Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 (aka CoD : MW 2), which is without a doubt one of the most anticipated games of this year, has finally been released. The game is distributed via Steam and has been available since the 10th of November in some locations. There’s been a lot of pre-release buzz around this game specially regarding its supposedly flawed multiplayer component and non availability of dedicated servers. There’s also been a lot of criticism of the game’s relatively short single player campaign. Either way, here’s our routine troubleshooting article for CoD : MW 2. We hope to discuss various problems users may encounter with the game and possible fixes if any are available.

Please note that this is a work in progress –and this is a very early version. More issues/fixes will be listed as they are discovered.

How to manually edit game settings via configuration file (NEW)

While the game does allow you to change basic audio, video and control settings, hard core gamers would want to tweak the hell out of this game. You can do this by manually editing the configuration file. PC Confuguration settings are stored in:


It’s highly recommended you backup the current file before making any changes – if something goes wrong simply restore the backup.

Could not locate resource errors and install issues

As you may already know, Modern Warfare 2 is distributed via Valve’s Steam content delivery platform. Some users have reported errors related to Steam – here’s a brief summary of them:

Sometimes you may encounter strange errors such as ‘could not locate arcadia.ff’ and the game might crash. Most such issues can be fixed by refreshing the game via Steam. To do this:

  1. Open Steam client
  2. Right click Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2
  3. Click ‘Verify Game Cache’
  4. Wait until operation completes.

If you run into ‘Failed to run install script’ error, try running the setup as administrator (Right click- run as Administrator).

Also if you receive the annoying “Incomplete Installation of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2″, towards the end of setup try inserting DVD1 back into the drive.

Slow performance and stuttering intro movies

Sometimes you might experience stuttering and slow performance both with the game as well as intro movies. There could be many causes for this but try disabling ‘Sync Every Frame’ from the options menu – this has proven to help.

CoD : MW 2 sound issues – stuttering audio, noise or no sound

Thankfully not a lot of people have reported audio issues with the game ( it wasn’t quote the same with MW1).  However if you are experiencing any audio issues including stuttering, noise or skipping sounds, you may try lowering hardware sound acceleration level. You might also try the audio fix mention at the end of this article.

Corrupt textures, artifacts, graphics issues, etc

I’m not sure this is a common issue or not but this is my personal experience. I’ve found both CoD MW1 and MW2 run my graphics hardware on higher temperatures than during normal gaming. This has sometimes caused artifacting, corrupt textures and various other graphics glitches after few hours/minutes into the game. If you are experiencing similar issues, I suggest you re adjust fan speed (try speeding it up with an utility such as RivaTuner) of your VGA or opening the system casing to allow better ventilation (at least when you play the game).

Random crashes? Are you using a pirated release?

It is not secret now that the game has leaked online. Two groups from the warez scene have pre’d the game (Razor1911 (RZR) and SKIDROW) and it’s all over the internet. Razor1911’s release is a custom launcher which comes with SteamWorks in tact while SKIDROW claims to have removed Steam. Some folks have reported random crashes with RZR release but I have not personally tested this. Anyway to experience optimal, crash free performance and especially to enjoy the game’s multiplayer component, buying the game is encouraged.

Does this game require online activation? 

Essentially not a technical question but one of the most popular ones. Yes. Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 requires online activation to play both single player and multiplayer components (that is assuming you are using a legit, non-pirated copy). Online authentication is handled by SteamWorks protection by Valve software.

I pirated the game. Can I play online?

Possibly one of the most frequently asked questions. As mentioned above, you’ll have to by the game for full online multiplayer experience. Even multiplayer via emulated LAN such as via Hamachi does not seem to be possible with CoD MW 2 – pirates seem to be really screwed in this case.

Where are the saved games?

One thing i hate about Steam games is they store saved games in fukd up places where no one can find them. In this case, saved games are located in the following location:

X:\Steam\SteamApps\Common\Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2\Players

Fix Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 random crashes to desktop (CTD, black screen and more)

So far, we are not aware of any specific scenarios that always cause showstopper bugs. In this case, only some guidelines to minimize the possibility of crashes can be given. Please read the following – these probably won’t fix all of your problems but they sure as hell will help in one way or the other.

