Saturday, February 18, 2012

Battlefield 3 AWC.DLL error / crash / won't start

To all having the AWC.DLL crash upon start: I've spent the past 48 hours ripping my hair out trying to fix it, and googling for answers and forum posts got me nowhere (for the first time ever)

Win7-64 was installed on a 60GB SSD (C:\ Drive)
Origin was installed on E:\ORIGIN\
Origin Game Directory was E:\GAMES\
Origin Tempory Installer directory was E:\TEMP\
Battlefield 3 worked fine.

I got a new Mushkin Chronos 120GB SSD and swapped it out for the A-DATA 60GB SSD, and installed a fresh copy of Win7-64 on the blank drive.  I then intalled a fresh copy of Origin on the new SSD, using all default directories (I figured why not - I have lots of extra space, might as well make origin and BF3 load lightning fast).

When I got ready to see how quickly levels loaded in BF3 from the new SSD, I was met with: "bf3.exe has stopped working" , awc.dll 0x00000005 (access violation)

"No big deal", I thought.  "I'll just google this real quick and figure out what's going on, tweak a file or setting and be on my way to pwning noobs with the jet's machine gun in no time."   Right.  I spent two days straight trying to figure out what the hell was happening, and the only thing I could find from googling was other people having the same problem (and actually many other crashes that kept them from playing the game too [hint: they were pissed])

After trying everything under the sun to get the game working again, I'll post the things I did in between BF3 installs that could have fixed the problem.

Uninstalled BF3 from control panel (which actually didn't work, had to delete the directory manually)
Uninstalled Origin from control panel
Download PunkBuster installer/uninstaller from EvenBalance, uninstall PunkBuster
Manually comb through the registry searching for, and deleting, the following:
"ea games"
"electronic arts"
"origin" <--- (make sure you only delete ACTUAL origin entries, not other windows registry keys that merely contain the word origin)

Yes, it took a while.  You click edit -> find, type it in and go, and then hit F3 to go on to the next one.

THEN, I searched both C and E drives for the following:

"ea games"
"electronic arts"

and deleted all the directories that it hides/stashes throughout the drive (especially things like \programdata and \users\you\appdata

Surprisingly, my registry and file searches came up empty for "punkbuster" or "evenbalance", that uninstaller must actually work; however feel free to add the terms "punk" and "evenbalance" to your searches above to be thorough.  Oh, I also deleted something from Chrome Browser's cache related to Battlelog - which came up through a file search for "battle"

NOW, you should have a cleaned computer and registry.

Also one thing I did at this time was updated my BIOS, the update note from Gigabyte stated "increased SSD compatibility."  I say this because *technically* (though unlikely) this could have been what fixed the problem.

FINALLY, I started over with Origin, trying to emulate the setup I had that was actually working two days ago: Installed origin to the E:\ drive and changed all the directories to be like I listed in the first paragraph above.  Upon origin's completion of downloading and installing BF3 (for like the fourth time in two days), I was ~*FINALLY*~ greeted with something other than an app crash!

If any of you out there are still having the AWC.DLL crash, hopefully either the cleaning or the installing to a different drive will work for you.  Note that I did try simply uninstalling and re-installing to a different drive to no avail, I had to uninstall and go through that manual cleaning process and THEN install to a different drive before it actually worked.


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