How to resolve frequent Watch Dogs 2 issues?

July 26, 2019 |

greater than 15 minutes

Watch Dogs 2 is one of those action-adventure games that never disappoints when it comes to gameplay, and it happens to be one of the most stable games published by Ubisoft for PC. That said, the game comes with certain issues that make it almost unplayable for gamers. If you’re one of such gamers that can’t get to enjoy the Watch Dogs 2 due to one of its numerous issues, you can resolve the problem, using one of the fixes in this article.

First things first: Check Your Computer’s Specifications

Your computer won’t run Watch Dogs 2 if its specifications do not meet the requirements of the game. You must make sure that, at the very least, the minimum requirements of the game are met. Crash issues, launch problems, freezing, and a lot of other problems are caused by lack of resources. Many users ignore some specs as long as their PCs satisfy one or two requirements. Below, you’ll find the minimum and recommended requirements for the game:

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System:                     Windows 7 SP1 (64-bit); Windows 8.1 (64-bit); Windows 10 (64-bit).

CPU:                                                 AMD FX 6120, 3.5 GHz; Intel Core i5 2400s, 2.5 GHz.

System Memory (RAM):          6 GB.

GPU:                                                AMD Radeon HD 7870; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660; 2 GB Video RAM.

Free Hard Drive Space:             50 GB.

Network:                                        Broadband Internet Connection

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System:                     Windows 7 SP1 (64-bit); Windows 8.1 (64-bit); Windows 10 (64-bit).

CPU:                                                 AMD FX 8120, 3.9 GHz; Intel Core i5 3470, 3.2 GHz.

System Memory (RAM):          8 GB.

GPU:                                                AMD Radeon R9 290; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780; 3 GB Video RAM.

Free Hard Drive Space:             50 GB.

Network:                                        Broadband Internet Connection

You can upgrade your computer to meet these specifications, then check if the problems you’re facing are still occurring. For a better gaming experience, we advise that you upgrade your system to meet or surpass the recommended requirements. Follow these steps to check whether the specs of your PC are up to par:

  1. Use the Windows + I hotkey to summon the Settings application.
  2. Click on the System label once Settings opens.
  3. On the System screen, go to the left pane, scroll down, and then click on About.
  4. Your computer’s specifications will become visible on the main page of the window. You’ll find details such as your CPU’s make and model and speed, your system memory (RAM), and whether you’re running a 64-bit or 32-bit operating system.
  5. To check details of your graphics card:
  • Go to the Display tab in the System settings page.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the window and click on Advanced Display Settings.
  • On the next screen, click on Display Adapter Properties for your display card.
  • You’ll find details of your card, including your available video RAM space on the dialog that pops up.

You can now move on to the fixes for the issue you’re facing on Watch Dogs 2 if you’ve confirmed that your computer satisfies the game’s requirements.

How to Fix the ‘Watch Dogs 2 Won’t Start’ Issue

First, we’re going to tackle the game’s launch issues. As it turns out, many users complained that they couldn’t get the game to start despite their systems having all it takes to run it. The problem here, as we have found out, occurs due to a number of different reasons, from graphics card drivers to system compatibility issues.

Watch Dogs 2 launch issues come in different forms. Some users complained that they see a black screen when they press play while others say the game crashes back to the desktop before it gets the chance to open. Others reported seeing the error that reads, “Unable to start, this product cannot be activated right now!”

Now, follow the fixes below to solve these issues:

First Fix: Check if the Game is Available in Your Region and Consider Using a VPN

If the game produces the “Unable to start, this product cannot be activated right now!” error message, then chances are, you’re in a region where it isn’t supported yet. You can wait for the game to be available in your region, but if you can’t wait, consider using a VPN.

Second Fix: Launch the Game as an Administrator

The next solution that worked for many users is launching the game as an administrator. Performing this fix will enhance the game’s rights on your PC, giving it access to certain resources that it requires to run. You’ll have to locate the game’s EXE file, using File Explorer. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Find the game’s EXE file or shortcut. You can go straight to the installation folder of the game, using Steam (if you use the Steam client to run the game):
  • Launch Steam.
  • Click on Library at the top of the window.
  • Locate Watch Dogs 2, right-click it, and then click on Properties.
  • Go to the right pane and switch to the Local Files tab.
  • Click on the “Browse Local Files…” button.
  • The installation folder of the game will come up.
  1. Right-click on the game’s EXE file and click on Properties.
  2. Once the Properties dialog window opens, switch to the Compatibility tab.
  3. Now, mark the checkbox next to “Run this program as an administrator”.
  4. Click on OK and try launching the game.

