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How to stop Red Dead Redemption 2 from crashing?

By Llynda Ezesinachi | May 20, 2020 |

greater than 13 minutes

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As far as action-adventure games go, Red Dead Redemption 2 is up there with the best. Coming from the creators of successful titles, including Grand Theft Auto, the game received much critical acclaim.

The blockbuster title finally made its way to Steam and Epic Games Store, meaning that players on these platforms finally got the chance to easily join in on the fun.

That said, some gamers have reported annoying random crashes that make the game unplayable. If you’re one of these players, you don’t have to worry anymore as the solutions in this article will help you resolve the problem.

Checking the game’s system requirements

Don’t rush into things thinking that your computer has all it takes to run the game. You have to confirm that before applying any fix. The crashing issue you’re experiencing could very well be a result of your computer’s incompetence. Many gamers who didn’t check the game’s requirements against their PC specifications later realized that they needed to perform certain upgrades or change their computers entirely.

The minimum and recommended requirements for Red Dead Redemption 2 are laid out below, and you’ll also find a guide that will show you how to check if your computer meets those specifications.

Note that the game requires a 64-bit operating system.

Minimum Requirements

Operating System: Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601)

CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K; AMD FX-6300

System Memory: 8 GB of RAM

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB; AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB

Network: Broadband Internet connection

Storage: 150 GB of available space

Sound Card: Direct X-compatible

Recommended Requirements

Operating System: Windows 10 – April 2018 Update (v1803)

CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K; AMD Ryzen 5 1500X

System Memory: 12 GB of RAM

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB; AMD Radeon RX 480 4GB

Network: Broadband Internet connection

Storage: 150 GB of available space

Sound Card: Direct X-compatible

Follow this guide to check if your computer has the required hardware and software components:

  1. Open a File Explorer window by right-clicking the Start button and selecting File Explorer in the Quick Access menu. You can also use the Windows + E keyboard shortcut or click on the folder icon in the taskbar to launch File Explorer faster.
  2. Once the File Explorer window opens, navigate to the left sidebar, right-click on This PC, and then click on Properties in the context menu.
  3. The System window will now open. Find your PC’s specifications in the main window. The specs you’ll find will include your system memory, OS architecture, and CPU details, among others.
  4. To check the details of your graphics card, follow these steps:
  • Open the Run dialog box by right-clicking the Start menu and clicking on Run in the Quick Access menu. You can also tap the Windows and R keys together to launch the dialog faster.
  • After Run opens, type “dxdiag” (no quotes) into the text field, and then click on the OK button or hit the Enter key.
  • After the DirectX Diagnostic Tool window appears, switch to the Display tab.
  • All the details of your graphics card will be available under the tab.

After going through your PC’s specs, upgrade any component that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of RDR2. Make sure your Internet connection is steady and strong enough to communicate with the game’s servers.

To enjoy smooth gameplay at high settings without issues, you have to use a system that meets or surpasses the recommended requirements.

If your PC has the right specs to run Red Dead Redemption 2, then the crashing problem is the result of certain system glitches. You’ll find out how to troubleshoot these underlying issues.

Revert to Vulkan

Graphics APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are software components that allow developers to bring any game to life. The job of APIs is to help devices understand gaming commands. This means that game developers don’t have to come up with unique code for different graphics cards.

There are two major graphics APIs for Red Dead Redemption 2: Vulkan, which is based on AMD’s Mantle API and managed by the Khronos group, and DirectX 12, which was developed by Microsoft.

Both APIs are known to work great with the game, but certain users noted that the crashing issue disappeared after switching from DirectX to Vulkan. You can try that and check if the problem goes away on your Windows 10 PC. Follow the steps below:

  1. Launch File Explorer by right-clicking the Start button and selecting File Explorer in the Quick Access menu. If you want to launch the app faster, click on the folder icon in the taskbar (if you have one) or punch the Windows and E keys together.
  2. After File Explorer shows up, go to the left pane and click on This PC.
  3. Head to the right pane and open your Local Disk C or where your user folder is located.
  4. Once the drive opens, double-click the Users folder, then click on the folder with your username.
  5. Open the Documents folder.
  6. After Documents opens, navigate to Rockstar Games >> Red Dead Redemption 2 >> Settings.
  7. Once you get to the Settings folder, look for the System.xml file and rename it.
  8. After renaming it, run the game.
  9. A new System.xml file will be created, and Vulkan will become the game’s API.

Alternatively, you can adjust the system.xml file to change the game’s API. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch File Explorer by right-clicking the Start button and selecting File Explorer in the Quick Access menu. If you want to launch the app faster, click on the folder icon in the taskbar (if you have one) or punch the Windows and E keys together.
  2. After File Explorer shows up, go to the left pane and click on This PC.
  3. Head to the right pane and open your Local Disk C or where your user folder is located.
  4. Once the drive opens, double-click the Users folder, then click on the folder with your username.
  5. Open the Documents folder.
  6. After Documents opens, navigate to Rockstar Games >> Red Dead Redemption 2 >> Settings.
  7. Once you get to the Settings folder, look for the System.xml file and open it with Notepad.
  8. Once the text opens, locate (you can use Ctrl + F) the line that reads:

<API>kSettingAPI_DX12</API>

And change it to:

<API>kSettingAPI_Vulkan</API>

  1. Save the note, and then run the game to check for the crashing problem.

Update your graphics card driver

Make sure your graphics card driver is up to date, as it could very well be the cause of the problem. You can easily update it, using the Windows Update utility or Device Manager.

