Fix: Stardew Valley Won’t Launch on Windows 10

Stardew Valley is a video game published by Chucklefish back in 2016. The game is a farming simulation with a 10 out of 10 rating on Steam. The game quickly gained its reputation due to the relaxing environment provided in the game paired with interesting in-game activities. However, now and then, users are caught in the midst of an issue where the game fails to load. This issue has been reported by many users in the past and unluckily, the issue still roams around.

Stardew Valley

According to the various user reports, the game doesn’t launch after the users start it using the Steam client. Some users are presented with a black screen and music in the background, while some are prompted with the ‘Stardew Valley has stopped working’ error message. The cause happens to be the same in most cases. Nonetheless, you will learn how to get rid of this frustrating error in this article.

What causes Stardew Valley to not Launch on Windows 10?

After going through many user reports, we have salvaged a list of scenarios that can potentially cause the issue. Some of the factors might sound absurd, however, they do happen to be the cause in certain cases. The issue is often due to the following factors —

  • No speakers or headphones connected: There are certain events in which if you have not plugged in your headset or speakers into your system, it might cause the issue.
  • Microsoft XNA Framework: The issue can also occur if your system is lacking the Microsoft XNA Framework. Stardew Valley requires the Microsoft XNA Framework due to which the absence of the framework might cause the game to not work properly.
  • Startup Preferences: Your game’s startup preferences can also be the cause of the issue. There have been reports which state that running the game in windowed mode and then exiting it can cause the game to not launch the next time you execute it.

Now that you are aware of the possible factors that can cause the issue, we shall get into the solutions that can be implemented to deal with the issue. Please make sure you are using an administrator account before applying the solutions provided down below.

Solution 1: Running the Game as an Administrator

The first fix that you can implement to isolate the issue would be to run the game as an administrator. Make sure that you have an administrator enabled account before proceeding. In some cases, the background services running can prevent the game from launching properly. In such scenarios, you will have to launch the game as an administrator. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open up your Steam client.
  2. Go to Library, right-click on Stardew Valley and select Properties.
  3. Switch to the Local Files tab and then click ‘Browse Local Files’.
    Browsing Stardew Valley Local Files
  4. Right-click on Stardew Valley.exe and select ‘Run as an administrator’.

Solution 2: Installing Microsoft XNA

Microsoft XNA is a framework that is used by many games. Stardew Valley video-game also makes use of this framework, therefore, it is necessary in order to run the game. If you are missing the framework, your game won’t launch. Hence, to fix the issue, you will have to make sure you are running the latest version of Microsoft XNA.

You can download the framework from here. Once downloaded, install it and then see if it fixes the issue.

Solution 3: Plugging in Speakers

Some users have reported that the issue occurs when they haven’t plugged in their speakers or headset into the system. There are many games out there that do not run if you are missing a sound device on your system. Stardew Valley happens to be one of them, thus, make sure you have plugged in your speakers or headphones correctly and then see if it resolves the issue.

Solution 4: Deleting Startup Preferences

Like every other game out there, Stardew Valley uses a specific file to store all the startup preferences of the user. However, the file can be responsible for causing certain issues. Rumor has it that Stardew Valley will fail to launch if you exit the game after running it in windowed mode. If this case is applicable to you, you will have to delete the startup preferences folder. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open Run dialog box.
  2. Type in ‘%appdata%.
    Opening up the Appdata\Roaming Directory
  3. Locate the Stardew Valley folder and double-click it to open it up.
  4. Look for the startup_preferences file and cut it to Desktop.
  5. Launch the game again.

Note: Also, make sure that you have verified the Steam Files and if that doesn’t fix the issue for you, try to contact customer support.

