How to Fix DirectX encountered an Unrecoverable Error in Windows?

DirectX is a collection of APIs developed and released by Microsoft itself. Has become the standard library for high-end graphics which the majority of games make use of in their daily operations. Like all other software plugins, DirectX also receives periodic version releases with the newer ones having more functionalities and advanced features.

DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error in Windows

However, despite being one of the core components used in Windows gaming, we received several reports from users that they encountered the error message ‘DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error’ whenever they try to launch their games on their computers. This is a very common scenario and occurs with a lot of different people. In this article, we will go through all the reasons as to why this occurs and what the possible workarounds are for this problem.

What causes the error ‘DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error’ in Windows?

After analyzing several user reports and combining our results, we concluded that the issue occurred due to several different reasons ranging from hardware issues to software ones. Some of them are but not limited to:

  • Incomplete requirements: In some cases which we came across, we saw that users didn’t have the specified requirements of the game on their computers. If the DirectX requirement isn’t complete, you might face the error message.
  • Corrupt graphics drivers: Graphics drivers are the main components that convey information between the OS and the hardware. If the graphics drivers themselves are corrupt and not working, you will experience a lot of problems including the one under discussion.
  • Display Scaling: Display scaling is a feature in Windows which allows you to manipulate the size of your display. Despite its usefulness, it is known to cause issues with DirectX components.
  • Outdated game: Some users faced the error message if they didn’t have the latest version of the game installed on their computer. Updating your game to the latest build/patch might fix the issue instantly.
  • Outdated DirectX: DirectX might be installed on your computer and might be functioning properly but it might be outdated. Updating it to the latest build might help.
  • Advanced graphics settings: Some graphics cards allow users to set advanced variables just as shadow quality according to their liking but it has proven to cause problems with DirectX. Disabling these options might do the trick for you.

Before we move on with the solutions, make sure that you are logged in as an administrator and have an active internet connection as we will be updated quite a lot of different components.

1. Checking Game Requirements

Before we start with other technical solutions, you must check whether your hardware even meets the initial requirements of the game. Now there are several things which you should look for, for example, the RAM, CPU, Graphics card, etc. but, the most important one, in this case, is the DirectX version.

Normally, every game which utilizes the API mentions it inside its requirements. Once you check the requirement of DirectX, you need to make sure that your hardware supports that version. Numerous users get confused because they have the latest DirectX version installed but, since their hardware doesn’t support that version, they experience the error message.

Checking Graphics Driver Properties

Note the DirectX requirement and navigate to your graphics hardware manufacturer and open up the details of the DirectX version of it. If a newer version is required in the game’s requirements, you need to upgrade your graphics card.

Note: For people who are not using the graphics card to play the game, they should instead check their CPU support for that DirectX version since the onboard graphics system are handling all the graphics requirements of the computer.

2. Installing Latest DirectX Version

If the previous solution checks out and your hardware does indeed support the DirectX version of the game, we should check whether the correct DirectX version is installed on your computer. If it isn’t, we will navigate to Microsoft’s official website and install the DirectX version from there. Make sure that you are logged in as an administrator before you proceed.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “dxdiag” in the dialogue box, and press Enter.
  2. Once the application opens up, you will see the details of your system specifications. From here, check the DirectX version.
    Checking DirectX Version
  3. If the latest version of DirectX isn’t installed on your computer, you should search for it and find Microsoft’s official download page.
  4. Click on the button of Download and save the executable file to an accessible location.
    Downloading the Latest DirectX version
  5. Later, right-click on it and select Run as administrator. Let the installation wizard do its magic and wait for the process to complete.
  6. Restart your computer after the installation has finished, launch the game and see if the issue is fixed.

Note: We also came across some cases where the required version of DirectX was shown in the specifications but the latest technology update wasn’t installed. Hence, we recommend that you go to Microsoft’s download site nonetheless and install the latest version from there.

3. Changing Display Scaling

The display scaling on your computer determines how much your screen is magnified or reduced in size on your computer. This is a very nifty feature for various users including those who have issues with their vision. Even though this doesn’t conflict with DirectX or the game’s graphics mechanics in any way, we saw some cases where it did.

Here in this solution, we will navigate to your display settings and change the scaling level and see if this fixes the problem.

  1. Right-click on your Desktop and click on Display settings.
    Display settings – Windows
  2. Once in Display settings, look for the heading of Scale and layout. Underneath, you will see several options. Choose from them and click on the one which has Recommended
    Changing the Scaling of the screen
  3. Once done, restart your completely and check if the issue is resolved for good.

