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159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, bare with me: so I've had my HD5850 for 9 months or so and wanted to try out the free Dirt 2 game that came with the card.

I have an Xbox360, but moved it into the bedroom and use it primarily as an extender since I installed my Ceton Infinity4 card a few months ago. I keep my HTPC clean and just run minimal apps (WMC, TMT5, MPC-HC+ffdshow, MediaBrowser, shoutcast radio, speedfan, WHS)

So, I'm starting to get into gaming on my HTPC in the family room.

I created a steam account/downloaded the game/installed/at initial start-up GFWL asked for and I entered a GFWL access code. The game starts up successfully maybe 1 out of 10 times. I've been asking on the steam/Dirt 2 forum and it seems many are having issues with Dirt2 + GFWL crashing at start-up into a black screen.

Here's what I've done as suggested in the steam/dirt2 forums:

1) Verified integrity of the game cache through steam (100%) verified (did this 4-5 times)

2) Uni-install GFWL and re-install latest GFWL 3-4 times

3) Re-install steam

4) Deleted hardware settings (Docs/My Games/Dirt 2/Hardware settings)so they would re-build on new start-up (this worked once)

5) Uninstalled rapture 3D sound after setting Dirt 2 sound through software

6) disable realtek HD audio in start-up (my sound comes through the HD5850 via HDMI for bitstreaming HD audio)

7) So-thinking the steam version/download/installer was to blame I uninstalled the game through steam (local content)

Part 2---

8) Found Dirt 2 on sale for $10 on Amazon, so I installed the DVD version.

9) The DVD installed an older GFWL which I then updated

10) Logged into GFWL started Dirt 2 and it froze into black screen at AMD logo when signing in (again-I signed into GFWL before launching the game) again - verifying/updating my game stats

11) GFWL never asked for the access code that came with the DVD - it's using the code the steam provided and my stats are updated through that code

12) Made sure ports for GFWL are all open and firewall rules are not preventing GFWL or Dirt 2

13) UPnP is enabled on my router as well

14) When attempting to right click a game in my game libray or on GFW markplace logo to 'check for updates' - I get an error 60-70% of the time:
"Windows Unable to Connect to the games update server. Check your network or try later" - I'm thinking this may be the problem? When starting Dirt 2 it has to log-into GFWL and then checks for updates? If it can't/fails to connect to games update server does this then cause my system/display to go into frozen mode and resulting in a hard reboot?

The times I have gotten the game to start up ok (through the steam download and once last night through the DVD install - it seems to connect to this games update server. As stated above, I log into GFWL before starting steam - but still see it telling my it's logging into GFWL during Dirt 2 initail startup screen and AMD - INTEL - Codemasters logo's. If it doesn't (not sure here - just a guess) it then crashes/freezes. Cntr/Alt/Delete will not bring up task manager and if I try to go into a windowed mode alt/enter that fails as well.

15) So this worked once late last night: I ran 'misconfig' and did a selective startup of having only CCC and MSE (Microsolf Secuirty Essentials) run at boot-up

16) log into GFWL, but this time started another game (Tinker) and it connected fine with GFWL--exit Tinker

17) start Dirt 2 in safe Mode (I tryed this before and it crashed as well) -- this time Dirt 2 started with minimum resolution and settings

18) I changed to Automatic detail and 1280x720 at 60 refresh (same as my CCC settings that work great for everything played through WMC.

19) saved these settings and checked that my stats for my steam install had been updated

19) exited the game

20) restarted and it crashed when it trys to log into GFWL during start-up

My Specs:

i5 -750 CPU

Gigabyte P55-UD4 MOBO

HD5850 GPU

8 GB ram

Intel SSD system (OS and apps)


CCC 10.1: (1280 x 720p @ 60Hz RGB Full 0-255) no tweaking, just basic settings unchecking most all video options. Using ATI HD driver for HDMI sound.


Everything is updated

Win7 Pro x64

My network is wired with gigabit switches (HP Procurve) and my ISP speed gives me 25Mbt/Sec at boost speed. I stream high bitrate HD Blu-ray video rips from my WHS box without issue or lag. Using a 6 month old WRT610N router without issue.

Using a wired (USB) XBOX360 controller.

HTPC -> HDMI -> Denon 3310CI AVR -> HDMI -> Sharp Aquas LC-37DB5U

My TV has a resolution of 1366 x 768, I set CCC to 720p @ 60 Hz RGB Full, but have to stretch the scaling to 6 to get it to fill 100% of my screen.

All video and audio looks and plays great.

Is there a better resolution or CCC settings I should try for gaming for my system specs? My wife says NO to a new 1080p 120 Hz LED this year, which I try to convince her would solve this issue
Well, maybe not.

I'm awaiting to hear from codemasters support with a solution, hoping they don't tell me to go ask M$ GFWL support
knowing it may never get resolved.

Sorry for the long post, but as in the HTPC threads, my experience has found that this is where the real expert advice is (not through support tickets!

Any suggestions would be welcome.


7,766 Posts
When I'm having issues with a PC game working properly, the Steam forums have been the best place that I have found to get a bit of actual support. Since you've already been there, you may be a bit stuck at this point. Sorry dude!

My first guess? SecuRom or the like is screwing with your install. The appropriate course of action would be to find a cracked version of the EXE to run from somewhere like GameCopyWorld. That's right, in order to play the game that you have purchased twice, you probably need to pirate it now.

This is why I dread anything that isn't a Steam native game on the PC. Most DRM is handled horribly. It's also why the vast majority of my gaming is on the 360. Select my game from the dashboard and it just magically works.

159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for that advice, I already have a cracked version (as my next solution), which I haven't installed yet. Thinking I could this to go as it was meant and my sons points would get updated. Codemasters told me to update my chipset. (which I will)

So, that tells me they don't have an answer really.


728 Posts
Would it make you feel better if I said Dirt 2 was on sale for $5 on Steam? Just kidding, ummm, that sucks. I hate when stuff doesn't go well and I don't have a solution for you

159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Originally Posted by tomfoolery_79 /forum/post/19628620

Would it make you feel better if I said Dirt 2 was on sale for $5 on Steam? Just kidding, ummm, that sucks. I hate when stuff doesn't go well and I don't have a solution for you

My first line: "so I've had my HD5850 for 9 months or so and wanted to try out the free Dirt 2 game that came with the card."

Thinking the Steam install/download was somehow broken (as many are having problem on steam's dirt series forum) I decided to buy the DVD copy for $10 off Amazon this week and try that.

I'm going to update my BIOS and Chipset (as Codemaster support suggested) and report back. Re-installing CCC again may prove successful. But, I still just think GFWL and their DRM BS has to do with why myself and other are experiencing problem with this game.

159 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, after updating a few of my drivers (Intel Chipset and LAN - Realtek Ethernet) and installing ATI 10.11 video driver; I have this game running

Not sure which one or a combination of all, but it's working. I really thought GFWL was the issue, but that seems to be behaving.
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