If 3ds Max crashes on launch or freezes during use, it may be caused by old/outdated or unsupported video drivers. However, users cannot change the 3ds Max display drivers within the program if they cannot finish loading it successfully.


  • Legacy or unsupported hardware
  • Outdated or unsupported video drivers
  • Conflicts with the 3ds Max implementation of Direct3D 11 (the default display driver)


First, try to update your video card (graphics processing unit, or GPU) drivers by going to the manufacturer’s website (NVIDIA, AMD, Intel), searching for the latest driver available for your device, then downloading it and updating your GPU manually.

If updating the GPU drivers doesn’t work, try changing the display options within 3ds Max. Do this by going to the Customize > Preferences > Viewports tab, then going to the Display Drivers > Choose Driver button and picking a different driver. However, if 3ds Max cannot launch at all, then these options aren’t accessible.

So, change 3ds Max’s start-up video driver options “outside” of the program by doing the following:

Changing the Graphics Mode via Windows Autodesk software installation:

  1. In Windows, browse to Start > Programs > Autodesk > Autodesk 3ds Max > Change Graphics mode and click on this entry.
  2. 3ds Max will start to launch, and then the Display Driver Selection menu will appear. The default should be Nitrous Direct3D 11 (Recommended.)
  3. Change this to Nitrous Direct3D 9 and let the program continue to launch. If it loads successfully, test its features to see if there’s any improvement.
  4. If not, repeat the above steps but try the additional drivers available — Nitrous Software, Legacy Direct 3D, Legacy OpenGL.
  5. Continue testing to see if there is any improvement.

Changing the Graphics Mode via a 3ds Max shortcut flag:

  1. Right-click on the 3ds Max desktop shortcut to bring up the Properties menu.
  2. Under the Shortcut tab, add the -h option to the Target field, as shown below:

    “C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2018\3dsmax.exe” -h

    ​​​Note: a space should be placed between the end quote and the -h flag.
  3. Click OK. The next time 3ds Max is launched, the Display Driver Selection box should appear.
  4. Change the Display driver from Nitrous Direct3D 11 to Direct3D 9, then click OK and see if 3ds Max continues to load.
  5. If this driver does not load Max, repeat the above steps with the additional drivers available — Nitrous Software, Legacy Direct 3D, Legacy OpenGL.

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