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October 18, 2023 08:59
October 18, 2023 08:59
October 18, 2023 08:59
October 18, 2023 08:59
October 18, 2023 08:59
October 18, 2023 08:59


By: Jonathan Vasquez (fearedbliss)
Build: 2023-10-18-0900
The Moving Caravan - A Diablo II Time Traveling Community (1.00 - 1.10) (Videos)


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The version switcher source code can be downloaded at the Cactus (Core) repo.

The Cactus Bundle is no longer available on GitHub since I want to provide a direct download location from my server (uptime is not guaranteed). 7-Zip must be used to extract the archive since I'm using high compression. All releases are hashed and PGP signed with the key: 34DA 858C 1447 509E C77A D49F FB85 90B7 C4CA 5279, which can be easily found at the link below.

Download Cactus

PGP Public Key

Latest Release Hash

Latest Release Hash Signature

Description / History

Cactus started out as just a simple application that allowed you to easily and efficiently Time Travel between every version of Diablo II that ever came out, while maximizing disk space and enabling full character isolation between versions. However, even though Cactus itself still is just that, the Cactus Repository has evolved to become a centralized and historical archive, that aims to preserve every single Diablo II version that exists (Official Retail and Official Beta Releases). Cactus is a complete rewrite from scratch of my previous application called: Bliss Version Switcher. However, since Cactus is written in C#, it behaves as a native Windows application and allows it to integrate natively with the system. On the other hand, Bliss Version Switcher was written in Java and thus there were many limitations that lead to the Cactus rewrite.

This repository also includes several other utilities that I have either created or collected, which can help you play Vanilla Diablo II better. All Cactus Platforms are Vanilla by default. The only fix I made to all Platforms below 1.12 is to remove the CD requirement, since modern computers no longer have a CD drive (Blizzard already did this exact thing for 1.12+). Other than that, the only other modifications I provide are through Singling, which only contains non-gameplay modifications and is completely opt-in.

Furthermore, if you will be playing online, you should make a copy of the Vanilla Platform and use that one to connect to (for example, copying the 1.14d platform and calling it something like 1.14d BNET). You can use your other platforms with the Singling changes for local play.

Lastly, the cnc-ddraw video renderer and 3D Sound support are included. cnc-ddraw is provided to improve video compatibility for all versions between 1.00 - 1.13d. Blizzard removed DirectDraw support starting with 1.14, and thus Cactus will only provide video support for versions before that. While the 3D Sound support is provided to enable you to use the following lost in-game sound functionality: 3D Sound, Environmental Effects, and 3D Bias.

Cactus requires a purchased copy of Diablo II (Original, Not Resurrected) from Blizzard in order to have all of the game assets stored in the MPQs. Once you have these, they will be reused for all Cactus Platforms.

For further information, please read the documentation below for anything you are interested in exploring.

Cactus Repository

The following opt-in modifications and utilities are available in this repository:


A collection of non-gameplay modifications and fixes in order to improve the Vanilla Diablo II Single Player & LAN Experience.

To use Singling, simply copy the Singling files for the version you want to play from the 2. Singling/1. Files folder, and replace the ones for the equivalent version in your Platforms directory. To revert, use the files in 2. Singling/2. Stock instead.


Cactus includes and promotes the cnc-ddraw video renderer for Diablo II versions 1.00 - 1.13d, which can help you run the game on newer systems with a higher window resolution (not a higher internal resolution), and the ability to use shaders to upscale the quality of the graphics in the game. Since Blizzard removed DirectDraw support in 1.14+, you'll need to find an alternative video renderer for those versions.

Please read the README-RENDERERS for further explanation on this, for information on how to set it up, or for any known technical limitations. Definitely read the Recommendations section at least, or you will most likely encounter crashes if you've never played versions before 1.14 before. Blizzard has done major changes with how video configuration works starting in 1.14.

  • cnc-ddraw - This renderer reimplements the DirectDraw API for GDI, OpenGL, and Direct3D to improve compatibility with Windows XP - 10, and Wine. This renderer also supports the use of custom shaders - which will allow you to upscale the game so it looks a lot better - and even provides hotkeys (such as [Alt] + [Enter]) to switch between full screen and window mode.
3D Sound (DSOAL w/ OpenAL Soft)

Cactus includes the files required to allow you to enable the following lost in-game sound functionality: 3D Sound, Environmental Effects, and 3D Bias.

Please read the README-3D-SOUND for more information.


Released under the Simplified BSD License.


