Fixed: How To Stop Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes

unfortunately the game has crashed

Users across all forums are complaining about Horizon Zero Dawn Crashing multiple times, and these crashes do not have any error – they simply close the again, which makes it very hard to troubleshoot. Notwithstanding, eXputer decided to take a deeper look at the crashes and came up with numerous solutions that are validated by multiple users across the community. These fixes for Horizon Zero Dawn crashes are totally safe, and you won’t be forced to download any third-party software. Having said that, let’s jump directly to the crash fixes.

Key Highlights
  • This issue causes Horizon Zero Dawn to randomly crash while not showing any sort of error message.
  • Before following all the solutions, you should create a system restore point to make sure that you do not lose any essential files.
  • You should first try to update your Windows 10, and then Enable “Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling (HAGS)” from the display settings.
  • Make sure to check your hardware temperatures, just in case they are not overheating.
  • Remove potentially corrupted Horizon Zero Dawn game files and then use either Epic Games Store or steam to validate those game files.
  • Disable Full-Screen Optimization from Horizon Zero Dawn and also try to allocate more Resources to the game. If nothing has worked so far, then try to completely reinstall Horizon Zero Dawn.
  • If you have some configuration issues in the NVIDIA control panel or incorrect global settings then use the control panel to fix these issues.
  • Removing high GPU priority can also fix the crashes, along with updating your graphic drivers in case they are outdated.
  • Try to Download Visual C++ Redistributable for Visual Studio 2015 and then see if the crashes are fixed.
  • If none of these solutions have worked for you, then try to contact Guerrilla Games support.

Fixing Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes

Prior to following all the methods that will help fix Horizon Zero Dawn crashes. Everyone should first create a system restore point, as any accidental change can be corrected through this feature. In addition to that, make sure all your Hardware has optimum temperatures.

Update Windows 10

First things first, make sure that Windows 10 is updated to the latest version. This is important as most of the new games are directly related to the more recent versions of Windows – the support they add is instrumental for the game to function correctly. Moreover, the latest Windows 10 versions also have newer features as such of Hardware Accelerated GPU Scaling which is incredibly important for our diagnoses to fix Horizon Zero Dawn. The latest version of Windows 10 can be downloaded through the steps shown below.

  1. Search and Open Check For Updates
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Check For Updates.
  2. Click on Check For Updates and suppose there are updates available for download, they will automatically began to download
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Updating Windows 10.

Enable Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling (HAGS)

Once you have updated your Windows 10 to the latest version. Now proceed with those of Graphic Cards as well. They are directly related to this step, and If you aren’t aware of how to do that. Both Nvidia and AMD offer update feature through their control panel.

You must be wondering what does this complex title called Hardware-Accelerate GPU Scheduling (HAGS) mean? Well, this is one of the latest features in Windows 10 v2004 – It allows the user to select whether he wants the graphics card to handle its memory allocation on its own or not. This, although has its own pro’s and con’s but nevertheless it is working like an absolute charm for Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes. This was verified through various Reddit and Steam Forum posts that saw many players talking about it.

Keep in mind this feature might not be able to update your Graphics Card Drivers and Windows 10 Drivers to the latest version. Likewise, if they are already, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Display Settings
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    Display Settings.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click on Graphics Setting
  3. Under the new window, you will be able to see Hardware-Accelerated GPU Scheduling. Enable it, and you are done.

Monitor your Hardware Temperatures

One of the most underlooked aspects while fixing crashes is Hardware Temperatures. This feature plays an important role during most application crashes, since it is responsible for hardware safety. In other words, whenever your Temperatures are about to cross a certain limit or threshold, it is forcefully closed because if it keeps increasing, the Hardware is likely to be damaged. These thresholds are primarily within the Windows, but you can customise them through Softwares like MSI Afterburner. Make notes that you should first monitor your temperatures during the game or without it before considering this problem. This can be done through programs like Speccy or HW Monitor, and during the game, you can go for MSI Afterburner.

Apart from this, there are also chances that your threshold limit is set extremely low – this is what we encountered in Fallout 76. This means that although 60c is safe for Hardware – the game will still crash because it has finally met the limit. We can investigate this through the steps given below.

