GTA graphics options

Some players have been struggling to install and play Grand Theft Auto 5, so we've rounded up some of the most common problems we've seen so far and included advice on how to resolve them where possible.

If your problem isn't listed, Rockstar's support page is being quickly updated with new issues, so keep an eye out there. Also—standard practice—check that your GPU manufacturer hasn't put out a new driver update, and make sure Social Club, Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 SP1, and DirectX are up to date.

"The Rockstar update service is unavailable"

If you're getting "the Rockstar update service is unavailable (code 1)" when trying to install the game, or the launcher is crashing to desktop. Rockstar Support has already released a workaround for the issue. It's caused by Windows usernames with unconventional characters.

Basically, if the Windows username you're using features any characters not included in this handy list, then you'll need to sign in with another user account, or else create a new one. It's only a temporary solution—Rockstar is working on a fix as we speak – but if you can't wait to get started, it's good enough.

Simply changing your Windows username won't work, Rockstar reports, and if you do choose to use a different account in the meantime, you're advised to restart your PC before continuing.

On launch Steam briefly displays "installing" window, then nothing

Chris is reviewing GTA for us, and has had problems launching the game that are unrelated to the above Windows username error. Specifically, Steam displayed an 'Installing' window for a few seconds and then closed, after which the game wouldn't load. Fortunately, he's found a possible fix.

Open GTA 5's install directory, found by right-clicking the game in the Steam library, going to 'Properties', and clicking 'Browse Local Files' in the Local Files tab. From there, go into the 'Installers' folder and manually install the Rockstar Social Club through the installers found in that directory.

From there, it should load normally—although we think some of the problems are due to a Rockstar Social Club connection issue.

Nothing happens when trying to start singleplayer or multiplayer

This seems to be a problem affecting mobile GPUs. We've been unable to test it yet, but MustacheEmperor on GTA 5 Reddit proposes this solution.

"Open device manager, go to display adapters, and disable your nvidia device so only the intel card is enabled. After launching the game re-enable the nvidia card quickly. The game will then work. Seems like there's a compatibility problem with mobile nvidia cards."

Unpacking problems

If you preloaded GTA 5 be aware that the unpacking process requires tons of spare hard drive space, and is quite slow. I needed about an extra 60GB of memory overhead above the initial 60GB for the game to fully install. Fortunately the file shrinks back down to 60GB when installation is finished, but if unpacking hangs, try making some more room on the HDD.

Social Club Loading

Social Club failed to initialise message

Rockstar's says: "The most common cause for these errors is an incorrect installation of Social Club. If you are receiving one of these errors, we recommend uninstalling Social Club and then reinstalling it manually from this page."

If you have the Steam edition, verifying the game cache can help—right click the game in Steam, go to properties, hit the local files tab and click the verify integrity of game cache button.

Rockstar also recommends running the game as administrator (right click Social Club, choose "Run as Administrator") and checking that the Social Club is installed in the right place—Program Files\Rockstar Games\Social Club.

Infinite loading on Rockstar Social Club

Rockstar's advice: "If you are stuck loading, auto-signin may have failed. Press the Home key and see if you can log in manually."

If that doesn't fix it it seems that Social Club is struggling with launch demand. Repeated tries can get you in, but it's not likely to ease off until the demand reduces or Rockstar bolsters the system.

"Unable to detect Windows Media Player" issue

GTA 5 won't install without Windows Media Player, it seems. An easy fix. Open the Control Panel, go to Programs, then Turn Windows Features On or Off, and then check Windows Media Player in the Media Features folder. When you press OK it should install.

Don't run the benchmark

This is an odd one. The benchmark test loads a bunch of different timelapse landscape shots to test your rig, but also seems to launch the single player campaign at the same time. The first mission starts, then there's a nice shot of a mountain. Then a bridge. Then the game tells you that you've failed a mission and your only option is to Alt-F4 out. Best leave it alone for now.

These are some of the most common issues we've seen discussed around the web. Do you have a problem installing or launching GTA 5, have you encountered any workarounds that have helped you get into the game? Share your wisdom in the comments. Update: We hear that the benchmark works, but only if you beat the prologue and run it from in the game (not the initial menu) and are not in a car.

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.