Call of Duty: Vanguard Won’t Launch? Try These Fixes

Call of Duty: Vanguard is the latest entry in Activision’s immensely popular franchise. But just like every other launch they’ve had so far, the game had a rocky start as a lot of users found that they’re unable to effectively launch the game. This is an ongoing issue that is confirmed to occur on both PC and last-gen and next-gen consoles.

Call of Duty: Vanguard won’t launch (PC and Consoles)

After investigating this issue, we realized that this issue has a lot of potential causes, so we made a list of potential culprits that you need to investigate when troubleshooting this problem:

  • Ongoing server issues – Before you start troubleshooting using the provided methods below, you should start by checking if the issue is not beyond your control. If you’re unable to launch the game at all, chances are Activision is dealing with a server issue. In this case, there’s nothing you can do other than wait for the developers to fix the issue.
  • Temporary glitch – Once you ruled out a potential server issue from your culprit’s list, the next thing you should do is a simple reboot of the platform that you’re attempting to play the game on. As long as you’re dealing with a launch-related glitch, this fix is confirmed to fix this issue on both consoles and PCs.
  • Corrupted game cache – If you’re attempting to launch the game on Xbox Series X / S or on Xbox One, chances are you’re unable to launch the game due to a corrupted game cache. This typically occurs after a failed update. You can fix this problem by accessing your console’s setting and clearing the cache.
  • Incompatible Intel Management Engine driver – If you are experiencing this issue while launching the game on PC, the first thing that you should look into is an outdated or partially incompatible Intel Management Engine driver. This problem is typically encountered on Windows 11 after the OS is upgraded from Windows 11. To fix it, you’ll need to uninstall the current driver manually and allow Windows Update to update it with a generic equivalent. 
  • Corrupted game installation – On both PC and consoles, another potential cause of this issue is an instance where some game files have become corrupted so the game is crashing at startup. If this scenario is applicable, you should reinstall the game. This fix is confirmed to work on both PC and consoles. 
  • Insufficient space on your HDD or SSD – This problem is much more prevalent on PS5, but there are reports of it occurring on PC and Xbox consoles too. This issue typically surfaces when a new mandatory update is pushed to the game and the system that’s supposed to render the game doesn’t have enough space to install the new files. In this case, you can resolve the issue by freeing up more space on your HDD or SSD drive.
  • Game graphics settings are not optimized – If you are playing the game on a PC and you’re using an Nvidia GPU, you should be able to fix the issue by accessing the Nvidia software (Nvidia Control Panel or Nvidia Experience) and allowing it to auto-optimize the graphical settings according to your GPU capabilities.
  • PC config is unable to run the game with older DirectX – New GPU models seem to have a hard time running this game with the old DirectX iteration. If you’re using a GPU that was released in 2021 or later, you might be able to fix this problem by forcing the game to run on DirectX 11. 
  • Antivirus or firewall interference – On PC, another frequent culprit that might prevent the game from starting is an overprotective AV suite that treats the connection to the game server as a false positive. In this case, you can resolve the issue by whitelisting the game’s launcher + the executable or by uninstalling the overprotective suite. 
  • Blizzard and Activision Accounts are NOT linked – If you’re launching the game using a Blizzard account that’ snot linked with Activision, chances are you’ll get a crash at every attempted startup. To fix this issue, you’ll need to follow a series of steps to link both accounts.
  • Disable 3rd party overlay – If you’re using an overlay from Discord, Nvidia Experience, or Xbox Game Bar, chances are the game will conflict with it. This only seems to happen with certain GPU models, but if you’re using an overlay, disable it and see if the problem is fixed. 

1. Check for ongoing server issues

Before you start with the other fixes mentioned below,  our recommendation is to start by checking if this issue with Call of Duty: Vanguard is not caused by an ongoing server outage. 

If the game crashed immediately after launch or you’re unable to get past the initial screen, chances are the problem is caused by a widespread server issue that is currently affecting matchmaking.  

Take a few minutes to confirm or infirm if it’s applicable. This is very likely if you only recently started to experience this issue (the game was running fine in the past).

