Online since 1997


Silent Hunter
& Commander's Edition


One of the most popular subsims of all time, Silent Hunter is a real blast to play. With high levels of realism built in, SH can daunt even the cockiest cyberskipper. Here are some tactics to try out on the I.J.N. next time out.


  • The weather conditions realistically affect your sub's performance. If you can't get your Gato class boat to 20 knots, check the calendar in the Captain's cabin. If the sea state if rough, your boat won't achieve full speed.
  • At the beginning of the war, Japanese destroyers don't think American subs can go below 300 feet. Consequently, the Japs will set their ash cans shallow. This changes around 1943.
  • Sometimes you can win a gun battle with a destroyer. For some reason, the program AI will not always simulate aggressiveness.
  • If you get a warning about chlorine gas detected, get ready to surface.
  • In foggy or moonless night conditions, you may wish to target by radar.
  • When you make initial visual contact, you can lower your sub in the water to around 35~37 feet and often still keep the enemy ship' mast in sight over the horizon. This allows you to approach much closer without them sighting you. Remember, though, you will be running on your batteries.
  • Shelling cities has no apparent effect.


FEATURES ADDED IN the Commander's Edition and V1.31 

  • Silent Hunter Commander's Edition is the compilation of the original Silent Hunter and patrol disks 1, 2, and 3. Patrol disk 3 adds two more patrol zones, Aleutian Islands and Java Sea. Fifteen additional historical scenarios are included.
  • V1.3 also has the ability to save games in single scenarios, including the historical scenarios.  You will also be able to save while you are tactically engaged.


KNOWN BUGS -- Jim Atkins

  • Bug: SH has locked up on me several times if I go to the chart screen while at the periscope screen with the ship ID book pulled up. I've never locked it up any other way. This bug cost me a shot at the Yamato and a number of other ships. It's hard sometimes to remember to change back to the gauges before leaving the periscope screen when you're closing a ship and every second counts... 

  • Bug: If you select a torpedo on the torpedo screen and then go to another screen, when you come back to the torpedo screen, the torpedo you selected will have disappeared. (First noted by Bram Otto on the Silent Hunter message board.) 

  • Bug: If you move a torpedo out of the tubes with "Auto-Load Torpedoes" selected, the tube will reload properly, but the torpedo you took out will never properly unload. It will remained grayed out for the remainder of the patrol and you won't be able to use it. To prevent this, make sure you de-select "Auto-Load Torpedoes" in the options screen. 

  • Possible bug: If you save a game in career mode when there is fog, when you load that saved game, the fog will be gone. This has happened to me several times. If you are on the surface near a convoy depending on the fog to keep you hidden, this bug can get you detected and killed. 



Read all the way down the page



You might experience problems if you own a multiple CD-ROM changer. If you do own a multiple CD-ROM drive and you are experiencing problems, try disabling all of the drives but one, or fill all the drive slots with CDs.


If you have run the UVCONFIG program and are running the game with the /V (SH /V), you might not get some of the cinematic sequences in the game, including the intro. If you run the game with this /V switch and only get a blank, black screen, you'll need to hit the <esc> key a few times until you're brought into the main menu of the game.

SIS GRAPHICS CARD  ISSUES  --  Silent Hunter is only displayed on part of the screen

If you have a computer with the SIS 530/5595  or the  SiS620/5595 graphics card (or possibly other SIS cards), you may see Silent Hunter on half or less of the screen.  The solution is to go to SiS website on their Drivers Page and look for SiSVBE 0.83. The Sis 530 only supports VGA. One of SH's game requirements is 1 meg of SVGA. The SiSVBE will change the VGA graphics to SVGA. This is how you do it. Download the sisvbe to a folder on your C-drive. Run the setup for the SISVBE. Then you have to put a line in your autoexex.bat calling the location of the sisvbe and write install at the end so every time you boot your computer up, the sisvbe driver is up and running. The line in my autoexec.bat looks like this "C:\SISVESA\SISVBE.EXE /INSTALL" Ever since I've done this I've had no problems running SH on my computer. I hope this is of help
Special thanks to Jeff for this detailed tip.


