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ED#83 : Installing DirectX 9 Can & Will Kill DirectX 10 Rev. 3.0
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ED#83 : Installing DirectX 9 Can & Will Kill DirectX 10

Recently, I reinstalled the software on our testbed for another long run of benchmarks. Amongst those software were some DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 games. After installing them, I realized that one of the games, BioShock did not work. Whenever I tried loading BioShock, it would just hang with a black screen.

At first, I thought it was the new version 1.1 patch because the other DirectX 10 games I installed worked. So I reinstalled BioShock without applying the patch. Still no go. It still hung when I ran it. Once again, I did an intense search online that didn't really reveal much. Take-Two Interactive's support site claimed it was the driver, so I tried a different driver. No success there either.


The Solution!

Then I discovered that they suggested reinstallating DirectX if the game crashed at a black screen after selecting the difficulty level. Granted, my case was a little different since I didn't even manage to get to the game menu, much less select any difficulty level! In any case, it was worth a shot.

I downloaded the DirectX 10 redistributable package (November 2007 Build) and gave it a whirl. Well, well, well, what do you know? That did the trick! BioShock and the upgraded BioShock 1.1 ran like a charm.

After analyzing what happened, I came to the conclusion that the recent installation of some DirectX 9 games was the cause. Those games would install DirectX 9.0c as part of their installation process, just to ensure your PC would have the latest DirectX version installed.

By right, the reinstallation of DirectX 9.0c should not affect DirectX 10 at all. However, it appears that the reinstallation of DirectX 9.0c by those games have somehow corrupted DirectX 10 in Windows Vista. The solution was simple - reinstall DirectX 10, but this should not have been necessary. Microsoft should look into why installing DirectX 9.0c corrupts DirectX 10.

If you face the same problem, try reinstalling DirectX 10. You can download the latest version here. This redistributable package does not require WGA validation to download.


Problem & Solution Confirmed!

I installed F.E.A.R. yesterday. Coincidentally, F.E.A.R. automatically installs the included DirectX 9 redistributable during its installation process. There wasn't even the option to skip installing DirectX 9. So I thought, what the heck... let's give it a try and see if we can reproduce the problem.

Right after installing it, I gave BioShock a try and it hung at a black screen. Fortunately, I had the solution this time. I re-installed the DirectX 10 redistributable package and voilà! BioShock loaded up normally. So, there you have it - a direct cause-and-effect reproduction of the problem.

Obviously, something is wrong with the DirectX 9 redistributable package. However, I don't think Microsoft can do anything about this since the DirectX 9 redistributable is everywhere and has been in use for ages. We just want to warn you about this problem so you won't need to scratch your head if your DirectX 10 game does not work. It could be because you just installed a DirectX 9 game. Try reinstalling the DirectX 10 redistributable.


Oops, We Did It Again!

We recently tried running the Cryostasis Tech Demo benchmark for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 graphics card review but it kept crashing. Reinstalling the benchmark and graphics driver didn't do the trick either. We thought it might have been the hardware physics support in the game, so we turned that off too. Unfortunately, it kept crashing.

In the end, we decided to check if DirectX 10 might perhaps be corrupt. We no longer use F.E.A.R. as our benchmark, but we still use Supreme Commander as a RTS (real-time strategy) game benchmark. As you know, Supreme Commander is a DirectX 9 game, and like all DirectX 9 games, it will re-install DirectX 9 during its installation.

This time, Microsoft has an updated DirectX 10 redistributable package (November 2008 build). We re-installed DirectX 10 and retried the Cryostasis Tech Demo. It finally worked!

So, we have yet again confirmed that installing DirectX 9 can and will kill DirectX 10. If you ever have a problem playing any DirectX 10 game, don't forget to check if you had earlier installed a DirectX 9 game. If you did, that could be the problem. Try reinstalling DirectX 10.


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Questions & Comments

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Date Revision Revision History



Initial Release.



Updated with a report on the reproduction of the problem and solution after installing F.E.A.R.



Updated with a report on the reproduction of the problem and solution with Supreme Commander and Cryostasis.

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