The Orange Box – Review and Troubleshooting

My original post about trouble shooting Half-Life 2 Episode One has quickly grown into the most popular page on this site and become a major resource for trouble shooting Episode One crashes and problems.

For those who haven’t seen the original page you can check it out here.

Now it’s time for the follow up as I finally got around to buying and playing Valve’s new release The Orange Box, which features Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2 Episode One, Half-Life 2 Episode 2, Team Fortress Two and Portal.

I’d firstly like to echo most sentiments that the pack represents amazing value. But one can’t shake the annoyance at making loyal games fork out for games they’ve already bought by not selling a hard copy version of Half-Life 2 Episode 2 in a stand alone pack. I probably would have bought The Orange Box anyway because I wanted to play Portal, but the lack of choice gets to me. (I know I’m being pedantic, I could have bought it off Steam, but I don’t entirely trust the whole Steam process and I prefer to buy the physical DVD)

After the troubles I had with Episode One I’d like to say that everything to do with The Orange Box went smoothly without any crashes or errors but alas that wasn’t the case. Fortunately my problems weren’t as bad as with Episode One.

The two problems I suffered when playing Episode Two were a graphical issue and a stuttering issue. But it should be pointed out that the stuttering problem I suffered isn’t the one that most people have had with Source games.

The graphical problem came up from time to time. Basically every now and then, after a loading screen, some of the textures would become all hyper coloured, instead of their normal colour. Re-starting the game or changing the resolution usually got rid of the problem. I never actually fixed this issue. I figured it was probably something that could be fixed with a video card driver update but I never did anything about it. I’ve noticed on other forums similar complaints but I haven’t seen a solution posted yet.

The other problem I had was much more serious. It came at a key point in the game in the chapter called “The Vortigaunt Coil”. Now for those that haven’t played the game I won’t describe what happens but suffice to say that during this episode a significant event occurs which is key to the entire Half-Life story. Unfortunately for me when this event occurred the entire game froze up and began moving at something like one frame a second with sever stuttering and sound issues.

At first I thought this issue was a re-occurance of the looping sound problem that was common in Episode One. So I followed some of the fixes posted in the Episode One thread but nothing seemed to work. I also tried a solution posted by Valve which suggested that AVG anti-virus which I was running at the time uses a lot of memory and interferes with Steam Games. So I completely un-installed it and still no fix.

Finally I came across a different solution posted on a forum. Turns out the problem comes from having too little ram. I only have 512mb of ram. Adding more RAM would have fixed the problem.

Luckily that wasn’t necessary. Turns out you can fix the problem by changing the “heapsize” which allocates memory to the game.

By adding the following line to the launch options: “-heapsize 256000″ (With out the “”) where 256000 is half your RAM, measured in bytes I was able to overcome the problem and play the game through as normal.

Once I’d overcome that problem the game ran fine the rest of the way through and it was an awesome experience. The final battle is one of the most intense gaming battles I’ve ever experienced.

I still get annoyed sometimes by the inability to shake the notion that your playing the game on rails with all your moves laid out for you. I understand that Valve’s intention is to guide you through the story, but my favourite game ever, Deus Ex presented the gamer with genuine choices at various points in the game. It’ll be a mighty game that eventually finds the balance between these two styles.

Of the other games in the pack I haven’t had much of a chance to play Team Fortress 2 and multi-player games aren’t really my thing. But Portal was great and it was fun to play something different and genuinely innovative.

So all in all that was my experience. Like the other post if you have any feedback, problems, advice or solutions please post them in the comments so that others can use this page as a resource.