Fortunately, Activision has a dedicated status page where you can see if the game is currently experiencing server issues.  

Check for Server issues for COD Vanguard

When you get to the correct page, use the drop-down menu in the top-right corner of the screen to change the current game to Call of Duty: Vanguard.  

Once COD: Vanguard is selected, see if Activision is reporting any ongoing issues. If every aspect of the game currently has a green checkmark, a server issue is probably not the case. 

Note: It’s also possible that the platform you’re using to play the game (Steam, Epic Games, Playstation, Xbox, or Battle.Net) is currently experiencing issues. You can check if this is applicable by clicking on the platform icon under Server Status by Network. 

Check for platform issues

Note: If the status page is reporting a server issue, you can confirm the problem by checking directories like DownDetector or IsItDownRightNow to see if other users are currently reporting the same problem as you.

Note: If you managed to find evidence of a server problem, the issue is entirely beyond your control and you’ll have to wait for the involved developers to fix the problem.

On the other hand, if you have successfully investigated every possible server issue and found no evidence of a server problem, you can move down to the following fixes presented below.  

2. Reboot PC or Console

Once you’ve managed to exclude a server issue from the list of potential culprits that might be responsible for this issue, the next thing you should do is reboot the platform that you’re playing the game on.

  1. On PC, click on the Start icon, then click on the power icon and select Restart from the cluster of options available. 
    restart windows
  2. On Xbox consoles, press and hold on the box button (on the center of your Xbox controller to open up the Power center). Next, click on Restart console, then hit Restart to confirm your choice.
    Restart Xbox Console
  3. If you’re experiencing this issue on PS4, press and hold on to the PS button (on your controller), then select power from the context menu that just appeared. Next, select Restart PS4 and wait until the operation is complete. 
    Press the PS button on your controller
  4. On Playstation 5, press the PS button on your controller, then use the options menu at the bottom to access the Power menu. Next, from the list of available options, select Restart PS5. 
    Restart the PS5 console

 

After you restart the platform that you’re attempting to play COD: Vanguard on, launch the game again and see if the problem is now fixed. 

If the same kind of issue is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below. 

3. Delete game cache (Xbox One / Xbox Series Only)

If you’re attempting to play the game on Xbox One or Xbox Series X / S and you excluded the possibility of an ongoing server issue, another thing that you should investigate is a corrupted game cache. 

Note: Keep in mind that Xbox is the only console that maintains a game cache that can be cleared while leaving the game files intact.

Xbox users typically report this issue after a pending Call of Duty: Vanguard update failed (or was interrupted prematurely).

If this scenario is applicable, you should access the Settings menu of your Xbox controller and remove the cached data associated with the game (under Saved Data). 

Follow the instructions below for step by step instructions on how to do this:

Note: The instructions below will work on both Xbox Series X/S and on Xbox One. 

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller, then use the menu on the left-hand side to select My games & apps. 
    Access the My Games and Apps menu
     
  2. Once you’re inside the next menu, select the Games tab from the menu on the left, then scroll down through your library and locate the Call of Duty: Vanguard installation.
  3. When you see it, highlight the game, then click the menu button on your controller to bring up the context menu.
  4. Next, from the context menu that just appeared, access the Manage game and add-ons menu.

    Managing the game on Xbox
  5. From the next menu, access the Saved data category at the bottom of the screen. 
    Access the Saved data menu
  6. Next, clear the cache menu from the Save data category, then reboot your console and launch Call of Duty Vanguard once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

If the problem is still not fixed or this method was not applicable, move down to the next potential fix below. 

4. Clear more space (Consoles Only)

As it turns out, Call of Duty: Vanguard is not very good at telling you if you lack space to install a pending update.

Both Xbox and Playstation users are reporting that in their case, they had issues launching the game due to the fact that their console didn’t have enough space to install a shader update (that is handled in-game).

Note: This problem is exclusive to console users (Ps5 and Xbox users), since PC users aren’t reporting this issue.