Make sure the CD-ROM drive letter in the SHpath.ini file is correct for your system. Look in the Silent folder for the Silent Hunter SHpath.ini file.

      Find the line
  BUD =d:\SH\BUD\ 

     the drive letter of your CD-ROM goes here. In this case it is d:


Win 98: What worked for me by Neal Stevens

I have a Gateway 500 MHz with a SoundBlaster Audio 64PCID and Win 98. I installed the v1.31 Commander's Edition and it works normally. Let me give you the steps that worked for me.

1. Install the game using the full or maximum install option.

2. Go through the digital audio setup. The install was successful on my system.

3. When the install is complete, turn the Num Lock off. This is the key just above the 7 on the keypad.

4. When you're ready to play, click Start -- Programs -- MS Dos Prompt

5. You should see a MS Dos window with a black background. The text should read C:\Windows>

6. Type cd..

that is cd and two periods, no spaces. Hit ENTER

7.Now you should see C:\>

8.Type cd silent

that is cd silent with a space between cd and silent Hit ENTER

9. Now you should see C:\SILENT>

10. Type sh /v

that is sh /v with a space between the sh and /v. Make sure you use the slash / next to the shift key.


The game starts. I see the cinematic scenes, complete with sound. I have tried skipping the /v and it still works. The only thing that seems off is sometimes the voices have a slight warble to them. Maybe it's rough seas.

Important! Turn off the number lock key before starting Silent Hunter.


You may find this key command useful:   ALT O  brings up the game menu.

You can play SH without the CD with the Commander's Edition. The file you want is in the BUD folder(10.smk). First you must do a maximum install and then copy either the 10.smk or the BUD folder to the Silent folder on your C drive. Depending on your hard drive space you can copy the entire BUD folder to your Silent folder (the BUD folder contains the "Bud Gruner" interviews) in the game. All you really have to do is copy the 10.smk file to your Silent folder, then go to the SHpath.ini file:


change the line the reads BUD=D:\SH\BUD\ 



 and that should do the trick. Just as you see it, no spaces like the other lines. If that doesn't work, try changing it to 


You may try the line without the \ after SILENT if the first try doesn't produce results.

Win XP: I have used that in conjunction with DOSBOX.

1. Change the SHpath.ini file as stated above
2. Start the DOSBOX app
3. According to DOSBOX, you have to "mount" the C: drive. I know, that sound funky only the way a geek can make it sound. To mount it, type:


That is: MOUNT space C space C:\SILENT\

4. Then type C:
    You should see the Z: prompt change to a C: prompt. If you now type DIR, you can see the files, including the game executable, SH
Type SH    and the game should begin.

If you are playing Silent Hunter on a Win 98 machine with 64 Meg of Ram and you may find a problem with any mission North or South of Japan. These missions cause the game to crash. Try this, go to your Sh Exe and right click on it, then left click on properties, then go to the tab marked Screen. There is a drop down box called Inital size. If it is set to default, reset it to either 25, 43, or 50 lines and hit Apply then Ok. Since I've done this Silent Hunter has played smooth as silk.

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Patching non-English versions of Silent Hunter
 by Pascal Mauron, Switzerland

Pascal has found that in order to patch non-English versions of Silent Hunter to 1.3, the file 10.smk must be the same size as the English version. As Pascal explains,  "The problem is, sh.exe checks the properties of the SH\BUD\10.SMK file on the CD, and the size of the English version is different (same images, but other voice). Then it complaints about a wrong CD. Don't ask me why this check is made, because the file is not used at this place! To lure the patched sh.exe file, you have to change the size of the 10.SMK file to the size of the English version, which is 17,028,'772 bytes (Thanks to Dealey Harder). You can do it by adding extra lines of code with a hex editor." 

In answer to a request by SUBSIM Review, Pascal has whipped up a neat guide which will modify help you tweak the 10.smk file and get patched up to v1.31. 

For other languages, french.txt has to be modified, by adding or subtracting characters until you have exactly 1/2 the difference between your original
10.smk file and the English version (17,028,'772 bytes). You need to obtain a file which has EXACTLY 17,028,772 bytes. Then it works! More info in the french readme file.


