Anonymous edits have been disabled on the wiki. If you want to contribute please login or create an account.

Warning for game developers: PCGamingWiki staff members will only ever reach out to you using the official mail address.
Be aware of scammers claiming to be representatives or affiliates of PCGamingWiki who promise a PCGW page for a game key.

Troubleshooting guide/Startup and launching problems

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games
Start here

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 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 not 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 can have the protection removed in a later patch (refer to the individual game pages for details). Alternatively, check the workarounds covered at SafeDisc.

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 certain 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]

Video not available. Cannot find 'vids:IV50' decompressor

This occurs when a game requires the Indeo video codec to play cutscenes. Windows Vista and newer contain the codec, but it is not registered by default.
For Windows 95 through XP, it is necessary to download and install the codec fully; a download archive is available from
Manually register the Indeo codec[7]
  1. Open the Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. Use it to browse to %WINDIR%\SysWOW64.
  3. Register the Indeo codec by typing regsvr32 ir50_32.dll


To unregister the codec, at step 3 type in regsvr32 /u ir50_32.dll

A driver cannot load on this device (Windows 11)

Hardware-enforced Stack Protection error example

Windows 11 introduces a new feature called Kernel-mode Hardware-enforced Stack Protection which allows additional protection on supported CPUs (Intel Tiger Lake or AMD Zen 3, or later). When this Windows feature is enabled, certain game anti-cheat protection may be blocked from running or installing if the protection driver uses incorrect behaviour that triggers this protection.

Unless the affected game's anti-cheat is patched to fix this, the only workaround is to disable this Windows security feature.

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.
This commonly manifests with an error message on startup reading This application was unable to start correctly (0xc0000022). Click OK to close the application.
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 the 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.

Lots of unknown or weird characters in message or in game

Example error message of Asian character set issue
Example error message of Asian character set issue
For some old games, the game uses system specified character set for text processing. However, the system specified character set is different for different language systems. If the game expects another character set from the system, character encoding issues come.
This issue usually happens with games using Asian languages especially CJK languages (Chinese, Japanease, Korean). Sometimes it also happens on English games with Asian language systems.[8]
Change Windows default character set[9]
  1. Open Control Panel
  2. Find Region (or Change date, time or number format below Clock and Region in Category mode)
  3. Click Administrative tab on the top
  4. Click Change system locale button
  5. Change Current system locale to the language the game use
  6. Ensure Beta UTF-8 support is not ticked
  7. Save and reboot the device
This change is system-wide, which may also turn some working games to not working.
Use launch options to specify character set for some engines[10]
Some game engines like KiriKiri can change character set the game use by launch options. An example is here.
This usually only applies to engine rendered text. Window title or system menu may still contain unknown characters.
Use locale emlation tools[11]

Some tools can create an emulated environment with expected character set for the game.

These tools need to inject the game, which is not safe for games with anticheat.
Some games need to launch from Steam, use this command line trick to make these tools working with Steam.

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.[12] 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.[13]

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[14]
  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.[15]
  • 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.[15]
  • 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.[16]
Disable SHA extensions in the OpenSSL library[17]
  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.[18] 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.[19][20]

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


  1. Ubisoft Forums :: SOLUTION: AC games won't launch when installed on Windows Storage Spaces - last accessed on May 2023
  2. SECDRV.SYS Not Loading in Windows 10; this will break thousands of - Microsoft Community - last accessed on May 2023
  3. Windows 10 support - StarForce Support - last accessed on May 2023
  4. - last accessed on May 2023
  5. When I open Crysis3, it will show "This program cannot be executed(8016)". - Answer HQ - last accessed on September 2023
  6. IMPORTANT new Bios addressing the 8016 error in Windows 10 is because of Securom DRM does Bios flash Circumvent Microsoft Policy? - last accessed on May 2023
  7. Intel Indeo Video/Audio Codec - iv5setup.exe - Download - last accessed on 2023-09-08
  8. [Other Getting the DirectX error when trying to open BF3. What do I do?] - last accessed on 2024-07-06
  9. Verified by User:Qinlili on 2024-07-06
  10. Verified by User:Qinlili on 2024-07-06
  11. Verified by User:Qinlili on 2024-07-06
  12. OS X: Application icon has a prohibitory sign, or "PowerPC applications are no longer supported" appears - Apple Support - last accessed on May 2023
  13. Mac OS X: Classic doesn't start, Mac OS 9 not installed or recognized - Apple Support - last accessed on May 2023
  14. Verified by User:Garrett on June 12, 2017
  15. 15.0 15.1 Media Feature Pack list for Windows N editions - last accessed on December 23, 2021
  16. OpenSSL SHA Crash Bug Requires Application Update - last accessed on 2022-02-03
  17. Verified by User:Mastan on 2022-02-03
  18. Localization problems cause launch failures on many Linux games : linux_gaming - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  19. TR Forums • View topic - Samsung Magician Full Screen Bug - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  20. No fullscreen while - Forums - Battlelog / Battlefield 4 - last accessed on May 2023