Getting into Red Dead Redemption 2 should be a breeze, but for some players, it’s turning into a head-scratching problem. Whether you’re using Steam or Epic Games, facing issues like ‘please run Red Dead Redemption 2 from the Rockstar Games Launcher’ or ‘RDR2 won’t launch on Steam’ is no fun.
This guide breaks down straightforward solutions for problems like Red Dead Redemption 2 not launching on Steam. Let’s make sure you’re back in the saddle, ready for a wild west adventure without any launch troubles.”
How To Fix Red Dead Redemption 2 Won’t Launch
Let’s troubleshoot together and rediscover the joys of the outlaw life in Red Dead Redemption 2.
1. Disable Integrated GPU (iGPU)
For many players, the RDR2 won’t launch issue on Steam fixed once they disable the integrated GPU. So try this;
- Open the Device Manager (you can open the start menu and type “Device Manager”).
- Go to the “Display Adapters” tab, which shows all the GPUs recognized by Windows.
- Identify the integrated GPU (usually named “Intel(R) HD Graphics“).
- Right-click on the integrated GPU and select “Disable Device.”
- After disabling the iGPU, try launching Red Dead Redemption 2 again.
2. Close Steam Completely and Launch via Rockstar Games Launcher
Another solution that worked like a charm is to close RDR2 on Steam and then launch it via Rockstar Game Launcher. Here are the steps to do it;
- Right-click on the Steam icon in your taskbar.
- Select “Exit” to close Steam completely.
- Launch the Rockstar Games Launcher.
- Click “Play on Steam” within the Rockstar Games Launcher.
- Log in with your Steam credentials and attempt to run the game.
3. Check for Updates or Reinstall the Vulkan Runtime
In my case, I was unable to launch RDR2 using DirectX. Once I installed Vulkan Runtime the problem of RDR2 won’t launch or crashing mid-game was fixed. In case you already have Vulkan installed then reinstall it.
- Navigate to the game’s installation folder (usually in \steam\steamapps\common\Red Dead Redemption 2\Redistributables).
- Locate the Vulkan runtime installer (e.g., VulkanRT….exe).
- Run the Vulkan runtime installer to check for updates or reinstall Vulkan.
4. Download Media Feature Pack (For Windows 10 Pro N Users)
If you are using Windows 10 Pro N and facing issues, download the Media Feature Pack.
The specific steps may vary, but you can find the Media Feature Pack on the official Microsoft website for your Windows version.
5. Verify the Integrity of Game Files
If you are facing the Red Dead Redemption 2 unable to launch game please verify your game data error. Then verify the integrity of the game file using the Steam, Epic Games, or Rockstar launcher.
This process checks any corrupted or broken game file and replaces it with the fixed one. Follow these steps:
- Open Steam launcher.
- Click on the Library.
- Right-click on the Red Dead Redemption 2 and choose Properties.
- Choose to verify the integrity of the game file.
Wait for the process to complete and then restart the game.
6. Turn Off Antivirus Software
Most users who have activated antivirus or Windows Defender on their PC will face Red Dead Redemption 2 won’t launch issues.
These programs consider certain game files as a virus threat and prevent them from running. You can either turn off the Antivirus software or add the RDR2.exe to the exclusion list.
- Windows Security (Windows Defender).
- Go to “Virus & Threat Protection.”
- Under “Exclusions,” add an exclusion for RDR2.exe.
7. Uninstall and Reinstall Rockstar Launcher/Social Club
Another possible solution that can fix the launch issue is to uninstall the Rockstar launcher and Social Club. To do that;
- Download and install Geek Uninstaller (if not already installed).
- Open Geek Uninstaller and locate Rockstar Launcher and Social Club.
- Right-click on each and choose “Uninstall.”
- After uninstallation, redownload and install Rockstar Launcher and Social Club from the official website.
8. Change API Setting in system.xml
- Open File Explorer and navigate to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Rockstar Games\Red Dead Redemption 2\Settings\.
- Open the file named “system.xml” with a text editor.
- Find the line with “kSettingAPI_Vulkan” and change it to “kSettingAPI_DX12.”
- Save the changes and close the file.
9. Delete Recording Software
If you have installed recording software like Action, Bandicam, Fraps, or OBS, uninstall them and launch Steam as an administrator. For players the RDR2 not launching issues are triggered due to the conflict with recording software.
10. Add Steam Launch Option
- Right-click on Red Dead Redemption 2 in your Steam library.
- Select “Properties.”
- Navigate to the “General” tab.
- Find the “Launch Options” section.
- Paste the following code into the Launch Options input box: -sgadriver=d3d12 -ignorepipelinecache -USEALLAVAILABLECORES -high -borderless
- Click “OK” to save the changes.
11. Update Graphics Card Driver
Another important thing that should come to your mind when a game won’t launch is the GPU drivers.
The graphics card drivers play a very important role so you should make sure that these are updated to their latest version.
You can update graphics card drivers in two ways. Manually or Automatically.
The manual method includes opening Device Manager locating the AMD/NVIDIA GPU and then finding the latest version.
However, we recommend the automatic method to update GPU drivers. For that, all you need is to download Driver Easy on your PC. This tool is an advanced system driver updater that is fully compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Using this Driver Easy you don’t need to do anything, just install and run it. It will automatically scan and install the latest version of graphics card drivers from their official sites.
12. Check for Mods
If you are using RDR2 mod then ensure there are no mods installed. If necessary, download a clean version of the game files without mods.
13. Disconnect Non-Essential USB Accessories
Sometimes the unnecessary peripherals attached to your PC’s USB port cause interference with the smooth running of the game.
Unplug any non-essential USB-powered accessories before launching the game.
14. Reinstall the Game
Last but not least if not a single above fix works for you then consider reinstalling the Red Dead Redemption 2 on your PC.
- Open Steam and navigate to the “Library” section.
- Right-click on Red Dead Redemption 2 and select “Uninstall.”
- Once uninstalled, re-download and install the game from the Steam store.