This article explains how to install and run Silent Hunter 4: Wolves of the Pacific version 1.5 in a Windows 7 Professional 64-bit operating system. It details my experience with the procedure on the specific computer platform described below. I chose the 64-bit version of Windows 7 because it is very stable, secure, and capable of using more RAM than the 32-bit version. I chose Windows 7 Professional because only it and Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate allow you to download and install the free Windows XP Mode Microsoft software. In addition, the Windows 7 Professional version had all the features I needed and was cheaper.
I performed the operating system upgrade on a homemade personal computer configured as follows: Intel ICH8 Chipset, 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core E6600 processor, 4M shared L2 Cache, 1033 MHz FSB, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB 7500 RPM SATA hard disk, Sony SATA 52X DVD ROM, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS PCI-Express 16 video card with 512 MB RAM, on-board integrated high definition sound device, Dell 2007WFP Digital Monitor (16:9), and Windows Vista Home Basic 32-bit. I have been using Silent Hunter 4 on this machine since 2007.
The first thing I did was download and run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor on the target computer. This utility "...scans your hardware, devices, and installed programs for known compatibility issues, gives you guidance on how to resolve potential issues found, and recommends what to do before you upgrade." In my case, there were no hardware or device issues. A few programs would have to be upgraded or replaced, but this did not present a problem for me in terms of cost or availability. The report also indicated my machine could handle the 64-bit Windows 7 version. As a sidenote, if you need to upgrade or replace programs for Windows 7, or resolve hardware issues, a good place to check is at the Windows 7 Compatibility Center.
My next step was to download the Windows Easy Transfer tool so I could migrate important files, bookmarks, e-mail, pictures, and settings from my old operating system to the new one. This tool is great! It saves time and is very easy to use. I simply saved my stuff to a portable USB flash drive so I could migrate the data to my Windows 7 installation. There are instructions on using the tool at the foregoing link.
Next I determined what upgrade path to use - a clean installation or an in-place upgrade. The only choice I had was to perform a clean installation, which is a "custom installation" in Microsoft parlance.
I am fortunate to have a neighbor and good friend who is an IT professional certified in Windows 7. I was able to pick his brain before I started the upgrade process. He recommended two books which he had on his shelf. They are Windows 7: The Definitive Guide: The Essential Resource for Professionals and Power Users, by William R. Stanek and Windows 7 Inside Out, by Ed Bott, Carl Siechert, and Craig Stinson. Both books provide excellent explanations of why Windows 7 is substantially different from earlier Windows versions and go into great detail about the changes in both the interface and underlying architecture. I purchased both books. I prefer Stanek's book because of his clear and precise writing style, and no nonsense approach to each topic. I followed his instructions for installing Windows 7 on my computer and doing the initial setup tasks. Once the new operating system was successfully installed, I found some very useful tips in Windows 7 Inside Out for making tweaks and doing some fine tuning. Windows 7 Inside Out also comes with a CD containing a searchable eBook, downloadable gadgets, and other tools for customizing Windows 7. The authors of each book maintain blogs where you will find updates and other items of interest.
I am not trying to imply that you need these books in order to upgrade to Windows 7. Most of the information you need is available for free at the Microsoft Windows 7 Web site. Using this gateway site and perhaps a bit of Web searching, you should be able to find everything you need. I recommend the books for two reasons. First, I am old school. I prefer to have a book I can pull off a shelf for quick reference. Second, the books' authors are certified Windows 7 professionals who have insights and tips you won't find at Microsoft.
Following Stanek's guidance, I booted the Windows 7 Professional CD from my DVD ROM and ordered all ahead flank. The install process took about 50 minutes. It downloaded and installed necessary updates, and then asked me to create my administrator and user accounts.
After the obligatory reboots, I landed at my Windows 7 desktop and removed the installation CD. The first thing I did was calculate my computer's Windows Experience Index score to help me decide if any interface tweaks were necessary. Windows assigned a rating of 5.9, which falls within the Superior user experience category and means:
You can use the computer for the most demanding tasks, including those that are both graphics-intensive and processor-intensive. The computer can use all the features of Windows 7 with full functionality. Aero Glass will display higher resolutions while achieving good performance, and using themes on multiple monitors shouldn't impact performance. 1
This was indeed good news. But given my status as an old school alumnus, I chose to go with the Windows Classic theme.
