Half-Life 2 Episode One – Troubleshooting, crashes; everything you need to know

A new post regarding Orange Box and Half-Life 2 Episode Two has been posted.

Note: This post is for anyone who has attempted to play Half-Life 2 Episode One and run into various crashes or problems. In my struggles to get the game working on my computer I’ve noticed many forums with threads started by users who are having problems with the game but answers to these problems seem spread out across various forums. I’ll try to be as logical as possible when explaining the various ways to solve these problems.

Update 20th, June 2007: I’ve added some additional information at the bottom of this post for people who reported a problem with pink and black boxes appearing where walls and doors should be. Scroll to the bottom to read.

Update 4th, July 2007: Ensure that you read all the comments after my initial post. This entry now has over 40 comments and many people have submitted additional advice and support in these comments that may help with any problems you’re facing. If a solution to your problem can’t be found in my first post it may be there in the subsequent comments.

Update 1st November 2007: Well this page has gotten more attention then I ever thought. Now with the release of the Orange Box, I’m sure we’re going to start seeing more people coming here asking for advice. I just wanted to make a quick point I haven’t had a chance to buy the Orange Box yet as I’m currently finishing my University Honours Thesis. So I’m not sure if the problems I and many others experienced with Episode One is going to re-surface with Episode Two. So what I wanted to ask was that if anyone has any troubles with Orange Box, or even better some solutions to any problems could you post it in the comments so that others can see and perhaps give some advice or gain some advice. When I finally get a chance to play it I’ll post my comments in a new blog but until then I’ll have to rely on others to provide feedback and advice. Cheers.

Update 5th November 2007: A big props to freakoftheuniverse for discovering a potential fix to the sound looping problem. The link to the fix is available [url=http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.html?p=6764135&postcount=1247]here[/url]. A few responses have verified that this fix does work. A word of warning though, the fix involves editing page pool sizes so make sure you know what you’re doing and are aware of the risks before attempting this fix.

Update 20th November 2007: I’ve posted a new thread for Valve’s new release, The Orange Box. It includes my comments on the game and some solutions to problems I had with crashes during Half-Life 2 Episode Two. If you have any issues with The Orange Box or Half-Life 2 Episode 2 then post them there. The post can be found here

A few days ago I finally got around to purchasing Half-Life 2 Episode One. I’m a huge fan of the ground-breaking Half-Life franchise and was really looking forward to playing the game, especially as I had purchased a laptop between now and when I’d played Half-Life 2 and was eager to see the game on a Direct X 9 video card.

However, much to my dismay I found the game to suffer from numerous crashes and it has taken me quite some time to get the game running stably. What I’ll do first is run through the crashes I experienced and the solutions I came up with before giving my opinion and comments.

The first thing I should note, my computer is a Toshiba Satellite M50/L00. It is a Centrino notebook and has a Pentium M 1.7GHz, 512mb of RAM and an ATI Radeon x600 SE which is a PCI Express, Direct X 9 video card.

So onto the problems. I think I can now split my crashes into two problems:

The first problem I encountered almost immediately. After playing the game with out trouble for the first few minutes I exited to change some preferences and found that I could not return to my saved game or start a new game because the game would freeze when during the loading sequence. It didn’t matter if I changed the settings back to how they had been before I had exited, or whether I changed the resolution it always froze with the loading bar on about 75%.

From reading a variety of forums I’ve found this to be a common problem for people with ATI video cards. (I can’t deny or confirm that the problem occurs with NVIDIA or any other video cards) The loading bar will get to about 75% and the game will freeze.

I found that I could sometimes exit the game by pressing ctrl + alt + delete. Other times I had to shut the computer down by turning it off using the physical switch.

Some times I would find that the game would crash and the following error message would be displayed:

Internal driver error in IDirect3DDevice9::Present()

Some people may have had the game crash during actual play and this error displayed. (Again I can’t confirm or deny this)

As far as I can tell the best way to solve this problem is to update to the latest drivers for your video card. You can download these from the ATI website or from your computer manufacturer’s website. This should solve the problem for you. When I installed the new drivers I was able to successfully load the game.

However, because I have a laptop the standard ATI drivers are not compatible with my laptop getting the latest drivers was a little tricky. For those of you with laptops you should visit your manufacturer’s website and download the latest ATI drivers from there. However, as is often the case you may find there are no up to date drivers available from your manufacturer. This was the case for my so I had to use a program called DHmodtool. What this program does is convert standard ATI catalyst drivers for use on a laptop computer.

The program is available here: http://www.driverheaven.net/modtool/ The website has detailed instructions on its use. (Please note that is using this program you will be using drivers that were not provided by your manufacturer and I accept no responsibility for any damage caused by the use of this program and recommend it only so far as it worked on my computer. Your experience may be different.)

Once you have installed the latest drivers Half-Life 2 Episode One should load. However, if you still cannot progress beyond the loading stage there is another method for playing the game. Open Steam and right-click on Half-Life 2 Episode One. Go to Properties > Set Launch Options and enter -dxlevel 81 and click ok. This will force the game to run in Direct X 8 mode. Once you have done this the game should load, however you will not be able to view the Direct X 9 features such as HDR. However, this option will let you play the game if all else fails.

The second common problem that people experience is the game freezing during the action. I played the game two thirds of the way through when it began to freeze with the sound stuck in a continuous loop. Many people have experienced this problem and from what I have read, many have experienced it at the same point I did. You can read about the technical details of the problem here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_engine#Looping_audio

There are a number of solutions to this problem floating around but before I list them I will guide you through how I solved it.

Click on the start menu and select Run. Type in DXDIAG > ok. This will open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. Click on the tab labelled Sound. Under the heading Direct X Features is a slider labelled Hardware Sound Acceleration Level. On my computer this was set to Full Acceleration. Reducing this slider to Standard Acceleration appears to have eliminated the looping sound freezing problem.


If this doesn’t work try some of the solutions listed at the Steam forums

Those were the fixes that worked for me. A few other things to try, ensure you’ve updated to the latest version of Direct X which can be downloaded from the Microsoft website. Also I’ve come across a few mentions of people having trouble with older versions of Windows so it’s probably safe to recommend that you have at least Windows XP when playing Episode One. I’ve also read people recommending that users with 64bit CPUs ensure that they use a 64bit operating system.

As this is a relatively recent game, having a decent amount of RAM will probably help avoid any issues although I have noticed people with 1gb and more of RAM reporting these same problems.

So to quickly summarise before I add my comments:

If you’re having trouble starting the game and it keeps crashing when it’s 75% loaded make sure you update to the latest drivers for your video card.

This should also help if you receive the following error message:

Internal driver error in IDirect3DDevice9::Present()

If you’ve updated your drivers and still the game freezes when loading then change the launch properties so that the game loads in Direct X 8. You won’t get all the features but at least you’ll be able to play the game.

If you’re experiencing crashing during the game where the screen freezes and the sound become stuck in a loop then try reducing your level of sound hardware acceleration.

Ok so now my comments.

I must say I was so disappointed to find the game so riddled with crashes, 6 months after its release. Granted it appears I’ve been able to find solutions to the problems after purchasing a game I shouldn’t have to go to so much trouble just to play it.

As I searched for the solution to my problems I read many similar stories on forums and also many comments by users insisting it was a problem with the users hardware not the game itself. However these problems appear far too wide spread to simply be confined to individual hardware issues.

Now granted I should have ensured I had the latest display drivers (something notebook users will understand is often very difficult to do) but prior to purchasing Episode One I had played F.E.A.R, a notoriously taxing game with out any trouble or any need to update my drivers.

What made my experience far more distressing was that initially I had to wait two and a half days for STEAM to automatically download updates and patches for the game. Where I live I don’t have access to the fastest internet technologies I was thus disappointed at being forced to download 100mb plus updates. There was no option to play the game with out updates. In contrast when I installed F.E.A.R it asked me if I wanted to update, but when I saw the size of the download I declined and was able to play the retail version with out any trouble. Granted this stance would prevent me from playing multi-player but I don’t really have that option any way because I only have a 256kb connection.

