Fix: Enable DirectPlay in Windows 10

What is DirectPlay?

DirectPlay is a Network Communication Library constituent of the Microsoft DirectX API (Application Programming Interface). This is the element that lets a PC gamer connect their PC games to the internet or a LAN network, in order to find online matches for you. This is based on the UDP (User Datagram Protocol), which makes it easier to connect your DirectPlay with other systems that have DirectPlay enabled. 

In simple words, DirectPlay is responsible for your game to connect to multiplayer games so that you can play with other players on the internet. 

DirectPlay Errors

Old games like GTA: San Andreas are cult classics, which need DirectPlay to run on Windows 10. This DirectPlay has the needed components to run slightly old games to run on your modern PC. Without it, you will be seeing a lot of errors like this message:

“Microsoft.directx.directplay.DLL Not Found”

Ways to fix the DirectPlay errors

  1. Enable Direct Playthrough the Control Panel
  2. Enable  Direct Play through Windows PowerShell
  3. Enable Direct Play through Compatibility mode
  4. Disable/Adjust the Antivirus Software
  5. Use Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

How to fix DirectPlay errors on Windows 10

Enable DirectPlay in the Control Panel

If you try running classic online multiplayer games on Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System (OS) based computers, you need to make sure that the DirectPlay attribute is enabled on your device.

  1. Open your Control Panel, by searching for it in the search bar on your taskbar.
The Search bar results displaying the Control Panel as the best match
  1. Open the Programs and Features settings, in the Programs option in the Control Panel. 
The Programs window, open in the Control Panel
  1. On the left panel, select the Turn Windows features on or off button.
select the Turn Windows features on or off button.
  1. In the Windows Features dialog box, locate and click on the plus sign next to the Legacy Components option. In here, check the box near DirectPlay.
Windows feature page, with the DirectPlay element highlighted and checkbox checked
  1. Click Ok to save the changes. The DirectPlay feature will be downloaded and automatically enabled on your device.
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Enable DirectPlay through Windows PowerShell

  1. Right-click on the Windows icon on the Taskbar or press the Windows key + X key on your keyboard, at the same time, to bring up the Quick Link menu.
The Quick Link menu, with the Windows PowerShell and Windows PowerShell (Admin) option in the middle
  1. Open Windows PowerShell as an administrator.
  2. In the Windows PowerShell window, type in the following command:

C:/ dism /Online /enable-feature /FeatureName:”DirectPlay” /NoRestart

Windows PowerShell window with the command to enable DirectPlay
  1. It takes a while for the DirectPlay to be installed. Once complete, it will be installed on its own. 

Enable the Compatibility Mode on Windows 10

The Compatibility mode adjusts the configuration in a way that older games run on relatively new computers, with newer software, while it was designed to suit older software. 

These are the steps to enable the Compatibility mode in Windows 10:

  1. Locate the Game that you want to run. If you have a desktop shortcut to the game, right-click on the shortcut and select Open file location. This will take you to the installation location. 
  2. Right-click on the executable file and select the Properties option. 
  3. Click on the Compatibility tab in the Properties window.
Compatibility Mode section of the Game's properties window
  1. Press the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” checkbox.
  2. From the drop-down menu below, select the Operating Systems one-by-one and try running the game. You can also try to relate when the game was released with the OS that was the latest at that time.

Once you find out which earlier versions of the OS are compatible with the program for running on your PC.

Disable/Adjust the Antivirus Software

Sometimes there are chances that users see the 0x80073701 issue when you try to install and enable DirectPlay on your computer. If this is the case, you will not be able to download the DirectPlay feature through the above-mentioned methods.

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There is a possibility that you are not able to enable DirectPlay and many other features because your Antivirus program is blocking you from doing so. You can try to turn your Antivirus off, for a while and then try re-installing DirectPlay. If you are able to install it when the antivirus is off, this means that your Antivirus is responsible. 

These are the steps to disable the Antivirus on your device:

  1. Launch the Task Manager by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + Esc keys on your keyboard together. 
  2. Click on the Start-up tab. You will see all the processes that run during the system startup, by default. 
The Start-up tab page in the Task Manager
  1. Click on the Antivirus and then, press the Disable button at the bottom of the window.
The Disable button
  1. Perform the installation and run the game to see if it works without any problem.

Use Program Compatibility Troubleshooter

The Program Compatibility troubleshooter is a troubleshooting agent, exclusive to finding and resolving problems related to technology compatibility. This can be used to figure out and fix issues that can arise because of Direct Play. 

Here’s how you can run this troubleshooter:

  1. In your search bar, type in Compatibility.
  2. Your best result should be the Run Programs made for earlier versions of Windows. Open it as an administrator.
The Best match search result for the term "Compatibility"
  1. Press the Next button and choose the application that needs to be tested for compatibility. 
  2. If the chart does not have the application that you need to troubleshoot, by default, you can browse for it, by selecting Not Listed and searching for it. 
  3. After you find it, click on it and then click on the Next button.
  4. Do as instructed by the interface’s details and this should fix your DirectPlay error.
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DirectPlay is an important aspect for every gamer. When this causes problems and throws error messages at you, do not worry and follow the above instructions to enjoy your online matches. Happy Gaming!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DirectPlay safe?

Directplay is quite safe to use. Once it is downloaded, it is used only when attempts to run a multiplayer online game are made on the Microsoft Windows 10 computer. This is a helpful attribute and not malware in any form.

What is DirectPlay?

DirectPlay is an API inside the DirectX console. This attribute is responsible for online matchmaking to find game sessions over the internet.

Should DirectPlay be installed?

Yes, you will need to install DirectPlay feature on your Windows 10 computer to use the multiplayer/online aspect of video games. This is also important for running older games. 

How do I enable DirectPlay on Windows 10?

You can enable and disable the DirectPlay feature in the Windows Control Panel or the Windows PowerShell. The DirectPlay attribute has to be installed before enabling. 

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