World of Warcraft (WoW) has been dominating the online-gaming charts for over a decade. It has an open world setting and is very progressive with each character having his own progress and achievements. Almost every year or so, Blizzard (the developer of WoW) releases a new expansion which further expands the storyline of the game.
The issue of WoW not launching has been around for quite some time (starting from the Burning Crusade). There might be several reasons why your game is not launching belonging to different modules. Here in this article, we will go through the error and its fixes step by step.
What causes WoW to have Issues when Launching?
After our research and numerous user reports, we found out that there are several cases where the game fails to launch. Either you are stuck on the loading screen or the Blizzard launcher gets stuck indefinitely.
Here are some of the causes of why this bizarre issue might happen on your computer:
- Outdated Add-ons: Since add-ons are an essential part of World of Warcraft, it is possible that they are not updated correctly or are corrupt. If they are not in a working state, the launcher will fail to load them and hence WoW will not be able to launch.
- Corrupted Files: Windows and Game files get corrupt or unusable every now and then. This is very common and can occur if an update went wrong or you copied the game from somewhere else.
- Corrupt Configuration files: World of Warcraft has configuration files saved on your computer which provide the initial instructions to the computer on how to load the game and on which parameters. If these are corrupt, WoW will not be able to launch.
- Antivirus Software: Antivirus software is known to be overprotective and block access of different games/applications thinking they are a threat (even if they are legit). Here disabling the antivirus might help in the troubleshooting.
- DNS problems: Games like World of Warcraft make use of DNS in order to run the game properly. If the DNS server is unreachable, the address will not be resolved and your client might not be able to launch the game.
- Compatibility: WoW game executables are known to have issues with the compatibility of different versions of Windows. Changing the compatibility might help with the issue.
- Game DVR: Game DVR is a relatively new feature in Windows and it provides a good overlay into the game. However, it is known to causes issues with WoW. Disabling it fixes the problem.
- Background Applications: Background applications are known to interfere with the game and compete for resources. Disabling them and then turning them on one by one helps with the troubleshooting.
Before you move on with the solutions, make sure that you are logged in as an administrator and have an active internet connection on your computer. Furthermore, you should disable all proxies and VPNs before proceeding. We are assuming you are logged into your Official Battle.net account in the Blizzard Launcher.
Solution 1: Checking for Outdated Add-ons
Add-ons provide valuable interface additions to your game experience. Add-ons range from improvements in the interface of the game to valuable information being added to your user interface. Nowadays, you are not even chosen to raid if you don’t have some basic add-ons on your game.
Because of the immense popularity of the addons in the game, there are cases where the add-ons are either outdated or corrupt. This fact is known to cause issues with the launching of the game. Hence we will navigate to the add-on directory of the game and disable all the add-ons manually before trying to launch the game again.
- Press Windows + E to launch the Windows Explorer. Now navigate to the following directories:
For newer versions:
%\World of Warcraft\_retail_\Interface\AddOns
For older versions:
%\World of Warcraft\Interface\AddOns
- Now select all the add-ons and move them somewhere else so they are not in the folder. Restart your computer and launch the game. Check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 2: Deleting Configuration Files
Like all other games, World of Warcraft also has configuration files on your computer. These files consist of the basic preferences you set for the launcher and your game settings. Whenever you launch the game, the client first fetches the preferences set from here and after loading the settings, it launches the game.
However, if these config files are corrupt or unusable, the client will go into an error state and will not be able to launch. In this solution, we will manually delete the config files from your computer. When we launch the client, the config files will be automatically generated.
- Press Windows + E to launch the Windows Explorer. Now navigate to the following directory:
%\World of Warcaft\WTF\Config.wtf
- Delete the .wtf file and restart your computer completely. Now check if the issue is resolved.
Note: You should also delete the setting files from your user documents present on your computer.
Solution 3: Disabling Antivirus Software
Even though Antivirus software is meant to keep you safe, they can sometimes mistake some ‘good’ program and flag it as a malicious one. This phenomenon is called a false positive. It seems that several Antivirus software such as AVG, Avira etc. flag World of Warcraft wrongly and doesn’t let it run.
Hence you should try disabling your Antivirus software. You can check out our article on How to turn your Antivirus off. After disabling your Antivirus, restart your computer and try launching WoW. If disabling the Antivirus doesn’t work, you can try uninstalling it and see if it does the trick for you.
