Posted by on July 24th, 2010 in Guides

StarCraft 2 will be available this Tuesday, so I determined that now would be a good time to refresh my memory of StarCraft and its Brood War expansion pack. And it wasn’t much of a surprise to find out that the resolution is fixed at 640×480 and the graphics aren’t quite up to modern standards, but I was surprised to find that after a few minutes the game will invert all colors on screen, even in Windows XP.

This sounds a lot like a problem to be solved with using compatibility mode on the application, but it strangely isn’t. After a lot more browsing and testing I finally discovered that StarCraft simply doesn’t like the explorer process of modern Windows versions. The resulting fix is very simple to set up and prevents StarCraft from inverting the entire screen while in-game.

Before you actually set out to employ this fix, it’s important to note that it merely resolves the full screen invert in-game. I’ve still had screen inverts when in the menus and match victory screens. And there are still some minor coloring glitches with water in-game. Still, it no longer inverts the full screen during play and that’s a massive improvement all on its own.

  1. Open Notepad.
  2. Type the following:
    taskkill /f /IM explorer.exe
    start explorer.exe
  3. Change the middle portion to correspond with your StarCraft installation directory.
  4. In the save dialogue screen select ‘all files’ instead of the default ‘.txt’.
  5. Save the file as StarCraft.bat
  6. Double-click on this .bat file in order to start StarCraft from now on and it will no longer invert screen colors during play.

This .bat file effectively kills the explorer process before starting StarCraft and then restarts the explorer process when you close the game. The result is that StarCraft no longer inverts colors during play, regardless of compatibility mode. It works on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Press escape when this dialogue starts (Zerg mission 8: Eye for an Eye) or the game crashes!

Also important for StarCraft players: in mission 8 of the Zerg campaign you’ll need to press the Escape button in order to cancel out of Zeratul’s response to Kerrigan, otherwise the game will crash!

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    7 Responses to “Resolving StarCraft’s color glitch on modern systems”

    1. battle net member says:

      The above workaround shuts down explorer, and if you’re uncomfortable with that, there’s another workaround (for Windows 7):

      Right-click on the game’s executable file (starcraft.exe) and set compatibility to win98/me.

      Right-click desktop, click Personalize, Display (lower left), Set Resolution (upper left), and leave window open.

      Make sure no other programs are running (or the game would crash).

      Run the game and the color should be fixed.

      • Droniac says:

        That’s certainly a much less drastic solution so if it works for you then that’s definitely a better option. I haven’t actually tried it in Windows 7 yet, but I’ve given it a try in Windows XP and it definitely doesn’t work there… so XP fans will have to make do with the more complicated fix above.

        Hmm, it might also be good to note that Alt-Tabbing out of the game whenever the colors go wonky also tends to fix things.

    2. grog says:

      Sorry the Open Window bullshit doesn’t work for me, after playing for a random amount of time the game’s colors will still glitch up, I’ll give this batch file a try.

    3. JDW says:

      Alt+Tab out and back in has worked every time the graphics have glitched – WinXP SP3/Vista SP1/7

      • Droniac says:

        Indeed Alt + Tab is a foolproof method for getting rid of the color glitch, but it does get a bit annoying when you have to do it 2 times per mission. Hence the .bat file solution so that the constant Alt + Tabbing should no longer be required.

    4. electrictwinkie says:

      inst working for me the explorer goes down but StarCraft doesn’t open and then explorer immediately opens again

    5. Manuel says:

      I used it with Windows XP. Worked just fine, even the menu looks ok now.

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