Unfortunately this experience has tarnished my feelings towards the Half-Life franchise. Which is sad because the game itself is terrific and a worthy successor to Half-Life 2. I will buy the next episode as I love the games. But it won’t be with out apprehension after my latest experience.

For anyone else experiencing these same problems please leave a comment if the solutions I have posted worked or didn’t work so as to help anyone else with similar problems.

If anyone knows of any other problems or solutions I haven’t covered please post them here.


*Additional Info*

A couple of people have left comments stating that they had problems with visual artefacts when running Half-Life 2 Episode One with the walls appearing as black and pink check boxes. I’ve searched the Steam Support pages and it would appear that they have a solution to this problem.

To see their solution go to:

The solution involves verifying GCF cache files. I hope this helps anyone experiencing this problem. Since I didn’t actually experience this particular issue when running the game I can’t verify how well it works so anyone who’s had the problem if they could comment on whether the above solution works that would be great.


  1. Posted 30 January 2007 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that Colonel, You’ve brought a fair bit of information together for this.

    The dxdiag audio acceleration method also got other Source engine based games going for me and others in the past, Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines was one of them.

    Keep this updated!

  2. beano
    Posted 15 February 2007 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    This is a great page. I have experienced similar problems, also on a Tosh laptop with an irksome ATI card. I made all of the changes you suggested (except for the driver update part) and I also uninstalled the k-lite codec pack, which finally helped me stop the problem of random freezes and crashes. Thanks for the help!

  3. Vadim
    Posted 18 February 2007 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    HL2 problem with toshiba laptops…help needed please…
    Hey guys, after playing Hl2 fully through (on its release) on a crappy 750duron and nvidia9550 gfx, I can’t get it to run properly on newer laptops, namely the 2 Toshiba ones I have tried it on…

    Here is the problem:

    Installation is fine and game loads up good and runs fine until it comes to an AUTOSAVE point and automatically loads the next part of the level.
    Here is where the problem occurs…Once the next part loads, it goes back to the game and freezes, and straight after quits out of the game. (see attached file(s) for what winxp says afterwards; see link here instead:
    http://www.gpforums.co.nz/thread/351066/?s= )
    I can go back into the game and load from that autosave and continue playing, only for it to quit out again at the next autosave and after it loads the next part. This is not how to play a game!
    I tried, and the game continues running after I use a “quick save”.

    I have no idea what causes this crash of HL2! I have tried it on 2 toshiba laptops and I get the same problem. Surely this can’t just be a toshiba (bug)?!…
    Latest laptop I tried it on M110-J00d (centrino duo); core duo 1.7/512/intel GMA950128 shared Gfx running XP Home w/ SP2.
    Older laptop I tried it on was a M60 centrino; pentium M 1.7/512/GMA older shared intel gfx running xp home.

    I don’t think this is a Gfx problem, The intel gma950 may be pretty crap but the game runs fine between auto saves and this is the latest intel mobile gfx chip anyway. I didn’t get a laptop and expect to play hardout newer games but I would at least like to play my HL2 and CS(S). Saying that I just checked the driver for gfx and it is from Mar 06.

    So, has anyone else got/had this problem? What do you guys think is the cause and any solutions?…
    COuld it be a XP home or HL2 bug that is causing this?
    Or it really because the gfx is out of date…

    cheers for any suggestions!

  4. Posted 18 February 2007 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


    I’m not sure the exact cause of your problem, and you may be right, it may be to do with the GMA 950 simply being a low-end card. However, there are a few things you can try.

    The first thing should be to ensure that all of your drivers are up to date. Once you’ve ensured that the other thing I can recommend is that you run the Steam diagnostic tool.

    You can find a link to it here:


    That should help identify what could be causing some of the problems you’re facing.

    Hope that helps. Please post back here with your results so you can help anyone else who might suffer similar problems.

  5. Posted 18 February 2007 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Another thing I can recommend is that you launch the game in Direct X 7 mode.

    To do this Open Steam and right-click on Half-Life 2. Go to Properties > Set Launch Options and enter -dxlevel 70 and click ok.

    This will force the game to launch in Direct X 7 mode. Given that you’re running the game with a GMA 950 this will scale down all the graphical features and may let you run the game.

    If that works, you can try to scale the game back up first to Direct X 8 mode (replace the -dxlevel 70 with -dxlevel 80 or 81) and then again to Direct X 9 mode (delete the command altogether from the launch command box)

    If it crashes at Direct X 9 mode but not at 7 or 8 then the problem is probably with your video card playing a high end game.

  6. Vadim
    Posted 18 February 2007 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    your recommendations didn’t help. My system meets minimum requirements and I’ve installed the latest sound and video drivers. I think, this is problem of core 2 duo processors based on Toshiba laptops, because I met in internet forums similar cases of HL2 game crashes. If I find the solution to the problem I’ll post it here. Thanks.

  7. Pwnerer
    Posted 18 April 2007 at 4:51 pm | Permalink


    Id like totally pwn u guys! U r like teh biggest n00bs eva! lol

  8. Posted 19 April 2007 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Wow Pwnerer it’s such a shame we don’t know you in real life because I’m really upset at missing out on the opportunity to be totally pwned by you.

    I’m sure I’d have no comeback to your obviously superior pwnering skills, I mean you are the Pwnerer after all!

    In fact if I did meet you in real life and thus were exposed to your obviously hyper-leet pwnering power I think I’d just curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out, I mean no one can defeat you, you are the king of pwnering!

    In fact it’s a wonder you’re visiting our humble little website and taking the time to comment! I mean clearly a pwnerer or your ability shouldn’t be wasting her/his time pwnering us here at the Middle of Nowhere when there are so many problems around the world that remain unsolved. If only you would turn your attention to pwnering cancer and aids we might stop these conditions in their tracks.

    Quick Pwnerer away! The world needs you!

  9. Coveritus
    Posted 23 April 2007 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    No matter what I do, it still doesn’t progress pass the loading! I have an Nvidia 7600, a pretty good video card, and updated drivers, but its still not working! Any other suggestions?

  10. Posted 23 April 2007 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Did you try this:
    Open Steam and right-click on Half-Life 2 Episode One. Go to Properties > Set Launch Options and enter -dxlevel 81 and click ok.

  11. Posted 23 April 2007 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    If that doesn’t work I recommend you run the Steam Diagnostic tool.

    Goto: http://support.steampowered.com/cgi-bin/steampowered.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.html?p_faqid=397 and click on the link under 1. Basic Troubleshooting and see what it says.

  12. ENoa4
    Posted 27 April 2007 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the tips. Running in Dx8 mode seemed to take care of it. Odd that HF2 was fine, but episode 1 was not.



  13. Posted 27 April 2007 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I found that running in Dx8 mode fixed alot of the problems I was having. The best results, however, came from a driver update, which was difficult because I’m running a laptop and new drivers were hard to find.

    Re: the difference between Half-Life 2 and Ep1, the problem is that while it’s the same game engine, Valve has updated a lot of its features and I think this is why so many people seem to be having trouble with it. I think the Steam engine, which we should remember was released in 2004, is being pushed to the limits of its architecture. This could also explain the delays in releasing Ep2. Hopefully the extra time they’re taking to release Episode will see these problems people are facing taken care of.

  14. The__Jackal
    Posted 9 May 2007 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Works Thanks!

    But I have to sent my sound acceleration to “none”. Used -dxlevel 81. Finally got > 45 mins of uncrashing gaming.

    I have a Toshiba A7 Dual Core with X1600 ATI gfx card with latest drivers from Toshiba (but Toshiba haven’t updated them for a long time).

  15. Posted 9 May 2007 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Dear The__Jackal – I had the same problem you had in that I couldn’t update my drivers because Toshiba had not released new ones and the Catalyst drivers were incompatible. The only way I could get the game to work was, like you said, to set the game to DX Level 81. To play the game in DX 9 mode I had to trick the Catalyst drivers into thinking they were running on a desktop. I’ve got instructions on how to do that in my post. Updating your drivers by using the latest catalyst drivers should help you run the game in DX 9 mode.

