How to Make Fallout 3 Work on Windows 10

Fallout 3 is an action role-playing open world game created by Bethesda and released to the world on multiple platforms back in 2008. One of the most successful games of not only its time but also its genre, Fallout 3 was the reason thousands of gamers started idolizing the Fallout franchise. Proof of Fallout 3’s immense popularity and success is the fact that gamers still play the game today, basically a decade after its release. Fallout 3 was such a success that later, a special Game of the Year Edition of the game was also developed and released. Gamers love playing Fallout 3 to this day, which is why Fallout 3 has graced the screens of computers running on not only Windows 7 but Windows 8, 8.1 and even 10 as well.

However, as timeless a classic as Fallout 3 is, the fact of the matter is that it was designed to run on old, clunky computers. The game is not compatible with both the computers and the Operating Systems of today, but where there is a will, there is a way, and people have found ways to run and play Fallout 3 even on Windows 10, the latest and greatest in the long line of Windows Operating Systems. While Fallout 3 can be installed and launched on Windows 10, users have reported a wide array of different problems with the game on the latest iteration of Windows, chief among them being the game crashing right after the player clicks on New while starting a new game, right before the intro scene plays.

A game as beloved as Fallout 3 not working on the newest standard for Windows computers is not something that can be taken lightly. That being the case, many methods and ways to make Fallout 3 work on Windows 10 have been developed and discovered. If you’re having issues running and playing Fallout 3 on Windows 10, the following are some of the most effective solutions you can use to resolve the issue you are facing:

Solution 1: Run Fallout 3 As an Administrator

In many cases, problems relating to Fallout 3 on Windows 10 can be fixed by simply running the game with administrative privileges. Running Fallout 3 as an administrator on Windows 10 is pretty simple, and so is making sure that Windows always runs the game with administrative privileges whenever you launch it. To use this solution to try and resolve your problem, you need to:

  1. Navigate to Fallout 3 folder within your Steam folder. The default location of the Fallout 3 folder:
    X:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty

    or

    X:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3

    (X is the letter corresponding to the partition of your computer’s hard drive that Windows is installed on).

  2. Right-click on the EXE file for Fallout 3.
  3. Click on Properties in the resulting context menu.
  4. Navigate to the Compatibility tab.
  5. Enable the Run this program as an administrator option by checking the checkbox located directly beside it.
    Run Program as Administrator
  6. Click on Apply.
  7. Click on OK.
  8. Launch Fallout 3 and check to see if the issue has been resolved.

Solution 2: Run Fallout 3 in Compatibility Mode

The absolute most common problems faced by Windows 10 users trying to run Fallout 3 on their computers are compatibility issues. As stated before, Fallout 3 was released back in 2008, which is why it is not officially compatible with Windows 10 (or Windows 8 and 8.1, for that matter). That being the case, compatibility issues can arise when trying to play Fallout 3 on Windows 10, and these problems can cause the game to crash or not run at all. Thankfully, though, most compatibility problems can be resolved by running Fallout 3 in Compatibility Mode. To run Fallout 3 in Compatibility Mode, you need to:

  1. Navigate to Fallout 3 folder within your Steam folder.
    The default location of the Fallout 3 folder:
    X:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty

    or

    X:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3
    

    (X is the letter corresponding to the partition of your computer’s hard drive that Windows is installed on).

  2. Right-click on the.EXE file for Fallout 3.
  3. Click on Properties in the resulting context menu.
  4. Navigate to the Compatibility tab.
  5. Enable the Run this program in compatibility mode for option by checking the checkbox located directly beside it.
  6. Open the dropdown menu located directly underneath the Run this program in compatibility mode for option and click on Windows XP (Service Pack 3) to select it.
    Run Fallout 3 in Compatibility Mode of XP SP3
  7. Click on Apply and then on OK.
  8. Once done, try launching Fallout 3 and check to see whether or not the problem you were facing has been fixed.

Note: If running the game in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 3) doesn’t get the job done, simply configure the game to be run in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2) or, if that doesn’t work either, for Windows XP (Service Pack 1) or Windows 7.

Solution 3: Download And Install the Games for Windows Live Application

Fallout 3 often requires the Games for Windows Live application to be installed on a Windows 10 computer for the game to successfully run on it. Thankfully, downloading and installing the Games for Windows Live application is pretty simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Download the installer for Games for Windows Live (AKA GFWL) and wait for it to be downloaded.
  2. Once the installer has been successfully downloaded, navigate to the directory you saved it in and double-click on it to launch it.
  3. Follow the onscreen instructions and go through the installation wizard, at the end of which Games for Windows Live will be installed on your computer.
  4. Once the Games for Windows Live application has been installed, launch it.
  5. Games for Windows Live will automatically download all the files Fallout 3 needs to run on your computer.
  6. Once done, close Games for Windows Live and try launching Fallout 3 to see whether or not you have gotten rid of the issue you were previously facing.

Solution 4: Edit The Falloutprefs.ini File

Last, but certainly not the least, problems Windows 10 users face while trying to play Fallout 3 can also be fixed in many cases by editing the falloutprefs.ini file – a config file belonging to Fallout 3. If you would like to resolve whatever issue(s) you are facing trying to run Fallout 3 on Windows 10 using this solution, you need to:

  1. Navigate to My Documents\My Games\Fallout3.
  2. Locate a file titled falloutprefs.ini.
  3. Open the falloutprefs.ini file and double-click on it to open it in a new instance of Notepad.
  4. Locate
    bUseThreadedAI=0

    within the contents of the file and change the to a 1. If you don’t see bUseThreadedAI=0 anywhere in the entirety of the file’s contents, simply add

    bUseThreadedAI=1

    in a new line within the file.

  5. In a new line within the file, type
    iNumHWThreads=2.
  6. Press Ctrl S to save the changes you have made to the falloutprefs.ini file and close the instance of Notepad.
  7. Run Fallout 3 and check to see whether or not the changes you made managed to get the job done. It is recommended that, after applying this solution, you run Fallout 3 in compatibility mode with administrative privileges.

Note: If Fallout 3 still doesn’t work like it is supposed to and crashes or experiences any other kinds of issues, simply go back into the falloutprefs.ini file, change iNumHWThreads=2 to iNumHWThreads=1save the changes and re-launch Fallout 3 to check if the problem has been resolved. Also, download Games for Windows Live from here and install it on your computer. After installing, check to see if the issue persists.

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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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How to Make Fallout 3 Work on Windows 10

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