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Halo Custom Edition Article

Error Screen to Run DXDIAG
click to enlarge

DXDIAG Troubleshooting
Halo and Halo CE are based on DirectX 9.0. This means that it has some advanced graphical effects programmed into it, and these can severely affect performance, especially on cards which do not fully support the latest DirectX 9.0 features, such as older ATi cards and pre-FX nVidia graphics cards (eg. the GeForce2, 3 and 4 series). Halo pushes almost all components of most computer systems to the point where latent instabilities and sub-optimal settings are exposed.

If every time you try to run Halo you get a dialog box similar to the one in the picture above, then there are three main solutions:

1. The quickest is to set any refresh rate altering programs or settings you have back to the default Windows settings. For example, if you run Refresh Force open it up, click on "Restore Original Settings" and then click Apply. Do this for each monitor listed. If you're using the refresh rate override in your graphics driver's control panel, turn it off.

2. If you don't want to disable the refresh rate fix and you're running WindowsXP then you can run Halo in Win98 Mode. Do this by right clicking on Halo's Icon, select Properties, go to the Compatibility tab and tick the "Run this program in compatibility mode" box and select "Windows 98/Windows ME". This may also improve performance, but I'm not certain the impact it has on visual quality (i.e. whether it forces lower level Shaders for example).

3. Again if you don't want to disable your refresh rate fixes, the final method involves using the -Vidmode argument. See -Vidmode under the Command Prompt Arguments area of the Advanced Tweaking section for more details.

- If a dialog box appears every time you try to run Halo, but it's not related to the refresh rate error (see above) then you firstly need to make sure your hardware meets the minimum system requirements. If you have a low end system that's the likely cause of this problem. For example make sure you have at least a 32MB graphics card capable of Hardware Transform and Lighting (e.g not a TNT2). Another common requirement is having relatively new (if not the latest) graphics and sound drivers, and DirectX9.0b installed.

- Make sure you read the file Readme.rtf in your Halo directory for information on specific issues and fixes with particular hardware. For example, on Radeon 9800 Pro cards it is recommended that the mipmap detail level in the ATi Control Panel be set to High Quality otherwise there may be issues. Clearly if you ignore this advice from the developers themselves you will run into problems.

- If you're using any unofficial patches or cracks or hacks remove them.

- If you've overclocked any component(s) on your system, set everything back to the default settings and try running the game. If you don't experience the same problems, your overclock is the primary culprit.

- If you can run Halo but you get crashes or visual anomalies, you may have old drivers or badly installed drivers. Update all your drivers, including your motherboard chipset (e.g. Intel Inf and Intel AA, or VIA 4in1s), graphics card and sound card drivers.

- Disable all background applications. This includes virus scanners and insant messaging utilities, game utilities and in particular Xfire. They can conflict with Halo to cause errors or crashes, and almost certainly result in a performance degradation.

- Make sure you've thoroughly scanned your system using a virus scanner like Norton Antivirus, a trojan scanner like The Cleaner and a Spyware/Ad-Aware scanner.

- Turn off Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering. Without going into detail, Antialiasing (AA) smooths out jagged lines, and Anisotropic Filtering (AF) cleans up texture details. Both these settings heavily impact on performance, particularly on older systems, and can also cause problems specifically with Halo. Go to Control Panel>Display>Settings>Advanced and look for these settings under the Direct3D section of your drivers (OpenGL settings have no impact on Halo). To turn them off, set to 0x for each or tick "Application Preference", whichever option is available in your graphics driver's control panel.

- If you believe your installation of Halo has been corrupted, go to Control Panel>Add or Remove Programs and uninstall "Microsoft Halo". Then manually delete the Halo program directory (typically C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo\). This will not delete your profiles and saved games (Typically stored under C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\My Documents\My Games\Halo), however you can also delete them if you want to remove all traces of Halo. Then run RegCleaner (download link and instructions in my XP Guide) to completely remove remaining Halo registry entries. Reboot once this is done and you can now reinstall Halo afresh.

[Posted: Apr-18-2005 11:58 EST -  (Link)]