How To Get DirectPlay On Windows 10 & 11

If you want to get DirectPlay on Windows to play your favorite video games of the past, we got you covered. Here's how to enable DirectPlay on your PC.

Beneath the surface of what the end-user sees during their daily computer activity lies a complex chain of functions that allows us to reliably use our systems for various purposes, such as work and entertainment.

DirectPlay, a network communication library that’s part of the popular DirectX API by Microsoft, is responsible for many connectivity-related purposes in (mostly older) video games, and in the guide below, we’ll show you how to get it on Windows.

Let’s get started.

Table of ContentsShow

Installing DirectPlay On Windows 10

Installation

If you are a PC gamer, especially one who prefers multiplayer gaming, you’ve likely heard about DirectPlay at least once before.

Older multiplayer games (and some newer ones) require this library to properly run on your system, so if you’ve recently decided to go down memory lane and battle your nostalgic feelings by playing some of your favorite video games of the past, you’ll have to install/enable DirectPlay on your system.

Note: If you were wondering how to download DirectPlay, you should know that the files are already in your operating system, except they’re disabled by default as the DirectPlay library is not used so much anymore. You can still enable the files and play games that require the DirectPlay component.

Note: The following steps will likely require you to have Administrator privileges, which means it’s best to follow them on a Windows user profile that has all permissions granted.

Here’s how to activate DirectPlay on Windows:

  1. Simultaneously press Windows + S on your keyboard to open the Windows Search Box.
  2. Within the Search Box, type in Control Panel and press Enter on your keyboard.
  3. In the top-right corner, set the view to Category.
  4. Click on Programs.
  5. Click Turn Windows Features On or Off.
  6. Expand the Legacy Components folder by clicking the “plus” icon next to it.
  7. Click on the empty box next to DirectPlay to “check” it, and then press OK at the bottom.
  8. Wait a few minutes for the DirectPlay files to install on your system.

If the steps above weren’t obvious enough, or you simply prefer seeing the process instead of reading, take a look at the useful video below that covers everything from start to finish in less than a minute.

Congratulations! You’ve now successfully installed DirectPlay and can play any games that require this service for various connectivity reasons.

If you already have DirectPlay activated on your computer but it doesn’t function correctly or creates problems when a game attempts to utilize it, refer to the section below where we address some of the most frequent DirectPlay issues and solutions.

DirectPlay Problems And Fixes

Fix

There are a few known errors that users experience when trying to enable DirectPlay on Windows. If you recently ran into any of these, worry not, as there are multiple solutions available that we’ll list below.

  • Unable to enable DirectPlay from the Windows Features panel (as shown in the section above) due to lacking permissions.

The fix for this problem is to enable Administrator privileges on your Windows user before you attempt the installation.

  • The Legacy Components folder that’s supposed to contain the DirectPlay installation files is missing. 

The fix for this issue is to download the latest Windows updates, as some older versions of Windows didn’t include the Legacy Components folder.

  • DirectPlay is not missing and is enabled from the Legacy Components folder, but fails to start when the game requires it.

As reported by other users, the one thing that helped the most with this problem is downloading and installing the latest DirectX files from the official Microsoft website.

  • Everything seems to be set up correctly regarding DirectPlay, but the game still doesn’t want to start and/or displays an error.

The solution is usually running the game in compatibility mode and choosing an older version of the Windows operating system, and also, running the game as Administrator.

That essentially covers all the acknowledged issues reported by users regarding DirectPlay.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Question

These are some of the most frequently asked questions we see by users when DirectPlay is brought up on various forums and websites.

Where to find the DirectPlay Windows 10 download?

You cannot “directly” download DirectPlay as it’s a part of the DirectX set of components. However, you can enable it from the Windows Features panel within your operating system as shown in the first section of this guide.

What does installing the Windows 10 DirectPlay software help with?

The DirectPlay Windows 10 files that you can enable from the Windows Features panel will help you launch some of the older video games that require this system. Most new games, though, don’t use it, and chances are we won’t even be able to install these files in newer Windows versions.

Are The DirectPlay files safe to install on my computer?

Yes, these files are a part of your operating system, and if you install them as shown in the first section of this guide, through the Windows Features panel, they’re perfectly safe to use, despite being marked as legacy.

Conclusion

If you were wondering what is the DirectPlay Windows 10 feature that older games require to run properly, you should now know the answer.

To install the files on your computer, simply follow the steps listed in this guide and you’ll get it done in no time, which will then allow you to enjoy some of the older games available for PC.

Hopefully, this guide helped you learn more and solved any problems you might’ve been experiencing with the DirectPlay feature on Windows 10.  

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Bojan Veselinovikj
LinkedIn

Bojan is a video-game developer and a tech enthusiast. Combining these two passions allow him to keep you informed on everything that's new in this fast-paced digital world.