Microsoft Sidewinder Strategic Commander in Windows 7 64-bit

Because Shattered Horizon was free on Steam the weekend I originally wrote this article and its movement system in zero-gravity space is more full-3D than most FPS games, I wanted to bust out the old Microsoft Strategic Commander. Unfortunately it hasn’t been supported since Windows XP, and I’m on Windows 7. Read on for how to get it working.

The most important thing was finding some freeware called “Strategic Engine 1.3” made by Philip Merwarth. Its user interface is more minimalist than Microsoft’s original one, but it looks like all the same functionality’s there–even timing-based scripting accurate to 10ms and getting the buttons to light up. Looks like he might’ve added a few extra features too, if my memory of the old intereface is correct.

I would tell you to check the “Donate” link in the software’s Miscellaneous menu if you want to support the coder, but given that the “check for updates” link is currently broken, I don’t know if any donation money would ever actually get to him. If you find this, Mr. Philip Merwarth, thank you.

I’ve mirrored the installer file here for anyone interested.


P.S. So far I’ve gotten two emails back from people thanking me for hosting here (both before I migrated to a site that would’ve allowed them to post thanks as comments)

Thank you so much! *kiss*


Hi Nicolas,

thank you very much for providing this article and download mirror because I had been searching for long where to download this software !

Nom I'm able to use my Strategic Commander hardware on Win7 64.







114 responses to “Microsoft Sidewinder Strategic Commander in Windows 7 64-bit”

  1. Longknife Avatar

    HELP ๐Ÿ™‚ !

    MAybe someone has that nice pice of software ?
    Found my strategic comander and it wont work with my Win7 64 bit ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. nwinocur Avatar

      I fixed the link. You should be able to download it now. Thank you for bringing this to my attention

      1. Longknife Avatar

        THX ALOT !

        works great

  2. Dan Avatar

    cheers mate exactly what i needed

  3. evilredking Avatar

    thank you.. thank you..thank you..!!!! hopefully i can donate to you later but for now i hope you know how much you’ve help people and how much we appreciate your work…………………again thank you !!!

  4. S. Chen Avatar
    S. Chen

    Holy Cow! I’ve had this thing sitting in a drawer forever! That is until I found this site. Thanks you so much.

  5. heli Avatar

    thks very much

  6. bearclaw Avatar

    Believe me, both of you guys are doing the Microsoft Game Commander a great service. Big thanks to you both (especially the coder!). Without this software I would NOT have been able to play…especially without the game commander.

  7. Mechromancer Avatar

    It works in Windows 8 64-bit too! Thank you so much. I donated a little to Philip Merwarth. I hope he gets it.

  8. Brandon Avatar

    yeah man you are awesome i have been able to use my MS commander for 2 years now because of you not only posting the necessary software but also instructions… as soon as my taxes post i am going to donate what little i can to your cause sir.

  9. […]…commanderwin7/ Inviato dal mio LG-P760 con Tapatalk 2 Rispondi […]

  10. Pejota Avatar

    Thanks a lot! Win 8-64bit compatible

  11. WASD Victim Avatar
    WASD Victim

    Thanks a lot, man! Win 8 here and confirmed working too. Completely programmable as well!

    The coder is a genius. Hope someone finds him.

  12. Tony S Avatar
    Tony S

    win 7 64 bit and it’s working for me ๐Ÿ™‚
    well happy to find this little gem of code

  13. Olaf Avatar

    Danke – Thanks – Merci ๐Ÿ™‚
    Had the device still in its original package and now found some space for it on new desk – and the software rejected to work (not a really new, but sad experience with MS hardware, had that issue with a finger print reader in MS keyboard).
    The download from this site salvaged the device from waste bin.
    Best greetings from Germany

  14. EricE Avatar

    Thanks for hosting this! If the developer ever surfaces, please forward my email to him – I’ll gladly donate something!

  15. Brian Avatar


    (yet another “thank you”) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. […] waiting for the installation of Windows 98 SE on one of my old computers to finish I stumbled upon this blog. It recommends the software Strategic Engine 1.3 by Philip Merwarth and even has a download link […]

  17. goagod Avatar

    Another satisfied customer! Works perfectly.

