and aqrit.cfg files into the RA2 folder. Next, ensure that only these settings are set to 1 in aqrit.cfg:

FakeVsync                = 1
NoVideoMemory            = 1

Alternatively, simply download and extract the contents of this preconfigured fix into the RA2 folder. Also, consider using the performance fix as well.


If some Windows elements flicker from behind the game, open aqrit.cfg and set the ForceDirectDrawEmulation value to 0.

Lag/low FPS

Modify the RA2(MD).ini file[14]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>
  2. Open RA2.ini for the base game and RA2MD.ini for Yuri's Revenge.
  3. Under the [Video] section, add VideoBackBuffer=No to a new line.
  4. Save the file and launch the game.


cnc-ddraw applies this fix
Apply the Command and Conquer Graphics Patcher

Game runs too fast

Make sure the in-game "Game Speed" slider is adjusted properly.
"Normal" game speed is "Fast" 30 FPS. "Real" speed is "Slow" 15 FPS; 1 second in-game equals 1 second in real-life at 15 FPS. 60 FPS is Game Speed 5 "Faster".
Note that the CnCNet YR Client has its own game speed settings. Setting them at "MAX" may cause uncontrollably high game speed, so limiting to 60 FPS is recommended.

Cutscenes crash the game

Issue is currently only on the Steam version. Some of the cutscenes are corrupted and can cause the game to crash.[15]
Download the working cutscenes

Follow this link to a Steam discussion on how to download the fixed cutscenes.

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
DirectDraw 7.0a
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Westwood Online

Command line arguments

Command[16] Description
-WIN Runs the game in windowed mode (requires 16-bit color mode)
-16 Forces 16-bit color mode
-480 Forces screen resolution to 480px height
-[width]x[height] Sets custom resolution
-SPEEDCONTROL Enables the game speed slider in campaign mode
-noaudio Disables game audio
-nostr (or -jabber) Disables reading the string file (.csf); base game only
-record Saves a match replay in <path-to-game>\SESSION.IPB; faulty function, does not track other players' correct movements in multiplayer
-play [filename] Plays a replay file
-CD [path] Redirects the disc check to a set path, which needs to contain YR1.dsk with at least 3 bytes of content; unknown how it relates to DRM
-STEALTH Hides player names in multiplayer
-DESTNET Specifies destination network IP address
-SOCKET Specifies network socket number (0-16383)
-DROP=[int] Enables Packet Loss Simulation mode
-MESSAGES Allows incoming messages from outside the game (Westwood Online only)
-DLINK Enables additional logic for D-Link LAN configurations
-NETGEAR Enables additional logic for NetGear LAN configurations
-MPDEBUG Enables multiplayer debug mode

FinalAlert (map editor)

The latest legacy version of FinalAlert 2 (YR 1.02) is available from CNCNZ, Project Perfect Mod, ModDB, CnCLabs, and GameFront. Despite the version name, it can work with and without the Yuri's Revenge expansion.
In 2024, FinalAlert was made open-source, and both the tool and its source code are distributed as part of the Steam and EA App versions of the game. This version of the tool has several improvements compared to v1.02.

Hero units in "Hollywood and Vain" mission lack their unique lines

Yuri's Revenge patch 1.001 replaced the voice lines of movie star characters in Allied mission 2 with those of regular GIs for unknown reasons.
Use Hero voicelines restoration mod[17]


The listed modifications are all for the Yuri's Revenge expansion.
Mental Omega
C&C: Reloaded
Rise of the East
Red Resurrection

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, 98, NT 4.0, ME
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium II 266 MHz
System memory (RAM) 64 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 350 MB
additional 350 MB for expansion
Video card (GPU) 2 MB of VRAM
DirectX 7.0a compatible


  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[2] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[3]
  2. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[5] or Windows 11 and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[6]
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Notes regarding Steam Play (Linux) data:


  1. Players Choice - Mod of the Year 2021 feature - last accessed on 2023-05-30
  2. Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of - Microsoft Community - last accessed on 2017-01-16
  3. Microsoft - MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015 - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  4. 4.0 4.1 Bye Bye WOL! XWIS is the official online gaming service now! | Project Perfect Mod - last accessed on 2024-03-08
  5. Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of - Microsoft Community - last accessed on 2017-01-16
  6. Microsoft - MS15-097: Description of the security update for the graphics component in Windows: September 8, 2015 - last accessed on 2018-02-16
  7. Command & Conquer: Red Alert™ 2 and Yuri’s Revenge™ History · Change #22697750 · SteamDB - last accessed on 2024-03-09
  8. Verified by User:Plok on 2024-03-09
  9. Verified by User:Plok on 2023-06-01
  10. Verified by User:Plok on 2024-03-07
  11. Verified by User:Plok on 2022-08-10
    Common method used in the 2000s.
  12. Verified by User:Plok on 2022-08-10
  13. Verified by User:Plok on 2022-08-10
  14. Verified by User:Plok on 2022-08-10
    Common method used in the 2000s.
  15. [1] - last accessed on 2024-03-29
  16. Red Alert 2 on ModEnc, the Command 6 Conquer Modding Encyclopedia - last accessed on May 2023
  17. Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge - Hollywood and Vain Action Hero Voice Restore Mod - last accessed on 2020-01-25