As you may already know valve’s cooperative FPS Left 4 Dead 2 was released to the public on the 17th of November. The game subsequently leaked online on the 20th. While Left 4 Dead 2 seems to be a well optimized & relative bug free game, we’ve got feedback from several readers who seemed to run into crashes to desktop (CTD), for example right after the intro movie is played. There can be numerous reasons as to why this happens and aim of this article is to list possible fixes that you can do to avoid similar issues and improve game performance. Note that we cannot guarantee listed solutions will help everyone – but it sure as hell won’t hurt to give them a go.

Left 4 Dead 2 Crashing To Desktop

One of the major reasons why the game crashes seems to be due to a system folder (CSC – Client Side Caching) not having necessary permissions and thus becomes inaccessible from within the game. This problem can be rectified by giving full access to the folder in question.

  1. Browse to your Windows Directory. This is C:\Windows by default for Windows XP/Vista and 7.
  2. Open CSC Directory.
  3. Inside you will see another folder usually named after a version number (i.e. 2.0.6). Try to open this folder.
  4. If you get the error message ‘You don’t currently have permission to access this folder’, Left 4 Dead 2 crash is probably caused by this. If you do not get any error at this point, the crash is not caused by CSC permissions issue.
  5. If you do get an an error, you’ll need to give full access to the folder so that it may be access by L4D2.
  6. Right click the folder and select properties. Open ‘Security’ tab. Press ‘Advanced’ button. Go to the ‘Owner’ tab and press edit. Set Administrator to be the owner of the object. Press ok to all windows and close. Now run the game.

Random crashes may also be present when multithreading is active. This is fairly easy to fix.

  1. Run the game. While in game open the console by pressing the ~ (tilde) key.
  2. Type the following command and press enter mat_queue_mode 0
  3. This will effectively disable multithreading in game. If the game was in fact using multi threading, you may observe a performance drop after you invoke this command. On the upside all bugs and crashes related to this function will be gone.

Note: This will reset every time the game starts so you will have to enter it whenever you exit and re-open the game (or you can edit the config file to make it permanent).

Another possible cause why you may be experience a crash to desktop is because you use a pirated version. Lots of folks using Razor1911’s leaked version has been reporting similar issues. It looks as if the custom installer used by Razor1911 in inconsistent and sometimes does not properly install the game (Note – this seems to happen only for some people). If this is the case you can either buy the game or wait for a PROPER release.

Audio Issues and Random Freezes

You may also try the following to minimize the possibility of random crashes in game and slow, stuttering, looping audio performance.

  1. Disable VSync. This is known to fix some CTD and stability issues.
  2. AMD users – try the solutions mentioned in this forum thread.
  3. Update DirectX to the latest monthly build. You can download it from here.
  4. Update your drivers to the latest version. NVIDIA GPU owners can try installing the release 195 beta drivers (use at your own risk) as they contain a ton of fixes. You may search and downloading matching release 195 beta drivers through this link.

Note: This article is a work in progress. More bugs/solutions will be added as they are discovered.


10 Comments

  1. hapbt // 11/24/2009 09:33:00 PM  

    none of these suggestions work, mat_queue_mode dosent even exist in l4d2, thats from the original l4d, stop posting this stuff over and over without testing it.
    nobody can explain why the permissions on the csc folder need to be changed and it won't work so don't waste your time potentially screwing up your system.
    disabling multicore rendering won't fix it, adding various command line options like -lv and lan related switches won't fix it.

  2. rckola911 // 11/26/2009 10:48:00 PM  

    hi just wanted 2 say in this relasese after u install it u must open the dvd "ie e:/" in my case where its mounted, and go into the razor1911 folder and there is a update there called razorinit. RUn that as admin or just run it but first drag it to your desktop or it wont install correctly. Then boom the crashing will stop to the desktop. I suppose if thise doesnt work for u then do what this nice person says but damn thats alot of work. later.

  3. Greg // 11/27/2009 08:21:00 AM  

    There is no diectory called "CSC" in mt C:\Windows directory.

    Win XP running on a Mac Powerbook Pro.

  4. ALF // 11/29/2009 08:00:00 AM  

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=12067893#post12067893

  5. s // 12/01/2009 09:47:00 AM  

    If you don't see the CSC folder in C:\Windows:

    1. goto Control Panel
    2. click User Accounts
    3. click Change the way users log on and off
    4. uncheck Use Fast User Switching
    5. click OK or Apply
    6. Restart your computer

    Note: These instructions are for Windows XP

  6. Dillon // 1/11/2010 11:13:00 AM  

    How do you enable the CSC folder in win. 7?

  7. Vince // 4/25/2010 12:15:00 PM  

    CSC folder is empty

  8. Mike // 1/13/2012 05:47:00 PM  

    Digeus Registry Fixer I recommend to use this software when there are problems with windows. I also recommend to use Windows Tune Up Suite form Windsty. It automatically identifies and repairs common Windows problems.

  9. jonathan cham // 2/10/2013 08:35:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  10. jonathan cham // 2/10/2013 08:39:00 PM  

    for those who are using Windows 7try this option,but not 100% sure it will work:

    1.go to C:\ and find a folder that says "Program Files" or "Program Files (x86)"

    2.find the "Left 4 Dead 2" folder

    3.right click the folder

    4.click "Properties"

    5.click on a tab that says "Security"

    6.click "Edit..."

    7.and finally change the permissions to full control for "Users"