StarCraft is one of Blizzard’s flagship games and features settings of military and science fiction. The game quickly rose up the ranks and is now considered one of the most popular sci-fi games out there in the gaming work. It is a franchise and newer iterations are still being rolled out.
However, despite the popularity of the game, we came across numerous situations where the game was crashing. The crashing occurred either randomly in-game or when it was being started or on exit. In this article, we will go through all the reasons as to why this occurs and what the possible workarounds are to fix the problem.
What causes StarCraft 2 to Crash?
After investigating the user reports and analyzing the game on our own computers, we came to the conclusion that the crashing occurred due to several different reasons. Some of the reasons as to why the crashing occurs are but not limited to:
- System Requirements: If the system requirements of StarCraft are not being met, you will definitely experience crashing issues no matter what.
- Background applications: There might be background applications which might be either conflicting with the game or competing for resources. In this case, the game either crashing or freezes randomly.
- NVIDIA Sound Drivers: NVIDIA drivers (especially sound drivers) are known to cause several problems whenever an update is released. Reinstalling or disabling them might be the trick in your case.
- Game installed in external hard drive: Even though external hard drives have a very fast read/write ratio, they still tend to cause problems especially when a game is running. This probably because a lot of stuff has to be exchanged between the RAM and the external hard drive.
- Outdated game: Blizzard’s application automatically tries to install all the latest updates to your game automatically without you having to do anything. However, we saw cases where it missed and users faced the crashing issue because of an outdated version of the game.
- Corrupt/outdated Graphics Drivers: Graphics drivers are the main components which transmit information between your graphics card and the operating system. If your graphics drivers are somehow corrupt or outdated, you will experience numerous issues including the crashing.
- Variables configuration file missing: StarCraft has a file named ‘variables.txt’ in your documents from where it loads all the configurations and preferences stored when it launches. If the file is missing or is manipulated, the game will get stuck and crash.
- Corrupt game settings: Like every game, StarCraft also allows you to set game preferences inside the game. If these preferences are set incorrectly or there is a system conflict, you will experience issues like crashing.
- Damaged game files: This cause cannot be left out; if the very game files are somehow corrupt or damaged, the game will act bizarrely and cause several issues.
Before proceeding, make sure that you are logged in as an administrator and have an active internet connection. Also, save your progress on the cloud as we will be manipulating with the game a lot.
Pre-requisite: System Requirements
Before we indulge in detailed solutions, you should make sure that your system meets all the minimum system requirements. If the requirements are not met, you will definitely experience several issues ranging from crashing to freezing.
System Requirements (Minimum) CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ RAM: 2 GB OS: Windows 7 / Windows 8 / Windows 10 VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT or ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better PIXEL SHADER: 3.0 VERTEX SHADER: 3.0 FREE DISK SPACE: 30 GB DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 64 MB
System Requirements (Recommended) CPU: Intel Core i5 or AMD FX Series Processor or better RAM: 4 GB OS: Windows 10 64-bit VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 or AMD Radeon HD 7790 or better PIXEL SHADER: 5.0 VERTEX SHADER: 5.0 FREE DISK SPACE: 30 GB DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 1024 MB
Make sure that you have the recommended system requirements at-least. If you have a low-end PC, try setting the graphics to a minimum.
Solution 1: Checking Third-Party Applications and Changing Priority
Before we start any technical workarounds, we will try checking if there are any third-party applications running in the background which might be conflicting with StarCraft 2 or competing for resources. Whenever the game starts, all the CPU power should be dedicated to the game for its running. In this solution, we will navigate to the task manager and force-close any extra applications. Later, we will also change the priority of the game and see if this makes a difference in our case.
- Press Windows + R, type “taskmgr” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the task manager, look at all the processes running in the background. Look for any process which you might think be consuming resources. Right-click on it and select End Task.
- Now try launching StarCraft 2 again and see if the lag issue is fixed for good.
If the latter doesn’t fix the problem and you still experience crashes, we will navigate to the task manager again and change the priority of the game itself.
- Open the task manager again as we did in the previous step and navigate to the tab of Details.
- Now, locate StarCraft 2 from the list, right-click it and select Set Priority > Realtime (or High).
- After making changes, switch back to the game and check if the crashing is fixed for good.