    Thanks brother!

  18. Sebastian Avatar

    Thank u so much. And if u know that donations will come to the programmer, email me.

  19. Kevin Avatar

    Thanks for this. I took a chance on one on e-bay for $2.50 and this made it all worthwhile.

  20. Ben Woodmansey Avatar
    Ben Woodmansey

    AWESOME!! So many years of waiting to use this again… almost binned it. Can’t wait to try DOTA2! Confirmed working in Win8 64-bit here!


  21. bryce Avatar

    well … it keeps telling me to redownload it … and i have no clue cuz i do and than it says it cant run and it wont run my software for disc

    1. Marven Avatar

      I had the same issue when setting it up on my Surface Pro.
      Just go to the folder that you installed the program and run the .exe file. Works great for me.

  22. Troy Avatar

    Anyone know how to get this working with steam and Team Fortress 2?


  23. Lynn Avatar

    Every time I have to re-install this driver to a different system I not only say THANK YOU, I sing your phrases for keeping it here for us to get. This game mouse is by far my favorite and the best I’ve ever used to date. I bought backups on Ebay years ago just so I’d never have to be without one. So again I say thanks, your awesome for hosting this file! ๐Ÿ˜€

  24. Uthrain/xArcticGx Avatar

    Thank you very much for mirroring this! I was having a hard time finding it on my own.

  25. Quentin Avatar

    Special thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Letouane Avatar

    Working link for my driver AND… under Win 8 !
    You saved my day bro’ !

  27. Ben Avatar

    bloody legendary mate, spent almost an hour trolling around the net looking for ways to get one of my favorite old gaming companion back in action. you should be working at MS so you can sort their @&*$ out.

  28. PunkNugget Avatar

    I just installed it in Windows 8.1 and it works just fine. Now I have to figure out how to use it since I haven’t used it in a few years… ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Nick D Avatar
    Nick D

    Thanks, you’re my hero! ๐Ÿ˜€

  30. Philip Merwarth Avatar
    Philip Merwarth

    Hey guys,

    This is Phil ๐Ÿ™‚

    It makes me so happy that people are still using my software and you can all rest assure I do get the donations and it makes me smile every time! I probably get $10 once or twice a year and it reminds me that there was so much more I wanted to do with this software. I’d love to finish it off, polish it a bit and make it better.
    I haven’t tested in Windows 10 yet, but the way it reads the hardware I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Shame M$ couldn’t support this great device! By not making this a device driver but more of a software layer, there shouldn’t be too many foreseeable problems in the future. Maybe only if they change the way Direct X sends and receives key strokes which my software emulates.

    I originally bought a $50 USB .NET API extension in the hope to get it to work with the Strategic Commander, but after that failed I did more research into how to read the USB hardware manually and programmed it from scratch in Visual Studio 6.
    I really only added donations initially because I wanted to cover my cost. But I don’t mind getting them still ๐Ÿ˜€

    If I continue with this program I’d probably have to convert it to an up to date Visual Studio version. I think I started converting it to VS 2005 or 2008, but there were many changes and errors to correct in the process and I kind of lost interest halfway through.

    It’s been suggested that I Open Source it, which I’m not entirely against. I will do something with this again and I’d like to say sorry for not doing anything for so long.

    Thanks again for all the kind words and donations.

    Cheers, Phil.

    1. nwinocur Avatar

      Seeing this post just made my morning. I can think of a few ways I’d love to help develop and/or host a new version, so expect an email soon.

  31. Philip Merwarth Avatar
    Philip Merwarth

    I should also thank you Nicolas and some other sites that continue to host the installer.

    Much appreciated by the community and myself ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. le gallo Avatar
    le gallo

    Merci de la part d’un franรงais !