Validate Horizon Zero Dawn Files

Apart from Temperatures, and Drivers, missing files can also be the cause behind Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes. This is very common among games – some files are automatically deleted or flagged. Afterwards, they cannot function and hence the game always crashes. Most of the crashes related to missing files aren’t exclusive to the loading screen only. Sometimes, the game would run completely fine for a few minutes and then crash because the file is either corrupt or its address has changed.

To further illustrate why these files are automatically removed or changed, Windows 10 and Firewall has a bad habit of flagging the wrong files. Moreover, Viruses, if they aren’t deleted properly, can also make changes to numerous directories. Remember that uninstalling a virus does not altogether remove it – since most of the leftover virus-infected files are stored in the temp folder.

Last but not least, files can be validated across both Steam and Epic Games Store. The method is different but don’t worry; we will go through that once the basics are out of the way.

  1. Open Run > Type %temp%
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
  2. Once the folder is opened > Press CTRL + A to select all > Right Click Any File > Delete
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Delete files.

Now that we are done removing the potential virus-infected files. It is time that we now make sure that Horizon Zero Dawn itself is not missing any files. This can be done through both Steam and Epic Games Store. However, for this guide, we will give you an idea of how it works on Steam.

  1. Open Steam > Right Click Horizon Zero Dawn > Properties
  2. Under Local Files > Verify Integrity of Game Files
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Verify Integrity of Game Files

This will ensure that all the missing files are automatically downloaded. This step can take a while, as Steam first scans the directory, and then a download begins at the bottom of the menu.

Disable Full-Screen Optimization

As always, Full-Screen Optimization is a critical feature that could help stop Horizon Zero Crashings. The Full-Screen Optimization is advertised to be a helpful feature that can help gamers make the most out of their hardware while playing games. However, all it does is add overlays and unncesary Game Bar features that have an impact on performance and cause the games to crash.

Additionally, Full-Screen Optimization also causes an unnatural hybrid-borderless screen that presumably is even more awful. Having said that, it is important to disable it and could potentially fix Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes.

  1. Right Click Horizon Zero Dawn > Properties
  2. Under Compatibility > Check Disable Full-Screen Optimization and Run this program as an administrator
  3. Don’t forget to apply the changes

Allocate More Resources To Horizon Zero Dawn

Yes, it is entirely possible for the resources to be not allocated properly for Horizon Zero Dawn. That goes on to say, often the Virtual Memory or Paging file isn’t fully utilised, which ultimately causes the Drive to run out of resources. All these details are very technical. However, given that this method has been tried and verified by us – there is no need to worry. Besides, many users across the Forums have also shared this method.

All you have to do is first find out how much Ram is available. Afterwards, enter the maximum available value for the drive where Horizon Zero Dawn is installed. Keep in mind that often this process does not work because the game profile resets the values. Therefore, it’s imperative first to delete the Game Settings Profile. This is usually located under the save game directory. (IMAGE)

  1. Open View Advanced System Settings > Click on Change under Virtual Memory
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Advanced System Settings
  2. Now Keep it Opened, and proceed to MSConfig through run command
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
  3. Under Boot Options > Click on Advanced Options > Checkmark Maximum Memory – this will be zero by default. Once done, it’ll show a new value; copy that. Also, select restart later after applying the changes
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
  4. After Copying, open Virtual Memory Again > Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file for all drives” and select the drive where Horizon Zero Dawn is installed. Afterwards, paste the value under both Initial Size and Maximum Size
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Paging FIle Size
  5. Make sure to click on Set and Restart your System before accessing Horizon Zero Dawn Again

Reinstall Horizon Zero Dawn

The three methods shown above are very significant and known to fix the problem immediately. However, if it did not – then we would recommend Reinstalling Horizon Zero Dawn from scratch. This does not suggest that the methods below would not be effective; instead, a fresh install is always proven to be a quick fix. Keep in mind that some people might be reluctant because of their optimized settings. But given that deleting the settings profile from document is the most important part – don’t do that. Other than that, do not delete the game directory or anything of such sort as that would not entirely remove it. Follow the steps below for a better idea on Uninstalling and Reinstalling the game.