Solution 2: Checking Installation Directory
Another case where StarCraft 2 might crash is when it is not present in the correct directory in your computer. If you have moved computers recently or for any reason, installed the game to an external hard drive, you will experience numerous issues like the game freezing abruptly, crashing frequently and what not.
Hence, you should navigate to the installation folder of the game and check the installation directory. If you see that the game is installed in an external hard drive, you should uninstall the game from there and reinstall it to the correct in-built hard drive. Make sure to restart your computer before launching the game after installing it.
Solution 3: Repairing StarCraft 2
StarCraft’s game files themselves might be corrupt and may be missing several modules. If this is the case, the game will display bizarre behavior including the crashing and freezing scenarios. Furthermore, you will also notice that the game doesn’t run properly and has issues in the game mechanics as well.
In this solution, we will open the Blizzard client and use the Scan and repair tool which will automatically check all the game files and if it finds any discrepancy, it will fix it automatically.
Hearthstone might be corrupt or have incomplete installation files. This is a very common issue
- Open the Blizzard application. Now click on the Games tab and select StarCraft 2 from the left navigation pane. Now click Options and select Scan and Repair.
- When the scan starts, you will see a progress bar at the bottom of the screen showing the statistics. Make sure that you let the process complete before restarting your computer and launching the game again.
Solution 4: Resetting In-Game Options
Almost every game has the option where you can change the in-game behavior including key-binding, graphics settings, preferences, etc. These options make the game more personalized to connect with the gamer on a whole new personal level. However, despite being one of the simplest features out there, we got reports from several sources that these in-game settings caused clashes with the game when an update was released.
In this solution, we will navigate to the in-game settings and reset them to default settings. This will solve any problem is associated with the in-game settings.
Note: This solution will erase all your in-game preferences. You can back them up locally before proceeding in case you need to replace them.
- Launch the Blizzard application and click the icon at the top-left side of the screen and click on
- Once the Settings window is opened, click on Game Settings. Now all the game settings will be listed here. Scroll down and look for StarCraft 2. When the settings load, click on Reset In-Game Options.
- Click on Done after this is done. Now Restart the Blizzard application and run your game. Check if the issue is resolved and there is no more crashing.
Solution 5: Checking for ‘Variables.txt’
Every StarCraft game creates a file named as ‘variables.txt’ in your documents to save all the preferences and configurations of the game. This may sometimes include variables which the game checks before it loads up on your computer. According to Blizzard officials, this file is very crucial to the system and its role cannot be ignored. We saw reports where users reported that OneDrive seemed to be manipulating the file and removed it from the local storage and stored it on the cloud. When this occurred, the game couldn’t locate the file when needed and crashed.
In this article, we will navigate to the directory of the file and make sure that the file is present there. Also, we will safeguard it from OneDrive.
- Press Windows + E to launch Windows Explorer. Once in the explorer, navigate to the following address:
- Here, if you see the StarCraft folder, cut it and navigate to your original documents. Paste the folder there. Make sure that the ‘variables’ file is complete.
- If you have issues placing the file to the correct directory, you can always ask a friend for the file and also take a look at his directory and paste it there.
Solution 6: Updating Graphics Drivers
Another cause which might be forcing StarCraft 2 to crash on your computer might be where the graphics drivers are not working properly on your computer. In the gaming industry, graphics drivers are considered very volatile and seem to break on updates or when new features are introduced. In this solution, we will first remove the graphics drivers from your computer completely using DDU and then attempt at installing the latest ones. Download and install DDU (Display driver uninstaller) from its official website.
- 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.
- After launching the DDU, select the first option “Clean and restart”. This will uninstall the current drivers completely from your computer.
- 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 empty space and select “Search for hardware changes”. The default drivers will be installed. Try launching the game and check if this solves the problem.
- 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.
- 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.
Solution 7: Reinstalling StarCraft 2
If all the above methods fail, we will attempt at reinstalling StarCraft 2 completely from scratch. There are chances that the game is somehow damaged beyond repair using the repair tool we used earlier. Here, make sure that you have your Blizzard credentials as you might be asked to enter them or enter the game download code.
- Press Windows + R, type “appwiz.cpl” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the application manager, search for StarCraft 2, right-click on it and select Uninstall.
Note: You can also uninstall the game using Blizzard’s application.
- Restart your computer. Now, navigate to StarCraft’s official website and download the game from there. You can also download the game from Blizzard’s store.