Watch Dogs Crashes, FPS Drops, Stuttering, Frame Skipping, Errors, Freezes and Fixes


Ubisoft has pulled another Assassin’s Creed by delivering another poorly optimized PC port of a hugely anticipated game.

Watch Dogs may become critics’ darling considering the rave reviews, but it will remain a painful experience for PC Gamers, who wish to experience it the best way possible on their high-end machines.

I will have to disappoint you if you are looking for a way to run the game smoothly at ultra as it is not possible to run it highest possible setting without encountering a host of issues that will literally ruin your experience of the game.

With few compromises, you can run the game smoothly on your machine without experiencing many of the issues plaguing the PC build. If you want to try to find a balance, you may have to try Watch Dogs Tweaks that ask you to play with the config file.

#1 – Nvidia Graphics and Performance Fix – FPS Drops, Stuttering and Frame Skipping
First order of the business before running Watch Dogs on your PC should be to download latest nVidia drivers to improve Stutters and FPS drops in game.

The easiest way for nVidia users to run the game on optimum settings to avoid all these issues is to install GeForce Experience and choose Watch Dogs profile.

#2 – AMD Graphics and Performance Fix – FPS Drops, Stuttering and Frame Skipping
You can download and install these AMD Catalyst 14.6 Beta Drivers which seem to give 25% boost in performance.

If you have AMD Mantle Beta drivers installed, you may have to uninstall them to fix graphics and performance issues.

#3 – Graphics and Performance Fixes You Should Try
If you have a high-end PC and want to avoid any graphics and performance issues before Ubisoft fixes the game, you should run game while AA turned Off, GPU Rendering Set to 1 and Vsync Turned Off.

Moreover, using Nvidia Control Panel, you should enable FXAA, set Anisotropic Filtering to 16X, enable AA Mode Override, set AA Settings to 32XCSAA, set AA Transparency to 8X, Set Max Pre-Rendered Frame to 1 (Optional), set Multi Display to 1, select Prefer Maximum Performance and turn off Texture Filtering.

Make sure you have Clamp and Threaded Optimization On. Test turning on/off Vsync to see what reduces stuttering and based on that, set it. AMD Graphics users can replicate similar settings in Catalyst Control Panel.

#4 – Blue Screen of Death Error 0xa0000001
Does your game start hanging before it crashes to desktop with a blue screen of death? Does it happen after a few minutes playing the game on PC? In that case, make sure your video card isn’t overheating, and you have installed latest drivers.

Error 0xa0000001 is related to the drivers issue on AMD Cards so it won’t be a surprise if you are experiencing this issue because you haven’t updated drivers for your video card.

#5 – Windows Vista SP1 Needed Error
If you are getting this error, try running the game in compatibility mode regardless of the Windows you are using. Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Watch_Dogs\bin and right click on Watch_Dogs Application and click Properties.

Choose Compatibility and from the compatibility drop-down box, choose Windows Vista SP1. Apply the changes and double-click Watch_Dogs Application executable to run the game.

#6 – Audio Skipping
To fix the audio, in Windows use “Stereo.” You can set default Windows Sound to Stereo by going in Playback Devices by clicking on the Sound Icon. Click Configure on the Window that opens, and you should see the option to set the sound to Stereo.

#7 – Watch Dogs Won’t Start
If you are getting Error 0xc000007b when you try to start the game or when you try to start the game, you get the loading screen for a second and then nothing, you may be missing one of the DirectX files needed to run the game.

The issue may be related to a missing files which you can download from Microsoft directly.

If even this doesn’t resolve the issue, you can try updating your DirectX and Video Card drivers. Clean Re-install may do the trick!

#8 – Watch Dogs Crashes After Logo Screen
If your game is crashing to desktop after Ubisoft logo, you should turn-off Uplay Overlay, update Nvidia Drivers and make sure your firewall isn’t interfering with your game.

#9 – Watch Dogs Crashes Randomly
Going offline in Uplay has helped several victims of continuous crashes to desktop. You can try that and see if it resolves the issue.

#10 – Watch Dogs Launch Problems
If for some reason Watch Dogs crashes to desktop after launch or after Ubisoft logo screen, you should disable Uplay Overlay in Uplay Settings. If you have Dxtory installed, turn it off.

Game won’t launch with it enabled. Moreover, running Dxtory with Watch Dogs will lead to random crashes.