  1. Biguns
    Posted 22 November 2007 at 10:35 am | Permalink


    I really appreciate your posting all of the leads you’ve followed in tracking solutions to these bugs. Your original post on Episode 1 detailed the same freezing/looping problems I had, and the fixes you recommended (namely setting launch options to run in directx 8) enabled me to play through. Unfortunately, I am now having the same problems with Episode 2, sounds like the same place, during the “This Vortal Coil” segment, where it freezes up. I get a specific error message: 0x12548f3f can not find memory 0x0e05f3c0. I can not find additional information on this error – if anyone has suggestions, muchas gracias. I have tried uninstalling and reinstalling video drivers (ATI Radeon X700), reducing the ram requirements (heapsize) in the HL2 launch options, and setting to launch in directx8… but it continues to freeze in the same place. If anyone has any further suggestions, I would be very grateful. I am at my wits and, and extremely disappointed in/angry with Valve for another buggy game. Thanks. And thanks again to you, Colonel, for providing this useful resource.

  2. Dave
    Posted 22 November 2007 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Hey Guys,
    yeah i get a similar error, memory could not be read.. slightly different letters n numbers etc, it occurs on the exact same level vortigant coil, ive tried a few things like u guys have mentioned. No idea wat the prob is.. any help wud b gr8! I have an 8600gts, 2gb ram, core 2 duo e6750, psk-se mobo.. im lost.!

  3. Murray
    Posted 23 November 2007 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I have to echo the sentiments above, although my crashes happen during the “Riding Shotgun” phase. Instruction at 0x128e8f3f referenced memory at 0x0e39f3c0. The memory could not be “read”.

    I’ve tried changing the heapsize, uninstalling AVG, using DX8, increasing the the paged pool size, nothing works. It’s most frustrating. I was happy I got Episode 1 to run, and having got this far through Episode 2 I was relatively optimistic, but this has just confirmed my dislike of Half Life games. The developers are pushing beyond their own limitations.

    AMD 3500+
    1GB RAM
    ATI Radeon X1600

  4. Duo
    Posted 24 November 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Same issue with me, same error except for slightly different number and it’s in “This Vortal Coil” chapter. I’ve tried fixes that were for ep. 1 to no avail, and I’ve also tried fixes that the steam website has suggested (
    Nothing is working, I sure do hope someone come up with something, even if it is complicated…

  5. Jeremy
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 4:40 am | Permalink

    I’m having the same problem in the Vortigal Coil (sounds like it must be the same place). I’ve tried all of Valve’s fixes, and they were all worthless. Some even screwed up my system. (I reflashed my BIOS for one.) In any case, the crash always happens at the same time, and there does not seem to be any fix for the problem.

  6. Clay
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    I also have the problem mentioned above, (memory can not be “read”) and have tried tons of things but no avail. It happens two places for me:

    In the tunnel where the wounded medic is laying. The game crashes if I close up on him, but if I turn Gordon’s back at him (so he’s not displayed at the screen) I can get past.

    And at the G-Man cutscene, just after the word “quelling”. There’s no way for me to get past this, so I’m stuck. Please people, if anyone solve this, post the solution here!

  7. Lemony
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’ve had two hangs in HL2E2 – one after the anlion guardian, and another at the start of Mutual Friend. In both cases if I looked at the floor, I could get past the hang point fine. Now I have another, when I’m fighting the three hunters in Mutual Friend. I was willing to think the hangs were just the occasional glitch – but three of them so far? I play HL2 and HL2E1 with no problems. This is not good at all. How long have we been waiting for this episode, again?

  8. Lemony
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    …and now there’s a crash I can’t get past – at the top of the chamber with the rocket in it. I’ve tried pretty much everything (starting in window with no sound, looking at floor, looking at ceiling) – anyone have any suggestions?

  9. Clay
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    People, it seems this is all due to the latest update/patch, (see for more information) and since there is no way to roll back (you are even forced to update when you install the game from disc the first time) I guess we’ll just have to wait for Valve to fix it.

    I, on the other hand, don’t have patience for that right now, so I just started downloading a crack (a ready to run package, no installer, with an older update) just to try it. Yeah, it seems kind of ironic to turn to that for help after having bought the game legally, but that’s life. I’ll report back if it helps.

