Ark: Survival Evolved is an adventure-action survival video game which was released in the late 2017 and has made its way to almost every platform out there ranging from Linux to Windows to Xbox. The game gained immense popularity after its initial release and is hailed one of the best survival games out there.
Despite its success and expansion, users playing Ark on Windows platform reported several issues with the game. According to user reports and experiments done ourselves, we saw that the game kept crashing randomly in between sessions which not only caused the game to crash but also the entire PC.
What causes Ark: Survival Evolved to Crash your PC?
Most of the games crash whenever they face errors or problems when operating. However, if the game is using your resources and they get affected, your PC might crash as well. This is the case with Ark; the game crashes your PC. Here are some of the reasons why this might happen:
- Bad hardware: Since games like Ark heavily rely on your hardware to play, they might crash if you have bad hardware such as RAM or PSU.
- Mods: If you are running an Ark server, additional mods installed in the application might be one of the causes. Since the game updates every now and then, mods can conflict with the new features.
- Bad drivers: Outdated graphics drivers can cause your game not to run and may crash your game and your PC.
- Missing/corrupt game files: If the installation files for the game are missing or corrupt, the game may fail to launch or crash upon startup.
Before you move on to the solutions, you need to make sure that you have the minimum system requirements for running the game on your computer. Keep in mind that these are the minimum requirements and do not reflect the optimal requirements needed for the game. The requirements are:
- OS: Windows 7 or 8
- Processor: 2Ghz Dual-core 64-bit CPU
- Graphics: DirectX11 Compatible GPU with 1 GB Video RAM
- Hard Drive: 20000 MB available space
- DirectX: Version 11
If you do not meet these requirements, you should upgrade your hardware first before proceeding with the solutions listed below.
Solution 1: Verifying Integrity of Game Files
The very first thing to do when troubleshooting problems with games present in Steam is to verify the integrity of Steam game files. There are a number of cases where the game files on your computer might be corrupt or have missing modules. This tool automatically downloads the latest manifest from the website and compares the files on the manifest with the ones on your computer. If there is any difference, the files are replaced.
- Open your Steam application and click on Games from the top bar. Now select Ark: Survival Evolved from the left column, right-click it and select Properties.
- Once in Properties, click on Local Files category and select Verify Integrity of Game Files.
- Now, wait until the process is complete. Restart your computer after the verification is complete and launch Ark again. Check if the crashing is resolved.
Solution 2: Rolling back/Updating Graphics drivers
If your game files are complete and not damaged, the culprit of your game crashing might be your graphics drivers. If the graphics drivers are not updated to the latest build available, it may cause issues with the running of the game. However, it should be noted that in some cases, installing the latest drivers caused further problems. Hence you have to try two methods; update your drivers to the latest build and see how it goes or try rolling back your drivers.
- Press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the device manager, navigate to Display adapters and expand the category. Right-click on your graphics driver and select Update driver software.
- Select the first option Search automatically for updated driver software. Windows will now check for the latest drivers available on Windows Update.
If you already have the latest drivers installed on your computer, attempt at uninstalling them (if your game worked perfectly before the latest driver software release).
Manually download the version of the driver which worked for your system from the manufacturer’s website and use DDU to uninstall the driver completely before installing the chosen one.
Solution 3: Removing Mods and Reducing Graphics options
If you are running a server for Ark: Survival Evolved, you should disable the mods used in the game. Mods are a great add-on to the game but may cause problems when frequent updates for the game are released. Their settings clash and the game crashes.
Also, you should try reducing the graphics options in the game. Reduce the cloud detail, the viewed distance, shadows, etc. Try playing on low graphics settings and see if this solves the crash from happening.
Solution 4: Reinstalling and Checking Hardware
If all three solutions don’t work for you, you can try to reinstall the game on your computer. The reinstall is meant to eliminate the possibility of corrupt or broken installation files on your computer. When you reinstall, Steam will automatically load your user data back onto your game.
- Launch Steam and navigate to your Games Library. Right-click on Ark: Survival Evolved and select Uninstall.
- Restart your computer after the uninstallation and download the game again from Steam.
Solution 5: Install Latest Patch
Sometimes these issues are caused due to a glitch with the current patch of the game or due to a general bug in the game files. These sorts of issues are almost every time addressed in new patches from the game developers. Therefore it is recommended to download and apply the latest ARK patch available.
- Launch Steam and sign in with your account details.
- Click on the ‘Library’ option and right-click on your game from the left tab.
- Select ‘Properties’ from the list and then click on the ‘Updates’ tab.