To make sure this problem is not affecting your system, follow one of the sub-guides below to make sure that you have at least 100 GB of free space on your system.

On Playstation 5

To check and free storage on your Playstation 5 system, access the Settings menu from the home screen, then go to Storage. 

Once inside, go ahead and delete game items (full games, portion of games, or add-ons) until you manage to have at least 100 GB of free space.

Free up space on Ps5

Launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed. 

On Playstation 4

If you’re using a Playstation 4 system, access the Settings menu, then go to System Storage Management. 

Once you are inside the System Storage Management tab, check the currently available Free Space. If that number is under 100 GB, take the time to clear Applications, Capture Gallery, or Themes until you get there.

Freeing up Space on Ps4

On Xbox One / Xbox Series X

The operating systems on Xbox One and Xbox Series X are almost identical, the steps of freeing up space on Xbox One and Xbox Series X are almost identical.

To do this, open up the My games and apps tab on your Xbox console, then access the Manage tab. 

Once inside, choose the Free up space tile, and take advantage of the various options that you can use to free up at least 100 GB of free space. 

Freeing up space on Xbox consoles

After you do this, launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

If you’re still unable to launch Call of Duty: Vanguard, move down to the next potential fix below. 

5. Reinstall the Game (PC and Consoles)

If none of the methods above have proven to be effective in your case, the next thing you should do is to troubleshoot against a potential corruption issue that is affecting the game files.

Several users that we’re also unable to launch the game have confirmed that reinstalling it finally fixed the problem in their case.

Of course, the exact steps of reinstalling the game will depend on the platform that you’re attempting to play Call of Duty: Vanguard on.

Fortunately, we’ve created a series of sub-guides that will guide you through the process of reinstalling the game regardless of whether you’re playing on a console or on a PC.

Follow the sub-guide that’s applicable to your platform of choice to reinstall Call of Duty: Vanguard and resolve an issue related to game-file corruption:

Reinstall the game PC 

On PC, you need to start by uninstalling the game from the Programs and Features menu. This procedure should be preferred instead of doing a repair install (integrity check) from the game launcher because it will also clear any temporary files that might be contributing to this issue.

Follow the instructions below to reinstall Call of Duty: Vanguard on PC:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu (on Windows 10 or older) or Installed apps (on Windows 11). 
    Open up a Programs and Features menu
  2. Once you’re inside the Programs and Features or Installed Apps menu, look for the entry associated with the Call of Duty: Vanguard installation, then right-click on it (or click on the action icon) then click on Uninstall to uninstall the game. 
    Uninstall problematic game
  3. Next, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation, then reboot your PC and wait for the next startup to complete.
  4. Open the game launcher where you currently hold ownership of the game and reinstall COD: Vanguard by following the official channels.
  5. Launch the game and see if the problem is now fixed.

Reinstall the game on PlayStation 4 

If you’re using a Playstation 4 system, you’ll need to uninstall the game from the Library menu, then redo the installation from the same location (but from a different tab).

Here are the full instructions on doing this:

  1. From the home screen of your PlayStation 4 system, swipe through the games that you have installed and select Call of Duty: Vanguard. 
  2. With the game selected, press the Options button on your controller, then select Delete from the context menu that just appeared. 
    Delete the Call of Duty Vanguard installation
  3. Once the game is uninstalled and you’re back to the home screen of your PlayStation 4 system, use the left thumbstick on your controller to swipe left until you find the Library menu. When you find it, select it, then press the X button.
    Accessing the Library menu
  4. Once you’re inside the Library menu, use the vertical menu on the left to select Purchased, then move over to the right-hand menu and locate the game that you want to reinstall.
     
