How to Fix the Dark Souls 3 won’t Launch Problem on Windows?

The Dark Souls franchise is notorious for the difficulty of the games it contains. The games are known for both their difficulty, but also their unique gameplay, design, and stories they tell. However, some users just weren’t able to enjoy the game as it simply won’t launch on their computers.

Opening Dark Souls III

Sometimes you can see the “Preparing to launch Dark Souls” box when launching the game from Steam and sometimes nothing happens. Either way, you should check out the methods we have prepared below. These methods have worked out for other players and they decided to share them online. Follow the instructions carefully!

What Causes Dark Souls 3 to Fail to Launch on Windows?

As is the case with many games, many different things on your computer can interfere with its installation and prevent it from launching on your Windows PC. Make sure you check out our list of possible causes and see if anything fits your scenario!

  • Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package not installed – If you have skipped this tool during the installation of the game, you might want to go back and reinstall it. Even if you already have this package installed on your computer, the game might require the one it offers in its REDIST folder.
  • DirectX files missing or corrupt – You probably have DirectX installed on your computer but you should download a web installer to refresh the installation and replace faulty or missing files.
  • Graphics driver – Graphics card drivers are the cause of many video game issues and it’s highly likely that Dark Souls III fails to launch because the drivers you currently have installed are either outdated or faulty. Make sure you update them.
  • Paging file disabled or too small – Many users have reported that Dark Souls III started to launch properly as soon as they enabled their paging file or increased the amount of virtual memory it consists of.
  • Administrator permissions – Games usually don’t require administrator permissions but some of its files may be located in folders available only to administrator accounts.
  • Game files missing or corrupt – If there is something wrong with game files, your best bet is to simply reinstall the game or verify the integrity of game files (if you have installed the game via Steam).

Solution 1: Install the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package

Many users skip the installation of some additional utilities needed for the game to run, such as the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable Package. Players think that they already installed this utility but you might need this exact version to play the game. Make sure you install it as that should resolve the problem as it did for many players!

  1. Open up Steam by searching for it in the Start menu. Click the Start menu or the Search button, type Steam, and click the first result. If you have a Steam shortcut on the Desktop, you can also double-click it to open Steam.
Opening Steam from Start menu
  1. After the Steam client opens, make sure you navigate to the Library tab and locate the Dark Souls III entry in the list of games you have installed via Steam. Right-click its entry and choose Properties from the context menu which will appear.
  2. Inside the Properties window, navigate to the Local Files tab and click the Browse Local Files It should open the Dark Souls III folder on your computer.
Steam >> Browse local files
  1. You can navigate to this location manually if you know where the game’s installation folder is. By default, it should be found at:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Dark Souls 3
  1. Open the REDIST folder inside and locate the vcredist_x64 or vcredist_x86 installation file inside, depending on whether your Windows installation is 64-bit or 32-bit. Double-click to open it and follow the instructions on the screen to install it.
Installing Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable
  1. Reopen the game via Steam and check to see if Dark Souls 3 managed to launch on your computer!

Solution 2: Update Your DirectX Installation

Even though new DirectX updates for Windows 10 are released only through Windows Updates (for DirectX 11 and 12), there is an installer that can be used to update and refresh your DirectX installation. Performing the steps we have prepared below could help you resolve your launching problem in five minutes and we highly recommend you check them out!

  1. Visit this link to view the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer. Click the red Download button to download the web installer.
Downloading the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer
  1. Open your Downloads folder and look for the exe file. Double-click to run and follow the instructions on-screen. Confirm any UAC or Smart Screen prompts to run the executable.
  2. Click to set the radio button next to the I accept the agreement option after reading the software license terms and conditions.
Accept the agreement
  1. At the next screen, make sure you uncheck the box next to the Install the Bing Bar option before clicking next (unless you want to install the Bing Bar!) and confirm everything to start the installation.
  2. Reopen Dark Souls III and check to see if it will launch on your computer.

