4 Fixes: ‘Graphics device is not available at this time’ StarCraft 2

Users experience the error message “Graphics Device is not available at this time. Please try starting StarCraft II again, or restarting your machine—” when they try launching StarCraft either after installing it or after updating Windows to the latest build.

StarCraft 2 Graphics Device is not Available at this time

This error message is usually associated with your graphics drivers and how they are unable to provide resources to StarCraft because of technical issues which we will discuss below. This is a very common error message and has also been acknowledged by StarCraft engineers in the official website.

What causes the Graphics Device to not be available on StarCraft II?

This error message mostly relates to the graphics drivers installed on your computer. However, there might also be other reasons which might vary from computer to computer depending on the hardware and configuration. Some of the reasons are:

  • Outdated/corrupt drivers: Drivers not working are the most common reason why you might not be able to launch the game. If the game doesn’t have access to graphics resources, it will not work.
  • Xbox DVR: Xbox DVR is a new feature in Windows operating system which allows more features to users when playing games. However, this is known to cause issues with StarCraft.
  • Full-screen mode: This is a bug in the game where whenever it is launched in full screen, it crashes and displays the error message.
  • Graphics card selection: If you have a dedicated graphics card installed, it is possible that your inbuilt card is being selected.

Before we move on with the solutions, make sure that you have an active internet connection and are logged in as an administrator on your computer.

Note: You should also make sure that StarCraft is updated to the latest version. Bugs like these are fixed by Blizzard through their patches regularly.

Solution 1: Updating your Graphics Drivers

Although this is the advice of almost anyone on the internet whenever you have issues with your graphics drivers, it works for the majority of the cases. Graphics card drivers are updated to resolve issues and have compatibility with other games and applications. If they are broken or outdated, they might not be able to connect properly with the game.

Updating Graphics – DDU

You can check our article Civilization 5 won’t Launch and navigate to Solution 3 where all the detailed steps are written on how to first remove your existing Graphics drivers and then reinstalling the latest ones.

Solution 2: Disabling Xbox DVR

Xbox DVR is a new feature introduced in Windows which allows users to record their gameplay and audio. Even though this is a nifty feature, it causes issues with several games including StarCraft. Below are the steps to disable Xbox DVR recording. If you have a newer version, refer to the second half of the solution to disable the recording from settings.

  1. Press Windows + S, type “Xbox” in the dialogue box and open the application.
  2. Click on the Settings icon present at the bottom left side of the screen. Now select “Game DVR” from the list of tabs and uncheck the option ”Record game clips and screenshots using Game DVR”.
Disabling recording using Game DVR – Xbox application
  1. Restart your computer for the changes to take place and check if the problem at hand got solved.

If you are using a newer version of Windows, the Xbox application will not have this feature. Follow the listed steps instead.

  1. Press Windows + I to launch Settings. Now click Gaming from the menu and click on Captures from the left navigation bar.
Disabling recording and audio while playing – Windows Settings
  1. Uncheck the following options:
Record in the background while I’m playing a game

Record audio when I record a game.
  1. Restart your computer properly and launch StarCraft again.

Solution 3: Selecting Preferred Graphics Card

If you have a dedicated graphics card installed on your computer, chances are that the game is utilizing the in-built Intel HD graphics instead of the dedicated one. This can be the reason why you are experiencing the error message. Here we will navigate to your Graphics card settings and set the preferred card accordingly.

  1. Right-click on any empty space on your screen and select “Nvidia control panel.”
NVIDIA Control Panel
  1. Click “Manage 3D settings” and select “High-performance NVIDIA processor”.
NVIDIA preferred graphics card selection – NVIDIA control panel
  1. Press Apply to save changes and exit. Now check if the problem got solved.

Solution 4: Adding Command Line Argument

If all the above methods don’t work, we can try adding a new command line argument in the Blizzard application for changing the display mode. This was a valid workaround according to several users and will probably work until Blizzard launches a patch to fix the issue.

  1. Open the Blizzard application and navigate to Options > Game Settings > Additional Command Line arguments.
  2. Now type the following command in the dialogue box of StarCraft. Make sure that you also check the option Addition command line arguments.
-Displaymode 0
Blizzard command line arguments for StarCraft
  1. Save changes and exit. Restart your computer properly and try launching StarCraft.

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.