#11 – Watch Dogs Frame Skipping While Driving Vehicles
If you are experiencing random frame skipping when you are driving vehicles in Watch Dogs, you should run the game on Medium Textures. Go to options and in the display section, select Medium Textures.

Alternatively, you can add “-disablepagefilecheck” as a parameter in Steam executable and try Borderless Windowed Mode.

#12 – Watch Dogs – Remove Mouse Acceleration
To remove mouse acceleration in Watch Dogs, exit the game and go to – C:\Users\your username\Documents\My Games\Watch_Dogs\folder and look for ‘GamerProfile.xml’.

Open GamerProfile with a text editor and set ‘Sensitivity’ from 0 to 1. Set ‘UseMouseSmooth from 1 to 0. Set ‘Smoothness from 1 to 0. Setting these values like this should remove the mouse acceleration from the game.

#13 – Watch Dogs Directx 11 Error
If you are experiencing any error related to DirectX 11, you should update your drivers to the latest Watch Dogs optimized version and update your DirectX.

Doing a clean install after uninstalling the previous version should resolve the issue.

#14 – Controller Feels a Bit Sluggish?
Go to Watch Dogs Display Options and lower Max Pre-Rendered Frames to 1. You should notice a big difference.

#15 – Watch Dogs Has Stopped Working, Blackscreen
You start the game and are greeted by a Blackscreen with no audio. Alternatively, when you start the game, it crashes to desktop giving you ‘Watch_Dogs Has Stopped Working’ error. In both cases, disabling Uplay Overlay should fix the issue.

It may also have something to do with the default location Uplay is installed. Try re-installing Uplay to C:/Program Files instead of C:/Program Files (X64).

If you experience audio issues after successfully launching the game, set your sound to ‘Stereo’.

You can set default Windows Sound to Stereo by going in Playback Devices by clicking on the Sound Icon. Click Configure on the Window that opens, and you should see the option to set the sound to Stereo.

We have listed workarounds for most of the issues but if you still come across an issue that’s not listed, you can comment and we will help you out!

By Zawad Iftikhar

Zawad is the lead editor here and it's him who manages what gets published on the site. When not working on SegmentNext, he likes to relax with a few PC games.


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    • dylan ford

      My game has been crashing at the same point over and over again and I got a blue screen with no error message, I only play the game for about 2 min before this happens any body know what I should do?

    • george

      When I first downloaded the game it was running slow. I thought it
      was my pc. window 7 home premium 64bit sp 1. intel core i7 cpu x980 @
      3.33GHz, 6GB RAM, AMD Radeon 5978 HD. Is’nt this good enough for the
      game? But then I thought it was my internet speed because i have slow speed. Well I dont know why its running slow?

      Now i have a new problem the game crashes after the Ubisoft screen. A small window pops up and says “Watch Dogs has stop working” . Can anyone help me please? sisiqo248@yahoo.com

    • Jake Ellem

      My game starts and i can play for a little then screen goes black and my whole computer freezes, I’m running HD5870 on i7920 and 4 gb ram, lowered all graphics to medium, i reformatted not long ago because i had the issue with cod4 but it works fine now, this does not. I updated drivers which helped me start the game because i had that issue aswell but I can’t seem to get past this..

    • Chronoclaw

      I am having one issue. My game will start up fine and run fine as long as I want. However, if I open up my map or unlock a CTOS location that displays the map for a moment, I get a Black Screen of Death. After that, I have to reset the power and turn my computer back on. I don’t understand why it only happens when I open the map and with a game map this big, it’s almost impossible not to open the map up.

      Anyone else having this issue?

    • Emil Lindecrantz

      Do you run on a NVIDIA geforce graphic card? So do I and i get the same crashes all the time. It says the latest drivers crashes.

    • Sean Cua

      i have 6670 crossfired with apu and it wont even get past showing the saving screen symbols.

    • segmentnext

      Did you try workarounds given above?

    • JohnnyB

      FX-8350 with 2x 7970s and I get fps drops all the way to 15-20fps when driving.
      This isn’t GTA V’s rival. Its an another GTA IV poor console port. Gratz Ubi and thanks for nothing.

    • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

      Yeah, probably. After the game is patched you’ll then have to worry about your saved games being overwritten.

