Good old Windows XP Freecell, a Windows 8.1 upgrade installation story

Recently I upgraded my fathers pc with a new motherboard (Gigabyte GA-H77-DS3H), processor (Intel Core i5 3550) and memory. He already had a SSD, housing and power supply are sufficient, being a nice set for Windows 8.1.

The old motherboard was running Windows XP. Updates for Windows XP ends april 8 2014:

The Windows 8.1 wouldn’t run on the old motherboard, an upgrade was indeed necessarry. With the new motherboard I run the Windows 8.1 installation twice: I started with internet disconnected so Windows doesn’t ask an online account. Somehow after connection to the internet the password wasn’t accepted… The quickest and cleanest solution was a new installation and that went well.

My parents only use one user account, so I set up an automatic logon with netplwiz, going online apperently affects that. And of course straight to the good old desktop.

My father being a frequent user of Freecell, we were in for a surprise. To get Freecell the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” app had to be installed and is only useable with a online account. Freecell in the Microsoft Solitaire Collection is slow and enough for my father wanting the old system back.

But low and behold, the good old Windows XP Freecell also runs on Windows 8.1 with the files cards.dll and freecell.exe. They can be found on Windows XP – when installed – in the system32 folder. On a Windows 8.1 32 bit (x86) system that also the place to put the files. On a Windows 8.1 64 bit (x64) system that has to be the SysWOW64 folder.

I have put these 2 files online at
The files can’t saved straight to the system folder, first saved them anywhere Windows allows it and then move the files to the system folder.

Have fun!

13 gedachten over “Good old Windows XP Freecell, a Windows 8.1 upgrade installation story

  1. I want to thank you so much for this link to the Free cell game. I, like your father, missed the version of the game from XP, but was forced into 8.1 as we had a hardware problem on the only computer with XP on it before I could think about moving the games from it.

    I am finally getting used to this 8.1. Clearly not as straight forward as XP, but manageable for what I need it for. The worst part was the missing of the games from XP. I think I have found a link for the XP Solitaire game directly from the maker that let Micorsoft use it. Now I only have to find Minesweeper and all will be well in PC land again. We are not tablet minded folks – we prefer using the desk PC. A laptop for travel will be the next step for us as we near retirement.

    This was a huge leap of faith for me to download to my computer from an unknown source. There was something about your blog(?) Sysadim that made me take that leap of faith.

    I read your instructions about making a folder, but have no knowlege of computers to do so. However, when the game came up from the download on Firefox, it showed an icon in the task bar and I just pinned it there for now to make it easy to find for now.

    I only know the language English, so I am guessing that what I am typing is for you to read about how we enjoy your site. I wanted to thank you, so hoping this finds you.


  2. This download definitely made my day. I got “addicted” to Freecell at work a few years back (10,000+ games won out of about18,000) and really missed it on this new machine. I will get used to the Dutch labels; they are in the same location as the English ones were so it will not be a problem. Thank you ever so much for doing this.

    Dave K.

  3. Thank you so much for the informations and the files. I’ve buy a laptop with windows 8 in and it doesn’t have the FREECELL. And I love freecel, I play this game since 90’s and yet enjoy it.
    Thank You.

    Lucius Nunes
    from São Paulo – Brazil

  4. Ik hou van jou your father & mother too :):)

    The so called expert that make this big mess with freecell sholuld be remove from
    this planet. I can’t do this so I thank you and your autors very very much…

    Stay so friendly & clever


  5. Mijn vriend:

    Omwille van mijn moeder, ik kan je niet genoeg bedanken voor de freecell.exe en cards.dll bestanden.

    (Ik hoop dat je Nederlands begrijpt. Ik ben met behulp van Google vertalen om dit bericht te maken)

    – Chris

    My Friend:

    For my mother’s sake, I cannot thank you enough for the freecell.exe and cards.dll files.

    (I hope you understand this Dutch. I am using Google translate to create this message)

    – Chris

  6. Hello there,

    You managed to create a massive smile on my face after I downloaded the XP version of FreeCell and it worked easily on my Windows8. On my old computer I managed to “only” get to around 4000 games but now with retirement looming I might one day hit the 10K mark.

    Thanks again, you made my day.
    Cheers, Harald

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