The Last of Us is one of the most highly acclaimed video games of the last decade, renowned for its emotionally charged storytelling and intense gameplay. As a PC gamer, I was thrilled when the game was finally ported to PC earlier this year. However, my excitement quickly turned to frustration as I encountered constant crashing issues trying to play the game on my PC.
After troubleshooting for days and trying every suggested fix, I finally got The Last of Us running smoothly on my system. In this detailed guide, I’ll share the exact steps I followed to stop the constant crashing and gameplay freezing. If The Last of Us keeps crashing your PC too, these tips should help you get back to enjoying this fantastic game.
Key Causes of The Last of Us Crashing on PC
Before we jump into the potential fixes, let’s first understand what’s causing The Last of Us to crash in the first place. From analyzing the various user reports online, these seem to be the most common culprits:
- Outdated or Conflicting Drivers: Outdated graphics drivers often cause stability issues and game crashes. Conflicts between audio drivers can also lead to crashes.
- Insufficient System RAM: The Last of Us requires a minimum of 8GB RAM to run smoothly. Insufficient memory will lead to crashes.
- Overheating Issues: The game can push your PC hardware and cause overheating/thermal throttling, leading to crashes.
- Corrupted Game Files: If crucial The Last of Us game files get corrupted or go missing, it may cause crashes on launch or during gameplay.
- Unoptimized Game Settings: Using graphics settings that your PC hardware can’t handle will result in crashes and freezes during gameplay.
Now that we know the likely reasons, let’s look at how to fix them one by one.
Step-by-Step Guide to Fix The Last of Us Crashing on PC
Follow these steps carefully and your crashes should be fixed:
1. Update Your Graphics Drivers
Outdated or buggy graphics drivers are one of the biggest reasons for game crashes on PC.
- For NVIDIA GPUs, open the GeForce Experience app. Go to the Drivers section and download the latest Game Ready driver.
- For AMD GPUs, open the AMD Radeon Software app. Go to the Updates section and install the latest driver.
- Restart your PC once the driver installation completes. This will resolve any driver conflicts.
2. Update Your Audio Drivers
Audio driver issues can also lead to The Last of Us crashing randomly during gameplay.
- Open the Device Manager on your Windows PC (right-click Start and select it)
- Expand the “Sound, video and game controllers” section
- Right-click your audio device and select “Update driver”
- Search automatically for updated drivers or browse your PC for the drivers
- Download and install the latest audio drivers offered
- Restart your PC after the audio driver update completes
3. Free Up Your RAM
Having sufficient system memory is crucial for a game like The Last of Us.
- Close any background apps and programs you aren’t using to free up RAM
- 8GB RAM is the minimum, but 16GB is recommended for smooth performance
- Consider upgrading your RAM if you have less than 8GB currently installed
- Restart your PC once you’ve freed up memory for The Last of Us
4. Monitor Your Temperatures
Overheating can lead to abrupt crashes. Follow these steps:
- Download a system monitor like HWMonitor or HWInfo
- Play The Last of Us for 15-30 minutes and monitor the GPU/CPU temperatures
- If temperatures exceed 85°C, your system is overheating
- Improve cooling or reduce graphics settings to lower the temperature
- Clean your PC fans and heatsinks to optimize airflow
5. Verify Game File Integrity
Corrupted files can often cause seemingly random crashes.
- Right-click The Last of Us in your Steam library and select “Properties”
- Go to the Local Files tab and click “Verify Integrity of Game Files”
- Let Steam scan and restore any missing or corrupted game files
- Try running the game again once verification completes
6. Tweak Your Graphics Settings
Using unsupported graphics settings that your PC can’t handle will crash the game.
- Launch the game and set everything to the “Low” preset first
- Gradually increase texture quality, shadows, AA etc one by one
- If you face crashes, revert the last changed setting back to a lower option
- Find the optimal mix of settings your PC can handle without crashing
7. Update Your BIOS and Chipset Drivers
- Go to your motherboard manufacturer’s website
- Download and install the latest BIOS update for your motherboard
- Also get the latest chipset drivers for your processor and install them
- Restart your PC and try launching The Last of Us again
8. Disable Overlays and Background Apps
- Disable Steam/Nvidia/Discord overlays which can interfere with games
- Shut down background apps like Chrome, GEForce Experience etc while playing
- Disable or uninstall any unnecessary gaming/hardware monitoring apps
- Turn off Antivirus scans and updates while playing The Last of Us
9. Adjust CPU Affinity
- Right-click on The Last of us executable and go to Properties > Compatibility tab
- Check “Disable fullscreen optimizations” and change DPI settings to “System”
- Go to the “Affinity” section and ensure all CPU cores are checked
- Save changes and try running the game again
10. Reinstall or Upgrade Your Operating System
If you’ve tried everything else, these last resort steps may help:
- Backup your data and do a clean reinstall of your Windows OS
- Make sure you install the latest Windows updates after reinstalling
- Consider upgrading to Windows 10 or Windows 11 if you are on an older OS
- Update all your system drivers after the OS reinstall
- Try running The Last of Us again to see if crashes are fixed
Additional Troubleshooting Tips
Beyond the steps above, a few other things you can try are:
- Lower your GPU overclocking if you’ve overclocked your graphics card
- Close any overclocking/tuning/monitoring utilities before launching the game
- Try disconnecting peripherals like a VR headset, secondary monitors etc
- Launch the game in Windowed or Borderless mode instead of Fullscreen
- Disable Steam Cloud saving or unsync local files if the option is there
- Reduce you RAM overclock or run it at default XMP/JEDEC profile
My Game is Finally Fixed!
After following the exhaustive steps listed here for two whole days, I was finally able to narrow down the culprits behind my Last of Us crashing issues on PC – which turned out to be a combination of an unstable GPU overclock and overheating problems.
By optimizing my graphics settings, improving my cooling, updating every driver imaginable, verifying game files and reducing my GPU clocks – I’m now able to enjoy the game for hours without a single crash or freeze! While the crashing was extremely frustrating, the satisfaction of eliminating those issues one by one through methodical troubleshooting was incredibly rewarding.
I hope these detailed steps help you similarly troubleshoot and fix The Last of Us crashes on your own PC. Let me know in the comments if any of these tips worked for you or if you have any other suggestions to share!
Q: What is the minimum PC requirement to run The Last of Us smoothly?
A: The official minimum requirements are an Intel Core i5-2500K or AMD Ryzen R5 1600 CPU, 8GB RAM, an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 GPU, and 60GB of storage space. However, 16GB RAM is highly recommended.
Q: Where can I find crash logs or error reports for The Last of Us on PC?
A: You can find diagnostic crash logs and error reports in the “../log” folder under your Steam installation directory. These can help troubleshoot the cause of crashes. Enable Steam’s crash reporting option for additional details.
Q: Does uninstalling and reinstalling the game help fix crashes?
A: Reinstalling can sometimes resolve crashing issues caused by corrupted files. But only do so after trying simpler steps like verifying game file integrity. Also, make sure to delete leftover files before reinstalling.