Halo 2 on Windows 8 not working

I upgraded to Windows 8 just after release and haven’t had too many issues regarding compatibility, but I just got myself a BD Writer for my 11 inch notebook (Doesn’t have a disc drive) and attempted to play Halo 2 on Windows 8.
The game seemed install okay, but as soon as it hit the actual Halo2.exe, I got the infamous “LIVE gaming on Windows failed to initialize. This may be because another LIVE Gaming on Windows application (such as Halo2 dedicated server) is running on the same machine. Otherwise, reinstalling the game may fix the problem.” error message.
I have tried all fixes that have been suggested on multiple websites, including the official Microsoft support statement regarding the issue, but have had no success in getting Halo 2 to run, on either my Desktop or Laptop system, both comprised of entirely different components.

I have tried Windows 8 Compatibility modes, of various varieties, all to no avail and have also tried the “Batman Arkham Asylum” fix in which you launch GFWL separately from the game itself. It seems now that the client is completely redundant and Microsoft have all but ditched the service. I have looked far and wide around the internet, but everyone having this issue has been on Windows 7, and none of the suggested fixes appear to work.

I’m using Windows 8 Pro 64-bit on both of my systems and have easily sufficient specs to run H2, along with GFWL installed and have tried pretty much all of the fixes I’ve found.

Any help would be much appreciated, I love H2 and I really want it to work on W8.


  • Ross

I’m not sure how fun it would be to play Halo 2 on 11".

If you have the windows live gaming or Xbox smartglass panel installed, uninstall it.

It’s because when you Install Halo 2 it also tries to install v1 of GFWL. If you have a newer version of it, it skips the install and when Halo 2 tries to initialize it fails because it’s expecting v1 of GFWL but doesn’t handle any newer version correctly.

I believe you need to manually apply every Halo 2 patch in order and eventually it will load. One of the updates is a compatibility for it to read from GFWL of any version.