How to run Team Fortress Classic as a Windows Service with FireDameon Pro.

What is Team Fortress Classic?

Team Fortress Classic is a first person action game. The dedicated server component can be run as a Windows Service using FireDaemon Pro, which allows you to start the dedicated server automatically at boot prior to login, start multiple instances of the dedicated server and more. This HOWTO will show you how to set it up. You can also use FireDaemon Fusion to manage FireDaemon and other Windows services via a web browser.

Team Fortress Classic Dedicated Server Setup Under FireDaemon Pro

First download and install the HLDS Update Tool. It can be downloaded from here. The download is small (< 1 MB).

Go to the directory where you installed the HLDS Update Tool. Create a shortcut to “HldsUpdateTool.exe”. Next edit the properties of the shortcut and in the target box, at the end of it (with a space before the following), put:

-command update -game valve -dir .
The target box should now look something like:
"C:\HLDS\HldsUpdateTool.exe" -command update -game tfc -dir .

Now click the shortcut you created and let it run to download the Team Fortress Classic server files. It might take a few hours to update everything. You should also run the shortcut every week or so to grab the latest server updates. Make sure to stop your server first.

Team Fortress Classic uses one configuration file to store its settings. You can find it in “tfc\server.cfg” in the directory where you installed the server. Go ahead and edit this file to suit your preferences.

Now download and install FireDaemon Pro into the directory of your choice, typically C:\Program Files\FireDaemon.

Next start the FireDaemon GUI from the desktop shortcut. Click on the "Create a new service definition" button in the toolbar (or type Ctrl+N) and enter the information into the fields as you see below. Adjust the paths to suit your installation. Note the required parameters.

Executable: The path to your hlds.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\HLDS\hlds.exe.

Working Directory: The directory containing your hlds.exe file. For the purposes of this HOWTO, the path is C:\HLDS.

Here’s the full parameter list you should have:
-console -game tfc -secure +map 2fort -autoupdate +log on +maxplayers 32 -port 27015 +ip -zone 1024

  • "-console” enables text base server display. The server can only be automatically restarted in text based mode.
  • “-game” loads the mod.
  • “-secure” enables VAC (Valve Anti Cheat) protection of your server. You can remove this command if you do not want to use VAC.
  • “+map” loads a specified map on server startup. You can change “2fort” to whatever map you want. This command should never be removed.
  • “-autoupdate” Enables auto update of the server. Valve has not implemented this in Windows so you will have to manually update HLDS/Team Fortress Classic. It’s here for the sake of legacy support if Valve ever decides to add it.
  • “+log on” Displays the output of information on the screen. You can turn it off (+log off), but keeping it on makes it easier to debug any errors you might encounter.
  • “maxplayers 10” This controls the maximum of amount of players you want your server to run. You can only control the max players on server startup. This command should never be removed.
  • “-port 27015” This is the default server port. You can change it to anywhere from 27015 to 27020. Changing it is generally used when you host multiple servers (as each server has to use its own port when using the same IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+ip” should be the IP of your computer (not, go here to get your IP). This command should never be removed.
  • “+exec server.cfg” This simply executes your server.cfg file on server startup. If you run multiple servers from the same installation, you can specify other config files (e.g. server.cfg)
  • "-zone 1024" Solves most script memory errors. Some maps will crash if this is not set.

Now click on the Settings tab. If you DON'T want to see your dedicated server running, uncheck the Interact with Desktop check box & select “Hidden” from the “Show Window” dropdown. You can optionally run HLDS as the user you installed it as. In the Logon Account field type your username (e.g. Administrator) and then enter the user's password twice in the Password and Confirm fields. You can change the Process Priority to allocate more CPU time to the dedicated server or specify which CPU or core the dedicated server will run on (in the case of multi-processor, hyperthreaded or multi-core CPUs).


Now click on the Lifecycle tab. Uncheck Graceful Shutdown as HLDS doesn't respond to it.


Now click OK to finish setup and start your Team Fortress Classic dedicated server!