How to Fix Red Dead Redemption 2 Crashing on PC

Last Updated: June 6, 2023By
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For gaming enthusiasts, Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) needs no introduction. Developed by Rockstar Games, this epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland has captivated players around the globe.

Its expansive, atmospheric world also provides the foundation for a brand-new online multiplayer experience, making it a massive hit among the gaming community.

However, as immersive and entertaining as this game might be, it’s not without its hiccups. One of the most frequently reported problems by its PC players is the game crashing unexpectedly.

The occurrence of this issue is often unpredictable – it might happen during the game launch, randomly during gameplay, or even during critical missions. Understandably, such interruptions are frustrating, to say the least, and can significantly detract from the overall gaming experience.

Understanding the Cause of Crashes

A key step to troubleshooting any technical issue is understanding what might be causing it. When it comes to Red Dead Redemption 2 crashes on PC, there could be several culprits, which we broadly classify into hardware-related issues, software-related issues, and in-game settings.

Hardware-Related Issues

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a resource-intensive game, requiring a robust system to run smoothly. Here are some hardware-related causes that could lead to the game crashing:

Insufficient System Requirements: The game demands high-performance components, and if your PC doesn’t meet the minimum or recommended system requirements, you might experience crashes.

Overheating: If your CPU or GPU is running too hot, it could cause the game to crash. This often happens during prolonged gaming sessions.

Faulty or Dying Hardware: An issue with your RAM, GPU, CPU, or hard drive can cause the game to crash.

Software-Related Issues

While the hardware lays the foundation for gaming, the software brings it to life. Here are some software-related causes that might lead to game crashes:

Outdated Graphics Drivers: If your graphics card drivers are out of date, they may not be able to support the game, leading to crashes.

Conflicting Software: Some software running in the background might conflict with the game, causing it to crash.

Antivirus Interference: Sometimes, antivirus programs might incorrectly flag the game as a threat, resulting in crashes.

Outdated Windows or Game Version: Running the game on an outdated version of Windows, or not having the latest game patches and updates, could cause stability issues.

In-Game Settings

Even with all the hardware and software in check, the in-game settings could still lead to crashes if not properly configured:

Graphics Settings: If the game’s graphics settings are too high for your PC’s capabilities, it might cause the game to crash.

API Settings: The game provides options for two graphics APIs, Vulkan and DirectX 12. Sometimes, the choice of API might not agree with your system, causing crashes.

How to Troubleshoot Hardware-Related Issues

Addressing hardware-related issues can be a bit technical, but don’t worry – we’ll guide you through the process step-by-step. It’s essential to pay attention to this section as a system’s hardware forms the backbone of any gaming experience.

Verifying System Requirements

The first step in troubleshooting hardware-related issues is to ensure your PC meets the minimum system requirements for running Red Dead Redemption 2.

Minimum System Requirements: Check the game’s minimum system requirements, which can be found on the game’s official website or on its store page. Compare these with your PC’s specifications, which you can find in the ‘System Information’ application on your PC.

Recommended System Requirements: For a smoother gaming experience, your PC should ideally meet or exceed the game’s recommended system requirements. If your hardware is lagging behind, consider upgrading the necessary components.

Checking for Overheating

Overheating can cause severe issues in any computer system, including crashes during gaming.

Monitor Your System’s Temperature: Use hardware monitoring tools like HWMonitor or Speccy to check your system’s temperature while gaming. If temperatures are consistently high, you may have an overheating issue.

Proper Ventilation: Ensure your PC’s ventilation isn’t blocked and that it’s well away from heat sources. For laptop users, consider a cooling pad.

Cleaning: Dust and debris can clog your computer’s fans and air vents, leading to increased temperatures. Regular cleaning can help prevent this.

Examining GPU and CPU Performance

Your PC’s GPU and CPU play crucial roles in gaming. If they’re not functioning correctly, they can cause crashes.

Performance Monitoring: Tools like MSI Afterburner can help monitor your GPU and CPU performance. Pay close attention to any performance drops, as they could be indicators of a problem.

Stress Testing: Run stress tests on your GPU and CPU using tools like FurMark and Prime95, respectively. If they fail these tests, they may be malfunctioning.

Ensuring Device Drivers Are Up to Date

Outdated drivers can cause all sorts of problems, including game crashes.

Graphics Card Drivers: Make sure your graphics card drivers are updated to the latest version. Both NVIDIA and AMD regularly release driver updates that you can download from their official websites.

Other Device Drivers: Other drivers, like those for your motherboard and audio devices, should also be kept up to date.

Remember, addressing hardware-related issues can sometimes require physical intervention or component replacement. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, consider seeking professional help.

But before you do, there’s still the software and game settings to look at, which we’ll cover in the upcoming sections.