Solution 5: Repair XNA Installer

It is possible that in some cases the XNA Installer on your computer might not be properly installed or its files might’ve been corrupted over time. Therefore, in this step, we will be repairing its installation from the already present installer that is present in the installation folder of the game. For that:

  1. Right-click on the Stardew shortcut on your desktop and select “Open File Location” from the menu.
    Open file location
    Open file location
  2. Navigate through the following folders.
    _CommonRedist” > XNA> 4.0
  3. In this folder, run the “xnafx40_redist” installer and wait for it to be launched.
  4. After it is launched, click on the “Repair” option and select “Next”.
  5. Make sure to run this installer on your computer and check to see if the issue persists.
  6. If this folder isn’t present, open the “_Redist” folder inside the game folder and install all the executables present inside it again.
  7. Check to see if doing that fixes the issue.

Solution 6: Remove Launch Options

If you run the game without SMAPI modding framework then you need to make sure that you haven’t still set the Launch Options command. If the Launch options command has been set and the SMAPI Modding Framework isn’t being used, the error might be triggered. Therefore, in this step, we will be removing it from the game launcher. For that:

  1. Launch Steam and click on the Library Options.
    Library In Steam
  2. In the Steam library, right-click on the “Stardew Valley” option and select “Properties”
  3. In the General Tab, click on the “Set launch options” button and make that there aren’t any launch options set in this window.
    Setting launch options in Steam
  4. If any launch options have been set for the game, remove them and check to see if doing so fixes the issue on your computer.

Solution 7: Taking Folder Ownership (MAC)

It is possible that on your MacBook, you haven’t properly granted the game access to a folder where it needs to write in order for the game to work. Therefore, in this step, we will be executing a command inside the mac terminal which should grant you access to the folder and the error will be fixed. For that:

  1. Click on the “Search” icon on your mac which should be on the top right.
  2. Type in “Terminal” in the search bar and click on the first option.
    Search for “terminal”
  3. Type in the following command inside the terminal and press “Enter” to execute it on your MacBook. Make sure to change the “User” with your “Username”.
    sudo chown -v “$USER” ~/.config
  4. After executing this command, check to see if the game works on your mac.

Solution 8: Renaming Some Steam Files

It is possible that some files inside the main steam installation folder have been corrupted due to which this issue is being triggered on your computer. Therefore, in this step, we will be renaming these files so that Steam can regenerate them upon startup and then check if doing so fixes the issue with Stardew not launching. For that:

  1. Right-click on the Steam icon on your desktop and then click on the “Open File Location” button.
    Steam – Open File Location
  2. This should take you to the main directory of the Steam installation.
  3. Inside this directory, right-click on the “GameOverlayRenderer64.dll” and select the “Rename” option from the menu.
    Renaming the File
  4. Rename this file to “GameOverlayRenderer64.bak” and save your changes.
  5. After renaming this file, run the Steam.exe to launch Steam.
  6. If Steam asks, give it permission to regenerate the file and check to see if the issue persists after doing so.

Solution 9: Closing out of Background Applications and Services

It is possible that some applications running on your computer’s background or some background services might be preventing your game from being able to load properly. First of all, try closing out of the MSI Afterburner or any related applications and then check if the game works. If it doesn’t, we will have to perform some further troubleshooting. For that:

  1. Press “Windows” + “R” to launch the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “taskmgr” and then press “Enter” to launch the task manager.
    Running the Task Manager
  3. In the Task Manager, click on the “Processes” tab at the top and a list of applications should be shown that are currently running on your computer.
    Clicking on “Processes”
  4. Click on the “CPU” option and make sure that the arrow is facing downwards to sort the usage from high to low.
  5. Check if any application is using an abnormal amount of resources on your computer and click on it.
  6. Click on “End Task” to prevent it from running on your computer.
  7. Also, make sure to end all unnecessary applications
  8. Similarly, click on the “Memory” and the “Disk” options one by one and eliminate all high usage applications.
  9. Check to see if doing so fixes the issue with Stardew not launching

Now that we have diagnosed with some third-party applications that might prevent proper functioning, we also have to make sure that there aren’t any system services that are preventing proper functionality of the computer. For that:

