Playing Red Alert 2 Online for free!

Command Conquer Red Alert 2 Online

Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 is a classic RTS game that you can now play online COMPLETELY FREE. Playing Red Alert 2 online is easy to setup and this page explains in detail what you have to do to play. TMG is a community dedicated to players of RA2 (Red Alert 2) and YR (Yuri’s Revenge) who play online using GameRanger.

Gameranger is a client that allows players to play online using the local network or LAN option in the game. It works through the use VPN technology and does not cost anything to play Red Alert 2 Online.



  1. Downloading Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge
  2. Installing Red Alert 2 and Yuri’s Revenge
  3. Installing GameRanger
  4. Using GameRanger
  5. Tips and Tricks
  6. Common Problems


1. Download and Install Red Alert 2

If you haven’t already got Red Alert 2 or Yuri’s Revenge installed or have a copy on disc then they can be downloaded for free. There are various versions out there but some that we have tried and tested are:

Multi-Player Clients – Some versions of the Multi-Player Clients released by XWIS work well on GameRanger and are free to download. They include everything you will need to get going and are updated to the latest version. You can simply download them, install and you are ready to go. The latest versions that appear on the XWIS site do not work with GameRanger and so use the links to left to download and install and tried and tested version which will allow you to play Red Alert 2 Online.


Download Red Alert 2

Download Red Alert 2 Multi-Player Client

Download Red Alert 2 Online

Download Yuri’s Revenge Multi-Player Client

Original Disc or Original ISO images – These versions work well on GameRanger and we recommend this version as very stable and quick. If you have owned the game in the past and lost the disc then the original ISO can be downloaded from the internet. The downside is that this is the most complicated way with the largest download size. You will need to mount the iso image using something like Magicdisc, enter a serial when you are installing and download the official update patch to play online for free.

Some notes about installing:

1. IF you are using Windows 7 or Windows Vista you should run the game ‘As Admin’ and also in compatibility mode (Windows XP). An explanation of how to do this can be seen here

2. You should always make sure your game is updated to the latest version (1.006 for Red Alert 2 and 1.001 for Yuri’s Revenge).

red alert 2 online tips
Change Red Alert 2 Online Game Resolution

If you have a monitor that’s capable of displaying a higher resolution than 1024*768 then you will need to change it manually.

Browse to your game directory usually C:\Westwood\RA2\ C:\Program Files (x86)\EA GAMES\

Find the file ‘RA2.ini”, right click it and open with notepad.

Find and change the lines
to your resolution



Installing Gameranger

Gameranger_red alert 2 online

Gameranger is a free program that allows you to join or host games with your friends. Installing it is easy, visit the Gameranger site and click on the download link. When the download has finished run the file and follow the instructions. You will be instructed to create an account which needs to be activated with a valid email address. Once the account has been activated you can then log into GameRanger where you can see a list of all the servers and play Red Alert 2 online with your friends.

It is possible that GameRanger might not recognise the fact that you have Red Alert 2 or Yuri’s Revenge installed. You may have to point Gameranger to the game executables (ra2.exe for Red Alert 2 and RA2MD.exe for Yuri’s Revenge). If you need to do this follow:

Edit>Options>Games Scroll down to Red Alert 2/Yuri’s Revenge and once selected click browse. You can then point Gameranger to the executables. (note: this is not always necessary)


Using Gameranger to play Red Alert 2 Online


1 First you should set up GameRanger to only show the games you want to play using it. A simple way to do this is to select ‘My Games’ from the dropdown when you have signed in. The picture to the left demonstrates this.

If you want to you can create a custom list of games too by selecting ‘New Group’. This may be useful if you have games installed that you don’t want to play using GameRanger or if you have a number of games installed and want to group them by category for example.

At this point you may also want to change any preferences (such as appearance, sound etc.) by going to edit>options


2 The next step is to join a game room. You can do this by double clicking on an open room. The icons to the right of the room name indicate whether a game has already started (green light) or is passworded (padlock).

There is also an indication of ping however we have found that this is not useful in establishing whether the game will lag or not.

When you have joined the gameroom all you have to do is wait. When the host starts the game Red Alert 2 or Yuri’s Revenge should launch automatically and take you to the gameroom in game.


3To host a game click the ‘Host’ button which is on the top right of the GameRanger screen. You will then be presented with a dialogue box with a number of options including max players, room description and the option for a password as shown in the image on the left.