  1. Install the latest DirectX runtime – Latest DirectX should be available in your Steam directory but if it’s not (or if you didn’t buy the game from Steam), you can download the latest monthly runtime from here. This is a standalone installer that will work in offline mode as well.
  2. Install Microsoft Visual C++ runtime libraries – I’m not sure if this is an absolute necessity for this game but it’s required for most games nowadays (as demonstrated by the case with Dragon Age : Origins). You can download the required files from this link.
  3. Update Video card drivers – Both NVIDIA and ATI have recent video drivers out – you should always try updating to the latest official driver version available for your hardware for best performance. If anything goes wrong, the option to rollback to previous release is always there.
    ATI Drivers: Download the latest ATI Catalyst drivers from this link:
    NVIDIA Drivers: Download latest official NVIDIA drivers from this link:
    For Beta ATI/NVIDIA drivers for Windows 7, XP and Vista, check out this page: If you are having video issues with official drivers, do not hesitate to give beta drivers a go. They are not always evil as the sound like.
  4. Update sound card and motherboard drivers – Overlooked by many but an essential step to playing games crash free. Click Here to download 3DP Chip for Windows Vista/XP/7 – This program will automatically detect your hardware and search for updated drivers for them.

This post is a work in progress. Check back later for updates.

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  1. iamse7en // 11/11/2009 01:56:00 AM  

    My question is, if I download the skirow copy (which is non-steam), can I play it online using a legitimate cd-key?

  2. justsayn // 11/11/2009 02:50:00 AM  

    So does the multiplayer problem have anything to do with local co-op?

    Can one still play local co-op without having to mess with Steam?

  3. Anonymous // 11/11/2009 06:45:00 AM  

    "Pirates are really screwed on this one" - That's classic.

  4. Lightning_Struck_Tower // 11/11/2009 08:54:00 AM  

    When it comes to MP. But there already seem to be hacks and stuff floating around so I may be wrong -)
    Even those who purchased the game are probably screwed due to no dedicated servers :p

  5. seymour // 11/11/2009 01:41:00 PM  

    I'm just wondering the same thing as iamse7en, I plan on buying a key online, but would everything work properly if i was to download it?

  6. Unknown // 11/11/2009 06:31:00 PM  

    Anyone has an idea on how to fix that text blurring/pixelisation of the text at menus and in-game? Any links?

  7. chris lim // 11/11/2009 07:55:00 PM  

    my CoD: MW2(bought) single player seems to be working fine but the multiplayer has a problem. whenever i click it, the steam window shows up followed by the call of duty 2 screen. then a window pops up saying something about running in safe mode. if i click yes, half a black screen shows up and the game hangs. if i click no, the whole screen goes black and the game hangs. -.- anyway to solve this? i did not wait so long for the release of this game just to have such a problem to screw everything up...

  8. Unknown // 11/11/2009 08:53:00 PM  

    Same as War here. Im getting pixellation/unreadable text and parts of the HUD during the game and also all the menus are screwy. Any ideas? I have all the latest graphics drivers. I am running vista 32 with radeon x1900xt 4gb ram.

  9. Anonymous // 11/12/2009 02:01:00 AM  

    Having stutter issues in the opening intro. I've tried everything. Updated drivers etc. There is no way to turn down hardware acceleration in Vista/win7 as far as I know.

  10. Anonymous // 11/12/2009 03:33:00 AM  

    I have a x1900xtx to and have the same distorted text problem

  11. Anonymous // 11/12/2009 07:42:00 AM  

    I've downloaded the SKIDROW release of MW2 and it runs fine without any problems at all....

    I just finished the game couple hours ago...

    Just make sure you updated all to the latest driver (do not use the BETA one), install latest Direct X and Mic Visual C++ Redistributable..


  12. Atanas Simeonov // 11/12/2009 11:00:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  13. TEAM FILEnetworks // 11/13/2009 12:00:00 AM  

    Please do not post links to cracks.

  14. Unknown // 11/13/2009 07:12:00 AM  

    Hi, I am having the same issue with MW2 as COD4. Somewhat random crashes but often when it tried to save progress in game. Very frustrating. Seems to happen single player or multiplayer.

  15. zOUk // 11/13/2009 01:30:00 PM  

    i downloaded the skidrow version, non-steam one. i have the arcadia.ff crashing problem. i dont steam client, so, how can i solve it? anyone? plissssss...

  16. Unknown // 11/13/2009 06:11:00 PM  

    Same Distorted textures in main menu and HUD in-game.. Radeon x1900xt Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit , running on AMD athlon 3200 Dual core 2ghz 3GB DDRAM

    this issue is serious....

  17. Unknown // 11/13/2009 10:25:00 PM  

    And I have an x1800 ATI card...same display issues. I'm going to try a driver update and see. If I can't get it to work, I'm not gonna buy it!

  18. Unknown // 11/14/2009 02:00:00 AM  

    And the driver update worked!

  19. Anonymous // 11/14/2009 06:52:00 PM  

    not for me.....

  20. Unknown // 11/14/2009 10:16:00 PM  

    me neither.. I already had the latest ATI drivers before I installed MW2...

