Read Dead Redemption (RDR) 2 is a fantastic game released to great anticipation as with all Rockstar games, but it has not been without it’s problems. Errors plagued the game at launch, particularly on the PC, and one the major errors is the “Read Dead Redemption Exited Unexpectedly” error, which displays as something like this:
Basically, the game just crashes suddenly for no apparent reason, and this has frustrated PC users even since release.
This is actually a very complex error code, and cannot be totally boiled down to one single cause and solution. There are, however, some solutions to this error that appear to work more than others.
Here are the 7 most common solutions to the RDR 2 Exited Unexpectedly Error:
- Disable Full Screen Optimization & Run as admin in Rockstar Launcher Settings
- Switch to DirectX 12 API in the in-game Advanced Graphics Options.
- Update your BIOS on your PC.
- Update your GeForce Experience drivers if using them.
- Run the game as administrator from the Rockstar Launcher Properties.
- Add RDR 2 to the Exceptions List in your Windows Security/Firewall settings.
- Delete all the files inside the Settings folder of RDR 2 and re-launch game.
Options #2 and #7 work especially often for users.
These 7 main solutions are covered in the embedded video above, plus in more detail in the section below, but it is also true that they won’t cover every user, so we’ll have another section below that for other solutions to this error if the first 7 don’t work for some users.
Let’s also quickly list some quick-fire basics that all users should make sure are sorted before moving onto other solutions:
- Make sure Windows is fully up to date.
- Also try manually installing any optional Windows updates.
- Make sure your graphics cards/drivers are fully compatible with RDR 2 (full list here) and up to date.
- Try disabling Antivirus and firewall software if safe to do so.
- Give admin rights to both the Rockstar Launcher and the RDR2.exe game itself. This will also be covered in other solutions.
Now let’s move on to more solutions in detail, if these basics don’t fix the problem.
The 7 Most Common Solutions to RDR 2 Exited Unexpectedly Error in More Detail
2020/21 Update – Options #2 and #7 seem to be working a lot for users, so try skipping straight to these if you like
Solution #1 – Disable Full Screen Optimization & Run as Admin in Rockstar Launcher
This solution involves simply changing a few settings on the Rockstar Launcher that is installed alongside the actual game itself.
Here are the steps:
- Click on the Rockstar Launcher (Yellow R icon)
- Click on Settings
- Select Read Dead Redemption 2 under My Installed Games
- Click on View Installation Folder. A window opens with lots of files.
- Find and right click on the RDR2.exe file and select Properties
- Click on the Compatibility tab.
- The screen shown below should come up. Make sure the bottom two boxes Disable fullscreen optimization and Run the program as administrator as both checked.
- Click Apply then OK and test the game to see if it runs.
Solution #2 – Switch to DirectX 12 (DX 12) Graphics in the Game Options
This is a popular solution that does work for a lot of users, but not all. Here you are actually changing some settings in the actual game itself, not in the Rockstar Launcher.
Here are the steps for this:
- Launch the RDR 2 game and go to Settings……Graphics
- Scroll down to Advanced Graphics and move Advanced Settings to Unlocked.
- Move Graphics API over to DirectX 12
- Press enter to apply changes and confirm changes.
- See if this fixes the error.
Change the Graphics API to DirectX 12
With this solution, some users also find they have to close down and completely restart the game from scratch for it to work, instead of just trying to reload it from another window that is already open. Completely close and restart the entire game if trying this step.
Other users unfortunately find that switching to DX 12 completely breaks the game for them. If this happens, make sure that Windows is fully updated to the latest version as well, and that your graphics cards are also updated and fully compatible with RDR 2
Solution #3 – Upgrade BIOS on Your PC
This is another regular fix – simply update the BIOS on your computer.
Obviously, the actual steps differ with each PC make/model, but here are the general steps:
- Get the Service Tag/serial number of your PC, from the manual or the device itself
- Go to the manufacturer’s site and type in the serial number. Your model should come up.
- Choose your product and select the BIOS options from the menu.
- Select and download the latest update file onto your desktop.
- Double click on this saved file and it should start up a reboot/update process that you are guided through.
- See this video for a quick demonstration.
- See if this allows the game to launch.
However, we should also mention that for a few users, they needed to DOWNGRADE their BIOS (downgrade to f40 is commonly mentioned) to get the game to work, so also consider this as an option.
Unfortunately, we can’t give a general answer for this one that applies to everyone, because all PCs and hardware etc. differ, so users will just have to experiment with this one to see what works.
Solution #4 – Update GeForce Drivers
Obviously only applies if you are using them, but the RDR 2 exited error often appears when these particular drivers are not up to date.
Here are the steps to update:
- Open GeForce Experience
- Click on Drivers (top left). If a driver update is available, it will show up.
- Select Express or Custom installation. Express is fine for most users.
- Any new drivers will download. Then press Install.
- See if this fixes the error.
Solution #5 – Run Read Dead Redemption 2 as Administrator
This is really just a variant from Option #1 – except you are only checking the “Run as Administrator” box and not the other one.
This one is also very useful to try if you keep getting an error saying the game cannot launch because of privileges. Running as administrator gives you these privileges and may solve the error.
Follow exactly the same steps as Solution #1, but when you get to the Compatibility tab, only select the Run as Administrator box and not the one on Full Screen Optimization, and see if this works.
