Monday 27 August 2007

Bioshock: DirectX 10/Vista black screen problem FIX

I'm sure you'll all be happy to hear that I had a good holiday despite all of the problems in my previous post. Despite the fact that we stayed in the grubbiest, dirtiest, most run-down youth hostel in the western hemisphere (my fault), we all managed to get used to it and have a great time. I even managed to get some surfing in (I'm still crap at it). Plus, I've just been refunded the money from my bank - yay! In fact, the trip itself was quite revelatory, in a personal way... Anyway, I digress.

This is just a quick post for the thousands of people struggling to run the recently released game, Bioshock, and hopefully, if you're searching for a solution, this might be the one for you. (If not, then there's little of interest below - sorry!)

For myself, this is the problem I've been having: In Windows Vista with a DirectX 10 graphics card, the game crashes to an faint (almost black) loading screen after I've chosen the difficulty level.

The first workaround was to run the game in DirectX 9 mode (right click Bioshock's icon in Vista's Game Profiles screen and choose 'Play DirectX 9'). This worked long enough for me to get to the Medical Pavilion, but then it crashed horribly, plus it was kind of annoying not being able to take full advantage of DirectX 10. The second workaround involved running the game in windowed mode, which for some reason worked fine.

Never mind all that though, because here is the 100% solution to the black screen hanging problem in Vista (the solution is actually step 4, but it's worth doing 1-3 while you're at it):
  • 2. Next up, make sure you're running the versions of the NVidia drivers listed for Bioshock on the NZone website.
  • 3. Then make sure you're running the latest version of DirectX for Vista by installing the updater from Microsoft's website. (There was a recent update, so you should definitely do this.)
Now for the real fix:
  • 4. Go to Control Panel. Then choose Programs, followed by Turn Windows Features On or Off. Uncheck Tablet PC Optional Components and restart your computer when you're asked to.
That's it! You should be able use Fullscreen with DirectX 10 and the game should run fine now, if you've been having same the problem I've been (there are many different problems with Bioshock, unfortunately, so this may not help you at all). Hopefully the patch will stop the need to disable the optional components (which, incidentally don't stop you using your graphics tablet, should you have one), but for the time being... enjoy!

Thanks to Nobula for discovering this and sharing it with us all! (Sadly due to the chaos of the 2k technical support forums, it was lost almost immediately.)


Anonymous said...

Incredible! This really worked after many hours of frustration! Thanks a lot! You're awesome!

Anonymous said...

Thanks here as well. I had spent about two hours at the 2K forums and did not see the Nobula(?) post, so this was a game saver for me.

Note, I had to undo the -dx9 -nointro edit to -dx10 -nointro to get it to work and it took a couple loads probably because of all the updates (including keyboard and mouse).

Shawn Gordon said...

You know, I searched an search ed for a solution to this exact problem - I searched the 2K Forums, various other sites to look for clues / answers, and even emailed 2k and nVidia both in regards to the issue...

Thanks, I feel like a retard because the answer to the problem lies in nothing more than my Wacom.

2K kept trying to tell me it was my DVD drive, who0 kept telling me it was SECUrom, who said it was nVidia who in turn said it was 2K. the entire time it was peripherals...

seriously, I can now sit back and enjoy the game as it was intended. Until now I had to run Dx9 on medium and owning an 8800GTOC ultra, it's a painful state to be forced into.

Johnny Walker said...

Youch! I feel your pain. I bought the game on release day, desperate to play it and I had the same problem.

So glad this helped you!

Enjoy this brilliant game!

Anonymous said...

I just want to echo the words of the other commenters. Really, thanks for sharing this fix! I know I'm a little late to the party, but it helped me all the same.

Anonymous said...

And another late thank you. I hit this exact problem running vista on my Macbook Pro - assumed that Apple's bootcamp drivers weren't up to the task but luckily I found this. The game plays perfectly now, thanks.

Anonymous said...

im running a toshiba salelite duo core made for such games and have a NVIDIA GeForce 8700M GT card with driver version.
I reinstalled 4 times, each time it says my driver version has known campatability issues.
I think i have dx10 as I run COD4 just fine and when trying to download dx10 it says I have a newer version.
SO...I then run it in windowed mode, lower resolution, and evrything else found on forums. NOTHING. As always it goes to a black screen after the first movie after the second logo goes out. When I window mode it, then its a "bioshock.exe has stoped working" error.
ANY info would help.

Johnny Walker said...

You've got a very common problem that's found on the Toshiba X205 laptops. The problem is that Toshiba needs to update their drivers, but they haven't, AFAIK.

Have you tried the later drivers (presuming you have an X205 laptop) available here:

If they don't work, simply right click the BioShock icon in the Games menu in Vista, and select "Run - DirectX9c". That should work ok for you.

Good luck!

Johnny Walker said...

If that link doesn't work:

Anonymous said...

It seems there many be an issue with games installing Dx9 as part of their install process. It messes up Dx10. More info here.

This fixed Bioshock, on Vista and in Dx10 mode for me.

Anonymous said...

mmmmmMM thankyou :)

Mac-Big said...

thx man :D
all works now :D damn tablet xD I'll put a reference of your arcticle on the steam forum.. with the christmas sold a lot of people will buy bioshock, and will have problems xD (i'm part of it)

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe I actually found a solution to my problem... every time I tried to change my graphics settings ingame, the game would crash, so I used the default.ini to circumvent that problem. However, Bioshock still would crash randomly whenever I played it. After days of research and trial and error the only solution for me was to start the game in DirextX 9 mode... all my drivers are up to date and my hardware is far beyond Bioshock's requirements, so playing in DX9 sucks quite a lot...
Today I accidentally stumbled upon your little article here and what can I say, I gave it a try - and now I can play the game normally, no problem whatsoever!
Big thanks to you! Still can't believe it.

Yots said...

Works perfect on a Windows 7 64bit with the Steam Version of BioShock. Thanks!