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Troubleshooting guide/Startup and launching problems

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Error message on launch


DLL is missing from your computer

Copy DLL to folder
  1. Make a note of the name of the missing .dll.
  2. Go to %WINDIR%\SysWOW64 (or %WINDIR%\System32 if you are running a 32-bit version of Windows).
  3. Find the .dll that has the same name as the missing .dll but with an additional x in the name (e.g. if the game can't find dplay.dll, look for dplayx.dll).
  4. Copy that .dll into the game's installation folder (do not move it).
  5. Rename the copy to the name of the .dll that was missing (so dplayx.dll becomes dplay.dll, etc.)
  6. The game should now see the .dll and play normally.

This app can't run on your PC

See Installation and download problems for solutions.

Access Denied - Please login with administrator privileges and try again

Retail games using SafeDisc copy protection do not work due to SECDRV.SYS support being disabled on Windows 10[2] and also by the MS15-097 update for Windows Vista and later. Any versions sold digitally are not affected.
Some games have SafeDisc removed in a later patch (refer to the individual game pages for details). Protected games can be played on Windows 8.1 and earlier with the workaround covered on MS15-097 (this method does not work on Windows 10).

StarForce Protection driver blocked due to incompatibility

Older versions of StarForce are not compatible with newer versions of Windows. Supported versions can be updated with SFUPDATE.[3] See StarForce support for further details.

Tages Protection driver is blocked due to compatibility issues

Use TagesSetup to update Tages.[4]

A required security module cannot be activated. This program cannot be executed (8016)

This SecuROM DRM issue occurs on Windows 10 systems with an Intel Skylake CPU. Some games have been patched to fix this issue.[5] This problem can also be solved by updating the BIOS (if available).[6]

DirectPlay games do not work or prompt for DirectPlay feature/DLL

DirectPlay is disabled by default on Windows 8 and later due to this feature being deprecated.
Enable DirectPlay
  1. Open the Start menu/Start screen, type OptionalFeatures.exe and press Enter.
  2. Expand Legacy Components.
  3. Check DirectPlay.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.


If problems persist copy dplayx.dll from %WINDIR%\SysWOW64 to the game's installation folder and rename it to dplay.dll.


Install dummy DirectPlay DLL
Allows DirectPlay enabled games to be played without having to install the DirectPlay Legacy Component but will not be able to play on LAN or online.
  1. Download dummy DPLAYX.DLL
  2. Place DLL into %WINDIR%\SysWOW64 or into the game's directory.


If problems persist rename dplayx.dll to dplay.dll.

256 color error message

Set compatibility mode
  1. Go to the game executable location.
  2. Right click the executable and choose Properties.
  3. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  4. Choose Reduced color mode (8-bit) or Run in 256 colors.
  5. Click OK to apply the change.

macOS/OS X

App needs to be updated

Full error message: "The developer of this app needs to update it to work with this version of macOS. Contact the developer for more information."

This error occurs when trying to run a 32-bit-only macOS app on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or newer due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps. Some affected games have a patch or other workaround to resolve this; refer to the individual game pages for details.

PowerPC applications are no longer supported

The PowerPC translator (Rosetta) is not available on OS X 10.7 (Lion) and later.[7] Some developers have released patches to make their games work on modern systems.

Classic app does not start

Classic apps are not supported on Intel-based systems and/or OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later. Some developers have released patches to make their games work on modern systems.
If this error occurs on a PowerPC-based system running OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or earlier, ensure Mac OS 9 is installed.[8]

Game closes when launched (no error message)

Install Nvidia PhysX

Games using Nvidia PhysX will close without any error message if PhysX is missing or not up to date.
Download missing DLLs[9]
  1. Install the NVIDIA PhysX System Software.
  2. Install the NVIDIA PhysX Legacy System Software.
  3. Install the AGEIA PhysX Engine v2.5.2.
  4. If PhysX was the issue the game should now start up and play.

Install Media Feature Pack (N/KN editions of Windows)

N and KN editions of Windows will have issues starting games that require the Media Feature Pack.

  • Windows 11: Go to Start, then select Settings > Apps > Optional features. Select View features, then select and install the Media Feature Pack.[10]
  • Windows 10: Select the Start, then select Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Optional features > Add a feature. Select and install the Media Feature Pack from the list.[10]
  • Older versions: XP/Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

Bypass OpenSSL SHA bug on Intel 10th gen and later CPUs

OpenSSL 1.0.2 beta (Jun 2014) to OpenSSL 1.0.2k (Jan 2017) contain bugs that either cause a crash or bad SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) values on processors with the SHA extensions, such as Intel 10th generation and later. Unreal Engine version 4.13 (Sept 2016) to version 4.21 (Dec 2018) contains the old version of OpenSSL, so any game built using those versions is possibly affected.[11]
Disable SHA extensions in the OpenSSL library[12]
  1. Open System menu in Settings with Win+Pause.
  2. Select Advanced system settings.
  3. In the new System properties window select Advanced tab and click the Environment Variables button.
  4. In the System variables section click the New button and enter these values:
    Variable name: OPENSSL_ia32cap
    Variable value: :~0x20000000
  5. Reboot or sign out/sign in.

Check error logs

Many games will generate a log file in the installation folder or configuration file location containing details of the error that occurred.

Override localization (Linux)

Some Linux games expect localized file names in ways that fail on certain languages (e.g. Turkish). This may prevent the game launching or cause other issues.[13] Launching the game from the terminal with the LC_ALL=C prefix may work.

Dependencies install at every launch (Steam)

Delete install VDF and redist folder
  1. Go to the game's installation folder.
  2. Delete or rename the install.vdf file beginning with the game's numeric app ID.

Game switches to windowed mode or minimises when launched

This is usually caused by another program stealing focus, e.g. antivirus (some antivirus programs have a "game mode" that can be used to prevent this). Identify the program, then adjust its settings or disable it. Samsung Magician is known to cause this behaviour.[14][15]

Games may also switch to windowed mode if an unavailable resolution has been chosen in the game or specified in a configuration file.