Third Fix: Modify the Game’s Files

After many tries, some users found that a certain file in the game’s installation folder is responsible for the problem. Removing this particular file had solved the issue for many, and it could very well work for you. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open the installation folder of the game by following the procedure laid out in the previous fix. You can also locate the game’s folder by using the search utility in File Explorer.
  2. Once you get to the folder, locate the Bin folder, and open it.
  3. In the Bin folder, look for a file named DbgHelp.dll and delete it, or move it to a different directory in case you need it later.

A half fix:

You can get to launch the game on your PC using the fix we’re about to explain below, but you must know it comes with a caveat: you won’t be able to use the online features of the game, such as the multiplayer mode. The fix disables Easy Anti-Cheat. If you want to play the game in offline mode, then follow these steps:

  1. Locate the game’s EXE file and right-click it.
  2. Hover your mouse pointer over Send to, and then click on Desktop to create a desktop shortcut for the game.
  3. Now, go to the shortcut you created, right-click it, and then click on Properties.
  4. Once the Properties dialog opens, go to the Target text box and then add “-eac_launcher” (no quotes) to the target parameter.
  5. Click on OK, and then relaunch the game.

Fourth Fix: Try Repairing or Reinstalling Easy Anti-Cheat

Easy Anti-Cheat is an anti-cheat solution that must be present if you’re going to access the online features of Watch Dogs 2, such as the multiplayer mode. If Easy Anti-Cheat becomes corrupt or encounters any other issue, this might be the reason you can’t launch the game. Try repairing or reinstalling the service and check if the problem goes away. Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the installation folder of Watch Dogs 2. It’s usually:


  1. Right-click EasyAntiCheat_Setup.exe and click on Run as Administrator.
  2. Once the setup window opens, select Watch Dogs 2 from the drop-down list and click on Repair Service.
  3. You can also uninstall then reinstall the feature and follow the instructions on the subsequent screens to complete the process.

Run the game and check if the issue has been resolved.

Fifth Fix: Update Your Graphics Card Driver

One of the most important components when it comes to gaming is your graphics card. A faulty or missing graphics card driver means bad news for your game. The launch issue you’re facing could be because your graphics card driver has a problem. Many users fixed the issue by performing an update, and in some cases, some users performed a clean installation.

To make life easier for you, install Auslogics Driver Updater and automate the entire process. The tool will scan all your device drivers to determine which ones are corrupt or out of date. Once any problem driver is found, the program will download and install its latest version. All you have to do is click on the button that triggers the scanning process, and if your graphics card driver is faulty, allow the program to download and install its most recent version from the right source.

You can also update your driver using Device Manager. Here’s how:

  1. Open Start, search for Device Manager, and launch it.
  2. Click on the arrow beside Display Adapters.
  3. Now, right-click your graphics card, click on Uninstall Device, confirm your decision, and then reboot your computer once Windows uninstalls your driver.
  4. Once your computer comes up, go back to Device Manager, right-click your graphics card, and then click on Update Driver.
  5. Under “How do you want to search for drivers?”, click on the first option to allow Windows check for your card’s latest driver on the internet and download and install it.
  6. Reboot your PC once the process completes, and then check if you can run the game.

Another way to go about updating your graphics card driver is using the propriety program provided by your graphics card manufacturer. There are different methods involved for AMD and NVIDIA.

If you’re using an NVIDIA card, you can install the hotfix provided by the manufacturer. Just go to the NVIDIA website, download the patch, and then run it.

For AMD drivers, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on your Desktop and choose AMD Radeon Settings.
  2. Once the program opens, click the Updates button, which is located in the lower-left area.
  3. On the next screen, click the Check for Updates button.
  4. Two buttons will appear if updates are available for your card. These buttons include New Recommended and New Optional.
  5. Click on New Recommended or New Optional, depending on your preference.
  6. Next, click Express or custom upgrade to start the installation process.

Sixth Fix: Verify Integrity of the Game Files

Your game might not be launching because some of the files it depends on to work properly are either missing or corrupt. To fix the problem, use your game client to verify all the files related to Watch Dogs 2, and then repair any problem file. Follow the guide below:

For Steam:

  1. Launch the Steam client.
  2. Click on Library in the upper area of the window.
  3. Under Library, locate Watch Dogs 2, right-click the game, and then select Properties from the context menu.
  4. Go to the Local Files tab on the Properties screen.
  5. Now, click on “Verify integrity of game files…”.
  6. The client will now scan the game’s files on your computer to check for corruption and other issues.
  7. Once the process is complete, close the client, reboot your PC, and then check if the problem persists.

