08/01/2013

Crash-To-Desktop Workaround

Behold, it's time for one of my biannual posts with actually useful information in it!

I've complained in the past that my game has been crashing non-stop since patch 1.4. It's a widely known issue, but more than three months later there still hasn't been any kind of update from Bioware on how to actually get it fixed.

How do you know whether you're affected by this particular problem and not something else?

1. It started with patch 1.4.
2. You're probably running a 32-bit operation system.
3. Your game will crash to desktop very frequently, very smoothly, and without giving any kind of error message. Most commonly this happens at points when it's very obviously trying to load more information, such as when you're on a loading screen, using quick travel, initiating a conversation or something similar; however, the game will crash after a while regardless of what you do, even if you're just idling in a random spot. The common consensus seems to be that this is due to a memory leak in the game.

Today I was having a quick look at the official forum thread on the subject to see whether there were any updates, when I stumbled upon a post on page 55 where another player actually offered a simple workaround for the issue. Holy crap! User Aortaex had the following to say:

After I tried this I didn't have single crash for over month now, before that it was either 1.5 hour idle game crash time or crashing to desktop after every 5th or 6th loading screen usually after switching from one char to another, hope it will work for you guys as well.

To enable the 3GB switch on Windows Vista™ or Windows 7:

1 . Right-click Command Prompt in the Accessories program group of the Start menu. Click Run as Administrator.
2. At the command prompt, enter "bcdedit /set increaseuserva 3072"
3. Restart the computer.


Since several people replied to his post to say that this method had worked for them as well and seeing how it was a really simple thing to do (basically it just allows the game to use more memory), I tried it myself today (after having previously verified that today's patch still hadn't done anything to fix the issue), and for the first time in several months I was actually able to play all evening without experiencing a single crash. Logging on to all my alts, doing multiple warzones, traversing whole planets - none of it a problem. It was amazing.

In part I just wanted to share my joy about this on here (really, you don't know what a pain it is when your favourite game constantly crashes on you unless you've experienced it yourself), but I also thought that it was generally worth spreading the love around since this information is currently very well hidden in the middle of that one thread on the official forums. I consider myself quite lucky for having come across it at all. I don't know if this fix will work for everyone (I saw at least one comment about it supposedly only working in windowed mode for example, which is how I always play anyway), but if you've been as frustrated with this problem as I have been over the past few months, it's definitely worth a try.

9 comments:

  1. That was just the most awsome thing to read. I dont have the problem myself as i run 64-bit and it works. But my boyfreind is running 32-bit and it crashes all the time and he get mad/annyoed. So thank you for that awesome post!
    Also I love your blog! Keep it up !

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  2. Grats on the solution! It's bugging me now, I know I applied the same solution to my partner's PC when it was crashing early after some game's launch, maybe it was GW2.

    I do remember having the SWTOR client very briefly go through a 'endless loading' phase soon after launch, some patch broke something and the game just would sit on the loading screen more often than not. It was fixed quickly enough though so the fact this bug hasn't been squashed officially sooner is a shame.

    The fact that the console switch "fixes" it does make it possible it's beyond Bioware's influence - it could be a wider issue with Direct X or the Windows 32 system.

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    1. Ah yes, the days of getting stuck on the loading screen - I remember them well, but as you said that got fixed reasonably quickly.

      Regardless of the source of the CTD issue, I've just found it frustrating that Bioware has shown so little interest in dealing with it, considering that it's a pretty damn disruptive problem to have. It's telling that this solution came from a user and not customer service.

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  3. Good to hear it got fixed!

    I was having issues with the new PC crashing to desktop (64-bit machine), but when I went to AMD's website and got the latest drivers for the ATI card, the crashes went away. Just goes to show that you don't wait for Microsoft to put the drivers in their queue....

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    1. I had one or two instances of crashing to desktop (also on 64-bit), but I think the most recent driver update for NVidia fixed mine, too. (It didn't happen often enough for me to be sure of the timing. I don't _think_ it's happened since, but I couldn't swear to the fact.)

      But it certainly wasn't happening all the time like is happening to the 32-bit folks.

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  4. I have been having a similar problem (64 bit here) except that it doesn't crash to desktop it actually opens up my browser and flips me to that. Kinda like an automatic alt-tab. Sucks when your in the middle of PvP and suddenly your scrambling to reopen your screen lol. Thanks for this and I will try it when I get home today.

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    1. That sounds like a very different kind of problem to me, so I'm not sure how this would help... though I suppose it can't hurt to try either.

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  5. I created a system restore point before trying that out - beats having to reinstall the whole system. But it seems to have solved the problem. Thanks for sharing your find!

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  6. Much appreciated on this. After sifting through about 25 pages on the SW forums I had given up and assumed a memory leak. Last night was the first night in my 2 months of play that I could get a good 4 hour session in without a crash. Big thanks!

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