The Need for Speed

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original 1995 game. For the 2016 reboot, see Need for Speed (2016).

The Need for Speed
The Need for Speed cover
Pioneer Productions
EA Canada
Electronic Arts
Release dates
DOS August 31, 1995
Windows 1996
The Need for Speed guide on StrategyWiki
The Need for Speed on MobyGames
The Need for Speed on Wikipedia
The Need for Speed 1994
Need for Speed II 1997
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (series)
Need for Speed: High Stakes 1999
Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed 2000
Need for Speed: Underground (series)
Need for Speed: Most Wanted (series)
Need for Speed: Carbon 2006
Need for Speed: ProStreet 2007
Need for Speed: Undercover 2008
Need for Speed: Shift (series)
Need for Speed: World 2010
Need for Speed: The Run 2011
Need for Speed Rivals 2013
Need for Speed (2016) 2016
Need for Speed Payback 2017
Need for Speed: Edge 2017
Need for Speed Heat 2019

Key points

Re-released as The Need for Speed: Special Edition, featuring extra content and improvements.
(Special Edition) Windows version has very poor compatibility on versions of Windows NT. Run MS-DOS version in DOSBox instead.

General information

Need for Speed Wiki


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
Disc check DRM for Windows version. DRM-free for MS-DOS.

Essential improvements[edit]


All patches are available from The Need For Speed SE Patches (Archived from original).

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
DOS <path-to-game>\GAMEDATA\CONFIG\
Windows <path-to-game>\GAMEDATA\CONFIG\[Note 1]

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\GAMEDATA\SAVEGAME\[Note 1]



Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
X-axis can be used for steering.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Y-axis can not be used to accelerate/brake.
Controller support
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
through JCU.exe
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
FFB implementation doesn't work on modern systems.
Simultaneous controller+KB/M


Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
race music, menu music, sound effects
Surround sound
8-bit mono, 8-bit stereo, 16-bit stereo
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost


Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
Local play
LAN play
Via modem or IPX (use DOSBox for TCP/IP or UDP/IP).
Online play
Use DOSBox modem/IPX emulation.

Issues fixed[edit]

Running the game on Windows 7, 8.1 or 10[edit]

The game neither installs nor runs on a modern Windows operating system. The game can be installed manually. However, it has been found that the game doesn't run when it finds an unsupported driver on the machine, for example, a USB audio driver. If you uninstall the driver, the game will work fine.

Manually installing the game and running using DxWnd
  1. Copy 'FRONTEND', 'GAMEDATA', 'SIMDATA', 'IFORCE.DLL', 'NFS_WIN.EXE' from your CD to a desired folder. Rename 'NFS_WIN.EXE' to 'nfs.exe'.
  3. Copy 'dplay.dll' from 'REDIST\DIRECTX' folder of the CD to the game's root directory, or copy 'dplayx.dll' from 'Windows\SysWOW64' (64-bit OS) or 'Windows\System32'(32-bit OS) and then rename it to 'dplay.dll'. The first one is guaranteed to work while the later two may not work one some versions of Windows 10. However it is recommended to use the latter two.
  4. Copy 'NFS.CFG' to the game's root directory which can be downloaded from here.
  5. Copy 'PATHS.DAT' to 'GAMEDATA\CONFIG' in your game installation folder, which can be downloaded from here.
  6. Open 'PATHS.DAT' with a hex editor like HxD and replace all text-strings "I:\" with your current CD drive letter, say "D:\". You can use the replace function of the program to replace all instances of "I:\" with you CD drive letter. This is a very important step, and the whole process will go wrong if you miss this.
  7. Open DxWnd, and import this .dxw profile; right-click on the 'Need for Speed SE' entry that appears in DxWnd window and click on modify, change the path to your location of the game folder for "Path" and "Launch" pointing to 'nfs.exe'. Click OK.
  8. Double-click on 'Need for Speed SE' in DxWnd, the game should run. The game will come to a black screen and freeze if you used the 'DPLAY.DLL' from the CD, just go to the Taskbar and click OK for the two errors that appear behind the game window. If it crashes try a few more times; if it doesn't work then you are out of luck because of the problem mentioned above.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Software renderer
DOS video modes VGA, SVGA
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes

System requirements[edit]

Operating system (OS) 4.0 (5.0 for Special Edition) or later[2]
Processor (CPU) 75 MHz Intel Pentium
System memory (RAM) 8 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 4 MB
Video card (GPU) 256 color VESA-compatible SVGA-compatible
512K of VRAM
Sound (audio device) Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster 16, Sound Blaster AWE32, Sound Blaster Pro and 100% compatibles, Gravis Ultrasound/ACE and 100% Compatibles, Ensoniq Soundscape, Microsoft Sound System[3]
Other Modem (For Two-Player Online Play), Null-Modem Cable (For Two-Player Local Area Play)

Special Edition Windows Version[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95
Processor (CPU) 75 MHz Intel Pentium
System memory (RAM) 12 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 30 MB
Video card (GPU) 512 K of VRAM
DirectX 2.0 compatible
Sound (audio device) DirectX 2.0 compatible
Other IPX-Compatible Network Card (For 2-6 Player LAN Play), Modem (For Two-Player Online Play), Null-Modem Cable (For Two-Player Local Area Play)


  1. 1.0 1.1 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).