DiRT 3 Crashes and Fixes

Fix Dirt 3 errors, crashes or performance issues by following the workarounds in this troubleshooting guide we made for you.

DiRT 3 though a bloody good racing game has few issues similar to F1 2010 that need the developer’s immediate attention. Until that happens, we have a list of Dirt 3 Crashes and Fixes listed below for you.

If you come across any of the below-mentioned errors, crashes or performance issues, you can follow the workarounds to resolve these.

DiRT 3 Crashes and Fixes

1# DiRT 3 – Profile Creation Failed
The following message is received when first logging into the game: “Profile Creation Failed – You must be signed into Live to create a new save for your profile”.

Whenever you create a new profile in the game – which will allow you to save your progress – you must be logged into Windows Live. It is not possible to create a new profile in the game if using an offline profile. The first time you create a profile you will be asked for the Windows Live Key that comes with your game.

2# How to Setup a Controller in DiRT 3
Firstly make sure that your controller is plugged in and functioning correctly in Windows and that you have downloaded and installed the latest drivers for the device from the manufacturer’s website.

You should also ensure that no schemes or profiles are running for your controller. If you are using a steering wheel, we recommend that you set the pedal axes to “separate” rather than combined. This can be done using the software for the wheel itself (e.g. Logitech’s Wingman software).

  1. From the game’s main menu, select options – controls.
  2. Here you can choose between automatic and manual transmission and choose your Advanced Wheel Settings if using a wheel.
  3. If you have one of the officially supported controllers (see notes below) you can choose to load a preset configuration for this device, or for the keyboard, or
  4. If you wish to create your own custom settings or setup an un-recognized controller, scroll down to each function you want to re-define and press enter, then move your controller or press the button you wish to use. The new function should now appear in the list.
  5. Do this for all of the functions you wish to change and, when you are happy with the settings, press escape.
  6. If you wish to adjust your force or vibration settings, you can do this from the Vibration and Feedback menu.


  • In the Advanced Wheel Settings, Dead Zone is the amount you can steer the wheel (or press a pedal) before it has any effect. Saturation is the amount you can steer the wheel before it reaches full lock.

The officially tested and supported controllers are as follows:

  • Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
  • Logitech Rumblepad 2
  • Thrustmaster Run’n’Drive
  • Run’n’ Drive Rumble Force
  • Thrustmaster T-Mini 3-In-1
  • Dual Trigger 3-In-1
  • Thrustmaster Dual Analog 3 (ensure official Thrustmaster drivers are installed)
  • Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel
  • Logitech G25 Wheel
  • Logitech G27 Wheel
  • Logitech Formula Force EX Force Feedback Wheel
  • Thrustmaster T500RS Racing Wheel
  • Thrustmaster Ferrari 430 Force Feedback Racing Wheel
  • Thrustmaster RGT F/F Pro

3# Application Should be Closed
The following error is received when installing the game: “The following applications should be closed before continuing the install: Dirt 3”.

If you press “retry” after a short while the installation will continue.
Otherwise if you click on the Dirt 3 Window on your task bar and select Finish, this will also complete the installation.

4# xlive.dll is Missing
The following error message is received: “The program can’t start because xlive.dll is missing from your computer”. If you receive this error immediately after installing the game, you may just need to wait for the Windows Live installation to complete in the background. If you still get the error after waiting for 5 minutes or so, please do as follows:

  • Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Live from the Windows control panel.
  • Delete the following folder: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE
  • Now re-download the latest GfWL client from here.
  • Reinstall this new client.
  • Try the game again.

5# Red Sun Graphics Bug
If you have an AMD 5 series card, then you may experience the red sun lightning. Don’t worry, it’s a driver issue which is fixed from 11.3 onwards (driver version).

6# DiRT 3 Won’t Run
Make sure you install the DirectX that comes with the installation. Especially, the game won’t run if you don’t have Games For Windows Live installed properly.

7# Playstation 3 Online Multiplayer
The game requires an online pass to be played online on PS3. Since Playstation store is offline, you can’t connect with the community. Save the code and wait when Playstation store comes back online or hope Codemasters remove the online pass system just like good guys behind Mortal Kombat did to get the game online.

8# Xbox 360 Load Screen Freezing Issue
Clean your Xbox 360 cache and try to run the game installed in HDD. If you don’t have much free space in your hard drive, it would be better to clean the disk and try again.

9# Controls are Not Saving – Profile Saving Fix
If you are using any controller connected to your PC for the game, use any button on it to start the game. Don’t press any keyboard button when the menu that says ‘Press Start Button’ comes, wait for the game to react to your controller and once it does, you will have to use the same button to start the game everytime. That’s your start button basically, from there onward, the controls will save.

10# Hardware Sound
Dirt 3 by default has the Hardware Sound option removed. So, it would be better to keep it this way since the game doesn’t really support the feature.

Tip: You can enable the hardware sound using the old config of Dirt 2 or F1 2010. You can read my F1 2010 troubleshooting article for more insight on config editing but do it at your own risk.

11# Stuck in Windowed Mode
If you are stuck in windowed mode, hold Alt and press Enter to return back to full screen.

12# Can’t Log in to Games For Windows Live
When presented with the ‘Sign In to Windows Live’ dialogue, you can type into the ID box, but not into the password box, so the log-in fails.
Cancel out of that screen and get into the game in “Offline Mode”. Once at the main menu, you’ll see an option for LIVE, login from there.

13# PC Input Lag

14# DirectX 11 Crashes
Playing the game on DirectX 11 ? crashing randomly? delete ‘hardware_settings_config’. You can find the file in:
My Documents / My Games / Dirt 3 / Hardware Settings and restart your computer to fix this issue. If it still doesn’t resolve the issue, try playing the game in windowed, it’s not really a fix but a workaround till developers patch the game.

15# DiRT 3 PC/Xbox 360 – Youtube Blocked Connection Restricted
If you have very restrictive profile in Xbox 360, you may want to tweak it a bit to allow youtube upload. You can go to Privacy Settings in GFWL/Xbox Live. Go to xbox.com and check your settings.

16# DiRT 3 Green/ Black Screen Fix
If you experience the black or green screen issue with Dirt 3, delete your config file and when you reconfigure, put your anti aliasing to max 8x.

17# DiRT 3 Data Execution Prevention
Make sure you have installed and update your Windows OS required for the game. Check minimum settings for the game before you attempt to play.

18# Can’t Download Free Car Pack?
Try download it from from marketplace client.

19# Driving Wheel Dead Zone Fix
Figuring out, will let you know when I find anything. If you have found anything, share.

20# Crashes at Loading Screen
If you experience loading screen crashes or random crashes while playing the game, try disabling all the inactive audio devices from your computer. Leave only the one you use.

21# Random Crashes Fix
If you are experiencing random Dirt 3 crashes while loading the races or playing the game. Run the game in Direct X 9 instead of using DirectX 11 to render the game.

You can change it in ‘hardware_settings_config.xml’ which can be found in /My Games/DiRT 3.

22# Replay Problem While Using Steering Wheel

23# Framerate Drop Cockpit View
If your FPS drop consistently while in cockpit view, make sure you have disabled Vsync and have 4x AA with latest drivers.

If you face any other issue while playing DiRT 3, you can comment and I will try to help you out.

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Zawad Iftikhar is the founder of SegmentNext.com, an FPS enthusiast and a Call of Duty veteran, having participated multiple eSports competition.