Ubisoft released Anno 1404 Dawn of Discovery (PC) to the North American market on the 23rd of June. Although it was a relatively ‘silent’ launch without much hype, the game seems to be very popular among fans of strategy games. If you didn’t know about Anon 1404 already, it’s a city building game with RTS elements mixed in. Anyway the purpose of this post is to give a little tip on how to prevent the ‘crash to desktop when starting the game’ issue several of our readers were facing. I cannot guarantee that it’ll solve all your crashing issues but is definitely worth a try.

Anno 1404 Dawn of Discovery cover

Anno 1404 is optimized for DirectX 10 (don’t worry, DX9 is also supported) and the game by default will launch in DX10 mode if supported hardware is detected. However it seems that DX10 mode causes crashes to desktop (CTD) even on some (not all) video hardware that are listed compatible with the game. If this is really the case, you can avoid the crash by forcing the game to run on DirectX 9. Downside of this method would be that you won’t see graphical enhancements of DX10 in game. Anyways here is how you can force DX9 mode in Anno 1404 by manually editing game configuration file:

  1. Navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Ubisoft\anno1404\config\engine.ini (In Windows Vista this file is located in C:\Users\USERNAME\….)
  2. Create a backup of engine.ini file. Open the engine.ini with a text editor such as Notepad.
  3. Search for the tag <DirectXVersion>. You will find the line
  4. Change this line so that it looks like this:

You game will now run in DirectX 9 mode. With luck, this might resolve your CTD issue too.

By the way Anno 1404 was protected by TAGES + SolidShield DRM. However Razor1911 seems to have successfully hoodwinked the protection through the use of a virtual machine. Technically not a crack but a workaround nevertheless. Interesting…


  1. Johnny // 7/14/2009 08:36:00 PM  

    Thx ... Will try

  2. Moritz // 7/19/2009 05:21:00 AM  

    thx, it fixed it for me!

  3. Toby // 8/28/2009 03:24:00 AM  

    when i go into the folder you said (application data/ubisoft/anno1404), there is nothing in it... i don't reckon i can just create an engine.ini ?

  4. Eduard // 8/31/2009 12:22:00 AM  

    doesn't work for me.... any suggestions?

  5. Kojnan // 12/29/2009 09:21:00 PM  

    @toby try to unchek "hide hidden files"
    @Eduard try to "run as administrator"

  6. Sasa // 2/28/2010 08:58:00 PM  

    i dont have a anno 1404 folder in ubisoft in documents and settings????

  7. דניאל // 6/01/2010 11:04:00 AM  

    i don't have any hidden or unhidden files in apliciont data, ubisoft, anno 1404!

  8. Fast Limport, Lda. // 8/23/2011 12:48:00 AM  

    dont work for me...

  9. Frank Surquin // 3/23/2015 10:26:00 AM  

    If u can't find your engine.ini file, try C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Ubisoft\Anno1404\Config