Dead Space could not initialize display hardware

One of the most frequently seen issues with the Dead Space series is the Dead Space could not initialize display hardware issue. If you have this issue, when you start the game you’ll likely get an Error popup with the following message:

Could not initialize display hardware. Please restart Dead Space

This issue is often caused by having an unsupported resolution for your system/monitor configuration. There are a few possible solutions to this issue that you can try below (ordered by success rate):

  • Manually edit your resolution in settings.txt. The specific properties you want to edit are:
    Window.Height = 1080
    Window.Width = 1920
    I would recommend you try a very small resolution to start e.g.
    Window.Height = 480
    Window.Width = 640
    Your settings.txt file will be located in:
    C:\Users\<YOUR USER>\AppData\Local\Electronic Arts\<DEAD SPACE TITLE>\settings.txt
    NOTE: AppData is a hidden folder. You’ll have to enable show hidden folders to see it.
    NOTE: If you don’t have this settings file, you can use this one to start.
  • Force the game to run in windowed mode. While this is not an ideal solution, it is another option, and can help you at least get the game started so you can try to narrow down the exact settings that will work for you. To force the game to run in windowed mode, in your settings.txt file set the Window.Fullscreen property to false AKA:
    Window.Fullscreen = false
  • Reinstall video drivers
  • Reinstall DirectX. Steps on how to reinstall DirectX can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/179113
  • Try some of the solutions from the Dead Space has stopped working post. While these solutions are not specific to the “could not initialize display hardware” issue, they cover a wide range of potential crash causes and are worth trying if you’ve run out of ideas.

If you’ve followed the above steps and are still experiencing the Dead Space could not initialize display hardware issue, please post in the comments below. To increase your chances of a solution being found include as much detail as possible (which version of the game you’re running, what operating system you have, what video card you have and steps to reproduce the issue). Screenshots are also very useful!

Sources: link 1, link 2

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    James
    May 5, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I tried the first step but there is no EA file in my appdata/local files.

      James
      May 5, 2014 at 9:11 am

      I also got this game from origin witch may be my problem

        The origin install sometimes doesn’t create this folder if the game never starts properly. You can just create the folders manually. The full path should be C:\Users\YOU\AppData\Local\Electronic Arts\Dead Space\settings.txt

        Also you’ll need a settings file as well. You can use the one I posted in step 1 above. Make sure it’s called settings.txt when you save it.

          James
          May 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

          Thanks a lot this fixed my problem.

          Anonymous
          July 13, 2015 at 12:26 pm

          Does this apply to Dead Space 3? I downloaded it through Origin, and it works for me, but it doesn’t work for my friend (who also downloaded it through Origin). Neither of us can find a settings file in either of our computers.

            I think with Dead Space 3 your config file is located at /appdata/local/eagames/system.txt. I’m not sure if this will work for Dead Space 3 but if it does please let me know!

    jake
    October 31, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I have done all of the above and origionally it worked, then suddenly the same thing again, the setting.txt file is in the right place and there have been no changes to my computer since yesterday

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