The Sims 1: How to Download and Install

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A long long time ago… in grade 4, a classmate brought a really cool video game disk to school. It was The Sims (original), and back then (at least on disk 1) there was no digital rights yet, so I was able to make a copy of the disk without any effort.

I still remember playing like it was yesterday. This game was revolutionary. My Barbies were now digital!

This love affair has never ended.

I still remember the first time I played The Sims. I was shocked that a computer game could do all these things. The first edition I ever played was in 2004, and it was the original in the franchise. I was opened up to a whole new world of gaming that I didn’t know existed.

This was also the first video game I ever downloaded “custom content” or “mods” for. I was about 11 years old when I was installing moving cows and chickens for the sims 1, and a working fish farm (who the hell made these mods?). I am sure most of these mods have been lost in time, but man there were some interesting ones back in the day. You can still find some cool stuff at Parisimonious.

Downloading the game:

Like the Sims 2, the Sims 1 is effectively abandonware. This does not mean it’s legal, but does mean that it is not available for purchase elsewhere. The below links are offered at your own risk, and are not an endorsement.

Download Link 1 *Most commonly used site 

Download Link 2 Another download option

Installing the game:

  • Download and unzip the file. I personally keep the zipped file or the documents for later use/reinstalls. It’s not a large file, so I don’t mind hanging onto it, but you don’t need to (just keep it until you’re done).
  • While this might sound like scary advice for some, turn off your antivirus to install. It might not recognize the file, and thus could quarantine/block it.
  • Click the “setup” folder. DO NOT RUN START.EXE, it will NOT WORK! It will also make it impossible to click the setup folder without restarting your computer/causing an error.
  • Open Setup.exe and run the install as normal
    – 2. When a serial code is needed, use the following: EQMV-73XB-F8J4-GSLX-4M67: note, you cannot copy and paste the entire thing, just increments of 4. I usually just type it out.
    – 3. You’re prompted to register. Choose “Register later”.
  • Install the crack.
  • Go to the folder you installed The Sims in (usually in C drive) Program Files (86).

  • Drag and drop the Sims.exe folder from the “Crack” file, and then click replace when the option comes up.
  • Sometimes it won’t let you drag and drop, so copy and paste the file (ctrl c, then ctrl v). It should then ask for administrator access and allow you to replace it.

Fixes to get it working

With a game as old as The Sims Complete Collection, there’s going to be some fixes necessary in some cases to get it running properly. Although, these fixes are nowhere near the complexity of The Sims 2, so you can rejoice if you’ve done that cumbersome process before.

You can find a widescreen patcher here:

For some reason on my install, the Pet Paradise roof was missing and causing a graphic glitch. I went into the lot and added a roof then saved, it resolved. 😅

You might want a smaller aspect ratio since this one adds an outrageously huge border on neighborhood view, but oh well, it’s not in live mode.

Windowed Mode

Make a shortcut of your file (usually on desktop).

Right click your exe file shortcut. Then add “-w -r1920x1080” to the end of the file path shortcut.


So far the biggest errors I’ve seen is that roof one, and this interesting error where Gunther and Cornelia’s cats are showing as dog icons (but look like their saiamise selves in game).

Also, every now and then the game is glitching and menus are only partially showing/flickering. Apparently this can be changed by selecting a different resolution. Trial and error, and good luck to you!

This game is surprisingly beautiful still… (god I love this game).


Author: Lilith Pleasant

I've been playing The Sims since 2004. I've played every iteration, but the Sims 2 will always remain as my very favourite. I'm passionate about getting others involved in playing the Sims 2 and sharing my stories, as well as trying my hand at CC. But, I also love the other Sims games (Castaway Stories anybody?)

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4 thoughts on “The Sims 1: How to Download and Install

  1. Unfortunately I have problems installing the widescreen patcher and I just can’t start the game. Is there any way you can help?

    1. I would suggest going to a sims discord or reddit to ask, as they are very good at troubleshooting.

    1. Go into your programfilesx86\maxis\thesims go into the properties of the .exe, go to compatibility mode for XP SP2 and run as admin…. that fixed it for me

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