Fix: Civilization 5 won’t Launch

Civilization is a series of strategy games where the game is centered on building a civilization from prehistory to the near future. The game was initially released in 1991 and new versions are released to this date. The game is also available on several platforms including Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Play Station etc.

Civilization V

Users playing Civilization 5 (Civ 5) experience an issue where they are unable to launch the game. In most cases, the game just closes after it has been launched. Civ 5 is available on Windows via Steam and even verifying or reinstalling the game doesn’t work.

What causes Civilization 5 not to launch?

Games have to interact with several different modules in order to get up and running. Because of the fast-paced environment of frequent updates released by Microsoft and other graphics vendors, games have a hard time to keep up and stay in sync. Some of the reasons why Civilization won’t launch are but not limited to:

  • Antivirus software: According to user reports, there were several antivirus software including Avast and BitDefender which caused the game to halt its launching process.
  • DirectX: DirectX files might be missing from your computer. DirectX is a graphics component and the correct version of the API should be installed.
  • Old version of Windows: There were several cases where people using Windows 7 failed to launch the game. It should be noted that official support for Windows 7 is finished and depreciated.
  • Corrupt game files: This reason is an all-time classic and may be the cause of several games not able to launch.
  • Visual Studio C++ Redistributable: This component is used in Civilization 5 and the latest version should be installed.

How to fix Civilization 5 not launching?

There are several different scenarios where the game fails to launch. Each one has a different type of condition and symptoms. Here are a number of different cases which can be fixed using the solutions listed below.

  • Civ 5 won’t launch after DirectX selection: Whenever you launch the game, you are asked to select a DirectX version. The game doesn’t launch after that.
  • Civilization V keeps crashing: In this case, the game keeps crashing unexpectedly either in-game or when launching.
  • Civilization V quit unexpectedly: If the game quit unexpectedly, it probably means there is an issue with your installation files or graphics software.
  • Civilization VI No Compatible Graphics Device Found: This scenario occurs when the game is unable to detect and use proper graphics hardware.

Before proceeding with the solutions, make sure that you are logged in as an administrator and have an active open internet connection without any firewalls or proxy servers.

Solution 1: Installing DirectX

DirectX is a collection of APIs which are used for handling tasks which are related to multimedia and game programming. DirectX is a collection of several different APIs such as DirectPlay, DirectSound etc. They are all used concurrently to provide a good gaming experience. Civilization depends on DirectX to play properly. If this is missing, you might get the error message. We will install the latest version and see if this does the trick for us.

  1. Navigate to the latest version DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer. Install the executable after downloading it.
DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer
  1. Restart your computer after the installation and check if the error message is fixed.

Solution 2: Removing Conflicting software

There are several instances where the game doesn’t launch because of third-party conflicting software. These programs compete for the control and access of different mechanisms which cause issues. Since each computer configuration is different, you have to see for yourself which programs might be the culprit.

You try Clean Booting your computer. In this mode, the computer is turned on with a minimal set of drivers so you can diagnose which program is causing the problem. You check our article on How to: Clean Boot Windows 8/8.1/10.

Alienware LightFX

One example issue which users faced was Alienware LightFX. Users either uninstalled the application or renamed the following files with some addition such as ‘LightFXold’:




Solution 3: Updating Graphics Drivers

Another reason why Civilization might not launch is because of outdated graphics drivers installed on your computer. Graphics drivers are the main components which connect your application and the hardware. If they are not in sync, the game will not launch at all. We can try uninstalling the current drivers and then installing new ones.

  1. Download and install DDU (Display driver uninstaller) from its official website.
  2. After installing Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), launch your computer in safe mode. You can check our article on how to boot your computer into safe mode.
  3. After launching the DDU, select the first option “Clean and restart”. This will uninstall the current drivers completely from your computer.
Clean and restart drivers – DDU
  1. Now after the uninstallation, boot your computer normally without safe mode. Press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter. Right-click on any empty space and select “Search for hardware changes”. The default drivers will be installed. Try launching the game and check if this solves the problem.
  2. In the majority of the cases, the default drivers will not work for you so you can either install the latest drivers through Windows update or navigate to your manufacturer’s website and download the latest ones.
Updating drivers automatically – Device Manager
  1. After you have installed the drivers, restart your computer and check if the problem is solved.

Note: Also consider uninstalling NVIDIA GeForce Experience from your computer. This is known to cause issues.

Solution 4: Installing Microsoft Visual C++ 2015

Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable installs run-time components of Visual C++ libraries on your computer. These files are required by the game to function and work properly. There is a bug where it seems that the files are not automatically updated to the latest version. You will first have to manually uninstall the components from your computer and then install the latest one from Microsoft.

  1. Press Windows + R, type “appwiz.cpl” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
  2. Now search for the entry “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable”. Right-click on it and select Uninstall.
  3. Now navigate to the official Microsoft download website and install both x86 and x64 on your computer.
Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Download – Official Microsoft website
  1. Restart your computer and run Civilization again.

Note: If all the above methods don’t work, you can try and verify the integrity of game files on Steam. If even this doesn’t work, consider uninstalling the game and deleting temporary files manually. After removing all the config files and user data, you can try installing the game again.


Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.