  16. DNK_
    Posted 12 May 2007 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I have the same problem as u . Every time the games saves no matter quick or outosaves it just crashes. I am running a it on a COMPAQ presario “intel mobile 945 gm video card “. I tried everything u said and the game still won’t work properly. The diagnostitsc tool didint find any problems(passed all tests)if anybody can help email me pls 10x

  17. Posted 12 May 2007 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    DNK_ I’m sorry but I’ve got no more advice beyond what I’ve written in my blog post and in the comments.

    I fear that you might be having trouble with your video card, which while it would meet the minimum requirements to run the game is at the very low end of cards capable of playing HL2 Episode 1.

    Can I recommend that you try running the game in Direct X 7 mode by following these instructions: Open Steam and right-click on Half-Life 2 Episode One. Go to Properties > Set Launch Options and enter -dxlevel 71 and click ok. Then when you open the game set everything to its lowest setting, resolution, texture quality, all that.

    See if that eliminates some of the problems.

  18. Sam
    Posted 15 May 2007 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Ive got an issue with the display graphics of half life 2 episode one. All the walls appear as black and pink check boxes. What could be the reason …any views?

  19. Posted 16 May 2007 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Sam that’s getting a bit too specific for me. Have you run the diagnostic tool I referred to in a previous reply and updated your graphics drivers?

  20. Krish
    Posted 29 May 2007 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    The Intel Website Compatibility List for the GMA 950 says Half Life 2 will suffer ‘random crashes’, and that ‘there is no workaround at present’.

    Damn. :(

  21. Krish
    Posted 29 May 2007 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the site, for the curious: http://support.intel.com/support/graphics/intel945gm/sb/CS-021400.htm

  22. Posted 29 May 2007 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting that Krish. I suspected that the GMA 945/950 may have been causing some of the problems people were experiencing.

  23. Pazatronic
    Posted 31 May 2007 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    I’m so happy I found this site! I’m playing on a NEC laptop computer with an ATI Radeon 200M 64/128 MB internal video card and I had all the problems that you wrote about Colonel. As soon as I bumped the direct X down to -dxlevel 81, I’ve been playing the game as flawlessly as I was able to play Half Life 2!

    Thanks for addressing these issues with Episode 1

  24. Lancer
    Posted 8 June 2007 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    While I’m a bit tardy in purchasing episode one, it still has all the bugs I had previously read about. I’ve resolved everything but the sound looping crash (horrible). It happens like clockwork every 20 minutes, or so. I may just power through the remainder of the game as I’m most likely 75% finished. Of course, I’ll think twice about buying episode 2 if I still have the same rig.

    The Steam diag says I’m golden – I’ve reinstalled all drivers although I didn’t need to – I’m using basic performance accelleration…No dice. I’ll now try the no sound feature. Just so I can make certain it is my sound device causing the crash. I wouldn’t mind the crashing so much if I could ctrl-alt-dlt out. Unfortuantely, I have to reboot.

    This is my second buggiest VG experience. (Surprising coming from Valve) Fallout 2 was number 1. Great game after they got all the bugs ironed out. However, upon release it was a nightmare. Now I never buy a PC game until some time has passed.

    Oh well, back to the drawing board.

  25. Posted 8 June 2007 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lancer, that’s a shame to hear about your problems. I have to agree what really bugs me is that these issues have not resolved by patches yet. It was so annoying to have to wait all that time to download updates from Steam and it still doesn’t work! It seems like Valve is in denial that there’s any problems in its game, despite all the evidence on forums and blogs like this that there is.

  26. heydisisjoey
    Posted 10 June 2007 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    hey bro… ive played my hl2 game like 6 months ago and ive played it for about 3 days.. ive completed it twice… really fun game! … anyways out of the blue it just starts freezing up on me in numerous ways… sometimes with sound looping or not.. and sometimes it will just close out with an error message saying some crap about vertex buffers… so i just got mad and uninstalled it but now im having my need for hl2… and im gonna try everything you suggested up top so… and idk how long this download will take… its at 9% and ive got *gasp* dialup… so it will probably take all friggin week… so… yea thx for helping people man

  27. Whos_the_man?
    Posted 14 June 2007 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Listen up all you frustrated HL2:E1 players. Pretty sure I have a handle on this nasty HL2:E1 sound stuttering/lockup issue – after only a week of dogged work. Hope I can save the rest of you some time.

    My objectives were to get an old rig (XPSP2, P4 2.6GHZ, 1GB ram, sound blaster live!, antique SIS645 chipset) with the troublesome ATI 9600XT All-In-Wonder AGP card working reliably, at decent DX9 frame rates (>60 FPS) AND running version 9.08 of ATI’s Multimedia Center (MMC). MMC 9.08 (TV,FM DVD SW) is superior to the current MMC 9.16 versions which require current Catalyst video drivers (7.5). Now since MMC 9.08 requires the much older Catalyst version 6.2 (something I had to find out by trial and error) you can start to see the problem since HL2:E1 fixes usually center on upgrading to current video drivers. The fix that follows doesn’t require current drivers and does work with full DX9 support – bold statements I can now back up with hours of blissfully crash-free HL2:E1 play.

    Let’s fast forward past the expletives and countless driver re-installations, reboots, save points etc over the past week and cover specifics as they require some freedom for your inner geek. While this fix is for the ATI AIW 9600XT the principles outlined here should work for most older AGP-based hardware which I’m most likely not the only skinflint still running. Notably this fix DOES NOT require reducing the directsound acceleration or downshifting to DX8 support but both these work arounds can also be applied if necessary. Your mileage may vary depending upon your graphics card, sound card and how the motherboard manfacturer has implemented the now dated AGP spec.

    The fix outlined below is based on adjusting PCI latencies an issue mentioned frequently in connection with HL:E1 and other sound problems in 3D games and in particular with the ATI 9600 XT. The root problem appears to be that the AIW 9600 XT’s PCI latency timer is set too high at 248 (at least on my machine) meaning it hogs the PCI bus choking off sound data to the SB Live!. My particular stock 9600XT AIW was also overclocked out of the box (at 527 GPU / 324 Mem) which appears to contribute to the problem.

    So here’s what to do about it.

    1) First find and download PCI Latency Tools V2 (important to use this version), Catalyst version 6.2, ATI uninstall utility, MMC version 9.08, MMC UIC 9.8, Remote Wonder version 3.0 and ATI Tray Tools. Most (with the exception of MMC 9.08) are available from the excellent Guru of 3D and ATI Technologies sites (search ATI archives..)

    2) Unless you have your original motherboard driver CD, using SISOFT Sandra or other similar utility identify your motherboard chipset (VIA, SIS, Intel etc) and download and install the current driver – this is an important step as the AGP interface is usually handled by this driver.

    3) Using ATI catalyst uninstall utility, uninstall ALL ATI drivers and software from your computer.

    4) Install the Catalyst Video driver 6.2 but use the CUSTOM button and uncheck the Catalyst Control Center (only) which is useless bloatware of the first order IMHO. Reboot and check to see the driver and the WDM drivers required for MMC got installed properly. If not uninstall and redo this step.

    5) Install PCI latency tools V2 (just unzip the prog into a directory in Prog Files), create an accessible shortcut and start the program. You should see current latencies for your hardware down the right hand side – see the AIW at 248? Right click on each and every item that has its latency above 32 (except the 9600XT) and set them ALL at 32. Set the 9600XT to 128 (the card needs a bit more of the bus to perform its 3D magic). Click on the Settings menu item select apply and then again select the Apply on Startup. Reboot, restart the PCI Latency program and check the settings have been set correctly after reboot.

    6) Install ATI Tray tools and using the overclocking menu reduce the card GPU and Mem to 501 and 300 respectively – this has a neglible effect on performance. Save this as a default profile applied at startup. From the Direct 3D menu, turn on wait for vertical refresh, optimize direct 3D for speed and turn on antialiasing and trilinear filtering optimizations. Set your monitor refresh rates as high as they will allow (75, 85 hz) and create a HL2 game profile that switches to 16 bits-per-plane before starting the game as MMC center wants 32bbp settings. Reboot and check Tray Tools has correctly assigned all your settings on startup.