When you are ready to start the game simply press ‘start’ which should launch the game and create a gameroom inside RA2/YR.

A common problem with RA2 users is they can’t host if they have a high resolution


Tips and Tricks


  • If a player is in the same GameRanger room as you and their name appears ITALIC it means that there is a problem with the connection between you and the game WILL NOT WORK. A good way to fix this maybe to both rejoin the room or restart GameRanger
  • Players can be found and identfied using their GameRanger Account Number. To find yours open the ‘Friends’ window, right click your name and then press ‘show info’. This is a 6-7 digit number and may be useful when signing up to tournaments or if you meet someone on TMG you want to play with.
  • You can block a user at any time by right-clicking their name in a gameroom.


Common Problems with Red Alert 2 Online


You receive a message about port restricted cone nat router when entering a gameroom

This is caused by your router blocking the ports that GameRanger uses. The solution is to open the port that GameRanger uses (refereed to as port forwarding). Every router is different so enter the make and model on this site to find a guide specific to yours. GameRanger uses the port UDP 16,000

Your Game won’t Launch

If you are using Windows Vista/Windows 7 make sure to right click ra2.exe/ra2md.exe and enable compatibility mode (Windows XP SP3) and tick the box to run the program as admin.


Your Game Lags

Game lag can be caused by a number of factors. If your game is lagging start by running CCleaner. Next check your firewall is not blocking the connection and also port forward your router. Have you thought about the basics – is someone else using your bandwidth? Have you got a good WiFi signal? Did you leave your downloads on?

If you have done all of this and your game is still lagging then it might be the version you have installed. Try reinstalling using the downloads posted above.


You can’t host Red Alert 2

This problem is associated with your resolution. There is no fix we know of however you could get your friend to host and you create the room in game. The other option is to lower your resolution.


If you are having any other problems playing Red Alert 2 online then feel free to comment either here or in the forums and there will be many people happy to help.

Avatar of admin


  1. ABold - April 12, 2013, 12:53 am

    There is no RA2MD.exe on the multiplayer version?

    • 7RedStar - June 14, 2013, 2:43 am

      you can download ra2 & yr from this site.
      you need to change yr exe file to ra2md or ra2md.exe to play on gameranger.
      if u r using xwis version with ss patch, u need to change name of red alert 2.exe to ra2.exe or ra2.
      ra2 version on this site is working fine with gr & there is no need of name change.but u need to change yr exe file name to play on gr

  2. StarLight - April 19, 2013, 1:59 pm

    You are right Abold, you have to download it seperatly.


    • 7RedStar - June 14, 2013, 2:44 am

      its very easy t download both & install in same folder to play on gr :P

    • robbomb03 - August 23, 2014, 5:02 pm

      So i attempted to download both red alert 2 and yuris revenge. I do not have a CD for the game and i was hoping this would allow me to be able to play offline skirmish. After following instructions i went to program files and tried to run both seperately and they both came up with the same message. ****FATAL**** String Manager Failed to Initialize properly. I also tried installing the patches to make sure everything was updated but it kept telling me there was an old file with the same name but it could not update as they didnt have the same content. Im not sure if this matters i also have windows 8 and was able to install red alert for free the other day.

      Any help or suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated

  3. Psycem - May 16, 2013, 12:32 pm

    Thanks for this guide.

    I’ve followed it and RA2 works great playing skirmish offline. Game Ranger works, but when I connect and enter the game lobby, the game crashes and I get an “Explorer error”. :-(
    Any ideas? :-)

  4. StarLight - May 18, 2013, 2:11 pm

    Hey, do you have drwtsn32.exe error, what software you got? Windows 7? Do you get the Explorer.exe error when you enter the network?



  5. Psycem - May 21, 2013, 9:03 am

    I’m on WinXP.
    I got the Explorer.exe i RA2, when ever the game entered “Network”.

    But it seems that the problem doesn’t occour when playing the game on the computers admin user account.

    • 7RedStar - May 22, 2013, 5:42 am

      You can avoid it by running game offline before playing online.
      1 time only

    • 7RedStar - June 14, 2013, 2:48 am

      when u play ra2 on xp , it have black screen can change windows cd or u can run ur game offline before playing online on ll not show any error.
      its common error on xp but it ll not occur on modified xp versions.