  • Windows 7 or 10
  • .NET Framework 4.6.2 + (Cactus)
  • Visual C++ 2015 - 2022 Redistributable (x86) (DSOAL w/ OpenAL Soft)

Windows 11+ will not be supported.

Due to Microsoft mandating people to have an online connection and a Microsoft account for Windows 11 (at the OOBE stage), any version over Windows 10 will not be supported.

Windows 10 Pro doesn't have this requirement at all, and is the OS I primarily use on my gaming computer. Windows 10 Home does have this requirement though, but can be bypassed by unplugging your internet connection before the OOBE. I'm including Windows 10 support due to there still being a direct path to use the OS with no workarounds through the Pro edition. Windows 10 reaches EOL on October 14, 2025, However, I have gone dark already using my Dark Island strategy, and thus the EOL status of Windows 10 will no longer be an issue for me. This allows me plenty of time to make sure I have all necessary files backed up in order to be able to reproduce my Offline Single Player DRM Free Gaming Experience.

Furthermore, I will be exiting Windows development completely for newer versions of Windows. I will continue to maintain Cactus/Singling/Etc for Windows 7 and 10. You can read more about it here.

Please do not file any bug reports if you are running my software on Windows 11+, they will be promptly closed as NOT SUPPORTED.

Installation Instructions

Installation Video

Required Files

After you finish installing Diablo II (or restoring the files from a backup), you only need to keep the following files in your Diablo II Root Directory. Everything else can be deleted since it will come from Cactus. Once you are done, continue with the Cactus installation steps.

- D2.LNG
- D2Char.mpq
- D2Data.mpq
- D2Exp.mpq      (1.07+)
- D2Music.mpq    (Not needed for 1.00)
- D2Sfx.mpq
- D2Speech.mpq
- D2Video.mpq
- D2XMusic.mpq   (1.07+)
- D2XTalk.mpq    (1.07+)
- D2XVideo.mpq   (1.07+)

Install Cactus, Dependencies, and Prepare MPQs.

This section will help you install Cactus to the correct location, its dependencies, and also help you fix your MPQs, so that they are compatible with the older versions of Diablo II. I only test on and support Windows 7 and Windows 10, however these instructions will probably work on versions in between as well.

  1. Copy all of the files in the 1. Files folder into your Diablo II Root Directory.

    Note: It's important that Cactus runs from inside your Diablo II Root Directory or you will get weird behavior in various situations like running -direct -txt mods or taking screenshots.

  2. If you need to fix your MPQs, then also copy the MpqFixer located in the 3. Other directory into your Diablo II Root Directory. This fix is only needed if you want to play versions 1.08 - 1.13d and you also happened to install Diablo II from the new Blizzard Installer. If you are not planning to play those versions, or you installed Diablo II from the original 1.00, 1.03, 1.07 discs, you don't need to fix your MPQs.

    You can then run the FIX_MPQS_RUN_AS_ADMIN.bat inside the MpqFixer directory that you copied, as Administrator.

  3. Run the vc_redist.x86.exe file in the 3. Other directory to install the required libraries for 3D Sound. If you run the game without these being installed, you will get a VCRUNTIME140.dll error message.

    Note: If you don't want this functionality, just delete the dsoal-aldrv.dll and dsound.dll from your Diablo II Root Directory.

  4. (Windows 7 Only) Cactus requires .NET Framework 4.6.2 to function, but that version does not come included in Windows 7 by default. You can run the NET_Framework_4.6.2_Offline_Installer_for_Windows_7.exe file located in the 3. Other directory to install that dependency. Windows 10 provides this dependency by default.

Adding/Running A Platform

  1. Open Cactus.
  2. Click Settings and set your Diablo II Root Directory to your Diablo II folder. (Example: C:\Games\Diablo II)
  3. Click Add.
  4. Type in the name of the Platform you want to run. This should match a folder in the Platforms folder. (Example: If you want to run 1.09b, type 1.09b).
  5. Optional (Recommended): Type in a Label for this platform. If you label your platform, it will have its own dedicated save directory, allowing you to have multiple entries using the same platform but with different save locations. If you don't use a label, all the characters with this platform name will be stored in the same location (flat structure). You can have multiple entries using the same platform with and without labels as well. A label cannot be removed from an entry once created, but it can be renamed. A label cannot be added to an entry once created.
  6. Enter the name of your Launcher. (Example: Game.exe, Alpaca.exe)
  7. Enter the Flags you want (Example: -ns).
  8. Click Add.
  9. Select your newly added Platform and press Launch.

The game should start. If you are having video issues, please make sure you have read the README-RENDERERS and ensure that it was configured properly.