Solution 3: Reinstall Your Graphics Drivers

Graphics card drivers are the root of many different problems when it comes to video games. Uninstalling the ones you currently have installed and replacing them with new ones is always a good idea and that’s something you should try out while troubleshooting this issue. Follow the steps below to do so!

  1. First, you will need to uninstall the currently installed drivers. Tap the Windows Key and R keys at the same time to open the Run box. Type “devmgmt.msc” in the Run box and click the OK button to open the Device Manager.
Running Device Manager
  1. You can also search for Device Manager in the Start menu. Click the Start menu button or the Search button and type “Device Manager” inside. Left-click the first available result.
  2. Once inside, expand the Display Adapters section by clicking the arrow icon next to it. Right-click your current graphics card driver and choose the Uninstall device option from the context menu which will appear.
Uninstalling your graphics adapter
  1. Confirm any prompts or dialog boxes that may appear asking you to confirm your choice. After that, open a web browser and visit your graphics card manufacturer’s website. Here are links for NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel graphics drivers!
  2. Enter the required info about your system such as the operating system installed or the name of your laptop and click the Submit/Search
Searching for drivers on NVIDIA’s website
  1. Download the latest driver from the list of results. Open its installer from the downloads bar or the Downloads folder and follow the instructions on-screen to install it. Try reopening Dark Souls III to see if it still won’t launch on your PC!

Solution 4: Enable or Increase Your Paging File

Virtual memory represents a part of your storage drive (HDD or SSD) which is sometimes used as RAM for memory-intensive programs such as video games or video-rendering tools. This memory can’t replace RAM as it’s much slower but it can help. Users who have disabled this type of memory or the ones who have assigned a very low amount have reported that Dark Souls III fails to launch. Make sure you enable it and add a significant amount of memory!

  1. On your Desktop, locate the This PC Right-click its icon and choose Properties from the context menu which will appear. You can skip to Step 4 immediately!
This PC >> Properties
  1. You can also open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start menu and left-clicking the first available result. Alternatively, tap the Windows Key + R key combination and type “exe” in the Run dialog box which will appear.
  2. Inside Control Panel, change the View by option to Large or Small icons and scroll down until you reach the System Left-click to open it.
System settings in Control Panel
  1. Once inside, click the Advanced system settings button from the left-side menu. Provide any administrator permissions if necessary.
  2. Inside the Advanced tab of System Properties, click the Settings button under the Performance Navigate to the Advanced tab of the Performance Options window and click the Change button under Virtual memory.
Changing the amount of Virtual Memory
  1. Uncheck the box next to the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives The radio button below should be set to Custom size. The general rule is to use the amount of actual physical memory multiplied by 1.5. For example, for 8 GB of RAM, you will need to use 8 x 1024 x 1.5 = 12288 MB.
  2. Set the Initial size and Maximum size to the same value to avoid oscillations in the size. Click the Set button before clicking the OK You might need to restart your computer to apply the changes you have made.
Changing the paging file size
  1. Reopen Dark Souls 3 and check to see if the game still fails to launch on your computer!

Solution 5: Run the Game With Max Performance in NVIDIA Control Panel

This method might be useful to NVIDIA users. This method has helped plenty of players who use the NVIDIA Control Panel. Running the game with maximum performance can be used to allocate more resources to its process which, in turn, resolves the not launching problem. Follow the instructions below!

  1. Open the NVIDIA Control Panel by right-clicking your Desktop and choosing the NVIDIA Control Panel option from the context menu which will appear.
Opening NVIDIA Control Panel
  1. Alternatively, you can also open the Control Panel by searching for it in the Start menu and left-clicking the first available result. Alternatively, tap the Windows Key + R key combination and type “control.exe” in the Run dialog box which will appear.
    Running Control Panel
  2. Inside Control Panel, change the View by option to Large or Small icons and scroll down until you reach the NVIDIA Control Panel Left-click to open it.
  3. Either way, expand the 3D Settings section and click the Manage 3D Settings Navigate to the Program Settings tab inside. Look for the Dark Souls III entry in the list or the dropdown menu under the Select a program to customize text. Click the Add button.
  4. Scroll down the list of available settings until you reach the Power management mode Click the downward-facing arrow and choose the Prefer maximum performance option from the menu which will appear.
Power Management Mode >> Prefer Maximum Performance
  1. Click Apply at the bottom of the screen and reopen Dark Souls III to see if it now fails to launch on your computer!