  10. Clay
    Posted 25 November 2007 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Third post in a row, I know. Anyway, the crack worked, so now I have a temporary solution until Valve fixes it.

  11. Supreme
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    Exactly same problem as you Clay. Only thing is all the cracks didn’t work.. did you download the entire game again?
    I don’t think I’m going to download 5-6 GB to reinstall it.. unless it’s the only solution.

  12. Clay
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Yup, I downloaded the whole game again. I don’t know how long it will take for Valve to fix this problem, and as I got the whole game downloaded in one night, my guess is you’ll get to play sooner by using a crack rather than waiting for the fix.

  13. Supreme
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    Hehe yeah I guess you’re right.

  14. Supreme
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 5:54 am | Permalink

    Is urs with 45 parts or 55 parts? Cuz the one with 55 parts still gives the memory error msg :@. Oh well. I guess I’ll dwld the 45 part one as well and try it out.

  15. Clay
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 6:02 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I got the Unleashed release with 45 rars. I think the bigger one also includes Portal? Anyway, I just completed ep2. Half Life 2 is the shit! I’ll most def buy ep3 when it comes out.

  16. Lazura
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Yup, having the same problem with the part after the Antlion Guardian.. tried facing the other way, the right wall, at the floor but it still doesn’t work. And i don’t like the idea of downloading the game again.

  17. Lazura
    Posted 26 November 2007 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Nvm, ^^ just tried it again and managed to get past \o/

  18. Posted 26 November 2007 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    To everyone who has posted, I haven’t personally experienced the memory error that everyone is referring to but it looks like it’s a common problem that’s popping up on other forums. Some have suggested that the work around has to do with the latest patch Valve has released but I can’t confirm that. (I also haven’t played Episode 2 since the latest update came out so maybe I would get the error if I tried to play it)

    It also looks like the error is different to the looping crash so the recommended fix for that problem – changing the paged pool size – isn’t going to work for this error.

    A thread on the steam support forums has suggested a work around (not a solution) that you can read about here:

    Hopefully we’ll see a genuine solution pop up soon, although given how long it took for Valve to fix the looping sound problem (and even then changing the paged pool settings is hardly an ideal fix) I guess I won’t be holding my breath.

  19. Lemony
    Posted 29 November 2007 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Astonishingly Valve replied to my complaint within 72 hours to tell me that the glitch had been fixed. Sure enough, after HL2E2 updated itself, I was able to cross the rocket chamber and complete the game. Am assuming this also deals with the other crashes.

    I was pleasantly surprised that a) my error log was replied to by Valve and that b) the fix worked.

  20. Efox
    Posted 1 December 2007 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Almost finished the Vortal Coil on my first run, when the Memory Error strikes. Go back and can’t reload any section without some chunk of memory somewhere not being readable.

    Tried everything myself, updated everything, redownloaded, reinstalled, maxed out virtual memory, turned everything down to bare bones, running in a window, the problem always kicks in eventually. Filled out an error ticket with technical specs, five days later, no answer, a few patches without release notes that don’t fix anything and a quick search around the net reveals that this problem is pretty widespread.

    Valve needs to focus on stability and compatibility and when they have that covered, then worrying about snazzing up the graphics. No good to have these killer visuals when you can’t even play through the first chapters without crashing in a year old system.

  21. Matt
    Posted 12 December 2007 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the fix!

    After trying numerous options indicated in the steam support area, the heapsize trick works. Odd that Valve doesn’t have this listed!

    Now I can finally enjoy (with my brand new 8600GT) this game properly.

  22. Posted 17 December 2007 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I have the exact same problem, the game crashes at the Vortal Coil chapter, just after escaping the Antilon Guardian, it happens at the exact same spot everytime.
    my specs…
    amd 3200+
    1gb ram

  23. Posted 18 December 2007 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    the only easy way to avoid the crash at the Vortal Coil is to not look at the dead guy lying, just look up n walk past it.