    • stepmeup2

      I was play this game on high setting with texture set to normal my spec is

      AMD 6870 1GB
      RAM 8 GB
      AMD FX 8120

      and the game is run as smooth as it get but after i play for an hour or so my PC would Freeze up no sound no Blue screen just freeze and I don’t know what cause this. Maybe i try update my VGA driver and see if this Fix. If anyone can help me with this problem or have some use full suggestion i would appreciate.

      • Jake Ellem

        Fix this mans problem pls!

    • cybermanxxx

      same problem for me with a 780 Ti@1250 Mhz…… , still getting stuttering issue especially while driving :/
      Borderless or reduce texture to high instead of ultra doesn’t change the problem.
      I m so disapointing.
      And I m really afraid that ubisoft doesn’t change that :/

      • segmentnext

        Did you try #1, #2 and #3 ?

        • cybermanxxx

          yes , the solution is to reduce texture to medium :(

    • dragoonjefy

      I am running DUAL 2gb GTX 680′s on i7 980 (3.8ghz / core (6 cores, 12 logical threads), and 12gb ram.. I have lowered my textures to ‘high’ (Ultra eats up too much VRAM) and STILL get horrible stuttering, especially when driving.. Believe me, my PC runs FLAWLESS, I consider myself a bit of a graphics enthusiast.. I’ve tried the 337.81 (chinese) beta drivers as well as the nVidia WHQL driver 337.88 released today.. Same performance issues.. In fact, logging my performance, I see my PC randomly ‘spikes’ in usage on both the CPU and GPU.. GPU Utilization hovers around 70% on both cards, while my frames dip into the TEENS during chase sequences… PATHETIC.

      • Woody

        Sounds just like mine. I’m getting 60fps but I keep getting a stutter that is most noticeable during driving. It is like a “spike”. I tried all the recommended fixes like using borderless window and dropping the textures to “high” as you did.

        I’m on a pair of 780′s with a 3770k @4.6 and 16GB and I know why you say about your PC running flawless as people are full of sh*t and quick to blame it on having a messy install. You could wipe your HDD and do a clean install of Windows and the latest drivers and it won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

        I’ve had the same discussions with probably 80% of all new PC games in this day and age at launch. Always wasting the first week or two, reading and writing on forums, tinkering with settings and trying fixes whilst console players are merrily playing away and enjoying themselves. Then it just gets fixed with a patch or new drivers. Nothing to do with your PC. I really regret not getting it on my PS4.

        • Woody

          Saw another suggested fix – disabling SLI. Nope didn’t work either, still stuttering. Still played at 60fps on the one card though which surprised me.

    • Digital Shadow

      So when I started the game, the audio seemed awesome at first. Then, out of no where, it died and started to randomly “Click” instead. I restarted the game a few times, seeing what would happen. Sometimes I would have audio up until the opening scenes of them hacking the mainframe. Other times, I would hear the first click and lose menu audio.

      I’ve tried changing my audio channel, and Validating my steam files. I’ve heard there were issues with Dolby 5.1. I’m not sure if changing the audio channel changes it from Dolby 5.1. Am I mistaken about that?

      What should I do?

      • Woody

        Sorry I can’t be of much help but I have a Xonar DX and am using 5.1 and not had any issues. So I don’t think it is a blanket 5.1 issue.

        It is likely not a problem with your PC or sound drivers as I bet they work fine on every other game you have. Probably not much you can do other than wait for patches/new drivers.

        Dunno if your PC is like mine where you can either use your soundcard or switch the audio to going via your GPU and the HDMI cable? Actually I have three options because I could enable the onboard mobo sound and plug the speakers into that.

        I guess the first thing I’d try is using a different source?

    • Robert Johnson

      I saw on the EVGA forums that SLI (780ti) some bad frame rates and stuttering were evident. I posted the link to this article on the forums but wondered if you have any info on this.

      • segmentnext

        Both Crossfire and SLI are no no. FPS Drops, stuttering, frame skipping and worse, crashes.

        Haven’t found any working solution that can get the game running on SLI/Crossfire without a combination of these issues.

        • jeloomba

          Have you tried running a 120hz monitor?

          I run a 7990 on a 120hz benq Xl2420T Everything ultra+8xMSAA and it runs smooth as butter (No Vysnc)

          • segmentnext

            Nice find.