NOTE: Make sure to leave the Cactus application running throughout your play sessions (you can minimize it). Cactus keeps track of the running Diablo II processes it launches as to protect you from accidentally switching to a different platform, and causing your Save Path to be updated to an incorrect location.

Template & Labeling System

The Cactus Template & Labeling System allows you to be able to easily start using a few pretty cool and very interesting workflows, while allowing you to re-use your existing platforms, thus minimizing the amount of disk space used.

For example, let's say we want to play Solo Self Found as defined as Only using items that the character has found with their own hands, this pretty much means untwinked play. However, let's say you are also ok with using mules as a form of an extended stash for your main character. Thus, any items your main character finds, can be placed in storage, and will only be used by that main character specifically. If you were to do this manually, for each particular main character you made, it would quickly get out of hand since all the main characters and each individual main character's set of mules, would all be in the same folder. This is where the Templating & Labeling System kicks in. Now, we could simply make a new entry in Cactus pointing to an existing platform, and give it a particular label (Say the name of that specific main character) and play the game. A dedicated save folder with the given label will be created under the Saves directory for this platform.

For example, I want to make a character called Isaac. Isaac will have their own set of mule characters as well and we'll call them Mule_A, Mule_B, and Mule_C for simplicity. This character will also be on 1.09b. Thus, we can make a new entry for our 1.09b platform with the label Isaac. Once we start the game, we will have the following structure in our Diablo II root directory (let's assume I already made the characters in-game):




As you can see, this entry is fully isolated using its platform and label combination. Now, let's say you and your friends want to have some type of tournament on 1.09b. No problem! You can quickly add another entry for the 1.09b platform with another label, such as Tournament 2022 and start it up. The same exact 1.09b platform files that we used before will be re-used, and we will have a new save directory. Let's create a new character called Bethany and give Bethany a few mules as well. We'll call the mules the same as before, and since they are isolated, we can reuse the same muling naming scheme with no conflicts. So now our structure looks like this:





This is just one of the new workflows that our Templating & Labeling System enables. This workflow requires a modified D2gfx.dll to allow multiple instances of the game, allowing you to to mule between your main character and your mules via LAN. Singling provides this feature for the versions it supports. For all other versions, you'll need to find a copy of it online.

Another workflow which I really like is using this labeling system to separate my Classic and Expansion characters. By using two separate labels to the same platform, we can have two separate save paths for them. If we did this, we would have the following:







You can pretty much label your platforms whatever you want as long as the name can be used for the folder on your hard drive. If you are using some illegal symbols like /, then Cactus will properly detect that and give you the appropriate message so that you can fix it. You can also omit the label if you want and that works perfectly fine with the above scenarios. Let's say you wanted to have a 1.09b platform and have everything in there without caring about labels (essentially a flat layout, although you can also have a flat layout with a label, it just depends on how you want to organize stuff), go ahead and create an entry with the platform name 1.09b and leave the label blank. Launching the game will just point the save path to the /Saves/1.09b/ folder and your files will be placed in there. Assuming we then created a character called Leslie, we would then have the following structure:







It's just another folder after all ;). The nice thing about this is that since all of these are sharing the same platform, switching between these entries is extremely fast since no files need to change on your hard drive, but rather we simply just update the registry save path, and you are back in the action. Have fun!

Backup System

By clicking the Backup button, Cactus will automatically create a backup of the following files in the Backups directory, inside your Diablo II Root Directory:

  • /Platforms/
  • /Saves/
  • /Entries.json
  • /LastRequiredFiles.json
  • /Settings.json

The Backups directory is considered a Protected Directory by Cactus, and will not be deleted.

Lastly, you can change the backup location to any location you have write access to, by modifying the Backups Directory setting in the Settings.

Using Cactus like a Service

Cactus has some basic tracking of processes that it launches in order to ensure that there are no accidental launches of other versions or combinations of the game that would cause your Save Path location to be changed mid-game. Thus it is essential for Cactus to remain running while you are playing. If you are always going to be running Diablo II via Cactus, you may want to go into the Cactus Settings and toggle the Minimize to System Tray option so that it doesn't take up space in your taskbar. I personally like having it show in the taskbar but that's just preference ;D.

Moving Cactus To A New Computer

If you want to move all of your Platforms, Characters, and Diablo II folder to another machine, you will need to:

  1. Copy your entire Diablo II folder to your new computer.
  2. Open Cactus.
  3. Click Settings and change your Diablo II Root Directory to match the location on your new computer.
  4. Click Reset.
  5. Now Launch whatever Platform you want.

