I too experienced problems with DirectX 8.0a with RS and my MS Force Feedback 2 joystick. I don't know what joystick you're using, but RS was randomly and frequently crashing back to the Win98 desktop until I removed DirectX 8.0a and reinstalled 7.0a. Now RS is rock solid. See the thread "Is anyone using a MS Force Feedback 2 stick with RS?" in this forum for details. Gold Squadron Leader helped me out, so listen to his advice.