Solution 6: Run the Game as an Administrator

If the method above has failed to help you resolve the problem, running the game as an administrator should help. Some users claim that it has worked along with Solution 5 and others claim that simply providing administrator permissions to the game’s executable managed to resolve all launching issues. Follow the instructions below!

  1. Open up Steam by searching for it in the Start menu. Click the Start menu or the Search button, type Steam, and click the first result. If you have a Steam shortcut on the Desktop, you can also double-click it to open Steam.
Opening Steam from Start menu
  1. After the Steam client opens, make sure you navigate to the Library tab and locate the Dark Souls III entry in the list of games you have installed via Steam. Right-click its entry and choose Properties from the context menu which will appear.
  2. Inside the Properties window, navigate to the Local Files tab and click the Browse Local Files It should open the Dark Souls III folder on your computer.
  3. Open the Data folder inside and look for the Dark Souls III executable file. Right-click its icon and choose Properties from the context menu which will appear. Navigate to the Compatibility tab.
Running Dark Souls III as an administrator
  1. Under the Settings section, make sure you check the box next to the Run this program as an administrator Click OK to apply the changes and check to see if Dark Souls III launch properly on your computer!

Solution 7: Verify the Integrity of Game Files

Some game files may have gone missing or corrupt on your computer. This prevents the game from launching at all until the files are replaced. Make sure you try verifying the integrity of game files in your Steam client to see if that resolves the problem. Follow the steps below!

  1. Open Steam by searching for it. You can find it in the Start menu or the Search/Cortana box by typing “Steam”. You can also look for its shortcut on your Desktop.
  2. Navigate to the Library tab once the Steam client opens and looks for the Dark Souls III entry in the list of Steam games you own. Right-click it and choose Properties from the context menu which will appear.
Verifying the integrity of game files
  1. Navigate to the Local Files tab in the properties window and click the Verify Integrity of Game Files Wait for it to finish before heading back to the Library tab, right-clicking the game, and choosing Play Game from the context menu to see if Dark Souls 3 launches properly!

Solution 8: Reinstall the Game

Reinstalling the game is always a last resort as it involves re-downloading a game which can take a while on slow internet connections. However, many users have reported that reinstalling the game manages to resolve the launching issue on their computers easily and we highly recommend you check out this method while troubleshooting.

  1. First of all, you will need to uninstall the game from your computer. This can be done both in Control Panel and inside the Steam client. Open Steam by searching for it in the Start menu.
Opening Steam from Start menu
  1. Navigate to the Library tab and look for the Dark Souls III entry in the list. Right-click its entry and choose the Delete Local Content option from the context menu which will appear.
  2. Alternatively, search for Control Panel in the Start menu. Change the View by option to Category and click the Uninstall a program button in the Programs
Uninstall a program in Control Panel
  1. The list of all installed programs will appear. Locate Dark Souls III on the list, left-click to select it, and click the Uninstall button from the top of the window. The Steam client might open and prompt you to uninstall the game. Either way, follow any instructions which may appear.
  2. After that, use the Windows Key + R key combination to open the Run dialog box. In the textbox, make sure you type “%APPDATA%” before clicking the OK button.
Opening AppData in the Run dialog box
  1. The AppData >> Roaming folder should appear. Locate the DarkSoulsIII folder, right-click it, and choose Delete from the context menu which will appear. Head back to Steam, right-click Dark Souls III from the Library tab, and choose the Install Check to see if the launching problem persists!
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.

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