For Uplay:

  1. Launch Uplay.
  2. Switch to the Games tab once the Uplay client opens.
  3. Navigate to Watch Dogs 2 and under it, click on Properties.
  4. Click on the Verify files button on the right pane to kick-start the verification process.
  5. The program will let you know the results of the verification once the process completes.

Seventh Fix: Temporarily Disable Your Antivirus

If you have an antivirus program, especially BitDefender, chances are, it’s the reason your game isn’t launching. System security tools are known to flag certain legitimate files as false positives. To fix the problem, in this case, try disabling your antivirus program and check if you can launch the game. Follow the manual or online guide provided by the developer of your antivirus program to disable it.

To check if Windows Defender is responsible for the problem, disable it temporarily by following the steps below:

  1. Open the Search utility in your taskbar.
  2. Type “windows security” (no quotes), and then click on Windows Security in the results.
  3. Once Windows Security opens, click on Virus & Threat Protection.
  4. Now, click on Manage Settings under Virus & Threat Protection Settings.
  5. Once you get to the next screen, toggle off Real-time Protection.
  6. You can now check if your game can launch without issues.

If your antivirus is responsible for the problem, update its virus definitions, or change it.

Eighth Fix: Run the Game in Compatibility Mode

Watch Dogs 2 is designed to run on the 64-bit variants of Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. It could be that your Windows 10 build is clashing with the game, especially if you recently upgraded from a previous version of Windows, such as Windows 7. Try launching the game in compatibility mode for the OS you migrated from to check if the problem goes away. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the game’s installation folder, right-click the EXE file of the game, and then click on Properties.
  2. Move to the Compatibility tab of the Properties dialog window.
  3. Now, tick the checkbox associated with “Run this program in compatibility mode for:”, and then choose your former Windows version from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click on Ok, and then launch the game.

How to Resolve Watch Dogs 2 Lags

Many users reported lag issues that made their game unplayable. There are different fixes for the problem, and if you’re one of such users suffering FPS drops, stuttering, and lag problems, you can use some of the fixes we’ve provided in this segment.

However, before you continue, make sure your system’s specifications, especially your GPU, RAM, and Processor, meet the requirements of the game. Also, perform a clean installation of the latest driver for your graphics card.

Running the game in compatibility mode is another way to get rid of the problem. Follow the guide provided earlier in this article to apply this fix.

Fix 1: Change Your Graphics Settings

There are 19 graphics settings in Watch Dogs 2. If your system’s specifications are not on the high side, running the game on settings that require high graphics processing might be responsible for the lag issues you’re facing. You can solve the problem by reducing some of the in-game graphics settings. An in-depth analysis of each graphical setting in the game can be found on the GeForce website, with guides for NVIDIA GeForce card users.

Fix 2: Shut Down Background Applications

Some background applications might be hogging your system’s resources, such as your RAM, CPU, disk, and even bandwidth. Go through Task Manager to fish out these programs and stop them from running. To open Task Manager, press the Ctrl, Shift, and Esc keys on your keyboard simultaneously. Once Task Manager opens, scroll through to check for apps and background process with high CPU, RAM, disk, or Bandwidth usage, and once you find any, click on it, and then click on End Task.

Fix 3: Edit the Game’s .xml File

Tweaking a game file might help your situation. This is an advanced and sensitive fix, so, make sure you follow the steps below carefully:

  1. Launch File Explorer and navigate to:

C:\Users\[user]\Documents\My Games\Watch_Dogs 2

  1. Open WD2_GamerProfile.xml with Notepad.
  2. Once Notepad opens, locate the DeferredFxQuality=console line (you can press Ctrl + F to use the search function) and then change it to DeferredFxQuality=pc.
  3. Save the file and exit Notepad.
  4. Now, right-click on the WD2_GamerProfile.xml file and click on Properties.
  5. Check the “Read-only” checkbox, and then click OK.

Run the game and check if you still experience the lag issue.

Fix 4: Switch the Game to an SSD

SSDs are generally faster than HDDs. You can improve the quality of gameplay if you reinstall the game on your SSD, especially if you’re using a low-speed hard drive and if your system’s specs aren’t very high.

How to Get Rid of Watch Dogs 2 Crashing

If your game is constantly crashing just a few minutes into proper gameplay, there are different fixes that you can apply to resolve the issue.

