Theme Hospital on a Modern Windows PC

15/12/2012 UPDATE

To save you the hassle of going through all these technical tweaks, try Corsix-TH instead. It is still in its early development stages so you’ll spot the odd bug but from what I’ve tried so far, it is easier and a lot more stable than using these tweaks and supports today’s modern screen sizes. No more funny colours and blurry graphics to look at!

It’s very simple to setup. Install your copy of Theme Hospital or simply copy the whole “HOSP” folder from the CD. Now install Corsix-TH and let it know where you copied the folder. Then you’re ready to run the game!

http://corsixth.com/

Would be nice to have the cutscenes ported over too such as the board and opening animation but, oh well. Keep up the great work, guys! =)

Been feeling like playing Bullfrog’s classic “Theme Hospital“. It really is a brilliant game despite being over 10 years old and I highly recommend you try it if you haven’t already! You run a hospital trying to cure humorous fictional diseases like “Bloaty Head” by popping them like balloons, “Slack Tongue” or “Invisibility”. Then there’s the receptionist announcing the odd lines over the intercom in a sarcastic voice like, “Patients are asked to be patient,” “Patients are here at their own risk,” or even “Patients are reminded not to die in the corridors” every so often. Some hospital, eh? The game still plays (and looks) amazingly well for its age.

However, it doesn’t look like it’s getting a remake any time soon even though Theme Park got one on the DS. I tried getting the Playstation version via PSN but it’s very poor, lacking music and has poor controls.

Eventually I decided to try and get the more superior PC version but the catch was, it’s so old Windows Vista and later isn’t supported. That said, there are ways you can get the game running if you look around such as using the legit DOSBox emulator. There have also been people who have suggested installing the legit Windows XP Virtual Machine provided by Microsoft.

Or, if you want to avoid the hassle of installing more software just to get Theme Hospital running in Windows 7 (or perhaps Vista too), here’s how to get it up and running on today’s PCs.

Get a copy of the game and copy the whole “Hosp” folder to somewhere on your drive.

Open up Hospital.cfg in Notepad – easy way to do this is run Notepad then drag the file into it. Edit the line…

“SAVE_OVERRIDE=[PATHHERE]”

And change it to wherever you saved your folder. The easiest way to find the text you need is open up the folder, click in the folder’s address bar and copy what’s there.

Now right-click the Winmain.exe and go to the Compatibility tab. Choose to run in Windows XP mode then check every setting underneath apart from the DPI box.


Now you can create a shortcut to Winmain.exe and you’re ready to play!

Oh, you might have to adjust your monitor too. I had to on my widescreen which the game was never designed for but it scales just fine.

If you still have problems running the game, try setting the compatibility mode to Windows 95 instead. Your mouse cursor will probably lag and to fix this, you’ll have to…

  1. Press Alt-Tab to switch out of the game
  2. Right-click your taskbar and open Task Manager.
  3. Go the Processes tab and see if you can find Winmain.exe.
  4. Right-click it, choose Set Affinity and make sure “All Processors” is checked.
  5. Close the Task Manager and return to the game.

This should work for Bullfrog’s other classics such as Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park but I haven’t tried. In any case, hope you enjoy the game!

35 thoughts on “Theme Hospital on a Modern Windows PC

  1. Katrina

    I have just tried this, it worked before hand just lagged and skipped. Now it wont work at all. I have undone everything this article has said to do and still wont work. Wont load. Thank you so very much

    Reply
    1. LHY Post author

      Hmmm, only thing I can suggest is to go back to the compatibility settings that did work for you.

      Reply
  2. George

    WOW! I have tried everything to get this to work for the past 3 days and i read ur article and its working perfectly and saving! Thankyou so much 🙂

    Reply
  3. ashley

    i have tried this and gotten to the part-
    Open up Hospital.cfg in Notepad – easy way to do this is run Notepad then drag the file into it. Edit the line…

    “SAVE_OVERRIDE=[PATHHERE]”

    there is no text in the folder hospital.cfg that says save _overide.

    this is whats in my folder hospital.cfg
    INSTALL_PATH=E:\Hosp\
    INSTALL_TYPE=MED
    LANGUAGE=ENG
    

    Reply
    1. LHY Post author

      It looks like you’ve only chosen a medium install of the game. You’ll have to install the full version to run the game without the CD and I think you have to choose custom install when you’re installing to find that option. Or you could just copy the whole “Hosp” folder off the CD onto somewhere on your hard drive too! After that’s done, you should be able to add the extra line in yourself so that file looks like this…

      SAVE_OVERRIDE=E:\Hosp\
      INSTALL_PATH=E:\Hosp\
      INSTALL_TYPE=MAX
      LANGUAGE=ENG

      Reply
  4. Chelsia

    Thank you so much! I had figured out how to get it to run, just not to save/load! I just ended up moving the folder right onto the C drive so that it was exactly where the Hospital.cfg file was directing it to save to, and it worked! The only thing I did different is that the game would freeze when I’d try to run it with Compatibility features, so I just left them off and it works fine now. Even was able to copy my save files I kept from my old laptop, and it loads and plays perfectly! Thanks!!

