FIX: hl2.exe has stopped working

Hl2.exe (short for half-life 2.executable) is a core file to launch the source engine based games such as Half-life, Half-Life 2, and counter strike etc. Therefore, it becomes a nightmare for the gamers, if they see “hl2.exe has stopped working”. This error pops up when you attempt to launch the GAME, changing the maps in a game, and joining a server in a game. There can be many different causes for this game error depending on the condition of your system which makes it a little frustrating at times to encounter the real cause of the error. Sometimes, this problem can be fixed by simply rebooting your game or computer but this does not mean it should be left untreated. Following are the most effective methods to fix this problem:

Method 1:  Checking Systems Requirements

Some of the Source engine based games come along with a long list of systems requirement. It is very important to cross check your systems compatibility such as RAM, ROM, DirectX,  and VGA card etc. in order to determine whether your system can launch the game or not. This is unusually stated on the order page and on the retail cover. If you don’t know what your system specs are then you can easily check this by performing the steps below.

Hold the Windows Key and Press R. In the run dialog, type dxdiag and click OK.


There are four tabs on the top which provides the information to compare system requirements.


Method 2: Temporarily Disable AntiVirus/Firewall

Click Start Button and select Control Panel. Select Review your computer status under System and Security Tab. Click down arrow button Picture to expand the section.


Your antivirus software will be listed under Virus protection if detected. Disable your anti-virus, usually done by right clicking the anti-virus icon from the system tray and choosing disable.

If disabling your anti-virus or anti spyware software does not help, you may have to uninstall them completely in order to resolve this compatibility issue until an update is released by the software developers. If disabling anti-virus allows the game to be launched, then reset/reinstall your antivirus software.

Method 3: Data Execution Prevention

Go to Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced System settings> Performance settings > Data Execution Prevention.

Select “Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select:”

Click on “Add” and navigate to your default steam directory such as C:\Program Files\Steam and add Steam.exe to the exception list. Moreover, you may need to add the executable files such as hl2.exe for any game with this issue. These files will either be in Steam\steamapps\common\<Game Title> or in \Steam\steamapps\<Your Steam Account Name>\<Game Title>\


Method 4: Disabling Background Applications

Source engine based games require a large amount of system’s resources to run. If you are running background applications while playing, it can often result a crash because game engine has to compete with other applications for the possession of enough system resources free to be utilized for the game.

Hold the Windows Key and Press R. Type msconfig and Click OK. From the Start-up tab, choose disable all, click Apply/OK. Reboot your Computer and test.


In Windows 8/8.1 and 10, the start-up part opens up in Task Manager. You can right click on the processes listed in the Start-up tab and choose Disable.

If this doesn’t helps, then go back to msconfig and this time, choose the Services tab. Put a check on Hide All Microsoft Services, and select Disable All. Click Apply/OK. Reboot and TEST.



Method 5: Uninstall & Reinstall

Download RevoUninstaller’s Trial from, locate the game and uninstall it. Whilst still in the Revo Uninstaller’s console, you will be prompted with a option to choose from to uninstall left overs, and clear registry traces, choose “Advanced” and delete it’s registry traces, and left over files. Then, re-download/install the Game and test.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.