Fix: Stray Keep Crashing on Startup on PC

BlueTwelve Studio and Annapurna Interactive have recently released Stray as a cat adventure third-person cyberpunk kind of video game in July 2022 for PlayStation & Windows platforms. As the title suggests, a lost stray cat is alone and separated from the family who have to unveil an ancient mystery to find the real home. Though the gameplay and graphics seem good enough, some players are reporting that Stray Keep Crashing on Startup on the PC.

Well, it’s quite frustrating for PC gamers to encounter startup crashing or the game not launching issue with most titles. It becomes a common issue in the last couple of years that literally ruining the gaming experience and nothing else. It’s also worth mentioning that though newly released video games may have some bugs or stability issues to occur crashes, most PC games are prone to crashes or lags or graphical glitches due to conflicts at the PC end actually.

Fix: Stray Keep Crashing on Startup on PC

Why Stray is Crashing?

The chances are high that this specific game is crashing at startup on the PC due to several possible reasons that we’ve mentioned here in brief. As the title has recently been released, it may possible that developers will need some time to fix in-game bugs or errors that can also cause crashes. Whereas issues with the PC compatibility with the game, outdated game version, outdated Windows build, issues with the game files, etc can be major reasons behind it.

Additionally, outdated game launcher, outdated or missing graphics driver, issues with DirectX, unnecessary background processes, issues with the antivirus or firewall software, startup app issues, Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributables issues, overclocked CPU/GPU, issues with overlay apps, and more can also trigger startup crashes on the PC. So, you can now follow the troubleshooting methods below to fix the issue manually.

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Fix: Stray Keep Crashing on Startup on PC

Make sure to follow the methods below one by one until the problem gets fixed. Now, without further ado, let’s get into it.

1. Check System Requirements

First of all, you should check whether your PC specification is capable enough to run the Stray game properly or not. It may also be possible that the PC configuration isn’t compatible enough with the game’s system requirements. Whereas an outdated PC build or a low-end PC build can eventually trigger multiple issues with the game launching and even during the gameplay such as crashes, lags, stutters, frame drops, black screen, and so on.

If in case, your PC build is compatible enough to run this game smoothly then you can skip to the next method. If you’re not sure whether the PC specification is meeting all the requirements or not, make sure to check the details below. We’ve provided both the minimum and recommended system requirements of the game for you. You can upgrade the specific software/hardware on the PC to make it compatible with the game if you want.

Minimum Requirements:

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  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2300 | AMD FX-6350
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti, 2 GB | AMD Radeon R7 360, 2 GB
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 10 GB available space

Recommended Requirements:

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 | AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780, 3 GB | AMD Radeon R9 290X, 4 GB
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 10 GB available space

2. Disable fullscreen optimizations

It seems that disabling the fullscreen optimization option did work for some users. To do so:

  • Open the Steam launcher > Click on Library.
  • Right-click on Stray > Click on Manage.
  • Select Browse local files > Go to Stray installed location.
  • Now, right-click on Stray.exe > Select Properties.
  • Click on the Compatibility tab > Tickmark Disable fullscreen optimizations to enable it.
  • Once done, click on Apply and then OK to save changes.

3. Run the Game File as an Administrator

It’s also recommended to always run the game executable file as administrator access on the Windows PC so the User Account Control (UAC) can allow all the access properly. Sometimes the system may think you’re trying to run the game without authorizing it. This is a one-time process for each game. Make sure to follow the steps below to do so:

  • Right-click on the Stray exe shortcut file on your PC.
  • Now, select Properties > Click on the Compatibility tab.

  • Make sure to click on the Run this program as an administrator checkbox to checkmark it.
  • Click on Apply and select OK to save changes.
  • Now, you can just double-click on the game exe file to launch it.

Once done, you can also do the same steps for your Steam launcher. So, you’re giving the same UAC access to the game launcher too.

4. Update Graphics Drivers

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You should try checking for the graphics driver update on your Windows PC and installing the latest version to ensure no update is pending at your end. An outdated or missing graphics driver can trigger issues with properly functioning graphics-intensive programs. To do that:

  • Right-click on the Start Menu to open up the Quick Access Menu.
  • Click on Device Manager from the list to open the interface.
  • Now, you’ll need to double-click on Display adapters to expand it.

Device Manager Update Display Adapter

  • Then right-click on the dedicated graphics card name you’re using to bring the context menu.
  • Next, click on Update driver > Choose Search automatically for drivers.
  • The system will automatically check for the available update.
  • If an update is available, it’ll automatically download and install the latest version.
  • Once done, make sure to restart your PC to apply the changes.