    Reply
  5. Lazers

    Awesome fix, works perfectly now, there’s something about 23″ widescreen Theme Hospital that makes it even more silly!

    Reply
  6. Sophie

    I’ve got as fair as the winmain.exe, changed all the settings and tried to run it and it says it’s not compatible. Then I tried to run it using windows 95 and it’s still not compatible. Am I missing a step? Should I remove the disk? Does it matter where it’s saved?

    Reply
    1. Sophie

      I should probably add, when I click the winmain shortcut in either 95 or xp settings, all that happens it my mouse goes multi-coloured,gains a circle underneath, and my desktop just become enlarged and the colours go funny. :S

      Reply
      1. LHY Post author

        I’m afraid I don’t know what else could be wrong… You can try the other compatibility modes because there’s 3 for Windows XP.

        The enlarged multi-coloured desktop is normal because back in those days, games were produced for “tiny” screens and didn’t have enough colours to display photos with wide range of colours. So as soon as you switch to the smaller colour palette, it tries to refer to the wrong colours and ends up looking really messed up ^^;

        Reply
  7. Nicolas

    Worked perfectly for me! Except that I had to turn of the ‘Run in 256 colors’ because it completely ruined the colors of the game. Thank you very much!

    Reply
  8. james

    mouselag problem with vista still, have scanned every forum have tried everything and still lagging, tried dosbox but it says the game is not a dos application which i know it is,, have spent hours and hours gunna have to accept defeat 🙁

    Reply
  9. Ben

    Graphics were odd before. This fix makes the game look fine and work perfectly. How in the world do you computer geniuses work this stuff out?! Many thanks!!

    Reply
  10. Ben

    Everything is working as far as im aware of but how do you change the game so that it fits your screen better I forgot lol

    Reply
  11. TattieMuncha

    I found that when you are typing the override part, when you save as…save it to the desktop, then delete the original CFG file then drag the new one into the HOSP file, this should work. Hope this helps!

    Reply
  12. Catty

    The loading and running works perfectly but I cant get it to save. If I go to file and save, whilst the game is on pause, and click a slot. Then when I unpause the game it says “Error, game could not be saved”

    Reply
    1. LHY Post author

      Did you edit the save override line in the config file correctly? If it’s not there, you can add it in. Seems to work for most people here.

      Reply
      1. mick

        I had the exact same problem, spent hours trying to work out why everything would work but not save, it was a simple mistake – that is I had entered “SAVE_OVERRIDE=C:\HOSP” instead of SAVE_OVERRIDE=C:\HOSP\ – that one single backslash made the difference.

        Reply
  13. chaz

    Hi all i have my game working 100% and i install it with the exe, i have it on my D drive and i have got it working on windows 7 64bit. how i fix the not saving go in to the game forder and opne up in notepad (HOSPITAL.CFG) and this is how i got it set up SAVE_OVERRIDE=D:\hosp\ and now the game saves.

    To fix the graphics all you have to do is open Task Manager go to processes then find exporer.exe run up the game and then tab out to the task manager then end processes on explorer.exe. now tab back to the game and it should be all good :D.

    please note you will have to run explorer.exe back up again if you want to gate back to your desktop, most of you proble no how to do it but here it is, just go to task manager look for applications then look at the botim of the window there is a button saying, New task go to this and then tipe explorer.exe in to it and your have your desktop back. hope this helps 🙂

    Reply
    1. LHY Post author

      I wouldn’t recommend anyone to end explorer.exe if you’re not familiar with using Windows. You could find yourself stuck with no interface and end up force shutting down your machine =/

      Reply
    1. LHY Post author

      Have you opened the config file in the folder where TH is installed? There should be the following line in it which points to where save files should be stored:

      SAVE_OVERRIDE=E:\Hosp\

      See the reply I wrote for Ashley.

      Reply
  14. Kate

    Omg! All these people want to play this old game, even though there are so many new ones! I’m one of them too. Such a shame game producers don.t see it..

    Reply
  15. Abstractlogic

    Just tried the CorsixTH_SDL with Theme Hospital on my Win7 64 bit and it works perfect!! 🙂 thx!

    Reply
  16. george

    Done all this but it still won’t save had to change compatibility mode to windows seven to make mouse work though

    Reply

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