    7) Temporarily suspend your virus checker and remove as much resident tray-based crap that tends to accumulate these days. If you don’t know how to use them, learn about msconfg.exe and hijackthis to control your startup apps. They help reclaim many lost CPU cycles flushed down the privy by unnecessary background apps and services.

    OK if you’ve got this far, consider yourself a full-fledged, pocket-protector-wearing tape-holding-your-glases together technocrat with an excess of time on your hands. The good news is you are now ready to test HL2:E1. Couple other settings in the game itself – I set sound quality to low and also set wait for vertical refresh on. Neither affects the game quality but both seem to help with the PCI bus timing issue. Again you may not need to do this.

    And now the moment of truth. Go ahead and start Steam (take a bath while it comes up) and give Episode One a spin. Relax, no need to keep your finger poised constantly over F6 to quick save before the next crash. Responsive isn’t it? I get 65-75 FPS at 1368 x 768 in astonishingly beautiful DX9 wide screen. In short both HL2 and HL2:E1 look and respond great on what can only be considered an old POS by today’s quad-core over-hyped and priced standards. Conspicuous mastery over the technology, you may almost rest easy grasshopper. Now that you’ve got your all important gaming setup running reliably go ahead and install MMC UIC, Remote Wonder and MMC 9.08. All should work flawlessly.

    Cheers to all.

  28. Posted 14 June 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Wow, great post Whos_the_man? It looks like you’ve given everyone a lot of valuable information. Hopefully, we’ve started to get to the bottom of all of these crash problems!

  29. Whos_the_man?
    Posted 14 June 2007 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Colonel – any possibility you can add the intended line breaks between the steps and paragraphs to make it a bit more readable? If not let me know and i’ll repost adding line breaks and you can delete this one. Thanks.

  30. Posted 14 June 2007 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure if the comments support formatting. I’ll have our site administrator sort it out for you, asap.

  31. Fahad
    Posted 18 June 2007 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    i am playing Hl2 Episode 1 from last one week,
    game is running fine but i have a graphics problem that every where there are black and Pinck boxes, i acnt only see these boxes instead of walls and doors. plz help me abot this problem
    I have Intel 1.7 Ghz, Nvidia FX 5200, 128 MB Vga Card, 384 MB RAM

  32. Posted 18 June 2007 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Hello Fahad, someone else mentioned they were having this problem but I don’t know how to fix it. Have you tried updating your video card drivers and running the Steam Diagnostic program? You might also want to check out the Steam support pages.

  33. Posted 20 June 2007 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Hi there Whos_the_man, the line breaks are in the code, but something in the stylesheet is blocking them from displaying. I’m just trying to fix it up now.

    Edit: Don’t you just hate when you put a comma in the wrong place… All fixed now. Thanks for pointing that out to us!

  34. Posted 20 June 2007 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Fahad and Sam, I’ve edited my original post with some info that might help the problem of the pink and black checker boards/boxes you reported experiencing.

  35. Whos_the_man
    Posted 22 June 2007 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Thank you kindly devslashtux – appreciate your persistence. The post actually appears readable now. On a related note your discerning readers will spot typos reading MMC 9.8 which should of course read MMC 9.08. Should you feel so inclined to indulge un unabashed HL2 fanatic and search and replace… Tis surely holy work to help bring uninterrupted enjoyment of this landmark merging of software engineering, hard work and imagination and downright genius that is the Half Life franchise to a wider audience.

  36. Posted 24 June 2007 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Ok Whos_the_man I fixed that up for you.

  37. 2n2
    Posted 28 June 2007 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    I’ve tried about everything on this page, but can’t get the HL2 or HL2E1 to stop freezing on the loading screen, unless I play in DX7 in a window. It’s really not a solution.

    The frustrating thing is that I used to be able to play this game beautifully on my system. I was about 75% through HL2 (never finished for a long while), and played Lost Coast without issues. Now something’s screwy. Could be my ATI x800 is crapping out, but the problem seems widespread.

  38. JON
    Posted 30 June 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    HELP ME i have the provision release of HL2 EP01, i have athlon 64 3400, 1 gig DDR400, ram, and 256mb radeon 9600…

    Even when i first installed this game [over a year ago]i was getting some pink and black boxes…i beat the game because only a few textures were checkered so i was like big deal at least i got to beat the game, [about 95 percent were fine] im running it on dx9…had major crash lockup issues as well, but at the moment im able to play ”crash free” but that may soon change…who knows, i might take my computer in to a tech’s for trouble shooting…

    anyway if anyone knows the solution to fix the provision relase [checkered boxes] let me know…i have the provision update 1 as well…would that help?


  39. Posted 30 June 2007 at 2:14 pm | Permalink


    I added some more info on my original post for people experiencing the pink and black boxes problem.

    The only advice I can give you is to check out this link:

    There seems to be some help for you there.


  40. Jon
    Posted 1 July 2007 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    well know im reallly pissed, it seems that all the random lockups im suffering lately MUST be due to my video card dying…[9600AGp], so that means that ill have to test my card in another machine, because i never had these problems with random lockup ups before, all i did was upgrade my CPU…but that has nothing to do with it, because just a week even before i upgraded…randomly my computer would freeze and i would have patterns of FCKED UP color all over my screen…its got to be the end of the card…and if it isn’t i will go insane.

    and who the hell wants a Radeon9600AGP version nowadays in 2007…nobody, every one had windows vista and a million gigabytes of ram…except me…im going to try to convince my dad to buy me a new radeon X1650 PRO AGP…and if that still crashes i will feel like…well…i wont be happy put it that way…i have no viruses as i am SUPER carefull about that internet business, i only run firewall, router, AVG anti spyware, and virus protection…


  41. Me262
    Posted 2 July 2007 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    I am having a very strange problem with Half-life 2. Ok, game sometimes crashes and all, but it happens so rarely, that I really don’t care. However, when I exit the game or “it exits itself” :-) , re-enter it later and I want to load my saved game, I am the only person who seems to be moving. All the allies and enemies (soldiers, choppers etc.) are standing still, except for some preprogramed sequences (falling barrels etc.). Ok, it is kind of funny to walk right to the combine soldier and shoot him directly in the head and he actually falls down and dies :-) , but that’s not my idea of a good time in the long run. Any advice? Thanks for all your help.
    P.S. This does not happen, if I get killed and load a saved game, without exiting the program. Only, when I exit the game entirely, start it again and want to load the saved game.

  42. Posted 4 July 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Me262, I haven’t heard of that specific problem the only advice I can give you is that you try some of the solutions from my original thread or that others have posted in the comments.

    Other then that make sure you check the Steam support pages and forums to see if there’s a specific solution to your problem available.

  43. Posted 4 July 2007 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Jon, is your card giving you problems with other games or just Half-Life 2 Episode one. If it’s not crashing on other games then it may not be the video card that’s the problem but rather a problem with Half-Life 2 Episode one.

    Did you try to verify the CGF cache files like was suggested to see if that eliminates the pink and black check box problem?

  44. Frustrated
    Posted 7 July 2007 at 2:01 am | Permalink

    Purchased Hl2 ep 1 about 48 hrs ago and have spent about 7 hours trying to play and about 2 minutes of actual game time. My first problem was that upon starting a new game it would freeze with the load bar at about 60%, requiring total comp restart. After installing new video card drivers from Nvidia, nothing. Then I let windows update my drivers with hardware manager, yes! got into the game. Now let the crashes begin. I’ve made it into the citadel and thats as far as I can get before a looping freeze. I’ve even had the game knock my entire system out with a blue screen. Maybe its my setup you may ask, not likely its less than a year old, Pentium core 2 duo, Geforce 7900GS video card, 1 gig of ram, 500gig harddrive, Windows XP. With updated drivers from Nvidia site, Steam diagnostic says all good, but then it freezes during loading. With widows updated drivers, diagnostic says drivers out of date, but I can get into game before looping crash. I’ve tried setting sound accel to basic, running -nosound, running -dxlevel81, installed new drivers, nothing helps and some things make it worse ie. drivers from Nvidia. I’m about ready to give up on Steam forever. Any thoughts?

