I am writing this article to combine all tweaks which helped me to enhance the performance of GTA 4 on my extremely low end pc (in comparison to minimum requirements), but I must clear you that my graphics card is one of the high end graphics cards from Nvidia, it is gtx+ 9800 1 gb from MSI.
First of all, I have, Intel Pentium D 2.8 GHz, kingston 2gb RAM, 500 watts Zebronics modular SMPS, normal cooling and Windows 7 as preferred OS.
Now then, follow these steps carefully and you will be able to play this game much smoother than before:
1. As a basic step (if you have not done it yet) download all 4 patches from GTA 4’s website and install them immediately.
2. Download Game Booster software (it’s free and complete) to create a hassle free environment for your game (I’ll tell you what to do with it after few steps).
3. Download contig.exe file, don’t worry it is not a virus or malicious software (if the link doesn’t work then try googling it).
4. Download Windows Seven Manager 15-day trial.
Alright, now you are done arranging software and files for tweaking. Now let’s get this game tweaked.
1. Copy Contig.exe file to your GTA 4 directory, i.e. C:program filesrockstar gamesGTA IV, and paste it there.
2. Create a shortcut of this file on your desktop. Right click on it and select ‘Properties’.
3. Now add this parameter to ‘target’ field, -s (press space after inverted commas). Your ‘target’ field should look like, “C:……..GTA ivcontig.exe” –s , alright?
4. Hit ‘ok’ and run this shortcut with administrator privileges.
5. A command prompt window will appear but you don’t have to do anything.
6. The small .exe file will optimize all files inside GTA 4 folder. It will take only 15 to 20 min. may be less if your system is fast.
7. In the mean time, you can install both Windows Seven Manager and Game Booster.
Using Windows Seven Manager
1. You have to do only few chores here.
2. Hit ‘Optimization Wizard’ and follow the steps.
3. Clean your registry, delete junk files, delete duplicate files, defragment registry and uninstall unused programs.
4. Don’t worry; you’ll do them one by one with the help of wizard. I was just pointing them out.
5. Give your system a restart after you are done.
6. Kindly don’t run any programs or software while working with Windows Seven Manager (contig.exe doesn’t take much memory from system, so you must let it run).
Using Game Booster
1. This is a great free software and is very light. It will optimize all of your games in one click. It is obviously nice than Game Accelerator.
2. Alright, when you are done installing this software. Launch it and before clicking ‘Switch to Gaming Mode’, head for ‘Game Defrag’ tab.
3. Hit it and it will show GTA IV (it will show other games too if you have them). Select GTA IV and click ‘Analyze’ just below.
4. Let Game Booster analyze your game and if GTA IV has any fragmented parts then it will fix them.
5. If will only take 2 to 3 minutes, so you don’t have to wait for a long time.
6. When you are done defragmenting. Head back to ‘Main’ tab and hit the button to enter in gaming mode.
7. GB shows all futile programs, which are eating your processor and RAM. In next screen though, you’ll have to select ‘show all processes’ just below and it will enlist all running processes (which are running in background, like one note icon, download manager, etc.).
8. If you want a certain program to run (I recommend you not to) then just deselect that program and then hit ‘close them’, otherwise, hit ‘select all’ and then hit ‘close them’.
9. You’ll see all your visuals turned off and any background process turned off (even sidebar) and screen will get refreshed.
10. You can turn them on by hitting game booster in taskbar (just beside clock) and then pressing ‘back to normal button’. Your programs will be restored in a second.
1. Head for your GTA IV directory>common>shaders.
2. You are going to merge Nvidia’s and ATI’s shader files, which are optimized respective to their graphics cards.
3. Just make a backup copy of Win32_30_NV8 folder (you are going to change only this one) anywhere in your disk.
4. Copy and replace all files from Win32_30_ATIdx10 and paste them in the folder stated above, if you have Nvidia’s graphics card.
5. If you have ATI’s, then just do opposite, i.e. copy files from NV8 folder to ATIdx10 folder and this time, create backup copy of ATIdx10 folder.
Alright, you are all set and done. Just one more chore:
1. Right click taskbar and hit ‘Task Manager’ and select ‘Processes’ tab.
2. Hit your game and keep an eye on Task Manager. As soon as you see ‘GTA IV launcher’ pop up in ‘Processes’ field. Right click on it and set its ‘Priority’ to ‘High’ (not Real-time, it will crash your computer).
3. Then, you’ll see GTA IV.exe pop up after a while, be quick and do the same with it too.
4. Now processor and RAM are told to focus their powers on these two programs as much as possible.
Play your game and it will be much faster and smoother than before. I don’t guarantee some extra ordinary increase, but yeah, it will be significant.
This method is completely tested and can be found on GTA forums too. I’ve just compiled all of them at one place with some of my own findings.
Thanks for sharing your time with me and please care to comment a line. If these tips don’t help you, then sorry to be blunt but you’ve got to get a nice upgrade friend.
Note: You can increase brightness, contrast and saturation from display tab of GTA IV menu. It will make this game fancier than before. Just a little trick to let you see the better side of this game.