  33. Reiner Wald Avatar
    Reiner Wald

    Hello Phil,

    first I want to thank you very much for giving people like me the possibility to use my beloved Commander under Win7.
    But now that I changed to a new PC using Win8.1 ich find a new Problem. I installed the engine and it works.
    I can program the keys and when I check it (for example in a text sheet in Open Office) it displays all the right keys.
    But when I start a game for example “Star Wars the old Republic” it doesnยดt do anything.
    So far I couldnยดt find any website offering help.
    Probably its just some Windows setting that need to be changed. I hope you can help me.
    Regard and Greetings Reiner

    P.S. How can I donate something to you for keeping the Commander alive?

  34. Reiner Wald Avatar
    Reiner Wald


    I found a solution to the problem above.
    I solved it by running Strategic Engine as administrator.
    Hadnยดt thought of that.

    So thanks again to you and your good work for creating this driver.

    Regards Reiner

  35. Ariel Avatar

    thank you very much for the shared app. I can’t wait to get to my parents house to pick the SC up for testing it.

    have a great time.


  36. Jose Pedro Avatar
    Jose Pedro

    Hello Phillip, im writting from Portugal to say thanks for your work on the drivers, didint knew this existed, looks cool! Might try it with Star Citizen (space simulator) later this night! Thanks for your work!

  37. Matthew H Avatar
    Matthew H

    I’m on 8.1 and the software seems to keep the default programmed buttons as well as the overwritten ones, making each stroke two different keys. Has anyone else encountered this? HELP!!

    Thanks in advance!

  38. Sybil Avatar

    Oh, wow. It’s actually working. Touche’! Job well done. Programmers, such as yourself, are few and far between (I am a former Sr. app prog and sys analyst myself, suffered head injury, and no longer have the attention span for such).

  39. Busta Avatar

    Thanks so much for hosting this file, a legend controller is now back to doing good.

    One thing I can’t work out is how to get assigned keys to repeat, say I assign up to a button how do I make it repeat the key presses?

  40. Busta Avatar

    Great stuff I think I have worked out how to get keys to repeat!
    You select sequence mode when choosing the key that you would like mapped to a button and then the key press you need , say the “back” key, then a delay of however much you’d like, say 500ms to start with, and then another key press of the the “back” key then another delay of 500ms and another “back” key and another delay etc . If you want the key rate to increase then select smaller delay amounts, especially good for things like mimicking mouse scroll wheel etc.

  41. Busta Avatar

    No that doesn’t really do the job as it sends through the complete string of key presses after pushing the mapped key. I’m still stumped as how to have a mapped key repeat, anyone know how?

  42. DawnTreader Avatar

    Hello, and thanks…

    This is great stuff having the SC working again. Do you know if there are any places to get profiles from others for games? I was hoping to spend more time playing by “borrowing” someone else’s profiles with my own tweaks.

    Still it is great to have this old device still work with my Win7 64bit machine.

  43. Brian Karlo Avatar
    Brian Karlo

    Thank you very much! Picked one of these up at a thrift store and didn’t even think it wouldn’t work in windows 7 (it is pretty much a joystick after all) but sure enough, this software made it so I could use this fantastic new gadget!

  44. tom Avatar

    Just got one – much better than WASD keys….
    Faster and get better than keys as it is more natural…
    Playing Titan – and most functions are right at your fingers without having to move off motion keys to deploy items or activate critical functions………

  45. Zyinx Avatar

    Wow this was a life saver thank yo so much!

  46. Dylan Avatar

    Hey when I click high precision timer the UI freezes. When I press a button on the controller the corresponding config button still turns red though.

  47. Pete Avatar

    Well, my wife will NOT thank you but I certainly do! I’m very grateful for your time, skill and generosity. Now to try and hunt down some profiles from people who actually know what they’re doing (because I don’t… sigh)

  48. DawnTreader Avatar

    Hey Phil

    if you ever read this or if someone knows how to send him a message please let him know that I would be very interested in picking up the source code and updating it to the latest VS.

    additionally it would be great if I could figure out how to add a feature I would like to see, I would really like the window to stay open when I start the engine. it helps to remember what I bound to a button…

    thanks again.

  49. Alexandre Souza Avatar

    I got this (strange!) controller today, thanks for sharing the driver! ๐Ÿ˜€

  50. Public Avatar

    M$ is sad. Strategic Commander device work without problems at Linux, but It not work on M$ products.

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