INI Error or CAL/CIFTREE Error

If you receive one of these errors after installing your game:

Incorrect path to .ini file
Error – Incorrect path to .INI (CAL/CIFTREE)

This means that the game installer cannot write to the expected file location. Creating a path to a new installation location will correct this problem.

1) Disable any security software – anti-virus, spyware protection, etc. – you have running. Anti-virus software can block parts of the configuration file.

2) Log in to the Administrator Account. If there is more than User Account (log in) on this computer, please install and play the game logged in under the Administrator Account.

3) If you previously installed this game or had a failed installation, a remaining configuration file can interfere with installing correctly. Try completely deleting the game folder. This is most easily done by running a search of all files and folders. Go to Start Menu > Start Search or the Search Bar > type in the name of the game. Any files or folders that come up need to be deleted and emptied from your Recycle Bin.

4) After logging in as the Administrator and disabling your anti-virus, you’re ready to manually install.
1. Go to your Documents folder and create a new folder. Name the folder with the title of the game.
2. Insert game Disc 1 in your disc drive. Go to Start Menu > Computer.
3. Right-click your CD-Rom/DVD drive and choose Open.
4. Look for the Setup file (this file will display as Setup Application, Setup.exe, or Setup Launcher Installshield). Double-click this file to start the installation process.
5. Move through the install process until you reach Choose Destination Location. Click the Browse button or Change button.
6. Navigate to the game folder you created by double-clicking in the Directories box. Select C: drive > Users > User name > Documents > the game folder you created. When you have the correct Path, choose OK.

7. Continue forward with the installation process. When asked if you want to install DirectX, check “No, I will install myself.”
8. Upon completion, click finish and exit setup.

For game titles #1-#5, you may need to follow these three additional steps:
1. Right-click the game icon that is now on your desktop, select Properties.
2. Under Properties, click on the Compatibility tab.
3. Check the Run in Compatibility Mode box and then select Windows 98/Me from the drop-down menu.


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100 responses to “INI Error or CAL/CIFTREE Error”

  1. Allie says:

    This works great with all of my older Nancy Drew games with the exception of Shadow Ranch. I follow all of the steps EXACTLY and I’m still getting the INI Error message. Although the disc is old, it does run on an older computer that my grandparents a couple states away have. Any suggestions?

  2. Nancy Rocks says:

    I just wanted to say thank you! While reinstalling my games onto a new computer, I have had 2 of the above 3 issues happen when reinstalling games 1-15, and your solution worked both times! I had the CIFTREE issue with Kapu Cave, and after hunting and discovering a couple configuration files in an old folder (I have created my own Program Files (x86)/Herinteractive folder for all of my games, so my old Nancy Drew folder was causing the issue), your solution worked flawlessly! Great job, and thank you again!

  3. Maria says:

    I have windows 8 and cannot figure out how to download “Stay Tuned for Danger”!!!!

  4. Gabby says:

    Thank you! Worked perfectly for The Final Scene.

  5. viperhut55 says:

    i have tried these steps exactly with the games 3-6,8-9,11-12 and 17 and has not worked for even one of them…

  6. Maggie says:

    This helped me out a lot!
    I was a bit worried about the screen resolution settings because the requirements (640×800 or something) were too low for my monitor, but this did not end up being a problem. I haven’t been able to play this game in years because of this problem-thank you for fixing it Herinteractive!

  7. hi, I really really want to play danger on deception island and I was wondering if anyone had tried the thing towards that specific game ( danger on deception island) and would tell me if it worked for them or not.( p.s. I have three computers to try on aged 2012, 2008, and 2004. ). thanks! 🙂

  8. Tiffany says:

    This didn’t help for my ND games but….. I found something the did!
    Just follow these steps:
    1.Disable any antivirus you have on your computer.
    2.Make sure you are signed in as administrator of your computer.
    3.Make a new file and put the game name. Example: Message in a Haunted Mansion
    4.Put in the game in then click on your computer icon.
    5.Go to the CD/DVD Drive and open it.
    6:Click on the setup icon and run it.
    7.Click next until you get to the game destination. This is the most important part, type in this except put change the title to whatever ND you’re trying to install. Example:”C:\program files\Nancy Drew\Message in a Haunted Mansion\”. Make sure to put in “program files” as this is what stops the INI error and let’s you play.

    This works with every game that I have tried that has the INI error.
    Hope this helped!

    • Haley says:

      This worked for me! Thank you so much you saved me from a lot of hassle.

    • Morgan S says:

      Thank you so much this worked

    • Makayla says:

      Thank you! The self help faq solution did work for other games, but for some reason it would not work for the Final Scene.

    • Carly says:

      You are a genius. Thanks.

    • Katie says:

      Wow, Tiffany! Thank you soooo much! I tried everything to get my game to work and all of it failed, until I followed your instructions and typed in “program files.” That worked like magic!

