Editing PC Video Game Files for Cheats

How to enable cheats for PC games by editing game files

Person wearing headphones and playing a PC game

Michael Kraus / Getty Images

While researching cheats for PC games, you may see instructions requiring you to edit configuration files. For example, The Sims includes debug codes players can take advantage of to alter almost any aspect of the game. The easiest way to edit a game file is with a simple text editor such as Windows Notepad or Wordpad. We'll show you how.

Information in this article applies broadly to all Windows PC games. You will need to know exactly which files you must alter to enable cheats for specific games.

Editing important files can cause games to crash, so always create backup copies of any files you plan to alter in case you make a mistake.

How to Edit Configuration Files for PC Games

Depending on which game you play, you may need to edit files that are saved in various formats, but most of the files you need to alter to enable video game cheats can be opened with a basic text editor. No matter which version of Windows you play on, editing configuration files is fairly straight forward.

  1. In Windows File Explorer, right-click the file and select Open With.

    Open with menu item in Windows 10
  2. Select a text editor, such as Notepad.

    Notepad chosen as text editor
  3. Make the necessary edits, then save your changes.

Don't try to open a .hex file with a text editor. A special .hex editor is required to correctly alter these files.

What to Do if Your File Won't Save

If you make modifications and are unable to save the file, then the file is write-protected. Windows uses write protection to prevent certain files from being edited or altered. You'll see this a lot with system files and folders.

To remove write protection from a file:

  1. In Windows File Manager, right-click the file and select Properties.

    File Properties menu item
  2. Go to the General tab and clear the Read-only check box.

    Read-only checkbox in Windows 10
  3. Select OK to close the properties box.

You may need to be logged into your computer with Administrator permissions to make these changes.