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Halo 2

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original 2007 PC release. For the remaster, see Halo 2: Anniversary.

Halo 2
Halo 2 cover
Pi Studios
Windows Hired Gun[1]
Microsoft Game Studios
Halo Engine
Release dates
Windows May 17, 2007
Metacritic 72
Monetization One-time game purchase
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS, Shooter
Vehicles Automobile, Flight, Tank
Art styles Realistic
Themes Sci-fi, Space
Series Halo
Halo 2 on HowLongToBeat
Halo 2 on IGDB
Halo 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Halo 2 on MobyGames
Halo 2 on Wikipedia
Halo: Combat Evolved 2003
Halo 2 2007
Halo: Spartan (series)
Halo Online 2015*
Halo 5: Forge 2016
Halo Wars (series)
Halo Recruit 2017
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (series)
Halo Infinite 2021


For Games for Windows - LIVE on Windows 8 or later, install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE software.

Halo 2 is a singleplayer and multiplayer first-person action, FPS and shooter game in the Halo series.

It is a port of the 2004 Xbox game of the same name. It includes all downloadable maps from the Xbox version and its add-ons, with the exception of two from the Blastacular Pack (Tombstone and Desolation), although they can be downloaded from community mirrors.

The PC port is also known as Halo 2 Vista or H2V, as it was advertised as a Windows Vista exclusive, as prominently mentioned on the front cover. Despite this, a workaround exists to run the game (without Games for Windows Live functionality) on Windows XP.

The Halo 2 Live master server went down in 2015 with no indication of its return. See Project Cartographer.

General information

Modding tools provided on disc.
Halopedia - A very detailed wiki for everything Halo related - One of the biggest Halo fan sites around
Halo Maps - A fan site for downloading mods and maps for Halo 2 Vista
H2v Hub - Central Hub of the Halo 2 PC community
H2MT Repository - A massive collection of custom maps, mods, tools, & assets


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Icon overlay.png
CD key
Requires online activation
Games for Windows Marketplace (unavailable)
Icon overlay.png
CD key
Requires online activation
All versions require Games for Windows - LIVE DRM.[Note 1]

Essential improvements


The latest patch is 1.01. It is strongly recommended to let the GFWL client auto-update Halo 2. If problems appear, it can be downloaded manually from here.

Skip intro videos

Use Project Cartographer to toggle the intro[citation needed]

Install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE client

It is essential to install the latest GFWL client before installing Halo 2, as the version on the disc is broken.
Update Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable[citation needed]
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.

Project Cartographer

Project Cartographer is an unofficial multiplayer mod which provides an alternative to the now defunct Games for Windows - LIVE platform for Halo 2 Vista. It allows players to use the Network tab as a server browser and connect via peer-to-peer (P2P) networking. This is a fast and streamlined solution as compared with available LAN gaming solutions, as it retains almost all original Live multiplayer functionality.
Adds a wide variety of extra features into the game itself.
Official project website
Source code

Halo 2 Reclaimed

Halo 2 Reclaimed aims to make the game as close to the original Xbox version as possible.
Fixes weapon fire rates for higher tickrates.
Replaces many assets with Xbox version counterparts.
Compatible with Project Cartographer.

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

System Location
Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Halo 2\

Save game data location

System Location
Windows %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Halo 2\Saved Games\


In-game graphics settings.
In-game graphics settings.
Halo 2 in windowed mode can support almost any resolution which matches that of the desktop.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
4K Ultra HD
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Field of view (FOV)
Default is 70°. Use Project Cartographer for up to 110°.
Use Project Cartographer to resize the window independently of game settings.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use Borderless Gaming or Project Cartographer.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Up to 4x MSAA. Can be improved to 8x through the graphics card control panel. Enhanceable to HSAA + TrSSAA on Nvidia systems.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Enabled by default but broken on Windows 7 and up. The game's Vsync may cause heavy stuttering or not stop screen tearing at all. Force Vsync using graphics card control panel or D3DOverrider.
60 FPS
Cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS. Use Project Cartographer for 60 FPS cutscenes. The Opening logos and Credits are rendered at 30FPS.
120+ FPS
The game is not designed to go above 60 FPS. Use Project Cartographer's FPS limiter.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.


In-game general keyboard settings.
In-game general keyboard settings.
In-game keyboard remapping settings.
In-game keyboard remapping settings.
In-game controller settings.
In-game controller settings.
Aim assist is always enabled for controllers. It can be disabled using Project Cartographer.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
For issues with custom keyboard binding, rebind from southpaw/left-handed preset.[3] End cannot be bound, and Home is reserved by Games For Windows Live.
Mouse acceleration
On by default. Use Project Cartographer to enable raw mouse input.
Mouse sensitivity
Can be forced to exceed the max of 10 using Super Sensitivity.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
XInput controllers only.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Can be implemented using Durazno or XInput Plus.
Controller sensitivity
Can be forced to exceed the max of 10 using Super Sensitivity.
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Xbox 360 controller prompts by default. Xbox one prompts can be obtained using Xbox One controller prompt icon patch
Impulse Trigger vibration
PlayStation controllers
Can be implemented using DS4 Windows or Steam Input.
PlayStation button prompts
Can be implemented using Dualshock controller prompt icon patch.
Light bar support
Adaptive trigger support
DualSense haptic feedback support
Connection modes
Generic/other controllers
Older DirectInput controllers can be used with x360ce.
Button prompts
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Digital movement supported
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Keyboard controls can be disabled using Project Cartographer options menu.