      Again, thank you! I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to play the older Nancy Drew games anymore, and that would have been awful!

      Have a great day, genius! Lol

    • Vanessa says:

      OH MY GOODNESS THANK YOU SO MUCH! Previously, I’d tried the “install as document” method, and it worked great but I spent an entire day trying to get either Shadow Ranch or Blackmoor Manor to install and neither would work! The fact that I’d gotten the OG version of Secrets Can Kill (which was buggy even when it came out) and Stay Tuned for Danger to work but not these two was driving me up a wall! I made sure to install it under “program files” and so far Blackmoor works great! I’ll try it with Shadow Ranch next. Thank you!!!!

    • Michele says:

      Thank you Tiffany!!! I thought I’d tried everything with the Mansion game – and then I found your advice and it worked immediately. So excited (and so thankful to you for the post)!!!

  9. Usagi says:

    I tried this with Danger By Design so many times, What am I doing wrong?

  10. Jade says:

    I downloaded Danger on deception island.It worked for me as the game is able to launch after downloading.But i quit the game and played it shortly afterwards by clicking on the game icon on the desktop page but this pops out:
    “ERROR-incorrect path to INI file-
    on deception island\Game.INI”

    HELP!!! 🙁

  11. Jana says:

    I downloaded Danger on Deception Island from Bigfish and for some reason I am getting the ini file alert when I try and play the game. I don’t have the disks so how would I solve the problem?

  12. Ayla says:

    Hello there, I downloaded Danger by Design (from the disks) there was nothing i had to fix in the set up for it to download, but whenever i go into the game to play it, i try pressing “New Game” but then some error thing comes up then takes me out of the game completely. If you have any way of helping me on this id really appreciate it!!

  13. Ashley T says:

    Hi, I downloaded danger on deception island form gamehouse and it isn’t loading, is there anything i could do to make it work? or is my computer to new for the old software?

    • Little Jackalope says:

      Hi Ashley! If these directions don’t help the situation, contact Gamehouse’s tech support, it could be an installation issue with their download of the game.

  14. Lisa says:

    No matter what I have tried, every time I install Danger By Design on my Lenovo Windows 7 computer, Danger By Design either is glitchy and freezes right at the beginning (severe lag), or it comes up with the error INI file or the CIFTREE error. Very frustrated! Help!

  15. nancy drew says:

    i am having a really hard time installing treasure in a royal tower i did everything this said and it still hasn’t worked

  16. E.E. says:

    This worked perfectly for Treasure in the Royal Tower! Thanks so much!:)

  17. Audrey says:

    I cant get creature at kapu cave to work. something with Cal (E:)

  18. LInda Stevens says:

    I get the message check the path to .ini file and it terminates running the game. It is installed. I cannot use this help as I have no discs because I downloaded it from the Big Fish site. I bought it also from her interactive but it would not let me doeenload it.

  19. Mae says:

    When installing The Haunted Carousel on windows 8 using these steps, I don’t get a “Choose Destination” option.

  20. Rachel says:

    Thanks so much! Worked perfectly for Message in a Haunted Mansion.

  21. Alannie says:

    This worked perfectly for me in Secret of Shadow Ranch on Windows 10! Thanks!

  22. Mary says:

    I am trying to install The Haunted Carousel , The Install goes ok and then when I try to open This message pops up, Incorrect path to .ini file Help please. I have tried the suggestions on this page but it is not working…


  23. Celeste says:

    Oh Thank You so much!!! It worked! I just couldn’t be excited. The Final Scene I kept getting that INI Message but thanks to your steps it is working now. Thank you so much:D

  24. Anita says:

    OMG! So helpful! Thank you!!!!!

  25. Charli says:

    If you’re like me and you’ve tried this ten million times and it didn’t work, DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!
    what tripped me up was this:
    A: you NEED to disable your antivirus, or the install won’t work. something about the coding trips alarms for some reason, especially on newer machines
    B: if you have tried and failed to install your game – which since you got this error in particular i’m guessing you have – you NEED to search both the phrase “Nancy Drew” AND AND AND the title of your game to delete all the non-functional files. Your game WILL NOT INSTALL if ANY of those files are still there. This goes double if you’ve already tried making your own file for it!
    Hope this helps! 🙂

  26. Richard Evans says:

    Installed Danger On Deception Island and keep getting the following message when trying to open the game to play it………
    Nancy Drew engine has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

    Please assist in getting this program to work.’ I am using the CD version to install.

  27. rebecca says:

    I downloaded Creature of Kapu Cave off Steam and I’m having the same problem. I uninstalled it, turned off my anti-virus, and reinstalled it but I have the same message appear. I can’t manually install it because my disc copy is too old for my computer which is why I downloaded it online.

