Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Complete Edition

541 ratings
How to play GTA IV in 2020
By Haiwyre
If you have trouble starting THE OLD VERSION of GTA IV, hopefully this guide will help you. This is for players who want to play multiplayer, get XBOX achievements or just don't want to deal with x live less.
1. Install GTA IV
If you haven't already, download and install GTA IV from your Steam library. Make sure to start it for the first time and install all the additional features that come with the game. There are some basic things that you should do before starting to play.
2. Log into your XBOX App
First, you should log into your XBOX App. This is for Windows 10 users only. Simply search for "XBOX" in the search bar, start it and log in, either with your already existing XBOX account or with your Microsoft account. You will need this account to play GTA IV, so make sure to remember your password.

Rockstar added this step with the last patch, it's like a replacement for Games for Windows Marketplace:

3. Fix GTA IV's memory issue
The next step should fix the memory issue that has haunted GTA IV since release. Altough there are other solutions online, this one is the only one that worked for me.
Go to your Steam library, right click on GTA IV and open the properties. Click on "Set Launch Options" and add the following things:

-nomemrestrict -norestrictions -novblank -percentvidmem -availablevidmem 4096

The last option changes your video memory to the provided amount. GTA IV has problems with detecting video memory over 2GB automatically, so you will most likely have to add your own amount of memory to the command line. Make sure to provide your amount of video memory in Megabytes.
It's currently set to 4GB because I'm using a GTX 970 as my graphics card.

4. Run GTA IV and log into your Windows Marketplace account
For this step, it is important to remember the account details which you used during step two to sign into the XBOX app. Also, copy the GTA IV-Key before starting the game, so you can paste it into Windows Marketplace afterwards. (Key is under Library->Grand Theft Auto IV->Right side->CD-Key) Start GTA IV and a weird-looking, Windows-Vista-like program will appear at the top of your screen, telling you to log into your Windows Marketplace account. Make sure to use the same E-Mail as before, and it will, most likely, auto-complete the password for you. Check all the boxes provided so you don't have to sign in manually every time you start GTA IV. It will ask you for your product key, simply paste the key you copied before.

If the Windows Marketplace prompt doesn't open automatically during the load screen for the GTA IV main menu, try pressing the home key if you have a QWERTY keyboard or the POS1 key if you have a QWERTZ keyboard to open it.
Logging into Windows Marketplace enables you to save as Rockstar intended you to save and you can also use the ingame-phone to start multiplayer matches.

5. Further problems
If you have any further problems, there are some things you can try.
  • If it freezes during startup, during cutscenes or when Alt-Tabbing, you can try right clicking your GTAIV.exe (which is in your steam/steamapps/common/Grand Theft Auto IV/GTAIV folder), click on properties and tick the option "Disable fullscreen optimizations".

  • If it still freezes, try running the game in windowed mode.
6. You did it.
You're done. I hope your GTA IV now works as intended. If not, please let me know in the comments of this guide. If you have any additional solutions to GTA IVs problems, you can also let me know in the comments and I will add them to the guide.

GTA IV is a great game and it would be a shame if people would not be able to play it because of Rockstars poor decision to make deals with Microsoft. The multiplayer still works, and if you want to play with your friends or the few remaining players who still play GTA IV online, you will need to log into XBOX and Windows Marketplace.
7. (Optional) Backup savegames
If you followed the instructions in this guide, you're now using a version of GTA IV without any modifications. Downloaded savegames and savegames from other XBOX users won't work with this version, as Rockstar added an encryption to the savefiles. You can only backup or move savegames from your own devices to your own devices.

a) Your savegames are located in: C:\Users\$$$\AppData\Local\Rockstar Games\GTA IV\savegames (change the "$$$" to your own windows user, other method to get there: type %appdata% into the search bar, you're nearly there, just select "AppData" from the path, select "Local", "Rockstar Games" , "GTA IV", "savegames" and you're there)

b) If you want to backup or move a savegame, you're also going to need this folder: C:\Users\$$$\AppData\Local\Microsoft\XLive (again, change the $$$ to your own username or use the %appdata% method).

Now lets say you want to do a fresh install of windows, you're changing hardware or you're getting a new computer and you want to keep your precious savegames, because otherwise you would have to replay your progress, which could be pretty annoying with a long game like GTA IV.
I'm suggesting you backup the whole GTA IV folder from a) and the whole XLive folder from b). On your new computer, simply copy the backed up folders to the same locations as they were on the old one and you're good to go.
If problems occur, go to steamapps/common/Grand Theft Auto IV/Gta IV/ , right click on gtaiv.exe, go to properties and select "disable fullscreenoptimisation". This should fix the problems that could occur while copying the "settings" file from your old computer to your new one, as GTA IV still thinks it's running on your old one.

Don't forget to do the previous steps on your new computer, such as logging in into XBOX and Windows Marketplace and adding the commands to the command line.

Big Mac Jul 11, 2021 @ 8:18pm 
how do I do this I hate this new version broke all mod compatibility help
Thulgriark Mar 12, 2021 @ 1:17am 
GFWL does not work in the new version anymore nor is there a way to bypass it, everything runs via Rockstar Games Launcher now. Also your game is automatically activated via the Launcher. So it is impossible to play through GFWL even if it was possible.
jamie Feb 16, 2021 @ 4:43am 
it wont let me agree to terms and conditons how do i fix this issue
Crafty_Clefable ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ Nov 25, 2020 @ 5:25pm 
It still asks for my key!
Ultimate Doge Nov 6, 2020 @ 6:32pm 
yeah but i dont have a windows live account...
CarCrasher Sep 19, 2020 @ 6:18am 
does this work with a cracked version?
FatRob Aug 18, 2020 @ 11:26pm 
i need a key to get acces to the game what i have to do ??
Driftkel Jul 15, 2020 @ 6:23pm 
I have GFWL installed and when I tried to do one of the achievements, they didn't unlock over the GFWL overlay.

For instance, there's an achievement where you successfully get invited to a girl's house after a successful date, which I was supposed to get, but didn't.
Unknown Kiwi Jun 9, 2020 @ 3:44pm 
everytime i try to play it takes me from steam to the rockstar launcher and then says play via steam so i click and it just says its already running....
anyone know a work around for the game launch? i haven't been able to play since the game got updated to the complete edition
it used to work perfect before </3:steamsad:
onurguzel16 May 18, 2020 @ 4:46pm 
Can we launch GTA 4 by launching from LaunchGTAIV.exe outside the Steam folder (steamapps/common)? How about SecuRom copy prorection? Won't we be disallowed to launch the game another hard drive location due to copy protection?