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

watch dogs
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!

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