    • Little Jackalope says:

      Hi Rebecca, if you had ordered it from our web site, we may have been able to fix it for you. 🙁 We suggest emailing Steam’s customer support for help if it’s a tech or bug issue with their game build, but you may be able to get installing instructions on our message board, or by emailing us at

  28. Adrianay says:

    Hi i have th nancy drew game secret of the of the Scarlet hand. I have played this before but the game if i try to install it on my new computer says i have the wrong windows. I have windows vista and have 3 Other nancy drew games on the computer. Why does this game do this? and how do I fix it?

  29. Marissa says:

    Thank you, it worked!!!! Which games will I need to do this for?

  30. Nancy Drew says:

    OMG! This totally worked!! Thank you so much! I have been working on this for hours, but I’m finally able to play it! Thank you so much!!!

  31. Anna says:

    Lovely instructions, unfortunately I don’t see how they would work for digital downloads as I have no disk to install! 🙁 Bought the reissue of stay tuned for danger 3 hours ago and have spent all this time trying to get it to work! Not a great way to reissue it with ‘problems’ apparently sorted 🙁

  32. G.G. says:

    Thank you so much! I upgraded my laptop from Windows 8 to 10, and this info was invaluable after getting the INI error message.

  33. Stephanie says:

    We were having problems with the downloaded version of Stay tune for danger. Followed the instructions on the video but wouldn’t work at first with sound and then gave us this error. So we re-downloaded it following this and it worked perfectly on windows 10. We found that moving the files for older games can also lead to problems because it upsets the path.

  34. Madi Layton says:

    Worked like a charm. Thank you so much!

  35. anna says:

    i have a proplem with this game nancy drew treasure in the royal
    after finish installing it i cant find the pic to enter the game!! all the files are there but not the icon of nancy that it helps open the game… how can i play ?

  36. Glen says:

    Worked for Ghost Dogs of Moon Lake!

  37. Kat says:

    Thank you! This was very helpful!!!

  38. Adena says:

    Firstly, thank you so much for having such excellent customer service. From this point forward when I purchase any Nancy Drew games, I will definitely purchase them from you!

    However, I actually purchased and downloaded your game, Nancy Drew – The Silent Spy, from Bigfish and received the INI error message when I tried to play the game immediately after download. Luckily, I found your website here (because Big Fish had no idea how to help,) and followed your instructions; deleting all files for the game in my system first, signed into the Admin account (I’m the only person on the PC so it was not really an issue), temporarily disabled my security program, and created a file in my Program Folder just for “Nancy Drew – The Silent Spy” before I again re-downloaded the game and clicked on “Play” once again.

    It worked!…for a bit… I was able to pull up the game and played for about 90 minutes, then suddenly the game closed. No warning, it just closed. I went back into the Big Fish game app and clicked on “Play”, and once again received the same error message I was receiving before!
    (ERROR-incorrect path to INI file-
    C:\Program Files\Nancy Drew Silent Spy\Nancy Drew – The Silent Spy\Spy.INI

    URRRGGGHHH!!! So strange…Now the game won’t play again. What shall I do?

  39. Jessica says:

    Hello. I have been having trouble downloading danger on deception island. I did what was recommended for an INI error, but when I went to download it, it said that it couldn’t find installation software. I am not sure what to do.

  40. Andrea says:

    Yay, thank you, I get to play the final scene again. this worked perfectly. I may try it on the others too.

  41. Kayleigh Wright says:

    I have been trying to open Ghost Dogs but it was bugging, so I uninstalled it and tried again and got the unable to find CAL/CIF error and your method isn’t working. It continues to bug out and not work.

  42. jazz says:

    I keep getting a CIF command and its not working on the emulator thats been recommended. Trying to play Stay Tuned for Danger.

  43. Megan says:

    I was having so many problems with the first 5 games and was upset I couldn’t play them anymore. This worked perfect. I had to create a new oath and change compatibility! Thank you!!!

  44. carlina holliday says:

    I tried playing but it won’t boot up…I have tried everything that everyone suggest but still no luck

  45. Anne says:

    Hi, This fix finally worked for Scarlet Hand…. however. the game appears as a small window inside the black background?? not full screen. I can play it but would prefer the full screen… is it just a display config issue? (even tho its game 6 I also changed the compatibility to windows 98 ME

  46. Lauren Paige Wenger says:

    I recently installed Stay Tuned for Danger but can not get it to install/run properly. I have tried all the tips above, am I doing something wrong?

  47. Sarah Castro says:

    I’ve tried everything and I can’t install any of my Nancy Drew games.

  48. Bailey Bird says:

    Has anyone successfully downloaded The Secret of Shadow Ranch and if so how?

  49. Ashley says:

    im having this problem but i got the degital copy off the website

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