Read the non-English Readme file


Don't give up the ship trying to get Silent Hunter to run until you've tried this utility. Also has a Boot Disk for Great Naval Battles: North Atlantic and Great Naval Battles 2-5. It works great in most cases. Instructions included.

DOWNLOAD the Silent Hunter/GNB Boot Disk

Silent Hunter is a DOS game and may require a boot disk to run.
More info about boot disks, what they are, how they work, and steps in creating one:

Running Silent Hunter on newer operating systems

SH and Windows 98:

George Estill's report: Silent Hunter Commander, ver 1.31. To install SH, I selected MS/DOS in programs and loaded SH per instructions. There were no error messages and it has run faultlessly ever since. I have played the equivalent of 30 patrols without one single crash. The opening movie runs and looks good. The interview movies also run with sound. SH will not start automatically if I put the CD in the drive, but it will run in Win98 if I go to the C:\ silent directory in Windows Explorer and double click on sh.exe.

In Win 98 you may not get the opening movie. Actually, if you get the game to run minus the opening cinematics in Win 98, you are okay. Many people running Win 98 report the not seeing the opening movie, just a black screen. Hit the space bar 4 or 5 times and the game menu should come up. You are not missing anything--for as good a sim SH is, the opening movie is short and weak, not worth worrying about at all.

SH and WinMe

Lots of people have reported problems with SH and WinMe (myself included).  After several days of trying and researching, I've found the  solution (for most problems, anyway).  If you have trouble running SH under WinMe as installed by the CD - try this.

You need to find a copy of v1  and the v1.3 and v1.31 patches from SubSim.  Install them all in order.  Ensure  your CD is in the drive (edit the shpath.ini to correctly reflect the  location of \sh\bud if necessary) and away you go! For some logic-defying reason, patching to v1.31 will let the game run  properly (including in-game sound) but starting off with 1.31 won't.  Must be a flaw in the SH.exe on the CD or in it's setup. BTW:  If you would like the in-game speech, simply copy the \speech  directory to your Silent Hunter directory and the game will use speech.  No mods necessary. -- Submitted by Dean Robb


SH and XP -

The point at which SH crashes is at the opening intro cines - if you manage to bypass that, SH will run quite well without any tweaks other than running it in Win95 compatibility mode. And the secret to bypass the intro scenes is simply by deleting the three relevant files in the cines directory - i.e. copyr.smk, logo444.smk and shin.smk. (This of course assumes you have the done a full install with all the cines files on the HD.) Submitted by Sabri Zain, Malaysia

If that procedure does not work for you, check out Don Well's excellent procedure:

Installation and Operation of Silent Hunter I
under Windows XP (SP1)




A CD-ROM is usually run by two different drivers. One of these drivers is loaded in the config.sys file and the other is located in the autoexec.bat file. A few SSI titles will not run on a CD-ROM that has been assigned the drive letter of I or higher. Below are examples of common CD-ROM drivers.

The 1st example is a .SYS file; this is loaded in the config.sys: devicehigh=c:\dev\atapi_cd.sys /d:mscd001

Notice the "/d:mscd001"; all CD-ROM device drivers have a /D: in them.

The 2nd example is the MSCDEX.EXE file; this is loaded in the autoexec.bat: C:\WIN95\COMMAND\mscdex.exe /d:mscd001 /m:8

Again, note the /d:'. Also note that what follows the /d: is the same. The word after the /d: can be any word, but it must be the same on both lines.

If you find that your system uses a device driver in the autoexec.bat called CORALCDX, you will need to change it to the standard, MSCDEX.EXE. You can use our new boot disk utility and make a boot disk (the boot disk utility will try to change the driver for you) but, if this fails, you will need to contact your hardware vender and have them help you change from Coralcdx.exe to the standard MSCDEX.EXE.