Solution 4: Changing DNS Settings to Automatic
Domain Name Systems (DNS) are used by applications and games alike to connect to servers in order to establish a connection and start the data transfer. If the DNS server is not reachable by the client, the address will not be resolved and you will face issues.
We noticed that there were several clients who after setting their DNS settings to automatic, were able to launch the game. They had previously set the settings to Google’s addresses. So there are two things you can do; either set the settings to automatic or change the address to google’s DNS.
In this article, we will be changing the settings from Google’s DNS to automatic.
- Press Windows + R, type “control panel” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Once in the control panel, click on the sub-heading “Network and Internet”.
- Select “Network and Sharing Center” from the next window you are navigated to.
- Here you will find the network to which you are connected to. Click on the network present in form of “Connections” as shown in the screenshot below.
- Now click on “Properties” present at the near bottom of the small window which pops up.
- Double-click on “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” so we can change the DNS server.
- Click on “Use the following DNS server addresses:” so the dialogue boxes below become editable. Now change the values from the following
Preferred DNS server: 126.96.36.199 Alternate DNS server: 188.8.131.52
Obtain DNS server address automatically
- Press OK to save changes and exit. Restart your computer and check if you can launch WoW without issues.
Solution 5: Running WoW Launching In Compatibility Mode
World of Warcraft launcher is applauded for being so flexible because it can be used to play on private servers as well as official servers. Because of the client being so flexible, it also induces other issues (just like a tradeoff). If you have recently updated Windows or copied the game files from another computer, chances are that the game is not optimized perfectly for your version of Windows. In this solution, we will navigate to the WoW launcher and change the compatibility settings and check if this makes any difference.
- Navigate to your World of Warcraft Directory. Once you are in the main folder, you will see an executable of ‘Wow.exe’. Right-click on it and select Properties.
- Now when the new Window is open, navigate to the tab of Compatibility and check the following options:
Run this program in compatibility mode for: Run this program as an administrator
You can select Windows 8/10 for the compatibility mode.
- Press Apply to save changes and exit. Restart your computer and launch the game. Check if the issue is resolved.
Solution 6: Clean Booting your Computer (for third-party apps)
If all the above solutions don’t work, we can try Clean Booting. This routine forces your computer to power on with a minimal set of drivers and programs. Only the essential ones are enabled. If the error doesn’t occur in this mode, you should enable the processes back on only with small chunks and check if the error returns. If it doesn’t, you can turn on another chunk and check. This way you will be able to diagnose which process is causing the problem.
- Press Windows + R to launch the Run application. Type “msconfig” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Navigate to the Services tab present at the top of the screen. Check the line which says “Hide all Microsoft services”. Once you click this, all Microsoft related services will be disabled leaving behind all the third-party services (you can also disable all Microsoft related processes too and check more extensively if there are no third-party services causing the problem).
- Now click the “Disable all” button present at the near bottom at the left side of the window. All the third-party services will now be disabled.
- Click Apply to save changes and exit.
- Now navigate to the Startup tab and click the option of “Open Task Manager”. You will be redirected to the task manager where all the applications/services which run when your computer starts will be listed.
- Select each service one by one and click “Disable” at the bottom right side of the window.
- Now restart your computer and check try launching World of Warcraft again.
Solution 7: 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 World of Warcraft. 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.
- Press Windows + S, type “Xbox” in the dialogue box and open the application.
- 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”.
- 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.
- Press Windows + I to launch Settings. Now click Gaming from the menu and click on Captures from the left navigation bar.
- Uncheck the following options:
Record in the background while I’m playing a game Record audio when I record a game.
- Restart your computer properly and launch World of Warcraft again.
Solution 8: Reinstalling World of Warcraft
If all the above methods don’t work out, it probably means that your game installation files are corrupt. This happens all the time and there is nothing to worry about. Installation files might get unusable if they are interrupted when updating or when you have deleted some. Make sure that you have all your credentials at hand as you will be asked to enter them.
- Press Windows + R, type “appwiz.cpl” in the dialogue box and press Enter.
- Now locate Warcraft from the list, right-click on it and select Uninstall.
If you are using the game using the Blizzard client, then uninstall the game from there. If you are just using the game from the folder which you copied from somewhere else, delete that folder. Also, make sure that you delete all the temporary files stored against your profile.
Now navigate to the Official Blizzard Download page and download the World of Warcraft client from it. After downloading the game, install it using an administrator. Restart your computer, launch the game and enter your credentials. Now check if the issue is solved.