  1. Open Steam > Right Click Manage Under Horizon Zero Dawn > Uninstall
  2. Once it is fully uninstalled > Clear the temp folder through the methods shown above > Also make sure there are no leftovers in the documents folder.
  3. Restart your PC and Install it again through Steam

This step should be highly useful in fixing Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes. It did with Fallout 4 Crashings, but If it did not, you shouldn’t worry much as there are many more methods.

Nvidia Control Panel

It is possible that any Nvidia or AMD Control Panel configurations, maybe wrongly set, could be causing your Horizon Zero Dawn to crash. This is very common, especially under new poorly optimised games – users are forced to get a better depth through Control Panel configurations. Still, often these bite back with compatibility problem. Currently, there is a problem within Anisotropic Filtering in the game, so many users have configured it through the control panel. This is also a common cause behind crashing, since most of the elements do not get along properly. Likewise, Global Settings set incorrectly; for example, GPU not selected under CUDA GPU’s could also cause crashes. All things considered, this can easily be fixed.

  1. Simply Open your Nvidia/AMD Control Panel – If Horizon Zero Dawn is already added, then reset the profile through Program Settigs or do the following
  2. Click on Restore under Global Settings tab
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Manage 3D Settings.

Remove High GPU Priority

At this point, it’s reasonable to presume that some specific setting is now causing Horizon Zero Dawn to Crash. This article is now featuring above and beyond methods, because they are important – since the game itself does not say anything except “unfortunately the game has crashed.”

In some cases, The Graphics Card Priority is really high, which ultimately causes the game to crash. This mostly happens when you also have other software that consume your VRAM, and the remaining resources aren’t allocated properly. The step could be concrete, but from what it appears, it has worked for those who have gone through Horizon Zero Dawn guides that suggested High Graphics Card Priority. This is beneficial, but at the same time, you have to keep the other softwares at bay.

  1. Open Graphics Settings
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    Graphics Settings
  2. If Horizon Zero Dawn is already added there and set to High Performance > Remove It.
    Horizon Zero Dawn Crashes
    High GPU Priority

Update Your Drivers

All things aside, Updating Your Drivers is really important for any program or game to function. This gets even more fundamental when we look at the latest games like Horizon Zero Dawn, which rely on the latest drivers to uphold its core functions. This is evident whenever the latest Graphics Drivers seem to transform the game, in terms of everything completely.

It’s not always the Graphics Drivers that validate the game’s functionality properly. It could also be Speaker Drivers or maybe Point Devices. Regardless, there is an enormous list and identifying all of them could take time. Therefore, it is best to download any Drivers Updating Software that can detect whatever downloads are required. Once this step is down, you should run the scan multiple times to ensure all drivers were adequately downloaded. Afterwards, Restart your PC and give Horizon Zero Dawn a go.

Download Visual C++ Redistributable For Visual Studio 2015

Explained multiple times across numerous guides, Visual C++ Redistributable is an essential asset of Windows 10 that is essentially the backbone behind the functioning of all programs. Without this, you won’t be able to run any program smoothly. Even if it did work properly, it would be something of Microsoft Paint or Word. To give you a better perspective of what type of basic programs are needed, you can check this Important Reddit thread.

Some players might be wondering; I’ve other games running correctly while Horizon Zero Dawn is crashing. Does this mean, those do not require Visual C++ Redistributable? The answer is that they do need it but the versions may vary. This can be seen through the game Installation, where Steam automatically installs a specific version, mostly the latest for game to function properly. Go through the Reddit list, make sure the newest version of these programs is downloaded since that list is five years old.

Contact Support

Remarkably, It would be astonishing how Horizon Zero Dawn crashes haven’t fixed, despite all these troubleshoots. This only means that contacting Guerrilla Games themselves would work. After all, there isn’t much you can do.

Keep in mind that, unlike many developers, Guerrilla Games do not have a static support page where users can report issues. Therefore, your best option is to contact Steam and hope they can help you in one or other. Had they not been able to fix the problem, they will surely refund you or connect with Guerrilla Games. For now, this was eXputer’s Horizon Zero Dawn crashing guide; if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below.


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Moiz Banoori.

Having worked at various Video Game sites, coupled with 7 years of Content Writing Experience. I presently monitor teams, create strategies, and publish qualified pieces through my aptitude.

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