    Reinstalling the game
  5. From the list of items, select Call of Duty: Vanguard, then press the Options key and select Download from the context menu, and wait until the game is uninstalled. 
  6. Launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

Reinstall the game on PlayStation 5

Since Sony has revamped the operating system for Playstation 5, the instructions for uninstalling the game and reinstalling it again will be quite different from Playstation 4:

Here’s how to reinstall Call of Duty: Vanguard on Playstation 4:

  1. From the home screen of your PlayStation 5 system, use the left thumbstick (or the arrow keys) to select Call of Duty: Vanguard, then press the Options button on your controller. 
    Open the Options menu associated with Call of Duty: Vanguard
  2. Next, from the context menu that just appeared, select Delete, then confirm the choice and wait until the game gets uninstalled. 
    Delete Call of Duty: Vanguard from Playstation 5
  3. After the game is successfully uninstalled, access the Game Library from the home screen of your PS5 system.
    Download Call of Duty Vanguard on PS5
  4. Next, under Your Collection, find and select Call of Duty: Vanguard.
  5. From the context menu that just appeared, select Download – once you do this, the game will begin installing automatically. 
  6. Launch COD: Vanguard once again and see if the problem is now fixed. 

Reinstall the game on Xbox One / Xbox Series S & X

Since Xbox One and Xbox Series X pretty much share an identical OS, the steps of reinstalling the game on this system are almost identical. 

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. On your controller, press the Xbox button, then use the menu on the left-hand side to select My games & apps. 
    Access the My Games and Apps menu
  2. Next, select the Games to tab from the menu on the left and scroll down through your library until you find the Call of Duty: Vanguard installation.
  3. While the game is selected, click the menu button on your controller to bring up the context menu.
  4. From the context menu that just appeared, access the Manage game and add-ons menu.

    Managing the game on Xbox
  5. From the next menu, highlight the Uninstall all option from the menu on the left.
    Uninstall Call of Duty Vanguard
  6. Confirm the operation, then wait until the operation is complete.
  7. Once the game is uninstalled, access your Library from the home screen, then access the All owned games section and re-download Call of Duty: Vanguard
  8. Launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

If the same kind of issue is still ongoing, move down to the next potential fix below.

6. Optimize Settings for Vanguard (PC Only)

If you’re experiencing this issue on PC and you’re using an Nvidia GPU, you might be able to get the issue fixed by using Nvidia Experience to optimize the game according to your PC’s graphical capabilities or reset is back to the default values. 

This simple fix has reportedly been effective for a lot of Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. It will resolve the issue in cases where the game won’t start because of a graphical setting that’s incompatible with the rendering of the game.

If this scenario sounds applicable to your current situation, follow one of the sub-guides below to optimize the game’s graphical settings using Nvidia Experience:

  1. Press the Windows key to bring up the start menu, then type ‘GeForce’ and click on GeForce Experience from the list of results. 
    Open up GeForce Experience
  2. Once you’re inside Ge-Force Experience, access the Games tab and select Call of Duty Vanguard from the list.
  3. Next, click on the Optimize button and wait until the settings are adjusted. 
    Optimizing the game
  4. Launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.

In case the same kind of issue is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below. 

7. Reinstall the Intel Management Engine

According to some affected, users, this problem can also be caused (on PC) by an inconsistency rotted in the usage of the Intel Management Engine Interface. Apparently, this software component is an important dependency that the game relies upon.

Other users that have also dealt with this issue have confirmed that they managed to fix this problem by forcing the uninstallation of the current driver via Device Manager, then reinstalling the latest version of the driver manually (from Intel’s website) before Windows Update gets a chance to reinstall an incompatible version again. 

Follow the instructions below for specific instructions on how to do this:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Apps & Features menu. 
    Open up the Programs and Feature menu
  2. Once you’re inside the Apps & Features menu, scroll down to find and select the Intel Management Engine Components installation, then click on Uninstall to get rid of it. 
    Uninstall intel components driver
  3. At the confirmation prompt, click on Uninstall once again to get rid of the driver altogether.
  4. Once the driver is uninstalled, don’t restart your PC.
  5. Instead, open up your favorite browser and access Intel’s Download Center for the Management Engine Interface driver download page.
  6. Once you’re inside the correct page, click on Inter Management Engine Driver for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 or Windows 11. 
    Uninstall Intel Management Engine Driver
  7.  Once you get to the next page, click on the Download button, then wait for the driver to be successfully downloaded.  
    Download the Intel Management driver
  8. After the download is complete extract the contents of the archive with a utility like WinZip, WinRar, or 7Zip. 
  9. Next, double-click on MEISetup.exe, provide admin rights, then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation, then restart your computer.  
    Install the Intel Management driver
  10. Once the latest driver version has been installed, reboot your PC one final time and see if the problem is now fixed. 