Firstly, perform a clean installation of your graphics card driver. You can refer to the guide we provided earlier in the article. Next, go to the game’s settings and reduce its resolution. You can also try playing the game in windowed mode.

First Solution: Perform a Clean Boot

Your system normally loads minimal programs when it starts in a Clean Boot environment. You can perform a Clean Boot to ensure that a startup program isn’t causing your game to crash. The guide below will walk you through the procedure:

  1. Press Windows + S to open the Search utility beside the Start button.
  2. Type “msconfig” (without the quotes), and then click on the first result.
  3. Once the System Configuration window opens, switch to the Services tab.
  4. Tick the checkbox that reads, “Hide all Microsoft services”, and then click on the Disable All button.
  5. Next, move to the Startup tab and click on Open Task Manager.
  6. Once the Startup tab of Task Manager shows up, disable all the programs in the Startup list by clicking each one, and then clicking the Disable button.
  7. Exit Task Manager and return to System Configuration, then click on OK.

Now, reboot your computer and check if the crashing issue still occurs. If it does, then your startup programs and services are not at fault. However, if you play the game without issues, then you should find the responsible startup program or service. What you need to do is enable a service and reboot your PC, then check for the problem. Repeat this until you go through every startup service in System Configuration and every startup program under Task Manager.

To make things easier, though, you can enable half of the startup services in System Configuration and reboot your system, then check for the error. If the game crashes the next time you boot your computer, then you need to check only the services you enabled instead of going through every service on the list. Repeat this procedure for the other half of the services in System Configuration and the startup programs in Task Manager if the enabled startups don’t trigger the error.

Second Solution: Reinstall the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package and Other Supporting Software

Watch Dogs 2 might be crashing because something might have gone wrong with some of the supporting programs that it needs to work properly. You can fix the issue by going to the game’s directory and reinstalling some of these programs. Follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the folder where you installed Watch Dogs 2. The game should be in the following directory if Uplay PC is installed in the default location:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher\games\Watch Dogs 2\Support

  1. Open the Software subfolder.
  2. You’ll find all the support programs that your game needs in the Software folder.
  3. Ignore the Uplay installer, but try running other installation packages in the folder, such as the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package.
  4. If you receive a prompt, telling you that a new version of the program has already been installed, move on to the next installer.
  5. Once you’ve reinstalled the missing programs, check to see if the issue occurs again.

How to Fix Watch Dogs 2 Connectivity Issues

If you’re facing a connection issue and can’t access some of the game’s online features, you can use some of the fixes below to resolve the problem.

First Solution: Forward the Game’s Ports

You might be facing the connectivity issues because some of the game’s ports are blocked. You have to forward these ports to allow the game to connect directly to its servers. This procedure happened to solve the connectivity issue for many users. Follow the guide below to forward your game’s ports:

First of all, check the details of your computer’s Internet configurations:

  1. Open the Run dialog box using the Windows + R combo.
  2. Type “CMD” (without the quotes) into the Run text box, and then hit Enter.
  3. Once Command Prompt opens, type “ipconfig” (no quotes) and press Enter.
  4. Command Prompt will now provide your Default Gateway, DNS and MAC address, Subnet Mask, and IPV4 address on the black screen. Make sure you write down these details.

Now, follow these steps to forward your IP:

  1. Open any browser on your computer.
  2. Type the Default Gateway which you got from Command Prompt into your browser’s URL bar and hit the Enter key.
  3. Your router’s login page will now appear.
  4. Type your custom username and password into the appropriate text field, or input your router’s default login. In some situations, though, pressing the Enter key without entering any credential might work if you are yet to set up a username and password.
  5. Now, locate the port-forwarding tab. The tab is normally termed Virtual Servers or Port Forwarding, and names such as Applications and NAT might be used in certain router interfaces.
  6. In the text fields for protocols, input the following digits:

For Uplay:

TCP: 443, 14000

Game Ports

UDP 9000, 9103, 11100, 11105

TCP 80, 443

  1. In the fields for Local IP addresses, enter the addresses that you got from Command Prompt.
  2. Now, save your changes and check if the issue persists.

The following fixes could also solve the issue for you:

  1. Reboot your network devices.
  2. Resolve software conflicts by performing a clean boot.
  3. Flush your DNS:
  • Open Command Prompt (make sure you run it as an administrator), type “Ipconfig /flushdns” (no quotes), and hit Enter.


You can use the comments section to let us know if any of these fixes resolved the issue for you. As an extra tip, install Auslogics BoostSpeed to enhance your computer’s general performance and to ensure that your game runs smoothly.

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