This section contains important information about possible problems that may occur with Max Payne and different hardware configurations.


Here are a few performance tips to make sure Max Payne runs optimally on your PC.

Tip 1: You should check that you have the latest drivers installed for your motherboard and especially for the AGP bus. These drivers make sure that all communication between the graphics adapter, CPU and memory are done using the most efficient way, for example by enabling full AGP support. If your system is based on an AMD Processor, updating the drivers is of utmost importance, since most Microsoft Windows versions have limited out-of-the-box support for motherboard chipsets commonly used with AMD processors. These are known as AGP Miniport drivers.

Here's a short list of sites where you can find suitable drivers for most common system configurations:

Tip 2: Please check that you have "AGP Texture Acceleration Enabled" in DirectX. Here's how to check if it's enabled:

  1. Click on your windows "Start"
  2. Choose "Run..."
  3. Type: dxdiag
  4. Press "OK"
  5. Then when dxdiag has loaded, select the "Display" tab
  6. Make sure that the "AGP Texture Acceleration" is ENABLED. If it's not, please enable it.

If it was disabled, and you have now enabled it, you should get a performance boost up to 50%.

Tip 3: Check that you have the latest drivers installed for your graphics card. New drivers are available from your graphics card manufacturer.

Tip 4: Disable all background tasks and programs on your PC. They may consume precious memory and cause your computer to swap during game play.

Tip 5: Defragment your hard drive. It may improve loading times.

Tip 6: Disable VSync in your graphics card control panel. With some cards this may increase frame rate.

Tip 7: Adjust detail levels in Max Payne Options dialog.

  • If you have a Hardware T&L enabled 3D accelerator, make sure you have "D3D Hardware T&L" selected as the Rendering Platform.
  • If you have an older graphics card, run in 640x480 resolution, 16-bit colors.
  • Check that you have selected 16-bit textures. 32-bit textures can dramatically lower performance in some cases.
  • Refer to the tool tips in the Options menu for more details!

Note: 3D performance under Windows 2000 may be slightly lower than performance on Windows 9x/ME operating systems.

Improving Compatibility

Max Payne has been extensively tested in our compatibility labs. However, due to the ever changing PC specifications in the market, we cannot guarantee full compatibility with all systems. Here are some tips to improve compatibility in case you have problems:

  1. Update your video, sound card and motherboard drivers with the latest versions available from your hardware manufacturer. (Using Beta drivers is not recommended)
  2. Install the latest service packs for your operating system. They are available from Windows Update.
  3. We recommend that you disable virus checkers, screen savers, on-line chat programs (such as ICQ), music players (such as Winamp or Media Player) and generally close all background applications during installation and operation of the game.
  4. Verify you have at least 200 MB of free hard drive space for the Windows swap file after the installation of the game.
  5. Do not overclock your CPU or video card. Overclocking may cause system instability.
  6. Set your desktop to a 16-bit color mode.
  7. Do not play on a system that is below the minimum specification.
  8. Restart the PC just before starting Max Payne.

Generic Problems

Installation and CD Troubleshooting
Max Payne requires Administrator privileges to install or uninstall on Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

If you get a "The InstallShield Engine (iKernel.exe) could not be installed" error message, a complete list of possible causes and ways to correct the problem is at Installshield Knowledge Base article Q104985.

Max Payne requires the game CD to be in the CD Drive that you installed from during the start of the game. Max Payne utilizes Macrovision SafeDisc to prevent software piracy, and copies of the game CD will not work.

If the drive letter of your CD-ROM changes after installing Max Payne, you will need to uninstall the game and reinstall it with the new drive letter, or manually edit the "cd.ini" file in your Max Payne installation folder.

Some CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drives may have problems reading data from the CD during game play. If you experience problems after a minimum installation when loading levels, we recommend that you uninstall Max Payne and re-install the game with the full install option.

Sound and Input Troubleshooting
Aureal Vortex 2 based sound cards such as Diamond MonsterSound MX300 may not work properly with the game, especially with Windows 2000. Unfortunately Aureal never finalized its drivers for this sound card, and now the company does not exist anymore. Possible behaviors are random crashes, sound may start cutting off or graphic novels may not have any voice-overs. A restart of the PC will solve the problem temporarily.