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 5.1 output.
Only for cutscenes.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Set 5.1 speakers in options and use DSOAL for binaural HRTF mixing.[4]
Royalty free audio


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Simplified Chinese
Using Project Cartographer, the menu is completely in Chinese, save for "Online" and "Cartographer". Not sure if this is Traditional or Simplified Chinese as I don't know the tongue.
Using Project Cartographer, the menu is completely in German, save for "Online" and "Cartographer".
Apparently, the game has a dub but, I couldn't get it to work. Also, the menu is in English (Probably a problem on my end). Tested using Project Cartographer.
Using Project Cartographer, the menu is completely in Korean, save for "Online" and "Cartographer". Also has cut off text at the end of each label.
Depends on installation disc.
Latin American Spanish
Depends on installation disc.


Online features require a Microsoft account (optional for offline play).

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
16 Versus
Use Nucleus Co-op. Requires Project Cartographer.
LAN play
16 Versus
Online play
16 Versus
The official GFWL multiplayer service was shut down; use Project Cartographer.

Connection types

Type Native Notes
An unofficial update by the same people who made Project Cartographer is available here.
Direct IP


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 53, 80, 443, 3074
UDP 53, 88, 1000-1006, 3074
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.
Port range 1000-1006 is required by Project Cartographer to host. See Project Cartographer
Specific details can be found here

VR support

3D modes State GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
See also: Halo 2 3D-Vision and Black Screen Fix
TriDef 3D
User created game profile, read important notes in the vorpx forum profile introduction.
3RD Space Gaming Vest

Issues unresolved

No VoIP support

VoIP support was broken in one of the many GFWL client updates. Repairing it is on Project Cartographer's to do list and not yet implemented.[citation needed]

Issues fixed

A list of common fixes is available here.

Installation issues

Run startup.exe on the DVD in Vista compatibility mode[citation needed]

"One of the installation steps failed" error

You may receive this error message during installation.
Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Exit the installer.
  2. Open the redists folder on the game DVD.
  3. Run vcredist.msi as an administrator.
  4. After it has finished restart the game installer and it should proceed normally.

"LIVE gaming on Windows failed to initialise" error

This occurs on Windows 8 and later.
Instructions[citation needed]

Download and install these files: xliveredist.msi, gfwlclient.msi and wllogin_**.msi

error

Close Xfire before signing in[citation needed]

Artifacting or flashing on Nvidia cards

Update Nvidia drivers to 337.88 or newer[citation needed]

Extreme mouse lag/jittering

Use Project Cartographer to limit the frame rate to 60 FPS[citation needed]

Heavy stuttering

Native Vsync implementation (enabled by default) is very bad and can cause stuttering even with required 60 FPS.
Force proper Vsync using D3DOverrider or your graphics card control panel[citation needed]

Game text is garbled or disappears

When running the game in windowed mode at 2K and 4K resolutions, there are issues with text breaking or disappearing completely.
Fix high resolution issues[5]
  1. Install Project Cartographer.
  2. Launch halo2.exe with the -hiresfix parameter.

Game does not save refresh rate of monitor

The game will not save your preferred refresh rate (120 Hz, 144 Hz, etc.) when you select it from the video settings. It defaults to 60 Hz each time the game reopens and has to be set again.[6]
Force refresh rate on startup[7]
  1. Install Project Cartographer.
  2. Run the game, and click on Cartographer from the main menu, or press Home.
  3. Open the Advanced Settings menu.
  4. Open Other Settings, and select Refresh Rate.
  5. Use the buttons to set the default refresh rate.

Some leaves on trees do not render

This issue is specific to Nvidia graphics cards.
Use Project Cartographer
Fixed in a future update.[8]

MSAA causes white lines on geometry

This issue is specific to Nvidia graphics cards.
Use Halo 2 Shader Override[9]

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0c
Shader Model support 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Windows Media Player Only for logos, and credits.
Multiplayer Games for Windows - LIVE

Play without Games for Windows - LIVE

Games for Windows Live can be disabled as an alternative to using a local profile.
Halo 2 Vista XLiveless[10]

Use Halo 2 Vista XLiveless.

Command-line arguments

See command line arguments on how to use the following options.[11]
Parameter Description
-windowed Runs the game in windowed mode.
-novsync Disables Vsync. May improve the game performance.
-monitor:X Allows users to move the game between monitors when running in full screen. Replace X with monitor number (found in Windows Display Settings).
-nosound Runs the game without audio.

Example map

Example is a map not included in Halo 2 by default, but is present on the Halo 2 install disc and can be obtained by installing and using the Halo 2 map editor. Example is the only multiplayer map to include Fuel Rod Cannons, and includes custom "silenced" SMGs that are quieter than the ones in other maps and have laser pointers. Example is the smallest map in any Halo game and is unusually dense with explosives. Can also be directly downloaded here (for those that don't want to install the editor).

Maps ported from other Halo Games

Maps that are buggy and/or of low quality are excluded from this list.

Halo 2 Xbox exclusive

Halo 1

Halo 3

System requirements

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Vista
Processor (CPU) 2 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6100
ATI Radeon X700
128 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9 compatible
Shader model 2.0 support
Halo 2 can be played on Windows XP by following this tutorial (Games for Windows - LIVE features will be disabled).


  1. Games for Windows - LIVE DRM features: Legacy activation, supports local profiles.