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Verify the integrity of game files

Your game files must be intact if the game is going to run without problems. If one file is missing or corrupt, you’ll have issues to deal with, and it could very well be the cause of the incessant crashes.

You should verify your game files to make sure none is problematic. You’ll have to use your game’s launcher to perform the fix. Fortunately, you can verify the game’s files using the Rockstar Games Launcher, Epic Games Launcher, or Steam. We’ll be showing how to use each program.

Steam

  1. Go to the Start menu, search for Steam, then launch the client. If you have the app’s desktop icon, double-click it.
  2. Once the Steam client shows up, go to the top of the window and click on Library.
  3. After you see your list of games, locate Red Dead Redemption 2, right-click it, and then click on Properties.
  4. Next, go to the right side of the window and switch to the Local Files tab.
  5. Under the Local Files tab, click on the button that says, “VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES…”
  6. Steam will now begin to check if the game’s files on your computer are the same as those on its servers.
  7. The client will automatically replace any file that doesn’t check out with the right copy.
  8. Once the process is complete, restart Steam and launch Red Dead Redemption 2 to check for the crashing issue.

Rockstar Games Launcher

  1. Reboot your PC and launch the Rockstar Games Launcher.
  2. Once the app opens, go to Settings.
  3. Navigate to My Installed Games on the left side of the window and select Red Dead Redemption 2.
  4. Next, go to the right and click on Verify Integrity under Verify Game File Integrity.
  5. Allow the launcher to do its job.
  6. Once the process is complete, you’ll get a pop-up notification just above the system tray, indicating that the verification process is complete and you can play the game.
  7. Launch Red Dead Redemption 2 and check for the crashing issue.

Epic Games Launcher

  1. Open the launcher.
  2. Once the app shows up, go to the tab of Red Dead Redemption 2.
  3. Under the game’s tab, click on the cog icon beside the launch button.
  4. Click on Verify once the context menu drops down.
  5. Allow the launcher to check if the game’s files on your system match those on its servers.
  6. If the launcher finds that a file is corrupt or missing, it will automatically download the replacement.
  7. After the process is complete, run the game and check for the problem.

Run the game as an administrator and adjust its properties

Running the game as an administrator will allow it to access all the resources on your computer, including protected files and folders. It’s possible that a lack of admin rights is causing some sort of blockade that triggers the random crashes. We’ll be showing you how to change the game’s properties to allow it to run as an administrator whenever you launch it.

Alongside running the game as an administrator, we’ll also be walking you through other tweaks that you can perform, such as disabling the Fullscreen Optimizations feature and overriding the high DPI scaling behavior.

To do all that, you need to access the game’s EXE file. Follow these steps:

  1. Locate the installation folder of Red Dead Redemption 2 on your PC.
  2. Once you get to the folder, right-click the EXE file and select Properties from the context menu.
  3. After the Properties dialog window opens, go to the Compatibility tab.
  4. Under the Compatibility tab, check the boxes for:

“Run this program as an administrator”

“Disable Fullscreen Optimizations”

  1. Next, click on the “Change High DPI settings” button.
  2. After that, check the box beside “Override high DPI scaling behavior”, and then select Application.
  3. Click on the OK button.
  4. Run Red Dead Redemption 2 to check for the crashing problem.

Make sure your antivirus program isn’t blocking the game

It’s possible that your antivirus program is seeing the game as a False Positive. This means that despite being a safe and legitimate program, it is considered a threat to your system. Once this happens, the protection app blocks the game. This was the case with many gamers who found that disabling their antivirus programs resolved the crashing issue once and for all.

You could try disabling your antivirus program, but we recommend that you take the safer route, which is adding the game as an exception in the security program. Every antivirus program has a different name for the Exceptions feature. In certain programs, it goes by Exclusions, while others tag it as the Whitelist. You can find the feature in the settings environment of your antivirus program. If you don’t know how to get there, you can easily find a guide online to walk you through the process.

That said, all you need to do is follow the steps below if you use Windows Security:

  1. Launch the Settings app by right-clicking on the Start menu and clicking on Settings in the Quick Access menu. You can also punch the Windows and I keyboard keys simultaneously to open the application.
  2. After the Settings app shows up, navigate to the bottom of the page and click on the Update & Security label.
  3. Click on Windows Security in the left pane of the Update & Security page.
  4. Now, switch to the right pane and click on Virus & Threat Protection under Protection Areas.
  5. After the Virus & Threat Protection interface of Windows Security appears, scroll down to the Virus & Threat Protection Settings segment and click on the Manage Settings link.
  6. When the Virus & Threat Protection page appears, scroll down and click on “Add or remove exclusions”.
  7. On the Exclusions page, click on “Add an exclusion,” then click on Folder in the context menu.
  8. Once the Browse Folder dialog window appears, go to the installation folder of Red Dead Redemption 2 and select it.
  9. Launch the game and check for the crashing issue.

