FIX Dark Souls - Crashing / Black Screen (Windows 8, 7, etc)

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition Windos 8 Crash Fix

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die...Now!

Did you try to run Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on your Windows 8 computer (including consumer preview edition [32-bit / X86 VERSIONS AND 64-BIT X64]) and run into an annoying problem -- Dark Souls crashes when you load it? This effects Steam versions of the game, as well as Origin and CD / DVD copies as well.

Do not fear, my fellow RPG PC gamer. We are here to help you with that so that you can begin collecting souls in this epic game. Note that this helps all forms of launch failure with the game (including directly loading the EXE and black screen or window mode issues).

If the game is already installed, then follow these steps. If it isn't then install + open Steam, then install + open Dark Souls (to verify crash).

Note that these fixes work on all versions of Windows -- Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.

How to Fix: Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition Crashing

1) Open the Control Panel and uninstall GFWL (Games for Windows Live). There are 2 parts -- uninstall both.
2) Download & install the latest version of Games for Windows Marketplace Client
3) Launch the game

It should now work! The reason it may have caused a crash error message (such as "Dark souls Prepare To Die Edition Executable has stopped working") for you previously is because an old version of GFWL was actually installed instead of the newest version.

Still crashing? Then continue below...

Solve Dark Souls Freeze / Error on Load / Crash

-- If you are crashing because of vsfilter.dll, then try renaming this file (locate it through search). If that doesn't work, then make sure to name it back to the original file!
-- Restart your computer
-- Remove ANY game controllers that are plugged in (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, etc).
-- If you installed a mod, such as DSFix, then disable it (rename it or move it). Old versions of this mod are causing the game to crash after updating it!
-- Similarly, the new version of the DSFix is working fine for people. So if you haven't used it yet and are black screening near the intro / opening of the game, then enable the "Skip Intro" feature
-- Install the latest DirectX drivers! This includes the ones that came with the game AND (if that doesn't help) the newest copy from Microsoft's site!
-- Install the latest .NET Framework!
-- Run DarkSouls.exe in admin mode (right click the exe -> run as administrator)
-- Download xlive.dll and put it in your C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 folder! You should have this file already somewhere though so you should use the included DLL. Run SEARCH for it.
-- REPAIR (via Control Panel) Windows Live Essentials

Boom shocka locka! The game should now work for you if you followed the troubleshooting tips in this guide. If it doesn't, then maybe the planets are aligned in such a way that the world is working against you! Kidding, I think! Feel free to comment if you need additional help to get this awesome game to run without crashing or freezing or error'ing.

Remember folks -- Dark souls isn't just a game. It's a lifestyle!

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  • By Ewan, December 30, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    Do you need a windows live account to do this?

  • By UpwardGaming, December 30, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    Yes -- you do need an account.

  • By Dean Astora, January 2, 2013 @ 7:21 am

    Thank you so much for this!

  • By adr2k5br, January 6, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

    Just unplugged the xbox joystick and the crash error at inicialization is gone. Weird !!! Thank you.

  • By Kingpin, March 5, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Its crashed at first cutscene

  • By Angelo, April 11, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

    thank you so much for this, was about to lose it haha!

  • By UpwardGaming, April 12, 2013 @ 1:27 am

    Glad to help! 🙂

  • By Zared, April 12, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    I've tried literally everything. I've done three fresh installs now using different combinations of somethings, and nothing works. When I launch the game, all I get is a black screen that is unresponsive. Help please.

  • By Jack Heinrich, July 18, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    Vielen Dank

  • By Apajam, July 31, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

    Hey thanks for that Help i fixed the crash, now i have a other problem , if i start now dark souls the game dont show me windows live , if i keep clicking on live in dark souls it do nothing hope you help me ;(

  • By John Raider, August 4, 2013 @ 5:44 pm

    This fixed the launch crashing porblem, thank you very much.

  • By jonehi, October 10, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

    after 80 hours of game play i was dieing to get back to the game and now gfwl wont let me i will never buy a gfwl game ever again. if this dosnt work im just gona go get the game from tpb shame i never got to play much online

  • By dave w, November 14, 2013 @ 6:27 am

    thanks soooo much for this! people like you make the world a better place!!!!

  • By Batman, December 1, 2013 @ 6:51 am


  • By Matt, December 20, 2013 @ 9:26 am

    Thanks a bunch!

  • By Alex, December 27, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

    This is my new favourite website as I would have never of known how to do this. Thx

  • By AaronTheDarkSoulsFan, December 27, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

    Hello This Is A Really Stupid Question But I'm Not Great With Windows 8 And I Was Wondering Could You Show Me Where To
    GFWL (Games for Windows Live)

  • By kidbosco9, January 9, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    it wont even let me download the client what do I do now? I already deleted the other client

  • By Chris, January 13, 2014 @ 10:15 pm

    Ok, so I've tried EVERY possible solution that I've seen all across the net, and I have deemed that I have a completely different problem than anyone else. So here goes:
    -I purchased the game through Steam in January, I probably should've researched before I bought it, hadn't realized it was such a bad port to PC and that Namco Bandai had to apologize because it was such a bad port.
    -I can start and launch the game, I even have 4 hrs played time
    -However the game CTD every so often
    --I've uninstalled DS, closed Steam, un-installed GFWL (both portions) through Control Panel, and even ran regedit to remove all trace elements in the registry. Then re-installed .NET (newest), GFWL (newest version), and DS. I've made sure to run everything in Admin Mode and have even tried running in compatibility mode (XP SP3, and W7) to no avail. I'm currently running W8.1


  • By Finn, February 10, 2014 @ 10:26 am

    i come from germany but i will try to give my best . soo guys i think i have found a godlike fix for all guys how cant start the game but have tried ALL solutions! i have found this under a you tube video. ! u must find the darksouls ini file it is located in the appdata folder ( a hidden folder maybe u must make it visible)
    and change the resolution to ur monitor resolution ( example 1920 . 1080) i hope this is the last solution what exist for this.

  • By mlMichael, March 10, 2014 @ 8:09 pm


  • By Z, May 10, 2014 @ 10:30 am

    Hi some of you may not find these solutions to work, just as I did. So heres the solution that worked for me:
    Step 1:uninstall games for windows live and any program related
    Step 2: run Dark Souls 2
    Step 3: cry and never re-install GFWL

  • By Z, May 10, 2014 @ 10:35 am

    I meant dark souls the the darksouls 2 was a freudian sli[

  • By Bloody Wulf, June 14, 2014 @ 6:00 pm

    My working solution is close easy:
    in youre Dark Soul folder exist a file: DATA.exe.cfg
    open that file with a texteditor and editing the following line:
    there you must put in the right version!

  • By nahsik, September 20, 2014 @ 7:47 am

    What bloody wulf has said worked for me finally after trying nearly everything.. update that .cfg file and it will work.

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