  45. Murray
    Posted 7 July 2007 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this, I was getting so frustrated having had the game for many months, and unable to play it without sound loops and freezing… I’ve now just finished it. Ok so it was short and left me feeling a bit “meh” but hey, it didn’t crash on me once I followed your advice regarding the DX sound setting and launch setting.

    Nice one!!

  46. Posted 7 July 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Hey Frustrated, sounds like you had all the same problems I had.

    Unfortunately if the solutions I posted, or that others have suggested, didn’t work I’m afraid I’m out of ideas. What I posted worked for me and I haven’t heard of any other solutions to the problems you’re experiencing.

    All I can do is wish you luck and if you find out any more info on these problems please post it here.

  47. Posted 7 July 2007 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments Murray, glad I could help.

  48. Dazzling
    Posted 13 July 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    What the heck is “steam”? I have the same purple boxes and missing object models problems reported by many other gamers. But I couldn’t find a steam application in my game directory, there’s a folder name steam but all it has is other folders with dll files, no application.
    Now I have downloaded the steam application from steam website and trying to run it but everytime it runs it starts updating that seems to never complete as it restarts after a certain 60 or 65% level. May be it’s because my slow internet connection but if u guys know any workaround then please share it with me.

  49. Posted 18 July 2007 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Dazzling, Steam is the program that you run every time you launch Half-Life 2 Episode One. It’s the program that is used to download updates, authorise the game, etc…

  50. Capt. Brannigan
    Posted 24 July 2007 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Hi there,

    first of all: great page! Unfortunately, I could not find a solution to the problem I’m having, but maybe you guys know something.

    I play(ed) HL E1 on my notebook, using a Geforce Go 6200. After a few sessions there suddenly was a message that my driver’s outdated, and that I should download the latest version. Since then I always get a bluescreen while starting the game.

    Unfortunately I cannot find an updated driver for my crappy geforce 6200 go, and only few others have reported on the problem. So far without workaround though.

    Thanks for any comments!

  51. Posted 30 July 2007 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Capt. Brannigan,

    When did you get the message about updating your drivers?

    Was it during the game? When you were running Steam?

  52. Capt. Brannigan
    Posted 5 August 2007 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    hi colonel,

    while running steam after staring the game. i don’t even get to the menu of e1, it starts loading (blurry screen), and after some seconds there comes the bluescreen.

  53. neuroticz
    Posted 11 September 2007 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Hello every on i have a toshiba sattelite L30 1OS and my graphics card is a ATI Radeon xpress 200m…. I bought hl2 ep1 like 4 months ago and havnt been able to get it to work properly. When i click on the shortcut to go into the game a steam msg comes up saying my driver is out of date asking whether i would like to continue anyway si do and i can go into the game i on dx9 i can walk around for a couple minutes b4 it crashes comes out of the game and a popup comes at saying that there is an internal error something to do with direct 9! on dx8 i could play for about 15 min before it crashed and did the same thing! on dx7 i got a good 40 min and then it crashed again…i logged back in but i only got a few seconds and it crashes in the same place! really frustrating! I tried updating my catalyst driver loads of times but it made no difference! It says I have no openGL capacity on my driver for some reason or it may be the card tho i find it hard to beleive that the card has no OpenGL i think this is a major problem as hl2 ep1 runs heavily on openGL…If anyone is experincing the same problems could you help please. Thx for all your posts colonel and to everyone else postin info on here great page!

  54. neuroticz
    Posted 11 September 2007 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Sry by the way my gfx card is a 128mb one!! Thx again!

  55. Posted 16 September 2007 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    HELP! I played HL-2 up to the canals, tried to get back in game today and after normal load time,(read: long)The sight is unstable, that is, it will not stay static and keeps drifting to the floor and the game spins. By the way,the answer is no, I haven’t been drinking. ;-) Any thoughts/help is welcome and appreciated.

  56. Drayner
    Posted 20 September 2007 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I tried the solution to verify the GCFs…and it doesnt work.

  57. Posted 25 September 2007 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    during the last chapter my pc is always freezing down and i cant continue playing…first the sound gets stuck then the screen doesnt move at all….its getting really slow before it stops and i’ve got to reboot….is this a driver or hardware issue?
    i’m using a amd64 3000+ with 1gb memory and an ati x800xt grafikcard…
    thanks for any advises…

  58. Moe
    Posted 1 October 2007 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    please help,
    i recently got episode one to play it before episode two comes out and although hl2 worked perfectly on max details ep 1 crashes to desktop on the loading screen immediately after the valve logo.the game started on my first run but after i changed the video settings(even lower,i believe, than the ones used in hl2..and the 2 games are supposed to have the same reqs) i got a `memory could not be read` error…the problem is that i can`t change the video settings back..even after i fully reinstalled the game i had the samne problem
    any way to change the video settings without running the game?or any other solutions to my problem?(btw i am using steam buster to run it)

  59. Freakoftheuniverse
    Posted 2 October 2007 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Hey Peoples!
    I’ve got what could be considered an… interesting case. I’m running a 3GHz P4 with on-board Audio, 1GB of RAM, an ATI X1950 AGP card (with 512MB of RAM onboard it), and all the other goodies. Now, the X1950 is a recent addition, as about 1 month ago I bought Bioshock and discovered, much to my horror, that I needed a new 3D card, as my poor, wheezing, massively overheated 9800XT didn’t do all the fancy pretty things that make Bioshock playable (and Bioshock plays so smoothly that it’s amazing). Now, until I ‘upgraded’ my GPU, HL2 EP1 ran without a hitch. No problems at all. However, now I too am cursed with the audio loop of death at apparently random times. It’s the same in the Team Fortress 2 Beta, Lost Coast, or any of the newer Source-based games. I’ve tried changing the sound acceleration, but this has ZERO effect on the crashing. It’s a crying shame. I’ve tried using several different versions of drivers (with clean installs after each, of course!), as the word on the ‘net is that ATI/AMD stopped caring about AGP after Catalyst 7.6. Yes, I’ve tried Catalyst 7.9, but the results were exactly the same, so I switched back to 7.6 due to stability reasons (7.9 liked creating horrible errors).
    So, I know it’s one HELL of a long shot, but can anyone suggest anything? Steam’s Crash test picks up zilch (except for Zone Alarm, which is set to allow hl2.exe ANYWAY), the advice on Steam’s Troubleshooting forum is about as helpful as a badger in the pants, and I’m slowly going mad.
    Oh, and putting the old card back in isn’t *really* an option. That thing was hot enough to cook off.
    So yeah, any help would be appreciated!

  60. Posted 2 October 2007 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Freakoftheuniverse, unfortunately the looping crash has proved very difficult to correct. Many people have experienced the problem and no one seems to know exactly how to fix it. (Valve haven’t really given any help in this area)

    The problem, as far as I can tell seems to be some sort of flaw with in the Source engine.

    I had the problem but fixed it by reducing the hardware sound acceleration level.

    From my original post:

    Click on the start menu and select Run. Type in DXDIAG > ok. This will open the DirectX Diagnostic Tool. Click on the tab labelled Sound. Under the heading Direct X Features is a slider labelled Hardware Sound Acceleration Level. On my computer this was set to Full Acceleration. Reducing this slider to Standard Acceleration appears to have eliminated the looping sound freezing problem.

    There’s also a link in my original post to the Steam support forums page which has some advice that may help.

    If that doesn’t work I’m sorry I’ve got no more advice for you.

  61. Freakoftheuniverse
    Posted 2 October 2007 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, didn’t work unfortunately!
    Thanks for your help regardless! I’ll just have to keep one finger on Quicksave and crawl my way through the rest of the brilliant new episode of MINERVA!

  62. Freakoftheuniverse
    Posted 4 October 2007 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    I have overcome my “problem” with Episode One.
    A Fellow Acolyte at the MINERVA forum pointed me towards this handy link:
    By setting my Paged Pool Size to 256 Meg, Episode One played beautifully, and sound acceleration was put back up to full, HDR turned on, graphics to full, no crashing, no hitches, just pure, beautiful gaming.
    I just thought that I’d share this knowledge, in hope that others might benefit from it. Be forewarned, that Registry editing is a dangerous business, and to be sure that you know what you’re doing.