Clicking Reset will cause Cactus to reconfigure itself by removing some files from your Diablo II Root Directory and wiping the Last Ran box on the entry that has it. Once you launch the game, the registry will properly point to your appropriate save location and your platform files will be copied back to your Diablo II root folder. In some rare cases (only on first install), you may need to do a little bit of manual organization in your Diablo II root folder to get things aligned properly. Once aligned, it's all tracked and automatic.

Unlocking All Cinematics (Video)

If you moved Cactus to a new computer, or you did a fresh install, you can unlock all of the cinematics by doing the following:

  1. Launch Diablo II, and then close it.
  2. Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  3. Go to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Blizzard Entertainment\Diablo II.
  4. Set the Aux key to
  5. Congrats! All of your cinematics are now unlocked.

Updating Files In The Platforms folder

If you update any files in your Platforms folder, then click the Reset button, and run it again. This will cause Cactus to re-install the files with the new ones.

OMAHGOD! My Characters Are Gone! Cactus Deleted Them!!!

Cactus comes with built in safety features specifically designed to protect critical directories and files, which includes the save directories. Thus it is impossible for Cactus to have deleted them. Cactus also only operates within the Diablo II root directory so it also wouldn't be possible for Cactus to delete saves that are in 1.14d+'s new save directory that is in your personal folder.

Since Cactus is A Modern Version Switcher & Character Isolator, it will update the registry location of where the game should look for the saves. For example, if you are playing a Platform called 1.05b with a Label called Chinchilla, the files for this platform would logically be located under Platforms/1.05b/, and the saves would be located under Saves/1.05b/Chinchilla/. Both directories are located inside your Diablo II folder. Thus, when the game starts, your characters are properly isolated and protected. If this is the first time you launched a game with Cactus, and you previously just had a regular Diablo II installation, then it would seem as if all your characters got deleted, or magically dissapeared. However, they are simply located in the original location that your computer saved them to. If you were playing 1.14d+, they most likely are located at:

%USERPROFILE%/Saved Games/Diablo II

If you were playing 1.13d or below, they are inside the Diablo II folder itself under a folder called save.

Lastly, always remember to keep backups when running Third Party Tools or Modifications.

Cactus switches versions but I don't see the Diablo II window and there are no errors either.

If switching versions with Cactus doesn't actually launch the game but you also don't notice any errors, this could be an indication that either your Video Settings are not correct, or that you may need to run Cactus in Admin Mode. I've noticed that if I have Diablo II installed on the C:\ drive (i.e C:\Games\Diablo II), I would need to run Cactus at least once in Admin Mode for it to work properly, but if I installed Diablo II on another drive (i.e D:\Games\Diablo II), it would work fine without Admin privileges. I'm pretty sure this is due to the C:\ drive generally being a protected drive.

Another thing to note is that I observed that I only needed to run Cactus once in Admin Mode for this to "stick" and continue working even if I opened Cactus in the future without Admin rights, although I haven't tested if this persists across reboots, but it possibly may. I've also noticed that even when there was a problem, some versions would work, and some wouldn't. Specifically versions 1.00 - 1.06b worked, but 1.07 - 1.13d didn't.

Lastly, make sure that there are no zombie Diablo II processes running in the background (Task Manager), that can cause the version switcher to either not switch away or something else. I know that the new telemetry executables added to 1.14d (i.e SystemSurvey.exe and BlizzardError.exe) are not needed for the game to actually function, and can lock the process for a bit after you close the game. The Cactus platforms do not contain these files since I've deleted them, however, if you are installing from a fresh copy of Diablo II from Blizzard, it will have them.

File Read Error on Diablo II Start Up


If you are receiving the above error, it may be possible that some of your MPQs are still hidden from Cactus' previous behavior before version 2.2.0. For newer versions of Cactus, Cactus will automatically rename the following MPQs back to normal whenever you either Launch a platform, or if you already have an entry that was Last Ran, when you press the Reset button as well. If for whatever reason that still doesn't work, you can go to your Diablo II root directory and make sure that the following 4 Expansion MPQs are properly named: d2exp.mpq, d2xvideo.mpq, d2xmusic.mpq, and d2xtalk.mpq. If you see any of them with the .bak extension, simply remove that extension and everything should be good. If you are receiving this error but those files are in place, then it is something else not related to Cactus.

Game Screenshots

1.00 1.05b 1.07 1.08 1.09b 1.10 1.13d 1.14d


A Modern Diablo II Version Switcher & Character Isolator (Contains: Singling)







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