If you’re still unable to launch Call of Duty Vanguard on your PC or this method was not applicable, follow the next method below.

8. Force the game on DirectX 11

If you previously forced the game to run with DirectX 12 before the problem started to appear, returning to DirectX11 should fix the issue in your case.

COD: Vanguard is designed to run on DirectX11 (to accommodate last-gen console versions) and it’s much more stable than when rendered using DirectX12. Sure, you’ll sacrifice some visual features, but nothing too noticeable.

If you want to give this fix a try, follow the instructions below to modify the Battle.net launcher so that it opens Call of Duty: Vanguard using DirectX 11:

  1. Make sure Call of Duty: Vanguard is closed.
  2. Open your Battle.net client, log in with your account, and select Call of Duty Vanguard.
  3. Next, go to the Options menu of the game and check the box associated with Additional Command Line Arguments (under Game Settings).
  4. Inside the Additional Command Line Arguments box, type ‘-d3d11’ and save the changes.
    Forcing DirectX 11
  5. Launch the game normally through Battle.net and see if the game launches successfully.

If you’re still unable to open the game, move down to the next potential fix below. 

9. Whitelist game or Disable antivirus and/or firewall (PC Only)

If you’re encountering the problem on a PC, you might be dealing with a classic case of an overprotective firewall.  

Third-party firewall solutions like Avast Premium, Comodo, and Panda Dome are known to cause this problem in certain situations.

If this scenario is applicable, you have two options:

  • Whitelist COD Vanguard + launcher (BattleNet) in your AV settings 
  • Disable the real-time protection of your AV 

Note: f you’re using a 3rd party security suite, the steps of doing this will be very different depending on which firewall you’re using. 

But if you’re using Windows Defender, follow the guide below to learn how to whitelist Call of Duty Modern Warfare + the launcher:

  1. Start by pressing Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box.
  2. Next, type ‘control firewall.cpl‘ inside the text box and press Enter to open up up the classic interface of the Windows Firewall. 
    Open the firewall component
  3. Inside the Windows Defender Firewall menu, use the left-hand menu to click on Allow an app or feature through Windows Defender Firewall.  
    Allow an extra feature through firewall
  4. Inside the Allowed apps menu, hit the Change settings button, then click Yes at the User Account Control (UAC) prompt to grant administrative privileges.  
    Change the settings
  5. Next, scroll down through the list of allowed applications and see if Call of Duty Vanguard and it’s launcher (Battle.ne) is on that list.
  6. If you find the two on the list, ensure that you check the box for both Private and Public before clicking on Ok to save the changes.  
    Note: In case Call of Duty Vanguard and Battle.net is not added to this list, click on Allow another app and add the two entries manually.  
  7. Finally, Launch COD Vanguard once again and see if you are able to run the game normally.

If the same problem is still occurring, move down to the next fix below.

10. Link console account to Activision Account (Consoles Only)

If you are attempting to play the game on a console and you see a sign up error when launching, ensure that your Blizzard and Activision accounts are linked.

Several users that were facing this issue on Xbox and Playstation have confirmed that once they finally did this, they were able to use their account to play Call of Duty Vanguard from their console.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sign up to the Playstation Xbox or Nintendo account that you wish to link.
  2. In a browser, go ahead and sign in with your Activision account using this page
    Sign in with Activision account
  3. Next, go inside the Account Linking section and choose the account that you want to link. 
  4. Click Continue, and you will be taken to the Playstation, Xbox, or Nintendo website to complete the process of linking the two accounts.
  5. Once the linking process is complete, return to your console and see if you can launch the game. 

If you’re having this issue on PC, try the next method below. 