- Make sure that the ‘Always Keep this game up to date‘ Option is selected under the AutoUpdates option.
- This will apply the latest available patches as soon as they arrive.
- You can also check the ark survival website for any available downloads.
Solution 6: Restarting your PC
In some cases, a solution as simple as this might actually be the fix for this peculiar issue. Actually, there might be some rogue programs running the background that might be preventing the game from being started properly. Therefore, it is always recommended to give your computer a restart to fix the ARK keeps crashing issue to avoid any possible incompatibilities with the background apps.
Solution 7: Allowing Through Antivirus/Firewall
In some cases, the Firewall or Windows Defender on your computer might be blocking some features of the game or preventing it from establishing a connection with its servers. Therefore, in this step, we will be allowing the game through Antivirus and the Firewall to ensure that this is not the case with us.
- Press “Windows” + “I” to open Windows settings.
- In settings, click on the “Update and Security” option and then select “Windows Security” button from the left pane.
- Click on the “Virus and Threat Protection” entry on the right side and then select “Manage Settings” under the Virus and Threat Protection heading.
- Scroll down a bit further in the next window and click on the “Add or Remove Exclusions” under the “Exclusions” heading.
- Click on the “Add an Exclusion” button and select “Folder” from the list.
- Now, select the path to your ARK Survival Game.
- Once the folder has been added, we can move on towards allowing the game through the Windows Firewall.
- Press “Windows” + “R” to open the run prompt
- Type in “Control” and then press “Enter”.
- Select the “System and Security” option and then click on the “Windows Defender Firewall” button.
- Click on the “Allow an App or Feature through Windows Defender Firewall” option from the left pane.
- Click on the “Change Settings” button to allow the change in settings and then make sure to check both the ‘Public’ and ‘Private’ options for Steam and ARK Survival.
- Save your settings and close out of the Firewall window.
- Check and see if making these changes has fixed the issue on your computer.
Solution 8: Running as Administrator
It is also possible that the game requires admin permissions to be able to access some privileges system information or to function properly. In order to grant administrative privileges to your game, follow the steps below.
- Right-click on the desktop shortcut of the game and select “Open File Location”.
- Right-click on the game executable and select “Properties”.
- In the properties, click on the “Compatibility” tab and then check the “Run as Administrator” button.
- Make sure to click on “Apply” and then on “OK” to save this selection.
- Check and see if the ARK Survival crashes are fixed by doing so.
Solution 9: Changing Launch Parameters
In some cases, the game might require you to set some additional launch parameters on your computer in order for it to function properly. These parameters can range anywhere from setting the game to use Direct X 11 to change the number of cores that the game is permitted to use. In order to do all this with a simple command:
- Launch Steam and sign in with your information.
- After signing in to Steam, click on the “Library” option and select your game from the left pane.
- Right-click on the game and select ‘Properties” from the list.
- Click on the “Set Launch Options” button under the ‘General’ Tab.
- Type in the following line in the next Window that appears.
-USEALLAVAILABLECORES -sm4 -d3d11
- Click on ‘OK’ to save these launch parameters for the game and launch the game.
- Check and see if the issue still persists.
Solution 10: Changing Power Options
Setting the right power options just might be the solution for you especially if you are gaming on a laptop. Therefore, in this step, we will be selecting the High-Performance profile as the default for our computer. Make sure to plug in your laptop as well before trying this fix.
- Press ‘Windows’ + “R” buttons on your keyboard to open Run and type in “Control” to launch the control panel.
- Click on the “Hardware and Sound” button and then select the “Power Options” button from the list.
- Select the “High Performance” option and save your changes.
- Try to launch the game and check if making this change has fixed the issue on your computer.
Solution 11: Free Up Space in your Hard Drive
Many people seem to have fixed their issue by freeing up more space on the driver on which ARK was installed. So if you are getting frequent crashes with the game, it is best to check if there is any space on your drive that can be freed up. For a general method, you can try to run the Disk Cleanup to free up space. For that:
- Open the File Explorer and select “This PC” from the left pane.
- Right-click on the “Partition” on which the game has been installed and select “Properties”.
- Click on the “Disk Cleanup” button under the “General” tab and then click on the “OK” button.
- Let the Disk Cleanup run and if it doesn’t free up much space, you can choose to clean up system files from the third step as well.
- After running Disk Cleanup, ensure that there is at least 4 GB of free space in your system drive.
- If there isn’t, you can try to clean up more files.
- Check and see if freeing up disk space has fixed the issue on your computer.