If you cannot find any update, then make sure to head over to the official graphics card website and search manually for the latest update. If a new version is available, just download the file on your PC and install it. Whatever graphics card you use, jump to the link below as per the manufacturer.

5. Update Windows

If in case, you’re running the outdated Windows OS version or outdated build then make sure to follow the steps below to check and install updates.

  • Press Windows + I keys to open up the Windows Settings menu.
  • Click on Windows Update from the left pane > Check for updates.Windows Update Windows 11
  • If there is an update available, you should select Download and Install.
  • Wait for the update process to be completed.
  • Once done, reboot your PC to apply changes.

6. Check for Optional Updates

You should also check for the optional updates by following the steps below because some of the device driver updates and security patch updates may appear in a separate section.

  • Press Windows + I keys to open up the Windows Settings menu.
  • Click on Windows Update from the left pane > Click on Advanced Options.
  • Now, scroll down a bit and find the Additional options section.
  • Click on Optional updates > If there is an update available, make sure to select the update.
  • Click on Download & install > Reopen the system once the update is installed.

7. Switch to Dedicated GPU

You should also ensure that your using the dedicated GPU on your Windows computer instead of using the integrated HD graphics. To do so:

For Nvidia GPU:

  • Right-click on the desktop screen to open the context menu.
  • Now, click on Nvidia Control Panel to open it.
  • Head over to 3D Settings > Select Manage 3D Settings.
  • Open the Program Settings tab and choose Stray from the drop-down menu.
  • Next, select the preferred graphics processor for this program from another drop-down menu.
  • Finally, your Nvidia GPU should show as High-Performance Nvidia Processor.
  • Save the changes and reboot the PC.

For AMD GPU:

  • Right-click on the desktop screen to open the context menu.
  • Now, open Radeon Settings > Navigate to Additional Settings.
  • Go to Preferences > Select Power > Choose Switchable Graphics Application Settings.
  • Select Stray from the list of installed applications. [If the game isn’t in the list, you can select Add Application and include the game exe file]
  • Finally, select High Performance from the Graphics Settings, option > Reboot the PC.

8. End Background Processes

The chances are high that somehow your system becomes laggy or gets overloaded by a lot of unnecessary background running tasks. These tasks basically consume system resources like CPU, Memory, or internet bandwidth which can seriously impact the game launching experience. If those tasks (third-party) aren’t necessary for you then try closing them completely by following the steps below.

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc shortcut keys on the keyboard to open Task Manager.

End Task Manager

  • Click on the Processes tab > Make sure to select the task individually that you want to close.
  • Then click on End Task to close it.
  • As mentioned, do the same steps for each task that you want to close.
  • Once done, close the Task Manager window, and restart your PC.

9. Verify and Repair Game Files

Sometimes missing or corrupted game files on the PC may occur some issues with the game application launching properly or start crashing. It doesn’t mean that you’ll always get an error message or warning notice after crashing. A minor but useful game file may get corrupted or missing quite easily. Luckily, most of the game launchers do come with a useful feature to automatically verify and repair game files online. To do so:

  • Launch the Steam client > Click on Library.
  • Right-click on Stray from the list of installed games.
  • Now, click on Properties > Go to Local Files.

  • Click on Verify Integrity of Game Files.
  • You’ll have to wait for the process until it gets completed.
  • Once done, just restart your computer.

10. Adjust Steam Overlay and SteamVR Options

Multiple Stray PC players have also reported that they’re facing the crashing issue a lot. It’s most probably happening to the Steam users and we have a possible workaround to fix it. To fix it:

  • Open the Steam client on the PC > Click on Library.
  • Right-click on Stray from the left pane > Select Properties.
  • Now, click on General > Make sure to Turn ON the Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game option.
  • You should also Turn ON the Use Desktop Game Theatre while SteamVR is active option.

11. Disable Windows Firewall

If in case, you’re using the default Windows Firewall protection on your PC then you should turn it off temporarily and check for the issue again. To do this:

  • Click on the Start Menu > Type Firewall.
  • Select Windows Defender Firewall from the search result.
  • Now, click on Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off from the left pane.
  • Select the Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended) option for both the Private & Public Network Settings.
  • Once selected, click on OK to save changes.
  • Finally, restart your computer.

12. Turn Off Antivirus Protection

You can also try turning off the Windows Defender option on your PC to ensure there is no antivirus software blocking the game files to run properly.

  • Press Windows + I shortcut keys to open the Windows Settings menu.
  • Click on Update & Security > Click on Windows Security from the left pane.
  • Now, click on the Open Windows Security button.
  • Go to Virus & threat protection > Click on Manage settings.
  • Next, you’ll need to turn off the Real-time protection toggle.
  • If prompted, click on Yes to proceed further.

