Some Windows users are encountering the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error when attempting to launch certain games that are actively using the Vulkan computing API technology. In most documented cases, this error is reported to occur with Wolfenstein titles and Doom titles – typically games released by Bethesda.
If you’re encountering this error, start by ensuring that your GPU is capable of supporting Vulkan. Generally, GPUs that were released after 2018 all support the Vulkan API. If you confirm that your GPU supports Vulkan, see if your current PC configuration is capable of meeting the minimum requirements of the game that you’re trying to run.
In some cases, the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error can also occur due to a faulty graphics card driver. in this case, you should be able to fix the issue by reinstalling every GPU driver supply by your graphics card manufacturer.
If you’re encountering the issue on a hybrid-GPU laptop or computer, you might see the error due to the fact that your operating system is trying to run the game with the integrated GPU. In this case, either disable the integrated GPU or set the more powerful GPU as the preferred graphics card for the executable that you’re trying to run.
In case you’re encountering the issue with an Nvidia GPU, ensure that the Vulkan environment is installed on your computer. If it isn’t installed already, you can install it from the folder where Nvidia stores your latest installed driver.
However, this game startup error can also be a direct consequence of some type of system file corruption that cannot be resolved conventionally. In this case, you should be able to resolve the issue by resetting every Windows component via clean install or via a repair install.
Verifying if Vulkan is supported by your GPU
Keep in mind that not every dedicated GPU is build to support the Vulkan API. While every newer dedicated GPU gaming that was released after 2018 should support Vulkan, this is not a set rule.
Note: If you have a dedicated GPU (most likely from Intel), there’s a very high chance that Vulkan is not supported.
Most Nvidia and AMD GPUs are build to accommodate the Vulkan API. Below you’ll find two separate lists of graphic cards that should work with Vulkan API.
If the GPU that you’re encountering the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error is not on this list, it’s probably because your GPU doesn’t support Vulkan – in this case, the only viable fix that will allow you to run the game is to upgrade to a newer GPU.
Here are two separate lists of GPUs that are build to support Vulkan API:
If your GPU is not on this list, Vulkan is not supported – If this scenario is applicable, it’s also the reason why you’re seeing the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error every time you attempt to launch the game.
If the investigation you did above has revealed that the GPU that you’re using is built to support the Vulkan API, move to the next section below to check if you meet the minimum requirements for the game you are attempting to play.
Checking if your PC meets the minimum requirement
If you previously verified that the GPU you are using supports Vulkan, it’s time to verify if the game you are attempting to can actually be played on your current PC configuration. If you are tech-savvy and you know your components, you can search online for ‘minimum requirements + *Game Title that is triggering the error*’ and compare the results with your current configuration.
However, there are also some services that will automatically analyze your computer against the minimum recommended specs and determine if your computer is determined to run that game or not. On service of this kind is Can I Run It.
Here’s a quick step by step guide on using Can You Run it in order to determine if you’re seeing the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error due to the fact that your system doesn’t meet the minimum requirements:
- Visit this link (here) from your default browser. Once inside, start typing the name of the game that you’re encountering issues with (in the Search for a game bar) and select it from the newly appeared context menu.
Note: It’s important to select the game from the context menu – unless you do it, the service will not lead up that game’s minimum requirements.
- Once the correct game is loaded, simply click on the Can You Run It button and see if the issue has been resolved.
- After a couple of seconds, your browser will begin downloading the Detection.exe file. Once the executable is downloaded, double-click on it and follow the on-screen prompts to install it on your system.
Note: Upon running this executable, the utility will automatically scan your PC configuration and put it against the minimum requirements of the game you are trying to run in order to determine if you can actually run it.
- After the scan is finished, return to the Can You Run It page and take a look at the results. If you see a green checkmark under Minimum, your rig is strong enough to run the game (so the error appears due to a different cause).
Note: If the scan didn’t pass the Minimum requirements, scroll down to the Minimum tab and see which component is preventing the game from running properly.
In case the analysis above has confirmed that your computer configuration is strong enough to run the game, but you’re still encountering the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error, move down to the next potential fix below.
Reinstalling every GPU driver
If you’ve previously confirmed that your PC does meet the minimum requirements of the game that’s triggering the error, it’s likely that the issue is being caused due to a faulty graphics card driver. If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to get the issue resolved by reinstalling the GPU drivers that you’re actively using.
Of course, the steps of doing so will be different depending on your GPU manufacturer. In order to accommodate both AMD and Nvidia users, we created two separate guides that will help you uninstall and reinstall your GPU – whether you’re using AMD or Nvidia graphics cards.
Follow whichever guide is applicable to your current scenario:
Reinstalling the GPU drivers on Nvidia
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘appwiz.cpl’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up Programs and Files menu.
- Once you’re inside the Programs and Features menu, click on the Publisher tab to order the list of installed programs by their publisher.
- After you manage to order the programs accordingly, find the entries published by NVIDIA Corporation and systematically right click > Uninstall every item using the context menu. Next, follow the on-screen prompts to complete the uninstallation process.
Note: Do this systematically with every driver that shows up as published by Nvidia Corporation.
- Once every Nvidia driver is uninstalled, restart your computer and wait for the next startup to complete.
- At the next startup, visit this link (here) and install GeForce Experience by clicking on the Download Now button and following the on-screen instructions.