Solution 12: Reset Game Resolution
Sometimes if you have selected an improper resolution from the in-game settings that cannot be supported by your monitor or if you have selected the Fullscreen mode, this issue might be triggered. Therefore, as a solution, we will be reconfiguring the game’s configuration file to accommodate a resolution that our monitor supports and also disable the Full-screen mode. For that:
- Closeout of Steam and the game completely.
- Navigate to the following location on your computer and make sure to adjust if you have chosen a custom file path.
- There should be a GameUserSettings.ini file inside this location.
- Open this file and look for the following settings inside the file.
ResolutionSizeX=1920 ResolutionSizeY=1080 bUseDesktopResolutionForFullscreen=False FullscreenMode= 0 bUseVSync=False
- The values in front of these settings might be something else but they will be present in all users’ configuration files.
- Make sure to change the values to the ones listed in the fourth step and save your changes to the file before exiting.
- Launch the game and check to see if the issue still persists.
Solution 13: Underclock GPU
This issue was seen amongst almost all overclockers and with users that were running factory overclock settings on their GPUs. Unfortunately, ARK doesn’t respond well to overclockers and that is a common issue for most people with this error. Therefore, in this step, we will be downloading a program to underclock our GPU a bit and check if that fixes our issue.
- Download the MSI Afterburner program from here if you don’t already have it installed on your computer.
- After downloading, click on the executable to run the program and install it on your computer by following the on-screen instructions.
- After installing, launch the program and grant it whatever permissions that the UAC prompt on your screen asks you to.
- While Overclocking is a risky procedure, if you proceed with caution, underclocking shouldn’t be risky at all.
- After launching MSI Afterburner, reduce the “Core Clock” slider a bit and set it to somewhere around “-50”.
- Do the same for the memory clock and click on the “Apply” button.
- This should underclock your card a bit and now you can try to run the game.
- Check and see if ARK still crashes.
Note: Some people also suggested underclocking and undervolting the CPU so you can try that as well if you ever overclocked your CPU. Also make sure to set your Terrain Shadows setting to Low or OFF because that glitches out the game for some of the newer Graphics Cards.
Solution 14: Running in Compatibility Mode
It is possible that the game might not be fully compatible with the operating system that you are using on your computer. Therefore, in this step, we will be running it in compatibility mode for Service Pack 1 which should get rid of some incompatibility issues. For that:
- Navigate to the game installation folder from the File Explorer.
- Right-click on the game executable and select “Properties”.
- Click on the “Compatibility” tab and select the “Run this Program in Compatibility Mode for” option.
- Select the “Service Pack 1” option from the list of available ones and make sure to click on “Apply” to save your changes.
- Click on “OK” to close the window and check to see if the issue persists.
Solution 15: Selecting Appropriate GPU
Most gaming Laptops contain a Dedicated and Integrated GPU and they switch between the two to conserve power in low usage scenarios. However, if your laptop is configured to use the integrated GPU to run the game, this issue might be triggered. Therefore, in this step, we will be selecting the Nvidia GPU from the Control Panel. For that:
- Right-click anywhere on your desktop and select “Nvidia Control Panel” from the list.
- In the Nvidia Control Panel, click on the “Configure Surround, PhysX” option under the “3D Settings” option.
- Click on the “Processor” dropdown under the Physx Settings heading and select your GPU from the list.
- Click on “Apply” to save your changes and exit out of the Control panel.
- Check and see if doing so fixes this issue on your computer.
Solution 16: Clear Download Cache
Sometimes, the hurdle in front of applying a game patch or running the game properly might be a corrupted download cache. Therefore, in this step, we will be clearing the game’s Download cache from Steam. In order to do that:
- Launch Steam and login with your credentials.
- Click on the “Steam” option in the upper left corner and then select “settings” from the list.
- In Steam settings, select “Downloads” from the left pane and then click on the “Clear Downloads Cache” button on the right side of the window.
- Click on “OK” in the prompt and wait for the cache to be cleared.
- Launch the game and check to see if doing so has fixed the issue.
If even the reinstallation doesn’t work in your case, you can try to launch the game directly through the game folder without Steam, if that doesn’t work for you as well. You should check your computer hardware for problems. We got several user reports where faulty modules such as RAM and PSU caused the PC to crash whenever Ark started using the hardware resources. If you are experiencing the crashing with other resource-consuming applications as well, you should check your hardware independently. Also, turn down the resolutions slider a bit even if your hardware can support it and check if that fixes the issue for you, in addition to that, unselect some DLCs and additional features to take some load off your system and it can also end up fixing the issue.