  1. Press “Windows’ + “R” to launch the Run prompt.
  2. Type in “MSConfig” and press “Enter” to launch the Boot settings window.
  3. In this window, click on the “Services” option and then uncheck the “Hide all Microsoft Services” option.
  4. Click on the “Disable all” button to prevent these services from launching at startup.
    Disabling all non-Microsoft services
  5. Now, select the “Startup” tab and hit the “Open Task Manager” option.
    Opening the Task Manager
  6. In the Startup tab, make sure to disable all applications from launching at startup.
  7. After disabling the applications, save your changes and exit out of both windows.
  8. Reboot your computer and verify if Stardew launches on your computer
  9. If it does, that means that a service or application was preventing the proper launch of the game. Therefore, you can start enabling these services and applications one by one and check which one makes the issue come back.
  10. After diagnosing the faulty service or applications, you can either try to reinstall it or keep it disabled permanently.

Note: If you have already done all of this, make sure to disable your antivirus and check if that makes the game work. If it doesn’t, download the latest version of DirectX from here and install it on your computer and check if that makes the game work.

Solution 10: Run as Administrator

It is possible that the game requires root permissions on your computer but they haven’t been granted yet due to which the game is facing issues while trying to write and read from the system partitions and folders. Therefore, in this step, we will be granted admin privileges to the game permanently and then we will check if the issue is fixed by doing so. For that:

  1. Right-click on the desktop shortcut of the game and select “Open File Location”.
    Right-Clicking and selecting “Open File Location”.
  2. Right-click on the game executable and select “Properties”.
  3. In the properties, click on the “Compatibility” tab and then check the “Run this program as an Administrator” button.
    Run this program as an administrator
  4. Make sure to click on “Apply” and then on “OK” to save this selection.
  5. Check and see if the Stardew Valley game runs after making this change.

Solution 11: Manually Placing .DLL Files

It is possible to fix this issue by manually replacing some DLL files on your computer after downloading it from the internet. This fix might be harmful if you manage to download the files that contain viruses or malware so we prompt you to do it at your own risk since it can be harmful. If you decide to proceed, follow the steps below to replace these files.

  1. Launch your browser and open a new tab.
  2. Navigate to this website from which we will be downloading the “.DLL” files.
  3. Type in the following files inside the search bar one by one and download them onto your computer.
    msvcp100.dll 64 bit
    msvcp100.dll 32 bit
    msvcr100.dll 64 bit
    msvcr100.dll 32 bit
  4. Now the right-click on the “64-bit” files and select the “Copy” option.
    Clicking on the “Copy” option
  5. Navigate to the following location.
  6. Paste the files inside this folder and replace them with any files that are already present if a prompt pops up on your screen that the files are already present.
  7. After this, right-click on the “32-bit” files and select the “Copy” option.
  8. Navigate to this location on your computer.
  9. Right-click anywhere and select the “Paste” option and similarly, replace any files that are already present.
  10. Check to see if the game works after doing these.

Method 12: Creating a New User Account

If the issue still isn’t fixed after all this hassle, it is possible that there is a defect in the system’s registry due to which all of this mess is being created while trying to launch the game. Therefore, in this step, we will be creating a new user account and then we will check to see if the issue still persists. For that:

  1. Press “Windows” + “I” to open settings and click on the “Accounts” option.
  2. In the accounts option, click on the “Family and Other Users” from the left side.
    Accessing the Family & other members menu
  3. Click on the “Add Someone Else to this PC” button.
  4. Click on the “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” option in the next window.
  5. Select the “Add a user without a Microsoft Account” option from the new window that pops up.
    Add a user without Microsoft Account
  6. Enter the user account’s username and assign it a password.
  7. Enter the security questions and answer them and then click on the “Next” option.
  8. After creating this account, click on it and then select the “Change Account Type” option.
  9. Click on the “Account Type’ dropdown and then select the “Administrator” option.
  10. Save your changes and login to this account.
  11. After logging into the account, run Steam and check to see if the game runs.

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.