How to fix the “DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error” in Windows

Matthew Adams By: Matthew Adams
5 minute read
fix DirectX unrecoverable error

Home » How to fix the “DirectX encountered an unrecoverable error” in Windows

Some Call of Duty fanatics have encountered a DirectX unrecoverable error when they launch their COD games in Windows. When that occurs, the game doesn’t start and returns an error message stating, “DirectX encountered an Unrecoverable error.

The error is more frequent for Call of Duty titles, but might also occur when starting other Windows games.

The error message makes it crystal clear that this issue has something to do with DirectX. DirectX is a series of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that are essential for multimedia software. The latest DirectX versions (currently DX 12) ensure better graphical quality for Windows games. If you have a game returning the DirectX unrecoverable error, this is how you can resolve the issue to get it up and running.

DirectX displays an unrecoverable error: How to quickly fix it

1. Check the Game’s DirectX System Requirement

Windows games have DirectX system requirements. Most of the latest games will have a DirectX 11 or 12 system requirement. You won’t be able to run the game if your desktop or laptop doesn’t meet that requirement. This is how you can check a game’s DirectX system requirement.

  • First, open the game’s Steam page. Alternatively, open the game’s page on the publisher’s website.
  • Then you can find the DirectX system requirement for the game listed at the bottom of the Steam page. Click a system requirement page link on a publisher website.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • Next, press the Win key + R to open Run.
  • Enter ‘dxdiag’ in the text box. Press OK to open the window shown in the snapshot below. Now you’ve opened the DirectX Diagnostic Tool that lists your laptop’s or desktop’s DX version on the System tab.

fix directx unrecoverable error

The DirectX unrecoverable error will probably occur if your DirectX version doesn’t meet the minimum DX system requirements for a game. You may or may not be able to update DirectX, but much depends on what Windows platform you have. For example, only Windows 10 currently supports DirectX 12.

Nevertheless, Microsoft has the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer with which you can update more outdated DX versions. Press the Download button on this page to save the DirectX installer to Windows. Aside from that, you might have to upgrade your Windows OS to get the latest DirectX.

You can also ensure you have the latest DirectX version for a platform by updating Windows. The Windows updates will usually automatically update DirectX if there’s a more recent version, so make sure your Windows Update service isn’t switched off. You can manually check for Windows updates by entering ‘control /name Microsoft.WindowsUpdate’ in Run’s text box, clicking OK and then selecting the Check for updates option.


2. Reinstall the Graphics Card Driver

You can fix DirectX issues by reinstalling and updating the graphics card driver. Uninstall the video card driver and then download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website. This is how you can manually reinstall a video card driver.

  • First, note down the graphics card and manufacturer details included on the DirectX Diagnostic Tool’s Display tab shown in the snapshot directly below.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • Note down the 32 or 64-bit OS listed on the System tab shown below.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • Open the video card manufacturer’s website, and click on a drivers or download center hyperlink. Enter your graphics card in the search box.
  • Select to download the most update video card driver that’s compatible with your Windows platform.
  • Next, press the Win key + X hotkey; and select Device Manager on the Win + X menu.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • Double-click Display adapters and right-click your listed graphics card to open its context menu.
  • Select the Uninstall device option on the context menu.
  • Click the Delete the driver settings for this device check box, and then press Uninstall button.

  • Then restart the Windows OS.
  • Click Cancel if a prompt window opens for detecting graphics card driver.
  • Then install the downloaded graphics card driver by selecting its installer in File Explorer. You might also need to extract it Zip folder first.

Update drivers automatically (suggested)

Downloading drivers manually is a process that carries the risk of getting the wrong driver installed, which may lead to serious malfunctions of your system.

The safer and easier way to update drivers on a Windows computer is by using an automatic tool such as TweakBit Driver Updater. This tool automatically identifies each device on your computer and matches it with the latest driver versions from an extensive online database. Drivers can then be updated in batches or one at a time, without requiring the user to make any complex decisions in the process.

Here is how it works:

    1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updaterdriver updater starting window
    2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
      tweakbit's driver updater scanning drivers
    3. Upon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.
      Automatically Update complete
      Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some features of this tool are not free.


3. Configure the Display Scaling

Some Call of Duty fans have found that configuring the DPI display settings can help resolve the DirectX unrecoverable error for Advanced Warfare and Ghosts. You can adjust DPI (Dots Per Inch) settings in Windows 10 by right-clicking the desktop and selecting Display Settings to open the window shown directly below.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • In Windows 10, click Custom scaling to enter a custom DPI scale value.

fix directx unrecoverable error

  • Enter ‘100’ in the text box if that isn’t your current DPI scale value, and click the Apply button.
  • Then click Sign out to apply the custom scale factor.
  • In Windows 8, drag the DPI scaling bar’s slider all the way to the left.

4. Edit the Registry

  • This is a registry fix that might resolve the DirectX unrecoverable error. First, open the Registry Editor by pressing the Win key + R keyboard shortcut and entering ‘regedit’ in Run.
  • Press the OK button on the Run window to open the Registry Editor.
  • Navigate to this registry location: Computer > HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT > PROTOCOLS > Filter > text/xml.
  • Click File > Export, enter a file title and click save to back up the selected registry branch.
  • Right-click text/xml, select the Delete option and press the Yes button to confirm.
  • Then close the Registry Editor.

Those are a few potential fixes that might resolve the DirectX unrecoverable error. This article also provides further resolutions for DirectX issues. If you have any further fixes for the DX unrecoverable error, please share them below.

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