  6. KiLlEr - May 22, 2013, 9:43 am

    redstar any fix for win 8 for red alert 2 or yuri?

    • 7RedStar - June 14, 2013, 2:46 am

      idk i se u playing on xwis.i think u alreday fix ra2 & yr on win8 :D

  7. agelosnavajo3 - May 27, 2013, 9:56 pm

    i face the following problem:
    i downloaded ra2 Original Disc or Original ISO images plus have done the update, but when i start a game, even if it is online, or skirmish or even campaign, at about 20 seconds, all my buildings are destroyed plus humans, and i loose… what can be done to fix this problem?

    • 7RedStar - May 28, 2013, 6:46 pm

      download version from above links.u downloaded wrong verion with some errors.

  8. coolkiller90 - May 29, 2013, 8:56 am

    how i can do any thing is missing

    • 7RedStar - June 14, 2013, 2:45 am

      you can download ra2 & yr from this site.
      you need to change yr exe file to ra2md or ra2md.exe to play on gameranger.
      if u r using xwis version with ss patch, u need to change name of red alert 2.exe to ra2.exe or ra2.
      ra2 version on this site is working fine with gr & there is no need of name change.but u need to change yr exe file name to play on gr

  9. carlosjbgomez - June 25, 2013, 8:49 am

    how could i download game range ?

  10. carlosjbgomez - June 25, 2013, 9:14 am

    i’ve download game ranger but it doesnt work wtf !?!

  11. carlosjbgomez - June 25, 2013, 9:15 am

    i’ve download it but it doesnt work wtf !?!

  12. yazan - June 28, 2013, 10:27 am


  13. krujhay32 - July 13, 2013, 5:50 am

    bird shit I can’t access red alert 2

  14. krujhay32 - July 13, 2013, 5:56 am

    I can’t access red alert 2

  15. kinan - August 12, 2013, 9:38 pm

    i can’t access red alert 2

  16. Sonic7662 - September 5, 2013, 1:32 am

    I have downloaded RA2 and tried playing it however once I have launched the single player skirmish the game will freeze within a minute.
    Can anyone help?

  17. tbiol - September 8, 2013, 4:44 pm

    what is the name of the RA2 file that launches the game? Is it RedAlert2 or is it RA2.exe? If it is Red Alert 2, you will need to rename the file to Ra2.exe

  18. Deanly - September 11, 2013, 10:40 pm

    When I try and click on network it just instantly goes back to the main menu of red alert 2, help?

  19. Seke - September 12, 2013, 1:33 am


    Did you start a game using gameranger or are you simply starting Red Alert 2 from the shortcut on your desktop?

  20. MahJack - October 25, 2013, 10:58 pm

    I can’t see a single server. I installed GameRanger but whenever they start the game, I get a blackscreen then it says “Returned from the game”… What am I supposed to do?

    • StarLight - October 28, 2013, 9:30 pm

      On what resolution do you play?

      Did you follow the guide?

      Regards, StarLight

    • Seke - October 30, 2013, 5:14 pm

      When you start RA2 manually from a shortcut (NOT through gameranger) do you get a blackscreen?

  21. ibraheem - January 11, 2014, 6:44 am

    how to play red alert 2 online?

  22. rhege_588 - April 21, 2014, 2:23 am

    my game cant launch,”string fatal manager….. not work properly..” it appear’s to my computer… what should i do…. pls help me.

  23. haad456 - September 12, 2014, 3:05 pm

    i need help when i install ra2 i found a map named rekool having special feature that there was no battle lab for both types allies and soviet but 1 day before i don’t know what happened and that changes in to simple map with full features but i want to get back that map so please help me..

  24. hafiz muhammad numan - November 3, 2014, 4:08 pm

    i am using windows 8…….when i host or join in game…it back to windows screen….when i click on ra2 icon in taskbar…it starts but only a black screen appear
    what should i do instead of changing window??????

  25. dr-saad - December 20, 2014, 6:07 pm

    please I have the same problem of sonic7662 (I have downloaded RA2 and tried playing it however once I have launched the single player skirmish the game will freeze within a minute.) and the game launcher is Ra2.exe and still it freezes within a minute from my start of a skirmish game. Please help.

  26. hivaids007 - March 22, 2015, 3:56 pm

    i downloaded the game but i cannot update it to 1.006 it says MISSING OR INVALID REGISTRY/INI entry please any help ??

Leave a Reply