Red Dead Redemption 2 Won’t Launch? Try these fixes

Red Dead Redemption 2 Not Launching

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a highly popular game of the modern time and since its release, lots of positive reviews are received from gamers worldwide. But just like other PC games, this is also not free from errors. Many users are disheartened with the Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch issues on their device while trying to launch the game and then closes.

Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch
Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch

After investigating we find out that there are many different reasons why the Red Dead Redemption 2 exited unexpectedly upon launching and the game become unplayable. This is really annoying but luckily there are ways that work for you to get past the error in your case. But before directly heading to the fixes it is important to understand the common culprits causing the error.

What Causes the “Red Dead Redemption 2 Won’t Launch” Problem?

  • Running out of storage – If your system is not having the recommended space to run the game it starts causing issues upon launching and won’t run smoothly. So, make sure to check the system requirements before installing the game.
  • Outdated drivers – Drivers are important to run the game and the apps properly. But if your GPU driver or the physics module is outdated or corrupted it start causing issue with Windows 11 and the older version. Also, if you haven’t updated the drivers for a long time then look for the latest drivers that are installing it to fix the Red Dead Redemption 2 crashing issue.
  • Other apps conflict – Sometimes the other apps installed on your system start conflicting with the game files and stop them from launching. So here it is suggested to check for the unwanted or the start-up program running in the background.
  • Launcher Problem – Running an outdated Rockstar game can possibly cause some sort of bugs with the game and stop it from launching. So, check if you haven’t updated the launcher then check for the latest update and update the launcher, after that try to launch the game.
  • Antivirus Limitations – Another possible reason for the game to not launch is the antivirus installed on your system might be thinking of the game files as a suspicious file and blocking them from running, so disabling the security program first and then launching the game might work for you.
  • Game file corruption– It’s not unusual to face the problem occurring in the situations where Red Dead Redemption 2 games files are affected due to the corruption (possibly due to an intermittent update or a false positive). In this situation verifying the game files’ integrity may work for you
  • Not running the game from the administrator account– In many situations the game requires administrative rights to run on the Windows system. If you are launching the red dead Redemption 2 without administrative privileges, this might stop the game from running properly. So, make sure to add the admin rights to your current account and then launch the game.

So, these are the possible culprits that might be causing problems in your case. Now follow the potential fixes to get past the Red Dead Redemption 2 not launching on your PC problem.

Run RDR 2Game as Administrator

By running your game in administrator mode, you will be unlocking permissions. Giving your game administrator rights allow the game to function properly. Applying the administrator rights makes sure that the application has been complete rights to run without any restrictions.

  1. Go to Settings after opening Rockstar Games Launcher.
  2. Go to My Installed Games, and then select Red Dead Redemption 2.
  3. Select the option Open under View Installation Folder.
  4. Then right-click on RDR2 and proceed to select Properties.
  5. Now select the Compatibility tab and check the box saying Run this program as an administrator and Disable full-Screen optimization. Proceed to click on Apply and then OK.
    Run this program as an administrator

Now try launching the game, if it still exits unexpectedly then follow the next potential solution.

Update your Rockstar Launcher

If you are using an outdated or corrupted game launcher then in this case you may encounter errors and bugs like failing to connect to the Rockstar games library while playing the game. So, it is recommended you update your Rockstar game launcher to avoid such issues and play the game smoothly without facing any errors. Here is the instruction to do so:

  1. First, close the Game completely from your PC and also close the Launcher,
  2. You can close it completely from the Task Manager.
    Close programs from Task Manager
  3. Now, restart your launcher and follow the steps to update the launcher with the latest updates
  4. In case you are using an updated version then try the below-given solution to fix this issue.

Check for Windows Updates

If you are encountering any bugs and errors while playing and game such as Red Dead Redemption 2 then updating your Windows PC to its latest version might help. The outdated Windows version conflicts with the latest game files and stops it from launching. So here are the instructions to update your Windows PC:

  1. First, click on the Windows home button after that hit on the Settings button.
  2. Now, locate the Windows Update option and then click on the Check for updates. If you have any latest updates available then download and then hit on the install button.
    Check for Updates
  3. Once it is done then restart your PC and check whether the issue is fixed or not.

Update the Graphics card

Graphics card drivers are very important to run games properly on your system. So, it is necessary to keep your drivers updated or you may face the issue, not only in this game but in other games as well. Follow the steps mentioned below to update your graphics card driver:

  1. Go to the Start Menu at the bottom left of your home screen and search for Control Panel.
  2. Click on the option View Devices and Printers from the control panel.
    View Devices and Printers – Control Panel
  3. Now click the option which shows your device name and proceed to click on the hardware tab.
  4. And click on the graphics card’s name.
  5. Then navigate to Driver’s tab and click on the Update Driver Option.
    Click on Update driver
  6. Now select the option Search automatically for updated driver software.
    Search Automatically for Updated Graphics Driver

After following all the processes, reboot your system to check whether the game launches or is still unable to start it.

Moreover, you can also manually update the driver if unable to update it automatically. Visit the driver manufacturer’s official website (eg, NVIDIA, AMD) and then download the driver which is compatible with your Windows version (64 or 84 bit). After getting it downloaded, open the file which has been downloaded and follow all the on-screen instructions shown to install it.

Change your in-game graphics API to the DirectX 12

The API in your game by default has been set to Vulkan. This doesn’t mean it will be giving you effective results by any means. So, in this case, you can try switching to DirectX 12 to overcome the Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch issue. You could also change the in-game graphics API if you get the Unknown error FFFF whenever you try to launch the game.

