If you cannot launch a video game (or games) in Windows 10, 8 or Windows 7, you will find this article very useful as it contains detailed information about most common errors and reasons preventing games from launching properly. In addition to that, we will also cover multiple methods to fix each particular problem.

There are multiple reasons why a game won’t start. When it crashes or fails to launch with an error, it is much easier to fix it because you know the roots of the problem. But when it closes during launch without any hints concerning what went wrong, you can only guess what block the launch. However, in this situation, it is possible to deduce the problem and solve it.

Main reasons why games don’t launch in Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7

Main reasons why games don’t launch in Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7

Here is a list of the main reasons that usually prevent video games from starting or launching properly:

  1. The game cannot find file libraries required for launch. Typically, it is DLL DirectX or Visual C++ libraries. In most cases, games crash with a message that details what file (or files) is missing (but not always).
  2. Older video games just cannot be launched on computers running the latest operating systems. For instance, games of the previous decade cannot start in Windows 10 (can be solved with a little tweaking).
  3. Integrated antivirus – Windows Defender – in Windows 10 and 8 or other third-party antiviruses sometimes may block installation or launching of video games falsely recognizing them as a threat.
  4. Outdated or missing video card drivers. Most beginner users don’t know whether they have drivers for a video card installed or not. Because in the Device Manager they only see «Standard VGA Graphics Adapter» or «Microsoft Basic Display Adapter» and if they update drivers via Device Manager, the tool will report that drivers are ok. But in reality, it means that there is no driver installed, and the system uses the standard driver. That standard driver is the reasons why you cannot launch video games.
  5. Compatibility issues – when the game cannot work with particular hardware/software when your computer does not meet the minimum requirements for the game, and so on.

Now when we know typical problems that lead to a game crash or prevent games from launching, let’s discuss them in details and learn how to fix them.

DLL not found error and how to fix it

DLL not found error and how to fix it

This is one of the most common errors today – when you are missing one (or multiple) DLL files required for the game to launch as intended. When a game cannot find the file it needs, it creates a report for the user naming the files that are missing.

  • Read the error message carefully. If it says that the system failed to start the game because it could find a DLL file that starts with D3D (except for D3DCompiler_47.dll), X3D, or xinput – you have a problem with DirectX libraries. This happens due to the fact that Windows 10, 8, and 7 don’t have all DirectX components preinstalled by default. That is why users have to add missing DirectX manually. It can be done by downloading an installation package from the official Microsoft website (it will automatically detect missing DLL files and install them on your computer).
  • If the error message reports about a file that starts with MSVC – you have a problem with the Microsoft Visual C++ redistributable package. It means that some libraries from that package are missing. Ideally, you should know what files are missing and download them manually from the official website (you will need both x64 and x86 versions even if you are using 64-bit Windows). Another option is to reinstall Microsoft Visual C++. We recommend downloading the latest installer from the Microsoft official website that will surely have a full package of Visual C++ components.

These file libraries we mentioned are missing on clean versions of Windows by default. Without them, video games just cannot launch. However, in some cases, you will also need some specific DLL files created by game developers such as CryEA.dll or steam_api.dll. This problem can be solved automatically with specific software like DLL Fixer or downloaded from trusted websites.

Older PC games won’t start 

This is the second most popular reason why a video game cannot be launched – it is too old and was developed for another version of Windows. This problem can be solved easily as well:

  • Run the game in Compatibility Mode for earlier versions of Windows (right-click on the game’s .exe file or its shortcut, go to the Compatibility tab, choose another Windows to run in this mode).
Older PC games won’t start
  • For really ancient games that were developed for MS-DOS there is also a good solution – use DOSBox.

Windows Defender or another antivirus blocks games

Sometimes Windows Defender (an integrated antivirus solution for Windows 10 and Windows 8) mistakes files for malicious software and blocks them. This often happens with games and game mods as they contain modified game files, which makes the guard app think they have been hacked even when you are 100% positive that everything is ok. If you are using third-party antivirus, it may even delete files from your computer or put them into quarantine. In order to play the game, you will need to reinstall it with the disabled Windows Defender (or another antivirus) and add the game’s folder to an exclusion list (this way your antivirus won’t scream about possibly malicious files leaving them be). After creating an exclusion for the particular file or the whole game folder, you can turn your antivirus on.

Missing graphics card driver

If you don’t have original graphics card drivers installed on your computer, most likely you won’t be able to launch a video game. By «original video card drivers,» we mean those created by NVIDIA GeForce, AMD Radeon, and Intel HD in most cases. Even if have no problems with display in Windows, even if you can run some games, even if your Device Manager reports that your graphics card drivers are installed good to go – we recommend downloading drivers for your video card model from the manufacturer’s official website and installing them. Especially if your Device Manager says, you are using «Standard VGA Graphics Adapter» or «Microsoft Basic Display Adapter» it is a dead giveaway you are missing drivers for your video card.

Missing graphics card driver

The same problem occurs on laptops as well. If you cannot launch a game on your laptop due to missing video card drivers, and updated NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel’s drivers do not help, you can try to search for drivers on the laptops manufacturer’s website selecting your particular model. Another wise solution would be to use automatic driver updating tools such as RocketFixer. If you don’t want to waste your time on searching, downloading, and installing drivers give it a go. The best thing about the program that it scans your system and tells what drivers are out of date or missing in a minute or two. Downloading and installing them can be set to the automatic mode, so you won’t have to worry about anything.

Compatibility issues

It usually happens when you are trying to launch a modern technically advanced game on the old machine. It might not have enough «power under the hood» to start it. Check your system parameters and compare them with the minimal requirements for the game you want to play. Sometimes you may have a page-file disabled (some games won’t start without it), or you are trying to run a new game on older Windows such as XP. In this case, there is not much you can do, and solution will be individual for each user.