Just check the Run as administrator box on it’s own this time.
Solution #6 – Add RDR 2 to Exceptions List in Security Settings
Another possible cause of the “Red Dead Redemption 2 Exited Unexpectedly” error is that your firewall or security settings are blocking the program for whatever reason. Adding the game to a “whitelist” of allowed programs can stop this.
This problem can often show up when using Bitdefender.
Here are the steps to solve:
- Open Windows Security (from Start menu or just search for it).
- Click Virus & Threat Protection
- Click Manage Settings
- Click Add or Remove Exclusions.
- Click Add an Exclusion, then click on File
- Go to C:\
- Click on Program Files…..Rockstar Games
- Click the Red Dead Redemption file
- Select RDR2.exe
- A box comes up asking asking for permission to make changes. Click Yes.
- RDR 2 has now been added to exceptions. See if this fixes the error.
Solution #7 – Delete Contents of RDR 2 Settings Folder
This one works for quite a lot of users. Deleting the contents of this folder will delete your game settings, so you’ll have to reconfigure, but can fix the crash error.
Here are the steps to do this:
- Open My Computer/This PC or Windows Explorer (where you locate all different files).
- Click Documents on the left hand side.
- Click the Rockstar Games folder
- Open the Read Dead Redemption 2 folder
- Open the Settings folder.
- Drag and select all the files inside this folder, right click and press Delete.
- See if you can run the game now. You might lose configured settings up to this point.
Start this sequence properly by opening File Explorer then going to Documents on the left
Make sure you open the Settings folder through the Documents option, as some people who struggle to find this folder find they haven’t gone through the proper menu sequence (Documents —- Rockstar Games —– RDR 2 —- Settings).
Other Solutions to the RDR 2 Exited Unexpectedly Error
It is also true however, that for many users, none of the above 7 solutions will work, simply because PC hardware/software/drivers, and how they interact with different games, is so varied and complex that even a list of 7 solutions is not going to cover this error code thoroughly.
Let’s look at some more reported solutions to this error, though they may not work as regularly as the first 7 listed above.
Solution #8 – Disable Intel HD Graphics in Device Manager
This one is a very common backup solution. If the other 7 haven’t worked, and you use Intel HD Graphics for your card/driver, this is one of the first ones to try.
Here are the steps:
- Go to Settings…Device Manager or just search for device manager in the search bar in the bottom left of the Windows 10 screen.
- A list of different devices/categories should come up. Double click on Display adapters.
- If you are using Intel HD, then it should appear. Not all users do though; some users might use nVidia or other brands, in which case skip this solution.
- Right click on Intel HD Graphics and click Disable device.
- See if this fixes the error.
Solution #9 – Change General Sound Output
Another general sound settings change to try is to change the output to either 16 Bit, 24 Bit or 32 Bit at 48,000 Hz if it is currently set to something else. Sometimes users found that RDR 2 only worked when output was set at certain levels.
Go to Settings….System….Sound and adjust your Speaker options to try this.
Solution #10 – Turn off Spatial Sound Windows Sonic for Headphones – Another specialist solution that has worked for some users. You can turn this off from the sound icon near the clock in the bottom right corner of the Windows interface.
Here are the steps:
- Plug in your headphones/headset
- Right click on the speaker/sound icon (bottom right corner).
- Hover over Spatial Sound and select “Windows Sonic For Headphones“
- Select Off to disable it and see if this fixes the error.
Solution #11 – Switch Audio output from Motherboard output to HDMI
Another audio based solution that was submitted by a user that worked for some people.
This is basically changing the way your PC outputs audio for the RDR 2 game, from the motherboard to an actual HDMI cable.
Here are the general steps for Windows 10:
- Go to Windows Settings (cog icon) or Control Panel
- Go to Devices
- Click on Sound on the left
- There should be a “Choose your audio output” option
- Make sure it is switched to HDMI output if it is currently on something else.
- Obviously make sure you have a HDMI cable connected to allow this.
- See if this resolves the error.
Solution #12 – Run in Windows 7 Compatibility Mode
Another obscure solution. Here are the steps for this one:
- Right click on rdr2.exe
- Select Properties
- Move to the Compatibility tab
- Select Windows 7 Compatibility Mode
- Works for some users, but is a rare solution.
Solution #13 – Switch From Epic To Rockstar Launcher
A lot of RDR 2 users report regular problem when they got the game through the Epic Games platform and used the Epic Launcher. A good idea here is to switch to the Rockstar Launcher if possible. If your game is continually crashing and you can’t fix it, then contact Epic Games about getting a refund, and if successful, just get the entire game again through Rockstar, and using the Rockstar Launcher from scratch.
Solution #14 – Turn down your Processor
Another solution that occasionally works. Try turning down the power options on your processer to stop it overclocking.
Go to Settings…..System…Power & Sleep…..Additional Power Settings……Change Plan Settings.
Then go to Change Advanced Power Settings. A list appears on the left; click on Processor Power management, and turn down the maximum processor state to below 100 if that’s what it is currently at.
Another thing to combine with this is to disable XMP from your BIOS/RAM options. You can do this in BIOS mode (recommended for advanced users only – see this forum for more details.).
These two steps combined configure your processor and RAM to run at “stock” mode and not overclock or “overwork”, hopefully reducing the likelihood of games crashing.