Scan for corrupt system files and replace them

Some of your system files might be broken and causing the game to crash. Run the System File Checker tool to scan for these files and automatically replace them. Note that you’ll have to run the inbox Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tool before running SFC since you’re on Windows 10.

The guide below will show you the steps you need to take:

  1. Summon the search bar beside the Start button by clicking on the magnifying glass in the taskbar. Tapping the Windows and S keys simultaneously will also do the trick.
  2. After the search box appears, go to the text box and type “command prompt.”
  3. Once you see Command Prompt in the search results, right-click it and click on Run as Administrator.
  4. After the User Account Control dialog pops up, click on the Yes button.
  5. Now, type the following line into the Command Prompt once it shows up to run the DISM tool:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth

DISM will now use Windows Update to download the files required for the repair.

If you don’t have a working Internet connection or if the Windows Update client is experiencing issues, the process will fail.

In that case, you’ll have to use installation media such as a bootable USB or a Windows 10 installation DVD as the repair source. You can also mount an ISO file as a virtual DVD.

Once you insert the installation media, enter the following command line:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth /Source:C:\RepairSource\Windows /LimitAccess

You must note that the C:\RepairSource\Windows part of the command line is a placeholder for the path to your repair source. Replace it accordingly before you hit the Enter key.

Allow the command to execute successfully before you move on to the next step.

  1. Now, type “sfc/ scannow” in the Command Prompt and hit the Enter key.
  • If the completion message that reads, “Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them” shows up, restart your PC and run Red Dead Redemption 2 to check for the crashing issue.

Allow Windows to manage your paging file

The paging file is the virtual memory that Windows creates to extend your system memory whenever it is filled up. It is possible that the crashing issue on Red Dead Redemption 2 is occurring because the paging file is not managed by Windows. Allow Windows to manage the paging file size and check if that will resolve the problem. The steps below will show you how:

  1. Open the search function beside the Start button, type “Advanced system settings,” then click on “View advanced system settings” in the results.
  2. After the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog opens, click on the Settings button under Performance.
  3. Once the Performance Options dialog window opens, go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click on the Change button under Virtual Memory.
  5. In the Virtual Memory dialog window, make sure that the box beside “Automatically manage paging file size for all drivers” is checked.
  6. Click on the OK button in the Performance Options and System Protection dialog boxes once you’re done.

Perform a Clean Boot

Performing a clean boot will help you find out if a startup program or service is responsible for the crashing issue in Red Dead Redemption 2. The steps below will show you what to do:

  1. Right-click on the Start button and click on Run in the Quick Access menu. You can also press the Windows logo and R keys together to launch the Run dialog box.
  2. After Run opens, type “msconfig” (without the quotes), then tap the Enter key or click on the OK button.
  3. The System Configuration dialog will now appear.
  4. Navigate to the Services tab.
  5. Under the Services tab, tick the box beside “Hide all Microsoft services.”
  6. Next, click on the Disable All button.
  7. Windows will now prevent every startup service in the tab (sparing Windows services) from launching whenever Windows starts.
  8. After that, go to the Startup tab.
  9. Under the Startup tab, click on Open Task Manager.
  10. Once the Startup tab of Task Manager opens, disable every startup program you see. To disable a program, right-click on it, then click on Disable.
  11. Exit the Task Manager and return to the System Configuration dialog.
  12. Click on the OK button, then reboot your PC.

After your system starts, run Red Dead Redemption 2. If you no longer experience the crashing problem, then you just confirmed that a startup app is the culprit. To find the application, you have to enable a single startup item, restart your PC, and then check for the problem. If the first startup item doesn’t trigger the crash, move on to the next one. You have to continue the process until you go through every last startup service and program. If the process seems hectic, you can employ the following method:

  1. Launch the System Configuration dialog window and navigate to the Services tab.
  2. Enable half of the services on the list (from the top) and click on the OK button.
  3. Restart your PC and launch the game to check for the crashing issue.
  4. If the game crashes, then one of the services in the top half is connected to the problem. Go to the Services tab of System Configuration again, but this time, check only the top-half services one by one until the issue goes away. The last item you disabled before the crashing issue goes away is the culprit.
  5. If you don’t experience the problem, however, then go to the next half of the services and check for the issue.
  6. Go to the Startup tab of Task Manager next, and then check the startup programs by halves until you isolate the item that is responsible for the problem.

Once you point out the responsible startup, keep it disabled until you’re done with the game. If it’s important, consider updating or replacing it.

Conclusion

We’re confident that playing Red Dead Redemption 2 will now be smooth and without interruptions. If you have anything you’ll like to let us know, use the comments section below.

Fed up with your slow PC? Tired of waiting for Windows to start up? Take a look at the most common reasons behind poor performance and the best ways to deal with them here.

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