Follow the steps below to do this –

  1. Open the game and go to Settings.
  2. Click on the Device Manager and then right-click on the Graphics card and choose Disable.
    Disabling the integrated graphics card on your computer
  3. Now click on the option Graphics in the game
    Click on Graphics
  4. Then start the Red Dead Redemption 2 game on your PC and then in the game settings and under Advanced settings and set it to Unlock.
  5. After unlocking the settings go to the Graphics API section and modify the Vulkan to DirectX12 or the DirectX11 by clicking on the arrow buttons.
    Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch
    Modify the Vulkan to DirectX12 under graphics API

To apply all the changes press, Enter, and re-enable the disabled graphics card from the device manager. Run the game again by restarting your launcher to see whether the error has gone or not.

Delete the Game Settings folder

Another possible reason for you to get this error is Setting folder of your game has become corrupted and stopped the game from launching. Deleting this folder will resolve the issue. Follow the steps to delete the setting folder and fix this game not launch issue:

  1. Press Windows + R buttons from your keyboard. And in the Run box type documents and in the Documents window and click on the folder named Rockstar Games.
    Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch
    Click on the Rockstar game folder
  2. Then click on the Red Dead Redemption 2 folder.
  3. Delete the Settings folder.
Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch
Delete the Settings folder in RDR2

After you have deleted the settings folder, you would be able to run the game. If this process doesn’t work out for you, move to the next fix.

Delete Your Launcher Game Profile Details

If the details of your profile in the game become corrupt, there is a high probability that it would not give you permission for launching the game. So, deleting your profile might help.

  1. Open your game and go to Settings.
  2. There select the option Account information and go to the Delete local profile section, and click on Delete.
    Delete local profile
  3. Then click on Confirm.

You will be required to sign in to the launcher again as it will be removing all your profile details.

Note – Your saved games will not be deleted.

Now sign in to your launcher and then launch the RRD2 game.

Remove Version.dll File from Game Directory

Many gamers suggested on Reddit that deleting the version.dll file from the game directory, helped them to fix the problem, well it is very helpful but it involves risk. No doubt, it helped many RDR2 players still you have to save game data before applying this fix.

  1. Go to your game directory, ie, the folder where your game is installed in your system.
  2. Look for a file named version.dll and then remove it from the directory of your game.

Now launch the game and see whether you are able to launch Red Dead Redemption 2 game or not.

Verify the Integrity of the Game

If you are unable to launch the game, then there is a possibility that the game files are corrupted or damaged. And verifying the integrity of the game file using any of the launchers like Steam, epic games or rockstar launcher may work for you to solve the problem.

Follow the steps below to check for any broken or corrupted files and then replace them with fixed ones:

  1. Firstly, open the Steam launcher.
  2. Then click on the Library option.
    Accessing the Library folder
  3. Right-click on the name of your game and then choose Properties.
  4. Then you need to choose the option to verify the integrity of the game file.
    Verifying the integrity of the game files

Let the whole process get complete and then you can try restarting the game to check whether the issue has gone or not.

Turn Off Antivirus Software

Most of the users who are using Windows Defender or any other antivirus on their system are likely to face the game not getting launched problem. These applications don’t allow some game files to run as they think there can be a possible virus threat and block the game files.

If you are running Windows Defender or any other security applications then disable Windows defender and then try launching the game.

Add game Folder to Scan Exclusions List

It is a possibility that your game is being blocked by Windows Defender from getting launched and if disabling it you are able to launch the game then adding the game to the exclusion list might work for you. So, follow the below-given instruction to fix this issue:

  1. Go to the Search box in the taskbar, type Windows Security, and from the results shown click on Windows Security.
  2. Then click the tab Virus & threat protection and then move down to Virus & threat protection settings section and then click the option Manage Settings.
    Open up the Virus & Threat Protection settings
  3. Move down and from the Exclusions section, click the option Add or remove exclusions.
    Add or remove exclusions
  4. Now click on Add an exclusion and then select File
  5. Move to Windows (C:) and then click on the Program Files folder.
    Program Files >> Properties
  6. Locate and click on the folder named Rockstar Games.
  7. In it click on the folder Red Dead Redemption 2.
  8. Again, go down and select RDR2.exe
  9. Now after this try to launch the game

Check if this works for you.

End/close Background Running Processes

The unwanted or problematic application running in the background of your system can also conflict with the RDR2 game files and stop it from launching then also you may face this issue. Software that often conflicted with Red Dead Redemption at Rockstar Games included f.lux, MSI Afterburner, NZXT CAM, and EVGA Precision XOC.

To close background applications from your Windows PC open the task Manager and follow all the instructions one by one:

  1. First, click on the Windows button, and then in the search box type Task manager.
  2. Now, click on the task manager application, here you will get a Processes tab click on it.
    Accessing the Processes tab
  3. After that navigate to the aforementioned software or other unwanted programs
  4. Here you will get all the software lists, so click one by one on each software and hit on the End Task.
    Ending MS Teams Processes
  5. Close Task Manager once it is done, now open the game and check if you are still facing the issue or not.

It is estimated after following all the listed solutions you are managed to solve the Red Dead Redemption 2 not launching problem. But if in case still unable to launch it then uninstall the game completely and reinstall the game on your Windows system and it will start launching without any trouble.

Hardeep Kaur
Hardeep is a passionate technical writer with more than 7 years of experience. She has a keen interest in PC games, Windows OS and everything surrounding it. She is a technology enthusiast and fascinated with technology since her childhood days.
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