Fix: Fallout 4 won’t start

Fallout 4 is an action role-playing game which is the 5th release in the Fallout series. The game is set in an open world post-apocalyptic environment near Boston and around Massachusetts. The entire series is very popular with the majority of the players playing from PCs with some of them from consoles.

A noticeable error which occurs is that Fallout 4 doesn’t launch when clicked. Everything stays the same as if nothing has happened. This error is quite common in this game and the fixes range from restarting Steam to updating your graphics drivers. Start with the first solution and work your way down.

Note: Before proceeding, restart your computer properly and relaunch your Steam client (around ~3 times) before moving on. The restarting is known to solve the issue.

Solution 1: Verifying integrity of game files

The first thing you should do is verify the integrity of game files on your computer. According to users, their file bank wasn’t complete because of some reason and this caused the game not to launch properly. There are several cases where Steam doesn’t download complete game files on your computer.

  1. Launch your Steam client. Browse to the Library tab (click the name Library present at the top of the screen).

  1. Your Library consists of all the different games which are installed in your PC. Right-click the Fallout 4, and click on Properties from the list of options.

  1. Once in the Properties, navigate to the Local Files tab (press the tab from the top of the screen.

  1. Here you will see a button named “Verify Integrity of Game Files”. Click it. Now Steam will start comparing the manifests and will verify the integrity of your game. This process may take a while so don’t cancel it.

  1. Relaunch Steam after the process completes and check if you can launch Fallout 4 without any errors.

Solution 2: Running in compatibility mode

Another workaround to launch Fallout 4 without any problems is launching the game in compatibility mode. Compatibility mode allows the computer to launch an application built in an environment for some other version of the operating systems. This sometimes solves the problem because the game is running in a virtual environment with fixed control on all the packages.

  1. Open your Steam client and navigate to Fallout 4’s properties like we did in the previous solution.
  2. Once in properties, click on Local files tab and click the button Browse local files.

  1. The directory where the game is installed will be opened. Locate the game file ‘fallout4.exe’. It will most probably be present in bin > win64/win32. Right-click it and select Properties.
  2. Now navigate to Compatibility tab and check the option Run this program in compatibility mode for: and select Windows 8.

  1. Press Apply to save changes and exit. Now try launching Fallout 4 and see if the problem is solved.

Note: Also check the box ‘Run this program as an administrator’. It is always advised to run games in elevated administrator mode so they have no problems in accessing any resources whatsoever.

Solution 3: Disabling Antivirus Software

The reason why this error might occur is that of interference from Antivirus software installed on your computer. There are several options which protect your computer by also monitoring different applications running and the kind of resources they are using.

In this solution, you have to explore yourself and see if there are any settings in your antivirus which might be providing these services. Furthermore, you should the game as an exception to prevent all of these problems from happening. Antivirus like Avast or MacAfee were reported to cause problems.

If you are unable to still fix the problem, you can disable the antivirus completely. You can check our article on How to Disable your Antivirus. Restart your computer after disabling and see if you Fallout 4 launches without any errors.

Solution 4: Launching in Windowed Borderless mode

It is also possible that the game isn’t launching because of some issues when being launched as full screen. There are many compatibility issues here and sometimes there are also conflicts with the video settings on your computer. We can set launch options in Fallout 4 on Steam to launch in a windowed mode without any borders.

  1. Launch Fallout 4’s properties like we did in the earlier steps.
  2. Once in properties, navigate to the General tab and click Set launch options.

  1. Set the launch options to “-windowed -noborder”. Press OK to save changes and exit.

  1. Restart your computer properly and try launching Fallout 4.

Solution 5: Removing all mods

If you are using several mods to change the gameplay or add some features, it is advised that you disable these mods and try launching the game again properly. Mods change the core files of the game and tweak the behavior. If there is some mod which is clashing with the settings, it is best to remove that mod and try launching the game again.

If you are not using any mods, make sure you are using an administrator account and the game is updated to the latest build available in Steam.

Solution 6: Updating/rolling back Graphics drivers

Last but not least, you should check your graphics card for any updates available for your hardware. Updates for graphics hardware are released every now and then; you should google your graphics hardware specifications and see if there are any updates available. If your card is outdated, we will either update it automatically or manually by first downloading the file.

Furthermore, if updating the drivers don’t work for you, you should consider rolling back the drivers to a previous build. It is not a surprise to know that newer drivers are sometimes not stable or conflict with the operating system.

  1. Install the utility Display Driver Uninstaller. You can continue without this step but this ensures that there are no remnants of the drivers.
  2. After installing Display Driver Uninstaller (DDU), launch your computer in safe mode. You can learn how to boot your computer into safe mode by reading our article on it.
  3. After booting your computer into safe mode, launch the application which was just installed.
  4. After launching the application, select the first option “Clean and restart”. The application will then automatically uninstall the installed drivers and restart your computer accordingly.

  1. Boot your computer into normal mode, press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter. Most probably the default drivers will be installed. If not, right-click on any empty space and select “Scan for hardware changes”. Now try launching the game and see if the default drivers fix the crashing issue.
  2. Now there are two methods to update the graphics drivers; either you can update them automatically using Windows update or manually by browsing to the file where your graphics drivers are located. If automatic updating fails, you have to navigate to your manufacturer’s website and download the drivers first.

To update, right-click on your hardware and select Update driver. Now select any one of the two options according to your case.

  1. Restart your computer after installing the drivers, launch the game and check if this solves the problem.



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.
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