Max Payne does not directly support joysticks. However, some joystick devices such as Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike can be configured from the joysticks' control panel to work with Max Payne by creating a custom profile.

The extra buttons on some mice (Razer Boomslang and Logitech mice) may not be configurable as game controls from in-game menus if the manufacturers' driver software (such as Logitech MouseWare) is installed. Please configure the desired keys from the mouse control panel or uninstall the mouse software.

Other Troubleshooting
Max Payne uses your "My Documents" folder for saved games. If you log in with a different user name (account) under Windows 2000 or XP, your save games may not be available. Please log in with the same account you last used when playing.

By default, Task Switching is disabled in Max Payne (i.e. you can't use Alt-Tab to switch back to Windows during game play. If you wish to enable task switching (not recommended), the setting is available in the Options menu.

Lockups when quitting game
Is your copy of Max Payne locking up your computer when you quit it?  If so, then do this, and you should be fine:  Enter the Multimedia properties, change the playback & Recording device to game compatible and also reduce hardware acceleration for the sound card.

Graphics Cards

You should first upgrade the latest drivers to your graphics card. Here is a list of links to a few of the most common graphics card manufacturers' web sites:

Max Payne requires a DirectX 8 compatible 3D accelerator. If there are no DirectX 8 compatible drivers for your graphics card, it is still possible that Max Payne will run, but we can not guarantee functionality.

Common Graphics Card Problems
If you get an error message saying "Max Payne requires a DirectX 8 compatible graphics card", but you have a supported 3D accelerator, latest drivers and DirectX 8 installed, check that your Direct3D works in other games, or by using "DXDiag" application that comes with your system (Run->dxdiag; select Display tab, click on "Test Direct3D". You should get a "Direct3D test results: All tests were successful." message). If Direct3D does not work, there is something wrong in your system configuration. We recommend you reinstall latest DirectX and graphics card drivers and try again. If you still can't start Max Payne, make sure your desktop is in 16-bit color mode.

If some textures seem to be missing, please lower the texture color depth and detail settings. Also increasing AGP Aperture Size to 128MB in your BIOS may help.

If the game crashes randomly on a Windows 2000 computer that has a motherboard with a VIA chipset, please install Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 or later (more information).

The screen may flash white during the loading of the game or a level. This is a driver texture management problem, but may not affect game play. Upgrading drivers may help.

If you have multiple display adapters in your PC, Max Payne may not display all of them in the startup dialog. Primary display adapter should always be displayed and we recommend it is used for game play.

If you have problems with Max Payne and Windows XP, please upgrade your display drivers, as they may not be very mature at the time the operating system is released.

Full Scene Anti-Aliasing (FSAA) is in theory supported by 3dfx Voodoo5, NVIDIA GeForce cards, ATI Radeons and ST/PowerVR KYRO. Still, the FSAA setting may not be selectable from the Options menu, may not work or may cause visual artifacts or otherwise strange behavior in the game. We have seen:

  • Screen flashing in different ways
  • Only partial screen is rendered
  • Out of video memory errors
  • FSAA does not get enabled even though it's selected

These are all driver problems. Possible solutions are:

  • Update display drivers
  • Enable "Application Preference" in display driver's FSAA control panel
  • Lower resolution and/or FSAA setting in Max Payne

If the above do not work, enable FSAA from driver's control panel or do not use FSAA.
Note: FSAA will significantly reduce performance in most cases!

If the game crashes when loading a level, this is most probably because of a texture management problem in the driver. We recommend that you downgrade your texture color depth, detail settings and/or resolution and screen buffering mode.

If you are running in high resolutions or with FSAA enabled and experience random freezing with the game, please lower your resolution and/or disable FSAA. Many 3D accelerators simply run out of resources when running the game in high resolution.

3dfx graphics cards
Voodoo3: If you get a "Insufficient Video Memory" error, make sure you have Double Buffering selected from the Options menu. Triple Buffering may not work.
Graphic novels will look blurred as Voodoo3 supports only 256x256 resolution textures.