The next order of buisness was to install my antivirus and antispyware program. With it installed and updated, I checked Windows Update and installed several new updates for my operating system and hardware devices. Then I migrated my Windows Easy Transfer tool saved settings to the new system. So far, so good.
Windows 7 does not come packaged with an email client. There is no Outlook Express. As I write this article, there are only three alternatives if you wish to use a POP3 email client: Microsoft Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2007, and the new Windows Live Mail. I decided to go with Windows Live Mail which is a free download. I do not plan to do a lot of email on this machine, but it is always nice to have the ability to do so. It is very easy to configure one or more POP3 accounts in Windows Live Mail. It can also handle Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo Plus email.
Finally the time came for the great experiment. I placed my Silent Hunter: Wolves of the Pacific Gold Edition DVD in the DVD-ROM drive. The setup screen appeared as expected. I selected all the install options except those for Adobe and Game Shadow. The installation ran smoothly. After it completed, I removed the installation DVD and rebooted. I had to create a desktop shortcut for the game's executable. The game was installed in the \Program Files (x86) directory. (32-bit programs are installed in the "\Program Files (x86)" directory; 64-bit programs are installed into the "\Program Files" directory.)
I double-clicked the SH4 shortcut and the game started normally. However, due to display scaling, I was not getting a full screen display on my 16:9 monitor. The game started at 1280 x 800 screen resolution, which is fine for me in terms of text size and graphics quality. (Windows Professional recommended using a 1680 x 1050 screen resolution for the operating system based on the capabilities of my video card and monitor. I was able to change the size of desktop items in this resolution by right-clicking in the desktop, selecting "Personalize/Desktop/Medium - 125%." This resulted in making things easier to see and read within the operating system.) To resolve the full screen issue in Silent Hunter 4, I right-clicked on the game's shortcut, clicked "Properties/Compatibility" and checked the "Disable display scaling on high DPI settings box." This resolved the issue. I get a full screen display at each of the availble resolutions within the game.
With Silent Hunter 4 running hot, straight, and normal, I turned my attention to getting my JoneSoft Generic Mod Enabler (JSGME) installed. First I created the MODS folder within the Silent Hunter Wolves of the Pacific directory. Then I double-clicked the installer and let her rip. Windows delivered a popup which said that the program may not have installed properly and asked me if I wanted to troubleshoot the problem. It also offered a choice that said essentially "No, the program installed properly." I checked and everything had indeed been installed in the correct location, including a desktop shortcut. So I clicked on the latter option. After copying my mods to the MODS sub-directory, I double-clicked the JSGME-shortcut and activated them. I fired up SH4 again and everything was as it should be.
With everything working properly, there was only one thing left to do. I needed to get Kim's Tbox utility and report generator up and running for the Pacific Thunder Campaign. I already had these installed on another machine. So I copied the following files from my My Documents\SH4\data\cfg\SaveGames folder on that machine to my portable flash drive:
Tbox1.exe - the Tbox executable
SH4Report_4000.exe - the report generator executable
PatrolAreas.txt - the patrol missions database for Tbox
SHReport4_0.ini - the configuration file for the executables
I then copied these files to the same file path on the Windows 7 machine, i.e., My Documents\SH4\data\cfg\SaveGames. I then opened the SHReport4_0.ini with Notepad and edited the line "GamePath=C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\Silent Hunter Wolves of the Pacific" to "GamePath=C:\Program Files (x86)\Ubisoft\Silent Hunter Wolves of the Pacific." I did this so the programs know that the game is in my Program Files (x86) directory. I then created desktop shortcuts to the two executables. When I double-clicked on the new shortcuts, each program opened and worked normally.
1. Stanek, William R., Windows 7: The Definitive Guide: The Essential Resource for Professionals and Power Users. New York, O'Reilly Media, Inc., First Edition 2009, p. 69.