Note: This utility will automatically recommend the drivers that you need to uninstall according to your GPU model.
- Open Nvidia Experience, sign in with an account and then install the recommended drivers from the Drivers page.
- Once every recommended driver is installed, reboot your computer once again and see if the issue is resolved at the next computer startup.
- Launch the game that was previously triggering the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error and see if the issue is now resolved.
Reinstalling the GPU drivers for AMD
- Visit this link (here) from your default browser in order to download the AMD Cleanup Utility.
- Once the AMD Cleanup utility is downloaded, double-click on it’s executable and click Yes at the confirmation prompt to run the utility in safe mode and uninstall every AMD driver.
Note: This utility is designed to thoroughly remove any installed AMD drivers, registry entries and driver store signatures. This will spare you from searching and uninstalling every driver manually. To ensure that you’re not leaving behind any leftover files, ensure that you run the utility in safe mode.
- To start the utility, click Ok at the second prompt to start the AMD cleanup process (it will run in the background).
Note: During this operation, your display might flicker or turn black for a couple of seconds. This is absolutely normal as the display components are being removed.
- Once you see the success message, click on Finish, then restart your computer manually if you’re not prompted to do so automatically.
- After the next startup sequence is complete, visit this link (here), scroll down to to the Auto-Detect and Install Radeon Graphics Drivers for Windows and click on Download Now.
- Once the executable is downloaded, open it by double-clicking and follow the on-screen instructions to install Radeon Adrenalin.
Note: You can change the default destination folder again, but this is not recommended.
- Once the download is complete, the utility should automatically launch itself in an attempt to detect the installed AMD graphics product and operating system. Wait patiently until this process is complete.
- After the tool successfully detects your system configuration and the drivers that you need, install both the Recommended and Optional driver packages by selecting both and clicking on Install.
- Accept the End User License Agreement after reviewing the terms and conditions, then click on Install to start the installation.
- Once every needed driver is installed, restart your computer and attempt to launch the game once the next startup is complete to see if the issue is now resolved. If the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error appeared due to a driver issue, the operation above should have resolved it.
Disabling the Integrated GPU or set Dedicated GPU as Preferred
Keep in mind that if you’re encountering this issue on a laptop or PC that has both an integrated and a dedicated GPU, you might end up seeing the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error due to the fact that your PC ends up using the integrated GPU instead of the dedicated option.
If this scenario is applicable, you should be able to fix the issue by disabling the Integrated GPU solution, ensuring that your computer is forced to use the more powerful GPU.
In case you’re not exactly sure how to disable the Integrated Graphics card, follow this guide (here). It contains to separate guide that will allow you to do it via Device Manager or directly from your BIOS or UEFI settings.
On Windows 10, you can set the preferred GPU from the Settings menu – if possible this operation is preferred since it will not effectively stop the usage of the Integrated GPU.
Here is some step by step instructions that will allow you to set the dedicated GPU as the preferred one for the game that is triggering the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error:
- Press Windows key + R to open up a Run dialog box. Next, type ‘ms-settings:easeofaccess-display’ inside the text box and press Enter to open up Display tab of the Settings menu.
- Once you’re inside the Display screen, move to the right section, scroll down and click on Graphics settings.
- Inside the Advanced graphics settings menu, click the Browse button and select the game executable that you’re encountering the error with.
- After you manage to load the game’s executable, select it once and click on the Options button from the newly appeared context menu.
- Inside the Graphics specification screen, set the default graphics preference to High Performance and click on Save to make the change permanent.
- Close the Settings menu and attempt to launch the game again to see if the issue has been resolved.
In case you’re still encountering the same issue, move down to the next potential fix below.
Ensuring that Vulkan is installed
As some affected users have reported, under certain circumstances, the Vulkan API will not get installed even though the installation package is being stored locally (it’s included with every new driver nowadays). From our investigations, this particular issue seems to be restricted to Nvidia GPUs.
Several affected users have confirmed that they were able to fix the issue after navigating to the location of the latest DisplayDriver that the installed and running the VlulkanRT-Installer.exe in order to install the Vulkan environment.
Here’s a quick step by step guide that will allow you to do this:
- Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location:
Note: Keep in mind that both %Drivernumber% and %Winversion% are placeholders. When navigating to that location, select the latest version for %Drivernumber% and your current Windows version for %Winversion%.
- Once you arrive at the correct location, double-click on VulkanRT-Installer.exe and follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation
- Once the installation is complete, restart your computer and see if you’re still encountering the VK_Error_Initialization_Failed error when launching a game that’s using the Vulkan API.
Repair install Windows 10
As it turns out, the VKEnumeratePhysicalDevices Failed with Error (VK_Error_Initialization_Failed) fatal error is often the direct result of some type of system file corruption that cannot be resolved conventionally.
Several affected users that were previously encountering the issue at every attempt of launching a game that was using Vulkan (not just Wolfenstein: The New Colossus), have confirmed that the issue was resolved after they performed a repair install.
This operation will reset every Windows component (including booting-related data). This is to be preferred instead of a clean install since it won’t make you lose any personal files that might trigger this behavior.
However, it is preferred that you take some time to back up your data in advance so that you don’t end up losing any personal files and photos that are being stored on the OS drive.