Rome Total War encountered an unspecified error and will now exit

The other day I sat down to relieve some stress by playing Rome: Total War on my Windows Vista Home Premium machine, and I go this error message. After a bit of experimentation I found the cause.

Apparently, if you don’t have anything plugged into your sound card’s audio-out jack, Vista disables the sound device in order to save on system resources. It’s not an entirely bad idea, to be honest. But if you try to run Rome, the game concludes that there’s no sound device present, and closes down in short order.

So if you’re using a Vista machine and you get this error message, one of two things is happening:

1.) You don’t have your headphones or speakers plugged into the audio-out jack.

2.) Your sound card is either disabled or damaged.

The first one is easy to fix. The second one, less so.


Those of you who have been playing computer games long enough probably remember Sierra’s Quest for Glory series. Quest for Glory was a hybrid RPG/adventure game, and Shadows of Darkness was the best game of the series. It had it all: adventure, combat, magic, Lovecraftian horror, gloomy Gothic shadows, fearsome and sympathetic villains, and the series’ trademark humor. Unfortunately, the game was written for DOS, way back in 1993. Fortunately, the excellent DOSBox emulator provides a way to play the game on a modern Vista system with a bit of work. Here’s how to do it:

1.) Download and install DOSBox.

(Note that if you’re running Vista, you will want to set DOSBox to run as an administrator.)

2.) Next, create a directory to serve as a virtual C drive during your DOSBox session. I usually just create a directory named ‘dos’ and stick it in the root folder of my hard drive. You can stash the folder in your user profile, of course, but typing C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Dos every time you want to play Quest for Glory IV gets old real fast.

3.) Put your Quest for Glory IV CD-ROM in your drive, and start DOSBox.

4.) Use the following command to mount your dos directory (assuming you followed the example above) as your hard drive:

mount c c:\dos

5.) Mount your computer’s CD/DVD drive in DOSBox with this command:

mount d D:\ -t cdrom

Obviously, if your CD/DVD drive has a different letter than D:\, you’ll need to change it (mount d E:\ -t cdrom, for instance). It’s possible to use an ISO image in lieu of the actual cdrom, but I’ve had the best luck with the actual disc.

6.) To install Quest for Glory IV, first change to the D drive:


And then type:


This will bring you to the installation program.

7.) Follow the prompts to install Quest for Glory IV. The default options for sound and hardware should work correctly, but if you have problems after installation you’ll need to change them later.

8.) When the game asks if you want the full installation, select the full installation. This will speed the game up quite a bit, and since the full installation only takes 20 megabytes (a lot of space in 1993, but not in 2009), there’s no reason not to.

9.) Once the installation is finished, use this command to change to the C:\sierra directory:

cd c:\sierra

10.) Use this command to launch Quest for Glory IV:


Enjoy the game!


Get it at Amazon.

Get it at Smashwords.

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