Silent Hunter Expansion Disks or "Patrol Disks"

After the general commercial success of Silent Hunter, SSI released an expansion disk named "Silent Hunter Patrol Disk".  Over a period of time, two other expansion disks followed, concluding with the Silent Hunter Commander's Edition which included SH and all three patrol disks. Here is a breakdown of the contents and enhancements each disk gave:

  • Patrol Disk 1 - Silent Hunter Patrol Disk 1 is an expansion disk coupled with an upgraded version (Version 1.1) of Silent Hunter. It added features such as Photo Recon, Life Guard Duty, Red night lighting, Sub vs. Sub Combat, Radio Logbook, Enhanced Enemy Aircraft Attacks, Submarine Anti-Air Routine, Deception Option (Debris), Hull creaking when deep, Improved Ship ID Book, Fifteen New Historical Scenarios. Two New Patrol Zones- Sulu Sea and Malaysia theater.


  • Patrol Disk 2 - Upgraded Silent Hunter to V1.2. Included the scenario editior; another 2 new patrol zones, Hong Kong and Vietnam (Indochina) and fifteen new historical scenarios


  • Patrol Disk 3 - Added 2 more patrol zones--Aleutian Islands and Java Sea-- and 15 more historical scenarios. This disk was only available by ordering online with SSI or SUBSIM Review.

Neither Silent Hunter nor none of the patrol disks are available retail any longer. 
Check the
SUBSIM Store for a copy of the Ultimate Wargame Collection # 2
which includes Silent Hunter Commander's Edition


SOUND ISSUES  --  SoundBlaster PCI64 and Live

These new cards may be cutting edge but the are no fun when running Aces or Silent Hunter (or other DOS games). Many players report no sound in AOD/SH/DOS games. It is unclear if there is a universal solution but you can download the SOUNDBLASTER Manual from here and see if you can get the emulation utility to work. 

DOWNLOAD SoundBlaster PCI 64 Manual


PLAYER REPORT: One player reported he could not run the utility and the game because they both needed the same EMS386 resource: "I found with my SB PCI 64 that I had to run an emulation set up utility in the SB software called apinit to get the DOS sound to run both in windows dos mode and at the dos prompt. I believe the SB live had a similar program. The details were in the online "Manual" which I can email to you if you like. I needs emm386 or similar to run which unfortunately conflicts with AOD." --Guy   


Hello Neal:

Late last night I found all the DOS drivers for the Soundblaster Live !  These include:

SBEINIT.COM - The soundblaster 16 emulator. This must be loaded for emulation to work.

SBESET.EXE - Used configure the port, irq and dma settings of the emulator.

SBECFG.EXE - Reports the current emulation configuration.


SBEGO.EXE - Diagnostic to test the emulator.

Even after setting this up in pure DOS mode, it fails to work. What is even stranger is that the emulator loads ok, but when you run the SBEGO.EXE test program, it reports that emulation is not loaded ! Typing MEM /C at the prompt revelead it was indeed there.

What I did manage to dig up on Creative's website was that the motherboard the card is installed into must support NMI (non masked interupts), or emulation will never work. I have therefore emailed the manufacturer of my motherboard (J-Mark) to see if it does or doesn't.

--Andrew Morsman


General Help: Crash Errors

Before you review the following list of specific crash messages, please be sure that your computer meets all of the minimum system requirements for the game in question (outlined in detail on the data card), that you aren't running a DOS game from inside of Windows or Windows '95, and, if you are playing a DOS game, that you have created and are booting from a properly made boot disk. You can download the boot disk maker utility, which will make a boot disk for you automatically, from this web site. A properly constructed boot disk will take care of 90% of system crashes and lock-ups for DOS games.

If you are playing a game that is required to run from inside of Windows, be sure that all of your sound, video, and mouse drivers are updated to the latest versions available from their respective manufacturers.

Below is a list of some typical crash messages and possible solutions:

"Cannot load/Find/Open File"

This is usually caused by one of three things:


  • Usually this is caused by the game not being able to read a file off of the CD. Make sure the CD drivers are loaded OK and the CD is in the CD-ROM drive. Access the CD-ROM drive and pull up a current directory listing (DIR). If this isn't possible, then either your CD-ROM drivers aren't properly installed, the compact disk itself is damaged or scratched badly and needs to be replaced, or your CD-ROM is malfunctioning. Contact the manufacturer of your CD-ROM drive for further technical assistance.