  63. xHeXeNx666
    Posted 7 October 2007 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Wow im glad to see that this forum is still going. I’m really frustrated because I had the game working just fine, I got through the first chapter. Then I quit the game for a while to get something to eat. I come back later to load my game and it loads to about 75% then I get this message “internal driver error in IDirect3DDevice9,” I realize by looking in numerous threads that other people encountered this problem, but after that error message another one pops up “hl2.exe application error – The instruction at 0x102f3e2c referenced memory at 0x0e53a1a0 the memory cant be read.” I dont think others got this particular message, I tried running the game in “low quality” settings and it did the same thing, furthermore I went to options and advanced settings to change from directx9 to 8 but the box is grey and I cant choose, so im guessing I dont have directx8 on my comp? I also tried selecting properties on my steam account to change “set launch options” to direct x 8 and it really had no effect – I keep getting the same error message. please someone help me :( , has anyone else encountered the memory can’t be read problem ??

  64. Eoins
    Posted 17 October 2007 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I’ve just bought hl2 episode 2. I have an ATI Radon 200m (absolute piece of rubbish I now hate all ATI products and from what I’ve been reading in these forums I’m surprised they are still in business…. any who I babble.

    Episode 1 ran fine all be it at the lowest possible setting. And E2 works for a few mins at a time and out of the blue I get the blue screen my whole system crashes… not good.

    I was hoping some one out there has found a non ATI driver that works on this card I actually found one once but lost it when I wiped my hard drive a while back… And silly me I didn’t keep a record of it I know dumb ass… I could have saved myself and many others the frustration of having a card that boasts enough power but the drivers fail to perform….. HELP ME.

  65. mithras
    Posted 21 October 2007 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Homer Simpson: “Stupid Flanders, you’re a genius!”

    I am so happy right now, thanks to FreakoftheUniverse’s fix – it works. It really, really works.


    Episode One crashes randomly (often during the intro), sometimes reports a DirectX 9 issue and sometimes not, and normally plays very stuttery and choppy. Portal, HL2, HL: Source, etc all exhibit NO problems.

    Here is my system:

    Windows XP SP2, 6600GT 128M, 1GB Ram, 3300+ AMD Sempron, Realtek AC97 Onboard Audio. Latest Nvidia drivers 163.71, latest audio, MB, XP updates, etc. I tweaked my services to remove unnecessary ones, and I have just the standard background processes running.

    First Fix, Mostly Works:

    -dxlevel 81 -w 1280 -h 1024 -32bit (inserted in launch options).
    DirectX audio to Standard setting.
    This mostly worked, game play was still choppy, and graphics were sub-par but still useable.

    Second Fix, Absolutely works:

    Follow the instructions carefully.
    This involves changing the PagedPoolSize to 256. This completely fixed the crashing issue, all audio back up to normal, all settings set back to high.

    This actually really works!! Well, for me…

  66. Posted 21 October 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey mithras glad to see some good news here.

    Hopefully that fix will work for others.

  67. mithras
    Posted 22 October 2007 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I hope so, too. Thanks for keeping this page around!

    It’s an ancient issue, and it appears to be abandoned by Valve. For those of us that like to replay games (or that couldn’t get it working in the first place), we’ve waited patiently for something to be done about this annoying problem.

    Now back to finding a solution for the Stuttering/Looping Sound Problem … geez Valve …

  68. Prov2717
    Posted 23 October 2007 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    Hey guys, I may have found a solution for the looping sound crash. After doing everything listed – update BIOS, Drivers, run windowed, no sound, Directx 70, etc I finally able to play, but only until the 1st autosave. Each autosave would lock me up. In between, it would stutter, especially during fierce battles or if i had my flashlight on. However, I found a simple solution that has allowed me to play at DirectX 9 without a single crash!

    I’m running Intel Dual Core Duo with XP SP2 and a cheap Intel GMA945 video card.

    Simply do this:

    Right click your HL2 Shortcut and click Properties
    You’ll see something like this in the target:
    “C:\Program Files\Steam\Steam.exe” -applaunch 380

    Copy the following with a space after the 380:

    +mat_forcehardwaresync 0 +snd_async_prefetch_priority 1 +sv_autosave 0

    This will disable the autosaves, however, you are able to quick save with F6 and quick load with F9.

    I found that i was unable to operate the main menu once i started a game. I could ESC to the menu, but none of my links were operable. But at least i got to play Episode 1 without a crash! Good luck guys.

  69. Prov2717
    Posted 23 October 2007 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    Oh, I want to give props for that solution to ben5015se. He’s on this forum that may have more solutions if you still have probs:


  70. Qbah
    Posted 26 October 2007 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Ok, I had this annoying Internal Error with source games (all except Portal), dumped me to desktop with the error frame every time at specific locations or during loading. First my specs:

    P-D 820
    1GB RAM
    Rad X1950XTX with Cat 7.8
    WinXP with all updates

    I have been trying a lot of different settings, but only one allowed me to play the game without a single error.

    Setting desktop to 1280×960
    Setting game res to 1280×960 (-width and -height parameters)
    Setting -dxlevel 81 launch parameter

    Rest of in-game settings are not important (tried changing stuff, everything works ok both on low and max).

    Now… why the resolution? I have no idea, but the game refused to start with my desktop res at native and game res lower, was just dumping me to desktop without any errors. And I tried every possible setting at my native res to no avail.

    It still pisses me off, because my comp can push this game at max everything with DX9.0 at native resolution, yet I have to lower stuff to be able to play. Though I’m glad it’s working in the end, as with AAx6 and AFx16 and Bloom (no HDR in DX8.1 mode) it doesn’t look that much worse.

    And before you ask, yes, I’ve tried updating my Catalysts to 7.10, tried 7.9 and no, it doesn’t fix anything. Using Driver Cleaner properly between each install. The game just refuses to run with DX9.0. My system is very stable, no background things running, smooth, no BSODs etc. The game will run only if I set the res to 1280×960 and DX to 8.1. Every other setting is not affecting anything.

    Hope it helps some people :)

  71. John
    Posted 27 October 2007 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I do not know if this was said already because i did not read every replie here,but I found no overclocking is one cause I had my amd sempron +2800 oc and when Iset default no problems may be the same for graphic cards. This had happened to me before other game can not recall which one Hope this of help to someone.

  72. Posted 28 October 2007 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Kevin Cantu, please excuse me. I accidentally deleted your post which read:

    “Prov2717, you’re a lifesaver!”

    Sorry about that. To Prov2717, it’s another person who was helped by your solution.

  73. Baharogb
    Posted 1 November 2007 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I bought the orange box a week ago and was fairly dissapointed that halflife 2 (which I have never played) crash on me every single time the game loads after talking to Barney and out through the door.

    I’ll try the suggestion posted in your blogs by you and the others, like the resolution and DX tune downs. But don’t you guys feel cheated that the game that was hyped to play at all the DX9.0 glory have to be dumbed down so much? Orange Box: Gaming deal of the century.. my foot!

    For me TF2 seems to work fine, Portal I’ve yet to launch. But this is probably the last Valve game I’ll buy.

    Colonel, do you think valve will fix this problem with future patches? I don’t know the track record for Valve.

  74. Baharogb
    Posted 1 November 2007 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    BTW my spec are

    Pentium D 945 (3.4 MHz Dual)
    Ati Saphire HD2600 256Mb DDR4
    1 Gb Ram
    Win XP

  75. Posted 1 November 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


    That’s a real shame to hear about your problems with the Orange Box. It’s been getting such great reviews it’s a shame you’re unable to play it.

    I’m currently completing my University Honours thesis so I haven’t been playing computer games at all lately and haven’t had a chance to purchase the Orange Box, or read much more then a few reviews.

    So I can’t tell you whether others have experienced the same problems you are or whether there’s some unique problem you’re facing. And because I haven’t played it yet I’m not sure whether the problems I had with Episode One are going to surface again when I get around to buying the Orange Box.