  24. Curtis
    Posted 18 December 2007 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    The game was hanging for me in the middle of the G-Man cutscene at the end of Vortal Coil. G-Man’s head was moving but his lips weren’t, and there was no sound. Then it froze about 10 seconds in.

    I tried -heapsize 256000 and -dxlevel 80 but those didn’t help, so I opened a ticket with Valve support. They said this is a known problem, and that they’re working on a fix. They suggested that adding -nosound to my launch flags might help me get past the cutscene. Sure enough, it did.

    Hopefully this will help anyone else experiencing this issue.

  25. Pawnpilot
    Posted 2 January 2008 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Hi, my problem is that any orange box game on my computer will start to load and show the title screen with no options and then crash without an error, i really have no idea what could be causing these problems.

  26. Mike
    Posted 2 January 2008 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    My problem is with Episode Two too. =/
    Right begining the game on a train. As I got out of it, my character seems to jump almost always without stop as I walk. It’s bad to aim with that heuaeuah.
    Any fix or update?

  27. Jim
    Posted 6 January 2008 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I think my problem is identical to Pawnpilot’s. I spent the $50 on the Orange Box for my Half-Life-Addict wife; it installed just fine, but won’t launch beyond the blurry “LOADING” screen. A message pops up telling me I need DirectX 8.0…but my computer already has DirectX 9.0c and my NVIDIA card is the very latest edition. Any suggestions?

  28. the_jasomeister
    Posted 7 January 2008 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much.
    I have 512 RAM and the same slow fps at that point of the game was happening to me too.

  29. Gman
    Posted 7 January 2008 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Looking up at the ceiling while walking through WORKED!!

  30. João Martins
    Posted 11 January 2008 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    I have exacly the same problem as Jim. Hangs on the initial Loading… screen. Any ideas?

  31. Beta
    Posted 14 January 2008 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    Exactly same problem with Mike. ‘Jumping’ while moving is really annoying and in some parts of the game where you’re supposed to duck and hide while moving ‘jumping’ gets me killed (cause you stand up every time it ‘jumps’). I tried changing duck key and movement keys and also checked i didn’t have any double binds… no use. What to do?

  32. Sean
    Posted 17 January 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I’ve got that same jumping glitch. It’s almost like there are obstacles or terrain that are being stepped on sending the POV bouncing up and down constantly. REAL annoying.

    The crashes were fixed by walking backwards at least.

  33. Ryan
    Posted 25 January 2008 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Same problem as Jim and Pawnpilot, crashes to desktop on the loading screen. I’ve tried running in windowed mode with dx7 and 8 but neither work.

  34. Alpha
    Posted 26 January 2008 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Same problem as Sean, Beta and Mike. Jumping all the time. Annoying. Any news on how to fix this? Thanks.

  35. samk
    Posted 28 January 2008 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I am getting the damn same error after the antlion guard. It always freezes after the end of this level!!!

  36. SteGab1979
    Posted 5 February 2008 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    The self-jumping/humping bug seems to be ignored since I hadn’t found anything besides this page that refers to it. Is there a fix, please help!

  37. Rickard
    Posted 6 February 2008 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm I’m experiencing some trouble w the vortal coil chapter as well, but a slightly different one than what you have described above. When I’m done fixing the elevator and the v-gaunt has his extract we head back into the elevator for the ride up to alyx. The v-gaunt goes into a monologue and the game loads… however, after the game starts running again the elevator gets stuck after a few seconds and if I move the screen turns red and I die. No error message however! Can’t get past this. I have a new machine with a 8600GT and 3gigs of ram, so I don’t think the hardware is a problem… tips?



  38. SteGab1979
    Posted 9 February 2008 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Rickard, a solution for you may be as simple as opening the console, entering sv_cheats 1 and then noclip, try and keep up with the lift when it ascends as you will pass through walls. After it reaches the other vorts, disable the cheat.