4. Updating Game/Windows to the Latest Build

Another thing to try before move on to updating your graphics card is checking whether you have the updated version of the game installed on your computer or not. Manufacturers release updates to target new changes in the OS and to support additional features as well. Some updates are ‘critical’ in nature and must be installed as soon as possible. If any of these ‘critical’ updates are not installed, you will experience the error message under discussion.

In this solution, we will update both your game and the operating system and see if this fixes the problem for us.

First, we will update Windows.

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the search bar, write Update in the dialogue box and open the Update settings.
  2. Once in the update settings, click on Check for updates. The computer will now connect to Microsoft servers and see if there is any update available. If there are any updates already highlighted, perform them immediately.
    Updating Windows
  3. Restart your computer after the update has been installed. Now, open your game (or game client like Steam or Blizzard), and go to the update section. Check if there are any updates available. If they are, download and install them.
    Updating Game through Steam
  4. Restart your computer after the update and check if the issue is resolved for good.

5. Tinkering Advanced Graphics Options

Another workaround is where you disable or lower your advanced graphics settings on your game. This is a very important step which majority of the users tend to ignore. Advanced graphics settings such as Shadow control etc. consume a lot more resources on your computer which in turn can cause several issues including the error message DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error.

You can easily find the graphics options either in the control panel of different graphics card settings. You should also navigate to the in-game graphics settings of the game and check the settings there. Try to lower the settings to a minimum. You can also consider resetting settings to default values and see if this eradicates the DirectX error message. Either way, make sure that your graphics settings are checked before moving to the next solution.

6. Using DirectX Control Panel

The last thing to try before we move on to installing the latest drivers on your computer is downloading the DirectX control panel and changing the preference of the game from there. Your computer supports and even may have the correct version of DirectX but the game keeps accessing the old version. This is where the control panel comes into play. Make sure that you have an active internet connection.

  1. Open your browser and download the file dxcpl using the following links:

64-bit: dxcpl (64-bit)

32-bit: dxcpl(32-bit)

  1. Once the installation folders are downloaded, launch it using an administrator account.
    Edit list – dxcpl
  2. Now, click on Edit List from the list of options. Now, click on the button Add from the next screen.
    Adding game’s directory
  3. Navigate to the executable of your game and select it. Once back at the main screen, click on Device settings and make sure that the highest level is selected.
    Changing Feature Limit
  4. Save changes and exit. Restart your computer and launch the game. Check if the issue is resolved for good.

7. Updating Graphics Drivers

The last we can do to eradicate the DirectX error is to make sure that you have the latest graphics drivers installed on your computer. Here, this will also rule out the situation where your graphics drivers are corrupt on incomplete in their installation. Here in this solution, we will first uninstall the current graphics drivers from your computer using DDU and then install the default drivers. Then we will check if the issue is resolved. If it isn’t, we will update the drivers manually.

  1. After installing Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), launch your computer in safe mode. You can check our article on how to boot your computer into safe mode.
  2. After launching the DDU, select the first option “Clean and restart”. This will uninstall the current drivers completely from your computer.
    Cleaning and restart – DDU
  3. Now after the uninstallation, boot your computer normally without safe mode. Press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box, and press Enter. Right-click on any space and select “Search for hardware changes”. The default drivers will be installed. Try launching the game and check if this solves the problem.
  4. In the majority of the cases, the default drivers will not work for you so you can either install the latest drivers through Windows update or navigate to your manufacturer’s website and download the latest ones.
    Locate the graphics drivers, right-click on them and click on Update Driver.

    Updating Driver
  5. After you have installed the drivers, restart your computer and check if the problem is solved.

Note: Also consider uninstalling NVIDIA Sound drivers from your computer. This is known to cause issues.

If none of these methods shown above helped you at all, it’s possible that there is a third-party program present on your computer that is trying to interfere with the graphics driver, make sure to close and overclocking program you have running in the background such as “MSI afterburner” as they can interfere with the in-game FPS monitoring system. Also, make sure to disable any kind of overlay you have present on your computers such as Discord’s Overlay or Overwolf as they tend to use Hardware Acceleration of your GPU to smoothen the overlays which increase the load on your GPU and GPU driver. Especially if you are using programs such as Rainmeter and Wallpaper Engine to enhance the looks of your computer that can seriously cost you a lot of GPU power.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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