    All I can suggest is that you make sure you’ve got upgraded your video card drivers, run the steam diagnostic tool and tried some of the fixes suggested by others in the comments page. I agree it sucks if you’re forced to play your game in Direct X 8 mode – a lot!

    Sorry I couldn’t be more specific but as you can understand, I just don’t know enough about Orange Box to be able to comment yet.


  76. Posted 1 November 2007 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh and Baharogb, if you can get Half-Life 2 to play in Direct X 8 mode, it’s worth playing through.

    Because the Half-Life franchise is about the great story line, more then it’s ever been about graphics. So even if you can’t play it at full specs, make sure you still play it, you won’t be disappointed.

  77. Bob
    Posted 3 November 2007 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Hello, I was experiencing the same crash on loading Half Life 2 ep1. I was glad to find this page.

    I just want to let everyone know that I tried the suggestion posted by freakoftheuniverse, and it worked!

    Thanks for all the helpful info.

    Here is that link again, hope it helps someone else.


  78. Ian
    Posted 8 November 2007 at 11:41 am | Permalink


    I have had all the problems listed here when playing Episode One. I bought the Orange BOX to play Fortress 2, but guess what, its full of bugs, crashes, sound loops etc etc just like Episode One. It also has a new error message appearing (os paged pool memory low). Episode 2 is the same story. I am so pissed with valve I would love to kick them in the balls for not releasing a trouble free game as other developers manage to do. My system is only a year old with 2gig ram 1650x ATI dual processor. I tried all the advice given and nothing works except playing in directx8 mode, which defeats the purpose of a new computer.

    So I will never spend another $ on a valve product. 2 years ago a bought a brand new unopened copy of the Original HL to get a second CD key to play against my father and freaking guess what..the CD-key was reported to be in use. I joined the STEAM forums to get help and the advice I got was to take a picture of the game box/cd and receipt and email to a given address. Guess what. The address came back as invalid. Next advice was to send the CD into valve but forums reports people having done this were waiting up to 10 weeks with no reply. So now what do I do as I cant return an opened game to a store. I was just hopeless and very upsetting that a company I once admired has gone down the toilet such a bad way with me. Thanks for the rant> CYA..IAN

    PS..the only saving grace for the Orange Box is that Portal is a truly excellent game and so far has given me no errors.

  79. nextwebmaster
    Posted 12 November 2007 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Great page! It seems that the game has sever problems on all newer ATI cards, havent tried on nVidia. I get the same result on a desktop with AMD64 X2 4000+, ATI 2400. Thankfully, in HL2 Episode 2, these problems are gone (as an Ati logo just appeared in the Video options window (Best experience with ATI Radeon cards)), and i was able to play the game to the end, both on Radoen 9600XT AND the newer 2400.


  80. Action_dan
    Posted 19 November 2007 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    First off, this was not a looping sound problem, and it was not a stability problem. This may only help ATI users, and maybe only x1950pro users.

    I played EP1 for a few hours the other day, and I think I made my way into the 3rd chapter. It worked earlier and then in the evening it just stopped loading.

    It would show the beginning videos and then if it was in fullscreen, I would see a quick glimpse of the loading screen, it would go black and a few seconds later crash back to the desktop. It wouldn’t even give an error message to me. By adding the windowed option in the beginning, it stopped fading to black, and I’d see the blurry loading screen before it focuses and before the menu shows up. It would CTD after a few seconds.

    I had HL2 working, along with Bioshock, Portal and some other ID games. EP 1, Doom3, ROE, and CS: source didn’t work.

    Doom3 and the addon almost did the same thing. They showed a grey screen and then fell back with no error message. CS: source was the same as EP1.

    I tried everything on this page. Verified the GFC’s, command line options, AGP BIOS and CCC options, process explorer, uninstalled some recent Windows updates and other programs, etc. Nothing worked, I mean nothing. So then I defragged, checked for viruses again, and soon I was ready to swap every stupid component out, starting with the PSU and moving on to the video card and then memory.

    One thing I should of noticed right away was that I noticed Soldiers of Fortune 2 stopped working in the almost the same fashion as Doom 3. It’s not in steam, obviously, but it was crashing without an error and it runs on the quake 3 engine. So I bet if I dl’d Q3 in steam it would have crashed like Doom 3.

    So, cut to the chase, I unloaded ATT ( beta) and then everything worked again. I’m an idiot for overlooking the obvious things, but I hope this helps someone. I think I switched versions at some point or maybe I put it back in the startup menu and that’s probably when things went pear shaped. I’m pretty sure the version I used off of guru3d worked.

    Anyway, maybe this helps an Nvidia user that has some beta or semi-unnecessary tray program running.

    BTW, I’m running a standard ATI Catalyst 7.10 driver on Windows x64 professional, with everything pretty much freshly installed. I had just recently rebuilt this computer 2 weeks ago, so I think everything’s current as of early Nov. ’07.

    My gear:
    ASUS A8V deluxe
    Opteron 165 (was at 2.4, but went back to 1.8 during these trying times)
    HIS x1950pro 512GB (always stock)
    2 GB kingston value ram (was at 220, 2.5-3-3-10, but now at 200, 3-3-3-8)
    Audigy 2
    TrueBlue 480W

  81. Action_dan
    Posted 19 November 2007 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Nope, just checked the ATT is acting the same as beta.

    Exiting ATT stops at least EP1, CS:Source, Doom 3, and ROE from crashing.

  82. NFS_Sor
    Posted 21 November 2007 at 2:50 am | Permalink

    HEY i’am dealind a little problem here.
    (I have nvidia FX 5600XT)
    I launch game with no problem but when i choose new game —-(when the loading bar comes to the end 99%)——- the computer is freezing!!!
    And then the following message appears
    nv4_display graphics driver had stopped responding please reboot the computer to go back to full display
    I have nvidia forceware 163.75 drivers the newest i believe.
    What’s the problem???

  83. Sharpy
    Posted 27 November 2007 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I was having the system lock-up with sound loop error within 1 to 5 minutes of starting a game in EP:1 until I changed my page memory settings from a large fixed amount (2-4 GB) to letting the system manage the page file. (This is available under the “Advanced” tab in the “System Properties” window.) Since that time I’ve had no further trouble even with video and audio settings maxed out.

  84. Lee
    Posted 24 December 2007 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Um…Where would I happen to get my hands on Steam Buster download for the Orange Box?

  85. Pawnpilot
    Posted 2 January 2008 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Hey, I run half life 2 episode one through the steam console, whenever I run episode one, i get a error about my video card being unsupported, but the game runs fine but my flashlight only works when i shine it on objects (not walls, making it impossible to get past lowlife,) and whenever there is a transmission, there is no video or sound, (in half life 2 there was video but no sound), i am wondering if there is a solution to these problems without getting a new video card.
    I have a
    intel(r)82865g graphics controller

  86. ESuburu
    Posted 18 January 2008 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    I want to play team fortress 2 on my laptop but it only has 1.6 GHz processor speed, 1 GB RAM, DirectX 9.0c, Core 2 Duo T5200, Toshiba Tablet running on XP. Will it work or should i just get it for my xbox 360?????????????

  87. jgr9
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    OMFG the lock up is such a pain and is such prob. 4 so mny pple but valve and steam don’t do anything abt it. I can’t even play at all bcause it locks up w/in 5 secs. Nothing works 4 me including changing the pagedpool size. I’ve got an ATI X1600 pro 512 PCIE (which i DO NOT recommend getting), Vista Ult, P4, and 3gb of ram.

  88. jgr9
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    sry, this is just really annoying. I,ve been trying 2 get it 2 work 4 a long time w/ no success. (wrote these w/ PSP)

  89. jay
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    pawnpilot, I have the same problem with the flashlight only working when I shine it ob objects and I have the same graphics card. Please tell me if you figure this out.

