New Game Blues
If you have bought a new game recently, and popped it
in to your computer expecting gaming bliss, only to find that it crashes
or locks up your whole system, then this article is for you.
Step One - Get Some Help
Maybe the game manufacturer has already updated the
game and you no longer have a problem. So, the first thing you should
do is visit the game manufacturer's web site and determine if there
is a "game patch" to download. Also, visit the manufacturer's
support area and see if there is a FAQ (frequently asked questions)
or other tips that might help you.
Another good resource is game "fan" sites.
For almost all recent games, third parties have developed web sites
with a host of information on the new game. These sites can be found
through the game manufacturer's site links or by searching on the
name of the game. Many of these sites have bulletin or discussion
boards, and most will have an area dedicated to game problems. Don't
be shy about posting your problem if no one else has posted it.
Step Two - Identifying
So how does one go about coaxing a new game to run?
Do you promise to make amends for past deeds if only the game will
Maybe you could wiggle some cables or something?
Or should you just give up and run down to the computer store and
buy a new computer, motherboard, or video card?
The first thing you should know is, "If your
computer worked fine before loading the new game, then the game is
the cause of the problem, not the computer".
Provided that your computer meets the manufacturer's minimum specifications
(available on the game box) for running the game, you should not have
to buy any new hardware.
So instead of pulling your hair out, apply the steps
below in the order listed. After each step, you should try to run
your game to see if the problem is corrected.
Warning - While you may
choose to perform all steps, you should be aware that the steps progressively
become riskier and could cause your computer to become unstable or
unbootable if not performed correctly.
Step Three - Update and Test
Microsoft's DirectX is required to run most new
and old games. The most recent release of DirectX is version 8.0 (it
can be obtained free from Microsoft's Windows
Update Page ). The majority of games will include a version of
DirectX on the game's CD-ROM. If the new game is well behaved it will
ask if you want to load its version of DirectX.
[Warning - If you have
a newer version of DirectX already on your system - don't load an
older version. This could corrupt current, or install older, drivers.
Most games will usually work fine with a newer version of DirectX
than the game requires.]
OK. Good Advice. So how do you know what version of
DirectX you have? In Windows 95/98/Me a DirectX directory is created
in C:\Program Files\DirectX. Use your file manager to open the DirectX
directory and click on a program called DXDIAG.EXE.
This will open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool which
not only reports the version of DirectX you have loaded (on the bottom
of the first tab), it also lets you test your video and audio systems
for conflicts. You should definitely click on all of the tabs and
perform all the tests to make sure there are no problems.
Step Four - Obtain the
Latest Video and Sound Drivers
You have a required, or newer version, of DirectX and
the DirectX Diagnostic Tool doesn't report any problems, but you game
is still crashing. Now what?
The next step is to obtain the latest video and sound
drivers. While DirectX/Windows does have some drivers included, you
should visit your audio and video card manufacturers' web sites to
look for updated drivers. These are usually available in the technical
support section of the site and can be downloaded free.
Another possibility for video drivers is to visit the
graphic chip manufacturer's site (which you should only do if your
graphic card manufacture is doing a poor job of releasing new drivers),
e.g. if you have a NVidia GeForce card you could visit NVidia's web
Step Five - Adjust BIOS Settings
You loaded the latest video and sound drivers and the
game still doesn't work - time to check those BIOS settings.
On most desktops, the BIOS settings screen is activated by pressing
the Delete key during the startup boot check of system RAM. Once you
are in the BIOS you can try changing the following items, one at a
time, to see if they enable your game to work.
Your BIOS probably has various sections and you will
have to locate these attributes to change them. No changes will be
made in the BIOS unless they are saved before you exit. So if you
make BIOS changes, but then decide you really don't want to save them,
don't save the changes when you exit.
Warning - The following
changes could keep your computer from operating properly. Before changing
an item, write down your original setting. Do not change any settings
other than those described. Your BIOS may or may not have the following
1. Enable "Assign IRQ to VGA" .
2. Disable "VGA Palette Snoop".
3. Disable "Video Bios Shadow" and video memory address
shadowing like "C800-CBFFF".
4. "AGP Aperture" size should be one-half of available system
5. Reduce "AGP Speed" to 2/3 (especially good for overclockers).
6. Un-overclock your CPU (of course this is a last resort).
If nothing else has worked, than the solutions listed
below are the last things you should try. You should probably seek
help again from your manufacture and other users before you try these
Warning - These solutions
could definitely keep your system from operating properly and should
not be undertaken by novices.
1. Move your PCI video card into a different slot.
Some PCI video cards will pick up interference from the cards next
to them. Trying a different slot might help.
2. Flash your video card's BIOS. New video cards have a flashable
BIOS just like a motherboard's. If there is an update to your BIOS
it will be available at your video card manufacturer's web site.
3. Flash your motherboard's BIOS. Any BIOS upgrades will be
available at your motherboard manufacturer's web site.
Hopefully these steps have helped you solve your game's
crashing problem. Feel free to post any qustions you have in our
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