Skip to main content

Red Dead Redemption 2 PC bugs, crashes and fixes

(Image credit: Rockstar)

Red Dead Redemption 2 has finally launched on PC, but some players are struggling to begin their tragic cowboy adventure. Players who've tried to jump in straight away are reporting issues ranging from the launcher not initialising to the game crashing to desktop almost right away. 

Crashes

For some of these recurring problems, the fix appears to be the simple and classic 'turn off your anti-virus software'. I've seen the fix suggested for a few different issues, but the one that it seems to solve the most is crashes that occur right after you launch the game.

If that's what's halting your bank heists and train robberies, add Red Dead Redemption 2 to the list of exemptions or disable it entirely and try to launch the game again. 

Rockstar has also advised players who are getting the "Red Dead Redemption 2 Exited Unexpectedly" error to update their graphics drivers, as out of date drivers are the most common source of the error. 

Performance

According to Nvidia's benchmarks, Red Dead Redemption 2 requires a pretty beefy card if you want to play at 60 fps on with high settings, but some players have noticed framerate drops on a range of suitable PCs. One solution that's worked for some Nvidia users is changing the graphics API from Vulkan to DirectX 12.

It's not a one size fits all solution, unfortunately, and some players are still reporting low performance even after the change. There have also been complaints of audio performance problems, but a solution has yet to be uncovered. 

Stuttering/Freezing

Redditor serhangelgor reports that problems with stuttering and freezing can sometimes be remedied by turning off two cores on quad-core CPUs through the Task Manager. To do so, start RDR2, switch to the Task Manager, and select the Details tab. Right-click the RDR2.exe listing, then select "Set Affinity" from the pop-up menu, and uncheck two of your CPU cores.

Some commenters say the workaround hasn't helped them but others report success; one claimed that disabling two cores and then switching which ones were in use (from cores 0 and 1 to cores 2 and 3) had the desired effect. As with switching from Vulkan to DX12, it's not a guaranteed fix, and it may take some dicking around to get it to kick over. But if you're struggling with stuttering, it's worth a shot until a proper patch rolls out.

Launcher problems

Rockstar's new launcher is causing a few problems of its own. Players have been getting various messages from the launcher telling them that activation is required, even after purchase, that it's failed to initialise or that it's closed unexpectedly. An update released earlier today will hopefully address at least some of the crash problems. 

To ensure you've got the most recent build, exit RDR2 (and any other Rockstar games you may be playing), fully exit the launcher, and then restart it—the update should apply automatically. 

Clear your local Rockstar Games Launcher profile details

This will remove all profile details from your local machine and require you to sign in to the Rockstar Games Launcher again. It will not delete your Social Club account, however, or any saved games, so you won't lose any progress as a result. Signing in to Social Club will recreate your local profile.

Here's what you need to do:

  • Start the Rockstar Games Launcher
  • Select Settings
  • Select Account Information
  • Select Delete Local Profile
  • Select Confirm
  • Sign in to the Rockstar Games Launcher again
  • Launch Red Dead Redemption 2

Keep checking back as we root around for more problems and solutions. 

Fraser is the sole inhabitant of PC Gamer's mythical Scottish office, conveniently located in his flat. He spends most of his time wrangling the news, but sometimes he sneaks off to write lots of words about strategy games.