  39. jgr9
    Posted 21 February 2008 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Wow, I finally figured out why the orange box games kept freezing on my computer! I can’t believe it was so simple!

    Nothing else was working. Not even the heapsize thing.

    My computer uses DDR(I) RAM (not sure if this applies to any others). I have 2 1gbs and 2 512s (the 512s came w/ the computer). It turns out that back when I installed the 1gbs I didn’t couple them correctly. All I did to fix this problem was to put the 1gbs in the 1st 2 ram slots and the 512s into the 3rd and 4th slots and the games now work perfectly. It was that simple!

  40. Daemonstar
    Posted 8 March 2008 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    So, has anyone found a solution to the jump bug, yet?

  41. Deserter
    Posted 15 March 2008 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    As I’m aware the so called “jumping” bug was fixed by patch frome Valve so time back now. However, I would really appriciate if those patches were not totaly automatic and if there were also some downloadable versions of those patches, since I cannot connect to Steam.
    Anyone know where to get downloadable patches ?

  42. vex
    Posted 31 March 2008 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    I got a same glitch.
    Auto jumping sux :P
    Lets pray somebody finds solution for this..

  43. bigvern10
    Posted 7 April 2008 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Same problem as Ryan, Jim and Pawnpilot. My HL2E2 and Portal won’t get past the fuzzy LOADING screens… :-(

    Did anyone find a fix?

  44. Vienna1399
    Posted 13 April 2008 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    The Valve patch addressed the “stuttering” bug, not the same as the POV jumping bug. I too have this problem, and have so far, found nothing that helps.

  45. bigvern10
    Posted 21 April 2008 at 3:25 am | Permalink

    found a solution to my non-loading episode2. i found entering -sw in my launch options made the game load ok!

  46. Will
    Posted 22 April 2008 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I just downloaded hl2 episode 2 and it plays fine except after some parts an error sign comes up in the top right corner saying OS Paged Pool Memory Low. when i opened the console it repeated the error and after five minutes the game crashed. I have tried the Heapsize and tht doesnt work, has anyone got any ideas how to fix? I have more than enough RAM (1GB)so im pissed i cant play it without it crashing

  47. Jack
    Posted 1 June 2008 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I had the same issue with HL2:EP2. It would hang at the loading screen forever and I’d have to reboot. While I was troubleshooting the problem, I realized my firewall (ZoneAlarm) was popping up to see whether or not I wanted to authorize steam. I never saw the window because the game window would stay at the front of my screen. If anyone is having the loading screen problem, try disabling your firewall to see if that works.

  48. Posted 10 June 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Jumping Bug here as well. No solution yet, but quite annoying. Only Epsiode 2 is suffering from this. Every other game using source works fine.

  49. dSp
    Posted 12 June 2008 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, I solve my “crashes while loading” settings the “Catalyst AI” on “Advanced” in the Catalyst Control Panel.
    Unfortunately I still have the “jump bug” in HL2:EP2.
    Any ideas? Are there any downloadable patches (I have the Orange Box)?

  50. Lisa
    Posted 5 July 2008 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    Alright, so, my dad got Orange Box and we can’t play EP2. Stays on loading, error message pops up crashes to desktop. Before we updated everything it was just one type memory could not be read problem. Then the numbers changed, and I just tried the -sw to launch options and it’s given a different reference number.

    So I’m getting various references numbers and am not being able to get passed the loading screen.

    Anyone else with this / been able to fix this?

  51. Undertaker
    Posted 16 July 2008 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    I have the same jumping bug.Any solution?

  52. Fat Chance
    Posted 31 July 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Whenever I start up ANY game in the orange box, it gets to the producers of the games then immediately quits out. A problem? Hell yeah I bought it and I can’t play it. HELP ME PLZ!!!!!

  53. BeerGuy
    Posted 20 August 2008 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    Jumping bug here too. Orange Box, EP2. I got through the crawl pipe by the auto-cannon and can get no further as the jumping puts my head in line of fire.