Voodoo5: The screen may flicker with Triple Buffering, thus it is recommended that double buffering is used with Voodoo5. Make sure you have Double Buffering selected from the Options menu.

ATI Radeon graphics cards (Radeon, Radeon VE, Mobile Radeon)
We recommend that the D3D Hardware T&L setting is used on all Radeon cards that support it.

ATI Radeon based cards don't support the in-game Gamma control. You should adjust gamma from ATI Radeon's display driver control panel if needed.

With D3D Software T&L in Windows 9x/ME, there may be some visual problems with weapon and object textures, or some objects may occasionally disappear partly or in full. We recommend updating to latest ATI drivers to see if this driver problem has been solved.

On Radeon VE, save games may have a black screen instead of a screen shot of the save game position. This is a display driver issue and we recommend updating to latest drivers to see if this problem has been solved.

ATI Rage128/Rage128 Pro graphics cards
When Max gets hit or uses painkillers, the screen flash is corrupted. This does not affect gameplay but we recommend updating to latest ATI drivers to see if this driver problem has been solved.

ST/PowerVR KYRO graphics cards
There may be some screen corruption in some locations of the game environment. We recommend updating to latest drivers to see if this problem has been solved.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Here are some questions and solutions that we get asked several times, as well as solutions:

Q: I have a problem installing DirectX 8 with Max Payne
A: The only way to install DirectX8 from the US ENG Max Payne GM is by browsing
the CD and then manually running either DX80en.exe or DX80NTen.exe (win 9x
or Win2000).

Q: I get a CRC Error during the install!
A: try disabling DMA on Your CD-ROM drives. This is how you do it. Go to the Start button, Settings, and Control Panel. Double-click the System icon and, in the System Properties dialog box, select the Device Manager tab. Click the plus sign next to the CD-Rom icon and then double-click the icon for your CD-Rom. Next, click the Settings tab and deselect the DMA check box in the Options panel. Click OK twice. If this does not work than during the install when you receive the CRC errors write down the names of the files that have CRC errors and click on ignore in the error message. After the install finishes patch the game. Then copy over the files that had a CRC error to where ever they belong in the game folder on the hard drive.

Q: I get an error message saying "Error message stating not being able to find D3D8.DLL:"
A: Delete the D3D8.DLL file then reinstall Direct X 8.  Set the display to 1600x1200x32

Q: I'm having problems with the au30wave/asp4ware VXD BSO sounds.
A: Go to Control Panel.
Double-click on "Aureal Vortex Audio."
On the first tab, there is a check-box for disabling 3D hardware audio - make sure it is checked.

Q: I have an ATI Radeon and am having problems running the game.
A: Basically, the 7075 drivers that are out now are not to good (to be frank...). What we've been finding is that it is all about the Radeon "Alternate" drivers that have a version of 7115 that have been fixing problems. This applies to many games.

Q:  I get a Windows taskbar flashing in my game play.
A: Make sure windows desktop resolution is higher than the game resolution.

Q:  "I'm getting an R_Memoryfile error.
A: You may need to re-install the game. You can also try deleting the three x_level files from your Max Payne folder and copy them from the CD. If that doesn't help, disable DMA from your CD rom and re-install the game.

Q:  I'm getting slow or choppy graphics - help!
A: Change the options to the following: Bilinear/ 16bit/ Antialising (Off)/ fogging (Enabled)/ Sounds (Enabled)/ Task Switch (Disabled)/ Screen Buffers (Triple)/ All settings should be set to Medium except the following which should be set to Low: Character Shadows/ Sound Channels/ Particle Detail.


Contact Technical Support

Technical support for Max Payne is provided by Talonsoft.

If the Max Payne manual or this troubleshooting information did not solve your problem, please visit for up to date troubleshooting information.

If you still experience problems with Max Payne, feel free to contact technical support by:

  • Telephone: (410) 933-9191. Technical support operating hours are 9am to 5pm EST, Monday - Friday.
  • E-mail: