How to Fix Counter-Strike 2 Not Launching on Steam?

Counter-Strike 2 may not launch due to corruption of the Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) repository. If that’s the case, you can resolve the issue by resetting the repository. It’s a common reason for the game failing to launch, but other factors, such as the installed antivirus program or interference from third-party programs, can also affect the launch process. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

We’ll guide you through several methods to help you separate and resolve the problem, covering a wide range of potential causes.

1. Reset the WMI Repository

Resetting the WMI repository can resolve situations where this repository has become corrupt, which, in turn, may block applications, like CS2, from launching. By clearing any potential difference within the WMI, your system regains the ability to accurately manage and initiate processes, potentially resolving any launch issues with the game.

  1. Open the Start Menu and search for Command Prompt. Then, select Run as administrator on the right-hand side.
    Opening Command Prompt as Admin
    Opening Command Prompt as Admin
  2. Type and execute the following commands in the command prompt, hitting Enter after each:
    net stop winmgmt
    winmgmt /standalonehost
    winmgmt /resetrepository
    Stopping WMI Service
    Stopping WMI Service
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. Launch CS2 and check if the issue persists.

2. Run Steam as an Admin

When Steam is launched with administrator rights, it authorizes all its additional processes, including games like Counter-Strike 2, to operate with the same elevated permissions. This can be particularly effective in bypassing any restrictions that might be placed by Windows User Access Control (UAC), hence potentially resolving issues where the game fails to start due to limited access to system resources or directories.

  1. Open the Start Menu and search for Steam.
  2. Select Run as administrator to start Steam with admin privileges.
    Opening Steam as Admin
    Opening Steam as Admin
  3. Confirm the action on the User Account Control dialog box.
  4. Open CS2 to check if the game launches successfully.

3. Use Auto-Configuration

Custom configurations allows CS2 to revert to default settings—ideal when a personalized configuration becomes problematic. Basically, it takes away any custom commands which might be causing issues with the game’s core functionality, thus providing a new start that could eliminate issues preventing the game from launching.

  1. Open the Steam client.
  2. Right-click on Counter-Strike 2 in the Games Library and select Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, find the Launch Options field, type in -autoconfig, and close the window.
  4. Remove any custom config launch options if you’re using them.
  5. Try launching the game to see if the issue is resolved.

4. Disable Joystick Support

Certain peripherals, like the Anne Pro 2 keyboard, may prevent CS2 from launching. These devices can accidentally send signals that are misinterpreted by the game, causing it to fail to launch. By turning off joystick support with the -nojoy command, you makes sure that Counter-Strike 2 isn’t stopped by these peripheral inputs, thus potentially bypassing the initial problem and allowing the game to start smoothly.

  1. Open the Steam client.
  2. Right-click on Counter-Strike 2 and select Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, add -nojoy to the Launch Options field.
  4. Close the Properties window and launch CS2.
  5. Check if disabling joystick support resolved the issue.

5. Run in Compatibility Mode

Compatibility mode manipulate the program into thinking it’s operating on an older version of Windows where it may have functioned without issues. By toggling this setting for CS2, you effectively try fixing any potential compatibility conflicts that have occurred from newer updates to your operating system.

  1. Launch CS2.
  2. Open Task Manager and go to the Details tab.
  3. Locate CS2’s executable file and right-click on it.
  4. Click on Open file location.
  5. Now, right-click on cs2.exe and open Properties.
  6. Go to the Compatibility tab.
  7. Tick the Run this program in compatibility mode for: and select Windows 8.
  8. Click Apply and then OK.

6. Uninstall Antivirus

Overly protective third-party security programs can interfere with game processes due to false positives. By uninstalling the antivirus, you eliminate the possibility of such conflicts, potentially restoring the game’s ability to launch and operate smoothly. If the game functions correctly after this step, it suggests your antivirus was indeed the reason, and alternative security measures or settings adjustments may be required.

  1. Open the Start menu, search for the Control Panel, and open it.
    Opening Control Panel
    Opening Control Panel
  2. Click on Uninstall a program.
    Navigating to Programs List
    Navigating to the Programs List
  3. Find and double-click on the antivirus program to uninstall it.
  4. Restart CS2 to check if the issue has been resolved.

7. Disable the Xbox Game Bar

The Xbox Game Bar may interfere with game launching. This built-in Windows feature, while great for capturing gaming highlights, might cause issues with game processes or overlay settings. By switching it off, we remove a possible conflict, potentially clearing the way for a smooth game startup. It’s a quick check that could show immediate results, letting you get back in action without any issues.

  1. Press Win key + I to open Settings.
  2. Go to Gaming > Xbox Game Bar.
    Navigating to Xbox Game Bar
    Navigating to Xbox Game Bar
  3. Turn off Xbox Game Bar.
    Disabling Xbox Game Bar
    Disabling Xbox Game Bar
  4. Under Gaming, navigate to Captures and disable Record what happened.
    Disabling Game Captures
    Disabling Game Captures
  5. Launch CS2 to check if the game is now starting.

8. Reinstall the Graphics Drivers

Basically, these drivers are the lifeblood of your gaming experience, translating complex graphical commands into the stunning visuals you see on-screen. A fresh installation removes any corrupted data, making sure that Counter-Strike 2 gets the perfect graphical support to run smoothly, hence potentially eliminating any launch issues related to graphics.

  1. Download Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU) from the official website.
  2. Extract and run Display Driver Uninstaller.exe.
  3. In DDU, select your GPU type and manufacturer.
    Selecting GPU as the Device Type
    Selecting GPU as the Device Type
    Selecting GPU Manufacturer
    Selecting GPU Manufacturer
  4. Click Clean and restart.
    Uninstalling Graphics Driver
    Uninstalling Graphics Driver
  5. After rebooting, download and install the latest drivers for your GPU.
  6. Try running CS2 to check for launch issues.

9. Perform a Clean Boot

Performing a clean boot is like giving your PC a fresh start, discarding any excess programs that may be causing a problem in the background. Basically, this state allows Windows to run with the bare minimum of drivers and programs.

By stripping down to the essentials, you eliminate any third-party software that might be causing issues with CS2. Once in this simplified environment, if the game launches without a problem, you’ve found a clear signal that one of those non-essential programs was the reason all along.

  1. Open Run dialogue with Windows key + R and enter msconfig.
    Opening System Configuration
    Opening System Configuration
  2. Switch to Services tab, and select Hide all Microsoft services.
    Hiding Microsoft Services
    Hiding Microsoft Services
  3. Click Disable all and apply changes.
    Disabling Third-Party Services
    Disabling Third-Party Services
  4. Open Task Manager in Startup tab and disable startup apps.
    System Configuration Startup Tab
    System Configuration Startup Tab
    Disabling Third-Party Apps
    Disabling Third-Party Apps
  5. Restart your PC and test the game in a clean environment. If it works, enable services one by one to identify the interfering program.

10. Reinstall the Game

When you reinstall a game, you are basically replacing all its data with new copies, which can eliminate any problems caused by missing or damaged files within the game’s directory. This step, while a bit time-consuming, makes sure that any non-system-related issues tied to the game’s operation are fixed with a fresh start.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to CS2’s installation directory.
  3. Delete the Counter-Strike 2 folder.
  4. Launch the Steam client on your PC.
  5. In the Games library, right-click on Counter-Strike 2.
  6. Select Manage > Uninstall.
  7. After the game has been uninstalled, reinstall it by downloading the game again through Steam.
  8. Open the game to see if reinstalling has resolved the issue.

Following these troubleshooting steps should help address and resolve most issues causing CS2 not to launch properly. If you continue to experience problems, it may be helpful to check the game’s community forums or reach out to the support team for further assistance.


Muhammad Zubyan

Muhammad Zubyan is a certified Google IT Support Professional with over 7 years of extensive experience. He has worked on more than 1500 computers, gaining valuable insights that enable him to detect and troubleshoot any complicated root cause of Windows-related issues and errors. In addition to managing Appuals as a Senior Editor, he is currently developing his own Game Optimization program that caters to both gamers and casual users alike.