If in case, you’re using any other antivirus program on your PC then make sure to turn it off.

13. Set High Performance in Power Options

Mostly the Windows system is set on the default Balanced Power Mode which offers both performance and power consumption at the same time. But sometimes, this mode can occur performance issues on your PC when it comes to graphics-hungry programs. It’s better to set the power mode to High Performance, which can improve the tasks. However, this mode will consume more power or battery juice than normal. To do this:

  • Click on the Start Menu > Type control panel and search for it.
  • Open Control Panel from the search result.
  • Now, go to Hardware and Sound > Select Power Options.
  • Click on High Performance to select it.
  • Once done, make sure to reboot the PC to apply changes.
  • It might fix the Stray crashing issue on your PC.

14. Reinstall Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime

If your Windows computer isn’t running the latest version or the required version of the Microsft Visual C++ Runtime then you may encounter several issues whatsoever. To do that:

  • Press the Windows key from the keyboard to open the Start Menu.
  • Now, type apps & features to search.
  • Open Apps & Features from the search result.
  • Click on the Microsoft Visual C++ program(s) from the list individually.
  • Select each program and click on Uninstall.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete uninstallation.
  • Next, visit the official Microsoft website and download the latest Microsoft Visual C++ Runtime.
  • Once done, install it on your computer > Restart the system to change effects.

15. Perform a Clean Boot

As per some reports, multiple programs are always running in the background from when the Windows system boots up. So, those services may consume the system resources and internet data without your knowledge. It’s better to perform a clean boot and turn off unnecessary startup applications by following the steps below.

  • Press Windows + R shortcut keys to open the Run dialog box.
  • Now, type msconfig and hit Enter to open System Configuration.
  • Go to the Services tab > Enable the Hide all Microsoft services checkbox.

  • Click on Disable all > Click on Apply and then OK to save changes.
  • Now, go to the Startup tab > Click on Open Task Manager.
  • Click on the Startup tab from Task Manager.
  • Make sure to click on the particular task which has a higher startup impact.
  • Once selected, click on Disable to turn it off. [Do the same steps for each program that has a higher startup impact]
  • Finally, make sure to restart your computer to apply changes.

16. Try Disabling Overlay Apps

Sometimes a couple of applications may come with an additional overlay app that basically helps the streamers or gamers a lot. However, these overlay apps can eventually conflict with the game files to run smoothly and may cause several issues like FPS drops, black screen issues, lags, glitches, etc. You should try disabling the overlay apps manually before launching the game again to cross-check whether the crashing issue has been fixed or not. To do so:

Disable Discord Overlay:

  • Launch the Discord app > Click on the gear icon at the bottom.
  • Select Overlay under App Settings > Turn on the Enable in-game overlay.
  • Click on the Games tab > Select Stray.
  • Finally, turn off the Enable in-game overlay toggle.
  • Make sure to reboot your PC to apply changes.

Disable Xbox Game Bar:

  • Press Windows + I keys to open Windows Settings.
  • Click on Gaming > Go to Game Bar > Turn off Record game clips, screenshots, and broadcast using the Game bar option.

Disable Nvidia GeForce Experience Overlay:

  • Launch the Nvidia GeForce Experience app > Head over to Settings.
  • Click on the General tab > Disable the In-Game Overlay option.
  • Finally, restart the PC to apply changes, and launch the game again.

There are some other overlay apps that can cause trouble for you something as MSI Afterburner, Rivatuner, RGB software, etc. You should turn them off as well.

17. Disable CPU or GPU Overclocking

It’s also worth mentioning not to enable CPU/GPU overclocking on your PC if your game is crashing or stuttering a lot. We can understand that overclocking CPU/GPU can make a huge impact in improving gameplay but sometimes it may also cause issues with the bottleneck or compatibility too. Just set the frequency to default for optimal performance.

18. Update Stray

Even an outdated game patch version can trigger several potential issues on the gaming device that leads to crashing issue, lags, stutters, and more. It’s recommended to check for the game update periodically and install the latest update whenever available. You can follow the steps below to do the same.

  • Open the Steam client > Go to Library.
  • Click on Stray from the list of installed games at the left pane.
  • Now, the client will automatically search for the available update.
  • If there is an update available, you’ll see the Update option > Just click on it.
  • Wait for a couple of minutes or so until the game update completes. [Depends on the storage space and internet connectivity]
  • Once done, make sure to close the Steam client.
  • Finally, reboot your PC to apply changes, and launch the Stray game again.

That’s it, guys. We assume this guide was helpful to you. For further queries, you can comment below.

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