  90. jay
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    oh yeah i also cant view transitions. this sucks

  91. jay
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    lol, transmissions*

  92. jgr9
    Posted 1 February 2008 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    I have Orange Box and, yes I have looked at the other forum, but changing the heapsize didn’t work. I’m still thinking my problem is the looping sound freeze. I have updated my drivers and that let me play longer, but it still freezes. I have an integrated sound card and I can’t change the hardware acceleration for it.

    Any ideas?

  93. Pawnpilot
    Posted 2 February 2008 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    yea i don’t think the troubleshooters are even looking at this anymore.

  94. akdead7
    Posted 10 February 2008 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    i have the same problem with hl2 ep1 that almost everyone seems to have. i’ve tried to update my Ati Radeon Mobility x1300 directly from dell and i also tried to use the mod tool thing and followed the directions carefully. i have a laptop and for some reason its very hard to update my driver. i installed the update and followed directions but it still says that i have the old 6.osomthing version. i have pretty good laptop with more than the min. requirements, but this is driving my crazy after many different attempts. is it possible i just suck at installing the update or is my computer being dumb? does anyone have any recommendations?

  95. JimmyP
    Posted 14 March 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    For those of you with the graphics issue with the ATI cards(the one that makes wall textures appear all black and black boxes appear every where then game crashes with directx9device failure) I found a solution on the steam website that actually worked for once! In DoD:Source I kept getting a irratating graphic glitch that made walls go completely black and my crosshair..etc Turns out if you go to Launch options under properties and type “-dxlevel 80 -window” as launch option it seems to solve this problem. Granted the game is now run in a window the problem seems to be solved for me finally(after reading forums and help sites such as this for 5 hours) so Hoorah! and may the ppl at valve get their S**t together.

  96. Mark G
    Posted 26 March 2008 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I have the orange box and used to be able to play all games just fine with high settings on a ASUSP4P800SE 3.0 processor 1GB ram and a ole ATI radeon 9000 128mb vid card (which has DirectX 8.1 hardware). And Directx 9.0c software, all newest drivers.
    The fan went out on the video card so I bought a new ATI radeon 9600xt 256mb (which has DirectX 9.0 hardware) installed newest drivers and the same games I could play with ease before would now crash. I uninstalled the drivers for the new vid card (9600xt) and installed the old ones which came on a CD with the card and could then play the games, but the performance wasnt as good as with my old radeon 9000.
    These games should be “plug and play” we should have to go into files and edit things or type anyting as a command and play developer. Thats what theyre getting paid for. Not us.

    Someone (developer, programer, whatever), has messed up somewhere. games shouldnt be released with all these problems, but thats how they do things now days.

  97. Posted 28 March 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d been lucky with the Orange Box until I upgraded to Vista. I can’t get through Water Hazard on HL2 now :( damn graphical glitches.

    I agree with you Mark G, the games are really touchy with drivers – I had to try 2 NVIDIA drivers before I got one that worked. Valves Quality Control does seem pretty poor – which is a shame, their games are otherwise great.

  98. carmafrancesco
    Posted 21 April 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    i can’t start half life 2: episode 1. I have buyed the orange box and i don’t have any problem with other games.
    The game loads and i can see the image of the background of the main menu, the combine palace exploding, and suddently i recive this message:

    HALF-LIFE2: hl2.exe – Errore di applicazione
    L’istruzione “0x0f263e2c” ha fatto riferimento alla memoria “0x0d74a1a0″. La memoria non poteva essere read. Fare clic su Ok per terminare l’applicazione.
    (The instruction “0x0f263e2c” was made reference to memory “0x0d74a1a0″. The memory couldn’t be in read status).

    I run windows xp with service pack 2, directx 9c, as far as i can tell everything is updated.
    I mount a nvidia 8800 GTS 320 mb and i have updated the drivers after the error but with no results. 2Gb ram intel core 2 @ 2.40 Ghz.

    Please help me

  99. Clint
    Posted 26 April 2008 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Ah. I’m have the same problem as Carmafrancesco. The exact error message and everything. I have just beaten HL2 and so i wanted more, and blam. Denied. I’ve deleted it and reinstalled it a few times and tried different things. Any ideas?

  100. Posted 29 May 2008 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Hi all,

    I’ve been tardy in getting in on the Episode One / Episode Two action, and was astonished to find the games unstable after all this time…

    Despite everyone’s helpful advice, I couldn’t get past the first loading screen, with the game hanging on a black screen, with looping sound, after the valve video bit…


    I bodged a simple solution together from a few other posts. I found that starting the game with the -sw command in launch options got the game loaded, albeit running in a window.

    No one wants that, and it took my ruddy ages (and much messing around with the console etc) before I realised that you can then simply go into the options, video, and then swap to a full screen before starting / loading a game.

    That, and a combination of the -setheap command, and forcing the game to run in direct x 9 has got me (touch wood) great performance on a modest PC setup.

    If anyone wants to try it, my launch options thingy now reads:

    -dxlevel 90 -sw -heapsize (half physical memory in KB – 256000 in my case)

    Hope this helps someone anyways!

  101. Piccolo Phoenix
    Posted 30 May 2008 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got half life 2 episode 2 portal.The game crashes when i start the game and start the first round and when the portal opens.PLEASE HELP ME !!!

  102. mikeb17
    Posted 6 June 2008 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m having trouble playing the original half life 2 demo on my laptop, it lags like a mofo during the whole ravenholm level

    Specs: Gateway laptop, Intel(R)Dual CPU T2370 @ 1.73ghz, 3 GB memory(RAM), 32 bit operating system, with a Mobile Intel(R) 965 Express chipset family.

    Please don’t reply on here, message me via myspace @ http://www.myspace.com/mike040891, or at my e-mail @ http://www.yahoo.com/mikey040891@yahool.com.

  103. mikeb17
    Posted 6 June 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    sorry but forgot to mention it’s on windows vista as well.

  104. Dwayne
    Posted 9 June 2008 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Hello. I’m having an annoying hud problem with all my half life games from the orange box. The crosshair is a “q” and the other weapon silhouettes are greek letters. Everywhere else says is a font problem but i can’t fix it. i’m running vista 32bit.

  105. Paul Tarlevs
    Posted 16 July 2008 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Hello guys. I have a problem with my Half Life 2 Episode 1. See the thing is about it, is that I think that I don’t have all that props because in the citadel a lot of the objects are pink and black squares meaning I don’t have the props. I can upload a screen shot if you like. But please help!!!

  106. dk
    Posted 14 August 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    i have a problem with half life 2 everytime i launch the game hl2.exe keeps popping up and i cant get in if anyone knows how to get round this it would be apreciated.

  107. Cold Canuck
    Posted 17 August 2008 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Dom’s post abput editing the launch options worked for me:
    -dxlevel 90 -sw -heapsize 1024000
    these options got the game running where before it would simply freeze at the “Loading…” message.

    Good luck, eh…

  108. Si
    Posted 23 September 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to this site – the Steam support site is useless. I used the -dxlevel 81 command and it fixed my crashing game. Just finished ep1, now going to apply fix to ep2 and try that tomorrow.

  109. Posted 23 September 2008 at 4:29 pm | Permalink


    I am trying to run half life two episode two from the orange box on my pc and it is hanging on start up. All I get is a fuzzy blue screen and it never loads. I beat the system requirements and have tried re installing it. The only thing I can think of is I’m using my brothers steam acount, any help would be great.

  110. Posted 24 September 2008 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Good news I tried the fix Dom posted about episode one, dxlevel 90 -sw -heapsize 1024000 And it worked on episode two.

  111. edonis
    Posted 30 October 2008 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    I need to find out why my game crashes every moment when i play the half life 2 eposode one its just the graphic crashes on the walls of the buldings i cnt see anything plesse can i get the answer fast….i have a toshiba equinium 200 with windows vista and 2 gigabytes of memory 1.47ghzetc write back…..PLEASE.

  112. eleongo
    Posted 24 November 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    hi, i’m having a problem in HL2. i hav no idea my HL2 is episode 1 or 2.
    anyway, i’m going to tell you my problem. i saved my game, but when i wanna load back my game, all characters freeze (it freaks me out when i saw their eyes look left or right). i start new game, but all also freeze.
    can solve my problem, pls?