GTA V PC Crash Fixes: Black Screens, Flickering, Crash on Startup, & Frame Drops or Lag

By Published April 14, 2015 at 3:20 pm
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GTA V PC Crash Fixes: Black Screens, Flickering, Crash on Startup, & Frame Drops or Lag Thanks to Retell for the crash screenshot.

The launch of GTA V ($60) saw the publication of our video card benchmark earlier today, which looked at the performance of various configurations playing the new open world game. In the process of testing video cards – and while speaking with others who've attempted to play GTA V – we found several bugs and crashes that require attention.

The game is better-optimized than most day-1 PC titles, something for which Rockstar deserves credit, but still falls short for a few users. This article looks at GTA V crash fixes, black screens, frame stutter / drops, and lag and offers some work-arounds and solutions.

GTA V Black Screen, Flickering, Crash on Startup, & Frame Drops

This is the easy fix. Before going any further, it's critical that anyone playing GTA V update to the latest beta drivers for both AMD and nVidia devices. The latest drivers are, respectively, 15.4 Catalyst Beta and 350.12 GeForce game-ready drivers.

These day-1 drivers improve overall performance with game-specific optimizations and should improve system stability.

See also, our Complete Settings Optimization Guide for GTA V.

If driver updates don't resolve black screen issues, it could be the case that your system is exhibiting memory leaks in GTA V. This is something we discovered during testing and were able to find a workaround through experimentation and forums. To temporarily resolve memory leaks in GTA V, set virtual memory management to System-Managed virtual memory size. This can be done with the following steps:

  1. Type “systempropertiesadvanced” in the run prompt (start menu or Windows + R).
  2. Navigate to Performance → Settings → Advanced → Change → Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file size.” NOTE: This will change the size required for the pagefile and will require a reboot.
  3. Enable System Managed Size or manually increase the Virtual Memory capacity.

Leaking will still occur, but the virtual memory capacity will increase to accommodate the growing pagefile size – just shut down the game every couple of hours and you won't encounter further issues.

Resolving game lag, excessive stuttering and tearing, and frame drops can largely be done through the game's settings. Try adjusting settings until the VRAM slider is not full. If this doesn't help, lower the texture resolution and population density, disable V-Sync, and disable anti-aliasing.

“Connection to Download Server Lost. Reconnecting...”

Buying directly from RockStar or through Green Man Gaming results in this error. This is due to server overload and is not something that can be resolved or worked-around without Steam purchase. We have not encountered this issue through Steam's installation servers. The only answer is “wait.”

“The RockStar Update Service is Unavailable (Code 1)”

This is another oddity experienced by users with installation hurdles. Rockstar Games posted notice that special, non-alphanumeric characters used in Windows usernames will trigger this issue. To work-around this temporarily, create a new Windows Admin account by navigating to Control Panel → Users. Run GTA V from this account.

“Unable to Detect Windows Media Player”

GTA V for PC requires that Windows Media Player is installed in order to function. To arrange this, launch Windows Media Player and follow the installation prompts. If you can't locate Windows Media Player, navigate to Control Panel → Add/Remove Features → Turn Windows Features on/off → Windows Media Player (checked).

The Benchmark Exits or Displays Tutorial Messages

We discovered this while performing our GTA V benchmark. The GTA V benchmark will not perform correctly (and might say “Wasted” or “Mission Failed – You Left Your Team Behind” (or something to that effect) if there is an active mission. Get to the first safehouse in Story Mode, then complete or abandon all active missions. Once there is no active mission and you've reached a safehouse, the built-in benchmark will run appropriately.

GTAVLauncher.exe Stopped Responding

This is normally tied to video display issues. If the drivers have already been updated, first try these steps:

  1. Disable any anti-virus software that could be blocking GTA V from working or make exceptions.
  2. Temporarily disable the dGPU and revert to the IGP in your CPU (if present). To do this, navigate to device manager (Win + R → devmgmt.msc), then disable the display adapter and launch the game. Enable the dGPU once the Launcher pops-up.

If this doesn't work, try running an AMD Driver Cleaner (for AMD) and re-installing the drivers. It may be the case that you're actually running on older drivers, but the new install did not clean them out.

When All Else Fails... Verify Game Cache

We're normally much quicker to recommend this, but the 60GB file-size makes verifying game cache an intimidating and time-consuming option. For various missing file errors or game launch / crash errors, verifying the game's cache could find corruptions that occurred during the download process. Errors like “Failed zlib call” will require verifying the game cache. We'd also recommend deleting the game's PC settings file and re-acquiring it through Steam.

Do you have other issues not shown here? Try Rockstar's support forums or post in the comments below to let us know what you found (and how you fixed it)!

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on April 17, 2015 at 3:20 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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