It can be disheartening if you can't even get UT2003 to install and run properly in the first instance. In very rare cases, this can actually be because of a faulty CD, or perhaps your CD/DVD ROM is not working properly. Test your disk on another machine or drive if possible. However in most cases, it is due to hardware overclocking or software problems, and the following tips should ensure you have a good clean install of UT2003:
- Don't install UT2003 while your PC is dangerously overclocked. If your machine has to be overclocked, set it to an overclock you know is completely stable and in particular make sure your CPU is not at its absolute limits. Data corruption can often occur from CPU/RAM that is pushed too far and this can ruin your installation.
- Uninstall the UT2003 Demo if you have it installed. Do this through Control Panel>Add/Remove programs. Then manually go into Windows Explorer and delete the UT2003 Demo directory and all its contents.
- Disable any antivirus programs you have running in the background, such as Norton Antivirus. These are notorious for causing install problems. If in doubt, check my WinXP Guide for details on how to disable programs that load at startup like Nortons. In general, the fewer programs that are running in the background while installing (and playing) UT2003, the better.
- If things get so messy that you need to reinstall UT2003, uninstall it through Control Panel>Add/Remove programs first. Then manually delete the program directory. Then use Regcleaner (download link and instructions in my WinXP Guide) to completely clean out your registry. Then reboot and reinstall.
Once you've installed UT2003, I recommend you run defrag. This may or may not take a long time to complete, but it's very necessary if you want smooth gameplay. Again, see my WinXP guide for more details.
UT2003 Official Patch, Bonus Packs and No-CD Patches
The good people at Epic/DE have released the latest Official Patch for UT2003 which will help resolve a number of problems some people are having, and adds several features along the way. The latest official patch is Version 2225 (13MB), and can be downloaded from the Official UT2003 Website, from Epic Games, or from one of the sites I link to on the last page of this guide. The patch has a great many bug fixes, updates and changes (detailed here), and it's highly recommended you install it. You don't need to install any previous patches before installing this patch - it will bring any version of UT2003 up to the latest version 2225. To install the patch correctly, follow these simple steps:
1. Back up your UT2003.ini and User.ini files. You may need to refer back to these for any settings you might lose upon patching to the new version. The latest patch should not overwrite your old settings.
2. If you're using a No-CD patched version of UT2003.exe, delete it as it won't work with the new patch version. Attempting to install a patch over a No-CD patched version of UT will probably result in an error and/or unsuccessful patching. Replace the No-CD version of UT2003.exe with your original UT2003.exe (See No-CD Patches section below).
3. Now simply run the patch .exe file and your UT2003 will be updated to the latest version.
More patches may be released, and rest assured I'll update this guide each time that happens. The original Unreal Tournament received several patches and bonus map packs which enhanced the UT experience a great deal. While there have been some beta patches leaked, I always recommend installing official patches only, as beta patches can be unstable and are unsupported by Epic/DE.
Official Bonus Packs
Two totally free free Official Bonus Packs for UT2003 have been released. The first is from Digital Extremes and contains 6 new maps: 3 Deathmatch, 2 CTF and 1 Bombing Run map. Download it from here. It weighs in at 72MB, and you'll need to have the 2166 patch or above installed to use this bonus pack. I highly recommend you install the 2225 patch as it resolves some .ut2mod installation problems as well.
To install the pack, if you download the UMOD version (which is recommended) all you need to do is extract the .ut2mod file from the downloaded .zip file and double-click on it. It will automatically install in the right directories. If you run a dedicated server, download the ZIP version of the file, and once downloaded extract the contents of the .zip file into your UT2003 directory, making sure the "Use Folder Names" option is ticked in Winzip before extracting.
A second, much larger (149MB) free Official Bonus Pack has been releasd by Epic and contains new maps, new gameplay modes, voices...the works! You can download it from here. Thanks to Digital Extremes and Epic for looking after UT2003 fans like this!
Note: As of version 2225, UT2003 no longer has CD protection. That is, you won't need a No-CD crack, as the official patch removes the CD check.
UT2003 is a great game and well worth the money you're asked to put down on it. The game comes with a CD-Key protection system which goes some way to making sure that people who don't pay, don't play. However the one thing that bothers me, and I know I'm not alone, is the need to keep the UT2003 CD in the CDROM drive while playing. While TweakTown certainly does not encourage people to pirate games, we do believe in making life easier for the average gamer.
In that spirit, point your browser to GameCopyWorld and make your way to the UT2003 Section (this direct link to the UT2003 section may not always work, in which case try this one or go through the main site entrance). Find a UT2003 No-CD patched .exe file and download it to an empty directory. To install the No-CD patch correctly, follow these steps:
1. Extract UT2003.exe from the archive you've downloaded using WinZip, WinRar or WinAce
2. Go to the directory where you installed UT2003, and look under the System subdirectory (typically C:\UT2003\System\).
3. Rename the existing UT2003.exe file to something else (e.g UT2003.Real_exe). Don't delete or overwrite it, you'll need to keep it for future upgrades through patches.
4. Copy the No-CD patched UT2003.exe file into the same directory as the existing (but renamed) UT2003.exe.
5. If there are any .reg files or otherwise as part of the No-CD package, don't use them as they're designed for stripped-down pirated versions of UT2003. Only follow steps 1-4 above and everything should work.
Now remove your original CD from the drive and put it safely away. The next time you run UT2003, it won't check the CD drive and you'll load up much faster.
Some things to note are that each No-CD patch will only work with the version indicated. For example, a version 2186 No-CD patch won't work with version 2199 (4th Official Patch) of UT2003. As patches are released for the game, you'll need to delete the existing No-CD patched UT2003.exe file. Then rename the original UT2003.exe back to UT2003.exe. Download and apply the patch as usual, then check back at Gamecopyworld to get the latest No-CD fixed .exe file to match your new program version and go through steps 1-4 above again. Attempting to apply a patch over the No-CD version of UT2003.exe may result in errors and will usually fail.
Also note that the US and Australian versions of UT2003 are the same, and US No-CD patches will work with the Australian release as long as the version number is the same.