  54. Hugga
    Posted 27 August 2008 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    My Episode Two froze at the initial loading screen. If you have Zone Alarm installed, you must go to Program Control -> Programs and find all Steam and HL2.exe programs, left-click on the ?-signs and click allow.

    You don’t have to disable Zone Alarm, just allow the game internet access.

  55. Pads
    Posted 28 August 2008 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    To get past the auto-cannon I had to cheat because of the jumping bug. In the console type sv_cheats 1 this will allow you to turn cheats on.
    Then type in god, and you are invincible. Type in god again once past the autogun to turn off god mode, and if you want sv_cheats 0 to turn off cheats. You can only turn off god mode with cheats active strangely enough. I hope this helps.

  56. Phlip Monroe
    Posted 10 September 2008 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Wow, Valve blew this one hard. I have the loading to main menu then poof, straight to reboot. Had this problem with episode one and finally, after 7 days and 3 days waiting on a response from valve, got it running in dx7, which had amazingly good graphics considering. Well, finished that one and now i have the exact same problem with episode two, but this time the fix doesn’t work. Won’t load in either dx 7 or 8 or 9. Gonna try the windowed fix when i get home but i doubt it’ll work at which time i am going to figure i wasted 50 bux on 4 games of which i can play one after a week of trouble shooting and finished in 3 days. I am so ticked… WTH Valve??? Stick with an engine that works, we don’t need a new Crysis every 6 months. How many years did they use the Unreal engine? Geeeeeez. Guess I’ll report back if i figure anything out to help the rest of us that are stranded.

  57. snigueEnemn
    Posted 19 December 2008 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi all!

    As a fresh user i just wanted to say hello to everyone else who uses this bbs B-)

  58. Posted 23 March 2009 at 7:25 am | Permalink


  59. Evan
    Posted 25 May 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    In episode 2, I have the same 1 frame per second stuttering issue, but it starts as soon as I get to the main menu. The valve and steam intro videos play fine as always, and then I get to the menu screen and everything is laggy, the audio is looping, and I’m unable to even start the game. I tried reinstalling, and it moved at maybe 3 frames per second instead of just one, but remained basically unplayable. All of the other orange box games work more or less perfectly, with the exception of some less severe stuttering in Portal, particularly the final boss. Also, I have 84 GB of RAM left on my laptop, so I seriously doubt it’s a space issue. Whenever I open a source game, it says my video card is unsupported, but once again, save for slight lag in portal and the expected lag associated with playing TF2 using wifi, everything works fine, and when I launch with -autoconfig, the game puts itself on all of the “high” graphical settings. So I ask, am I going to have to cough up 100 bucks (at the ABSOLUTE minimum) for a new video card just to play one game? Or is my problem something easier to solve?

  60. Drew
    Posted 6 June 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    My problem is similar, but not exactly the same. My copy of HL2E2 begins to stutter whenever I look up at the sky (namely the big swirly cloud), but in most cases this can be avoided by just staring at the ground whenever it isn’t necessary for me to look forward. Lately though (I’m currently fighting the two hunters in “Riding Shotgun”, where a few others said they experienced a problem) the game has been crashing altogether and when it closes I get a message saying “Display driver igfx stopped responding and has successfully recovered.” However, even though it says that it is recovered the game only shows a blank screen and loops about a seconds worth of sound.

  61. Chris
    Posted 30 July 2009 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I was playing Orange Box 360, and i beat portal and tried to play an advanced map. it worked but i didnt have my portal gun. then i played it in standard. same thing. i tried chapters 6-10 and not only did i not have my portal gun, i began in an elevator and could not get out. i was short as possible, and could not uncrouch. i could walk and jump, but i couldnt get out. the opening of the elevator showed warped imaged of cupsidedown cielingless maps from afar and beyond was just blue warped sky. WTF!? no scratches on disc, not pirated. Got it last week new at GameStop.