    I'm actually considering on buying a new Video-Card ..NVIDIA this time!!! ><

  21. Tet Kyaw // 11/16/2009 04:53:00 AM  

    i m having a same text distorted issue on menus and mission objectives. i've tried driver update, didnt work. ATI mobility radeon x2300 on Win7. any help?

  22. Unknown // 11/17/2009 12:34:00 AM  

    None whatsoever.. it seems we've been left to dry...I've put my Graphic Card for sale planning to buy a new one ....Nvidia Geforce this time.. making sure nothing like this will ever happen again.

  23. Unknown // 11/24/2009 06:09:00 PM  

    I bought the game but can't install because Steam tells me I'm 'not in the right country'. How do I get past this BS to install my perfectly legit copy of the game?

  24. Frank // 1/18/2010 09:57:00 PM  

    Hi guys. I have a pirate version of CoD MW2 and in some point of the campaign it crashes out to desktop and an error screen pops up saying something about DirectX. The thing is I have installed the latest version of DirectX and it doesn't fix. Any help?

  25. Unknown // 2/02/2010 10:22:00 PM  

    I have played the COD MW2 multiplayer for over a month now and suddenly I can't load it anymore. I get: Steam has found a problem with your local games file. Game files will now be re-acquired from the steam servers.
    When I click 'ok', i get the same message over and over again. Help pls!

  26. Unknown // 2/11/2010 06:08:00 AM  

    Bug fix: "Call of Duty:Modern Warefare 2 back to desktop crash"

    How to fix the 'back to desktop' crash that is apparently irregular in occurrence but stops being able to play the campaign.

    If you have an ATI graphics card(or maybe another type I haven't tested anything else) go into "Catalyst control center", "Advanced...", the "AI" tab, and tick the "disable Catalyst A.I." box. Normally that should fix it.

    Things i have noticed:
    -this only seems to happen under windows 7 x64 bit
    -my graphics card is a "ATI mobility Raedon hd 4650"
    -my control center version is 2009.0804.2223.38385

    Hope this helps others but I've tried everything and this is all that works.

  27. Dogbyte // 2/26/2010 10:53:00 PM  

    anyone ever figure out the x1900xt video problems? just bought the game and im having the same issues as those up above... been looking all over, but this was the first place that ive seen others with the same video card have the same issues...

  28. Unknown // 2/26/2010 11:27:00 PM  

    Basically look through your graphic card settings and deactivate everything until it works, it seems these crashes are caused by graphic card conflicts with the game motor. So you just have to find the conflict and get rid of it.

  29. PC Games 2010 // 3/22/2010 02:44:00 AM  

    Note that the Call of Duty is the game that is more dedicated servers across the internet, but the pictures speaks better than words, and PCGameTrek leaves here some pictures of the coming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Call Of Duty 2011 Announced!

  30. Dustin Hawkes // 3/27/2010 05:35:00 AM  

    For those you have the text issue where the menu screen and game text look blocky and unreadable, use driver sweeper to uninstall your ati drivers.

    Then install the latest drivers. Only then will it look right. You must completely uninstall the ati drivers first as other methods will fail. Happy shooting.

  31. Unknown // 6/11/2010 03:55:00 AM  

    can someone who reads this and know what the problem is can you please email me at

    ok,when i play multiplayer(it doesnt happen at all in any other games,just online).yah,sometimes the screen goes black but i can still hear it and after about 5 seconds its comes back,then after about 3 times of that the whole game crashes and i cant do anything,the only way to do anything is to hard shut off my laptop

    if anyone knows or has any suggestions please tell me

  32. bod9zz // 7/06/2010 03:49:00 PM  

    Vertex shader version is 3.0
    Shader model 3.0 code path is available.
    Using Shader model 3.0 code path because it is the best available path on this hardware.
    Attempting 640 x 480 fullscreen with 32 bpp at 60 hz
    Game window successfully created.
    Creating Direct3D device...
    Com_TouchMemory: 0 msec. Using sum: 0
    Loading fastfile code_post_gfx
    Loading fastfile patch
    Loading fastfile ui
    Loading fastfile common
    Initializing render targets...
    Requested frame buffer to be 24-bit color with 8-bit alpha
    DirectX returned a frame buffer that is 24-bit color with 8-bit alpha

    Error during initialization:
    Couldn't create a 1024 x 2048 render target surface: Wrong texture format

  33. Unknown // 9/26/2010 02:43:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  34. Unknown // 9/26/2010 02:45:00 PM  

    I pirated the game. Can I play online?

    Possibly one of the most frequently asked questions. As mentioned above, you’ll have to by the game for full online multiplayer experience. Even multiplayer via emulated LAN such as via Hamachi does not seem to be possible with CoD MW 2 – pirates seem to be really screwed in this case.

    you can play online on
    Without steam.