How to Troubleshoot Software-Related Issues

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After assessing the hardware side of things, it’s time to turn our attention to potential software-related issues. These can be as equally responsible for game crashes as their hardware counterparts.

Updating Graphics Drivers

Graphics drivers act as a bridge between your PC’s hardware and the game, translating the game’s code into instructions your hardware can understand. Keeping these drivers up-to-date is crucial.

Checking for Updates: You can check for driver updates through the device manager in Windows, or better yet, directly on the official websites of Nvidia, AMD, or Intel, depending on your GPU.

Clean Installation: When installing new graphics drivers, it’s best to perform a clean installation, which removes the old drivers completely before installing the new ones. Both Nvidia and AMD offer this option in their driver installation process.

Checking for Software Conflicts

Other software running on your system might interfere with the game, causing it to crash.

Closing Unnecessary Programs: Before launching the game, close unnecessary programs running in the background. You can check what programs are running by using Task Manager on Windows.

Clean Boot: Performing a clean boot, which starts up your PC with only the essential services and programs, can help identify if a particular piece of software is causing the crashes.

Investigating Antivirus Interference

In some cases, your antivirus software might incorrectly flag the game as a potential security threat, causing it to crash.

Checking Quarantine & Logs: Check your antivirus program’s quarantine and logs to see if it’s blocking or interfering with the game.

Setting Exceptions: If your antivirus software is causing issues, you can set an exception for Red Dead Redemption 2. This process varies depending on the antivirus software you use, so refer to the specific software’s help guide for detailed instructions.

Ensuring DirectX and Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables Are Up to Date

These software packages are vital for running games on Windows. Keeping them up-to-date ensures better game stability.

DirectX: You can update DirectX through Windows Update, or download the latest standalone installer from the official Microsoft website.

Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables: These can also be updated via Windows Update. Additionally, the game’s installation folder usually contains the installer for the version it requires.

How to Adjust In-Game Settings for Stability

In-game settings are often overlooked as potential culprits for game crashes. However, they can significantly impact the game’s performance and stability.

Here’s how you can adjust these settings for a smoother Red Dead Redemption 2 experience.

Lowering Graphics Settings

High graphics settings can overload your GPU, especially if it’s not up to the task. Adjusting these settings can help prevent crashes.

Resolution: Lowering the resolution can dramatically reduce the load on your GPU. Try a lower resolution and see if it improves game stability.

Texture Quality: High-resolution textures can use a lot of VRAM. If your GPU doesn’t have much to spare, consider lowering the texture quality.

Other Graphics Settings: Features like anti-aliasing, shadow quality, and draw distance can be quite resource-intensive. Experiment with turning these down or off to improve stability.

Enabling VSync

Screen tearing can occur if the game’s frame rate is out of sync with your monitor’s refresh rate. Enabling VSync can help solve this issue and potentially prevent crashes.

Enable VSync: You can enable VSync in the game’s graphics settings. If you can’t find it there, check your GPU’s control panel – both Nvidia and AMD offer the option to force VSync.

Adjusting the Game’s API Settings

Red Dead Redemption 2 offers two graphics API options: Vulkan and DirectX 12. The best one for you depends on your system.

Switching APIs: If the game is crashing, try switching between Vulkan and DirectX 12 to see if one offers more stability. Remember to restart the game after changing the API.

Advanced Solutions

If none of the aforementioned steps resolve the crashing issue, there are a few more advanced solutions you can try. However, it’s worth noting that these methods involve significant changes to your system or game files, so proceed with caution.

Verifying the Integrity of Game Files

Sometimes, crashes can occur due to corrupted or missing game files. Fortunately, if you’re using a platform like Steam, there’s a built-in way to check and repair these files.

Steam’s Verify Integrity of Game Files: Right-click Red Dead Redemption 2 in your Steam Library, go to ‘Properties’, then the ‘Local Files’ tab, and click ‘Verify Integrity of Game Files’. Steam will then check and repair any issues with the game files.

Reinstalling the Game

If verifying the integrity of game files doesn’t work, a fresh install might be your best bet. This process removes all game files and allows you to start from scratch, eliminating any potentially problematic files.

Uninstalling and Reinstalling: Uninstall the game via your game platform (Steam, Epic Games Store, etc.), and then reinstall it. Note that this will delete all local game data, so back up any saves if necessary.


Experiencing crashes while playing Red Dead Redemption 2 on your PC can be frustrating, especially when you’re immersed in the compelling narrative and stunning landscapes the game offers. Thankfully, most crashes are resolvable with some troubleshooting steps, ranging from basic hardware and software checks to advanced solutions.

In this guide, we’ve explored potential reasons behind the crashes and provided step-by-step instructions on how to fix them. Whether it’s a matter of adjusting in-game settings or delving into more complex solutions, this guide equips you to navigate these challenges and ensure a smoother gaming experience.