11. Disable Discord or Nvidia Experience Overlay (PC Only)

If the game refuses to launch only when you try to use software like OBS or Nvidia Highlights, chances are a conflict makes COD: Vanguard crash when the screen is being recorded or when a screen overlay is detected on screen. 

The developers have released a couple of hotfixes for this issue, but some users are still reporting this problem. 

Fortunately, if the problem is being caused by two conflicting overlay tools, you should be able to fix the problem by disabling the non-essential in-game overlay or by uninstalling this tool altogether. In most documented scenarios, the conflict occurs either between OBS and Nvidia Experience or between OBS and Discord in-game overlay. 

If you have both Nvidia Experience overlay and Discord overlay enabled, follow one of the guides below (first or second sub-guide) to disable the in-game overlay function from this two software in order to stop the conflict.

If you don’t really need a second overlay tool and you simply want to get rid of it, follow the third guide (third sub guide). 

Disable the Discord Overlay

If you’re using an overlay feature from Discord, you’ll need to access the App Settings and disable the overlay feature under User Settings. 

Here’s how to do this:

  1. Start by closing every instance of the game and the launcher that you use to launch the game. 
  2. Next, open the Discord app.
    Note: If you can’t see the expert screen right away, open the system tray and double-click on the icon to bring the Discord window forward.
     
  3. Once you’re inside the Discord app, look for the User settings (gear icon) in the bottom section of the window.  
    Accessing the Settings menu of Discord
  4. Inside the User Settings menu, click on Overlay tab from the vertical menu on the left (under App Settings).

    Disable the Overlay features
  5. Inside the Overlay menu, disable the toggle associated with Enable in-game overlay.  
    Disable in-game overlay
  6. Save the changes inside Discord, then launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.  

Disable Nvidia Overlay

If you’re experiencing this issue while using Nvidia overlay, you need to disable this feature from the settings menu.

Here’s how to do this:

  1. First things first, start by closing the game instance and the launcher behind it.
  2. Next, open Nvidia Experience and go to the General tab from the next-hand section.
  3. Move over to the left menu and disable the toggle associated with the In-Game overlay.  
    Disable Nvidia Overlay
  4. Once this modification has been enforced, save the changes and close Nvidia Experience. 
  5. Launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.  

Uninstall screen overlay feature

If you’re using a different overlay feature and you don’t really care for it or use it any longer, a surefire way to prevent the conflict from occurring again is to simply uninstall the overlay app.

Follow the instructions below to do so:

  1. Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ and press Enter to open up the Programs and Features menu.  
    Open up the Programs and Features menu
  2. Inside the Programs and Features menu, scroll down through the list of installed programs and locate the overlay software that you plan on uninstalling.  
  3. When you see it, right-click on it and choose Uninstall from the newly appeared context menu.  
    Uninstall Nvidia Experience
  4. Inside the uninstallation screen, follow the remaining steps to complete the uninstallation, then restart your computer. 
  5. Once the procedure is complete, launch Call of Duty Vanguard once again and see if the problem is now fixed. 

12. Disable Xbox Game Bar (Windows 11 only)

As it turns out, another potential conflict that might prevent the game from launching on PC is the Xbox Game bar.

This issue is restricted to preview builds of Windows 11, so if this is the cause of the issue, simply updating your PC should take care of the problem.

If you can’t update (regardless of the reason), you should be able to stop the conflict from occurring by disabling the Xbox Game bar.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Start by pressing Windows key + I to open up the Settings menu of Windows 11.  
  2. Inside the Settings menu, click on the Gaming tab from the vertical menu on the left.  
    Open the Gaming tab on Windows 11

    Note: If this menu is not visible by default, click on the three-dot icon (action button) in the top-left corner of the screen.  

  3. Next, from the Gaming tab, click on Xbox Game Bar to access all the related settings.  
    Open the Xbox Game bar settings
  4. Inside the Xbox Game Bar menu, disable the toggle associated with  Open Xbox Game Bar using this button on a controller.  
    Disable Xbox Game bar
Kamil Anwar
Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.
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