  • The second cause may be that the FILES and BUFFERS lines in the config.sys may be set too low. Review the data card for the proper system requirements for these settings. You might wish to simply set the FILES line to 60 (FILES=60).

  • The last cause may be virus protection utilities such as Norton anti-virus. Be sure to disable any of these types of programs, as well as other TSRs or utilities prior to running the game.

DOS4GW runtime (error 2001)

This is caused by something in memory causing DOS4GW (a programming tool) to fail. The best route to take for this is to make a boot disk. If the game does not require a lot of conventional memory do not load EMM386.EXE in the config.sys file. Removing the EMM386.EXE manager will cure almost all DOS4GW crashes.

DOS4GW (2002)

This is usually a sound error. Reconfigure the sound settings for the game or try running the game with no sound. Be sure not to set your sound card at an IRQ setting above 8 (we highly recommend IRQ 5 or 7).

Divide overflow, stack overflow and unexpected interrupt

If one of these error happens while the game is running, check your boot disk and be sure that you aren't loading any TSRs or other programs that aren't required to run the game. Next, try rerunning the sound utility inside of the game directory and setting the game to run with 'no sound.' If the problem goes away, you know that the culprit of this crash is sound related. Try choosing a different sound setting in the sound utility menu. It is possible that your sound drivers are out of date and need updating or that you simply have a sound card that isn't fully supported and will not be able to get sound while playing the game. Finally, make sure that you have a current and updated (the latest version available) mouse driver.



Heap errors are memory allocation errors. You can usually fix these errors by making a boot disk that only loads necessary TSR's. Sometimes, EMM386.EXE or SMARTDRV.EXE can  cause this, so remove them from the boot disk.

MEL fatal errors:

They sound nasty, but usually refer to problems with the sound engine and your sound card. Be sure that you have a properly configured boot disk that includes ALL of the required sound and CD-ROM drivers for your sound card. DO NOT set your sound card at an IRQ higher then 8. If you do have all your sound and CD-ROM drivers loaded properly, try rerunning the sound utility inside of the game directory and set your card up as a Sound Blaster Regular card (be sure that your card is set at IRQ 5 or 7, DMA 1, and I/O address 220). If the sound utility successfully locates and configures your sound card and you continue to receive Mel fatal errors, try accessing the CD-ROM drive prior to running the game and type DIR to get a directory. Run the game again and see if this fixes the problem. If you still encounter problems after following these steps, contact the manufacturer of your sound card for further technical assistance and be sure you have the latest drivers available from the manufacturer.


Windows '95 Crashes

Can not read memory at "******"

If you have a Windows '95 game that is crashing with this error message you'll need to check your Windows '95 system resources. This error is caused by a lack of virtual memory (either there is none allocated or not enough is allocated). Also, check for lack of hard drive space on the C:\ drive. You should defrag your hard drive, run scan disk, un-install and re-install the game and make sure to answer YES to any upgrade questions the game may be asking.

Windows 3.xx and Windows 95 '.DLL' Errors

A "DLL" File is a dynamic link library. Windows uses these libraries to operate.  Most DLL errors are actually caused by other windows drivers conflicting with the  DLL that windows needs to use to run the game. To eliminate these conflicts it is best to make sure you are using all of the latest drivers for your hardware. When we say Drivers for your hardware we are referring to you Video card, Sound card and sometimes your mouse. You can obtain these drivers from the manufacturer of you system or by contacting the specific hardware manufacturer. Sometimes the errors are caused by improper settings. If the game uses the video settings of 640 by 480 and 256 colors you may want to make sure that your video display is set to the same settings.  For more display information follow this link to General Video Help Windows 95 games often use DirectX. If DirectX Is not installed properly or the incorrect version is installed It may cause DLL errors. If this may be the case we recommend you reinstall DirectX. For more information about DirectX see DirectX Troubles.

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1997 SUBSIM Review
Do not copy without permission.



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