Launched on November 11, 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a history of nearly 8 years now. Despite its old age, the game still boasts a large number of players – the living, breathing “dragonborns” who eagerly await the next instalment in this legendary franchise (I myself am a big fan, too). However, as reported by some players, they have encountered a launching problem in Skyrim which prevents them from operating the game normally. In case you’re one of them, you can try the following fixes and see if they work out the way you want.

Fixes for “Skyrim won’t launch”

Here we provide you with 8 easy-to-apply fixes that have solved the problems for many other players. Check them out one by one until you finally get rid of the launching issue!

Fix 1: Disable your mods

Fix 2: Run Steam & Skyrim as administrator

Fix 3: Verify integrity of game files

Fix 4: Update device drivers

Fix 5: Shut down unnecessary background applications

Fix 6: Download the latest versions of DirectX and Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable

Fix 7: Use System File Checker (SFC)

Fix 8: Reinstall the game


Fix 1: Disable your mods

Scores of Skyrim players have installed mods for want of enhanced game immersion. But unfortunately, some of these mods may mess with the game files and lead to Skyrim-not-launching problems. If you can’t open the game after installing a few mods, then you should disable or remove them from Skyrim.

If you’re not sure how to uninstall the mods, here are two tutorials for your reference:

Also, even if the mods themselves have no risks at all, you may still run into a launching issue because of the incorrect installation procedure. In case you’re not familiar with the correct way, here’s another guide on how to install mods for Skyrim, just for your information.

You should only enable or reinstall your mods after fixing the Skyrim-not-launching issue in case of any interference.

After all your mods are cleared/disabled, try to relaunch the game. If it runs normally, then congrats – you’ve solved the problem! If not, please move on to the next fix below.


Fix 2: Run Steam & Skyrim as administrator

First, you should run Steam as administrator either temporarily or permanently.

Run as administrator temporarily

See if there’s a Steam icon on your desktop. If not, simply search for the application in your Startup menu.

When you successfully locate Steam, right-click on its icon and select Run as administrator. If prompted for consent, click Yes.

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Run as administrator permanently

If you feel like running Steam as administrator permanently, here’s the procedure:

1) Locate Steam in your computer, right-click on its icon, and then select Properties.

2) Click the Compatibility tab. Make sure you check the Run this program as an administrator box, and then click Apply > OK to save the change.

3) The next time you open Steam, it’ll automatically run under administrative privileges.

Running Steam as administrator is just the first step. Next, you’re going to launch Skyrim in the same way. Here’s how:

1) Log in Steam. Then click LIBRARY.

2) Right-click The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and then select Properties.

3) On the next page, go to the LOCAL FILES tab. Then, click BROWSE LOCAL FILES….

4) In the pop-up window, right-click on the game’s executable file and select Run as administrator. If prompted for consent, click Yes.

You can also run the game as administrator permanently. Here are the steps:

1) After locating the game executable, right-click on the file and select Properties.

2) Go to the Compatibility tab. Make sure you check the Run this program as an administrator box, and then click Apply > OK to save the change.

3) The next time you launch Skyrim, it’ll automatically run under administrative privileges.

There you go – now please check if you can launch the game normally. If not, read on and try the next fix.


Fix 3: Verify integrity of game files

Sometimes your Skyrim-not-launching issue is down to the missing or corrupt game files. If that’s the case, you should use the built-in tool of Steam to verify the integrity of all game files.

1) Log in Steam and click LIBRARY.

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2) Right-click The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. Then click Properties.

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3) Go to the LOCAL FILES tab and select VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES….

4) Wait till the process is completed.

5) When it’s finished, click CLOSE.

Now it’s time to check whether you can launch the game properly. If not, please proceed to the next method.


Fix 4: Update device drivers

Make sure you have the latest drivers for your PC components (such as CPU, GPU, and audio). Sometimes Skyrim may fail to be launched because of an outdated or corrupt driver, which is so inconspicuous that you may not even notice it until the problem occurs. If that’s the case, try to update your device drivers periodically.

In case you don’t have the time, patience or computer skills to update your device drivers manually, you can do it automatically with Driver Easy.

Driver Easy will automatically recognize your system and find the correct drivers for it. You don’t need to know exactly what system your computer is running, you don’t need to risk downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t need to worry about making a mistake when installing. Driver Easy takes care of everything.

You can update your drivers automatically with either the FREE or the Pro version of Driver Easy. But with the Pro version it takes just 2 clicks:

1) Download and install Driver Easy.

2) Run Driver Easy and click the Scan Now button. Driver Easy will then scan your computer and detect any problem drivers. 

3) Click the Update button next to the flagged device to automatically download the correct version of the driver (you can do this with the FREE version). Then install the driver in your computer.

Or click Update All to automatically download and install the correct version of all the drivers that are missing or out of date on your system (this requires the Pro version – you’ll be prompted to upgrade when you click Update All).

If you have any problems using Driver Easy, please feel free to drop us an email at support@drivereasy.com. We are always here if we can help.

4) Reboot your computer and launch Skyrim. Check to see whether it can run properly this time.


Fix 5: Shut down unnecessary background applications

Chances are some background applications on your PC conflict with the game and cause it to crash from the start. To solve this problem, you need to close all the unnecessary programs before playing Skyrim or simply uninstall them if possible. It also makes sense to disable your antivirus meanwhile in case it mistakenly classifies the game as a virus and thus puts it in quarantine.

To close unwanted programs, please use the following procedure:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows Logo key  and R at the same time to invoke the Run dialog box. Type in taskmgr and hit Enter.

2) Select the Processes tab. Right-click on the program that needs to be ended and click End task. If you don’t know which program should be shut down, simply close all the background running apps that you think are unnecessary. Note that you shouldn’t end any processes that you’re not familiar with in case you mistakenly close the important ones.

It doesn’t have to be Google Chrome. This screenshot is just an example for better explanation.

3) Your trouble is sometimes caused by interference from antivirus software. To see if that’s the problem for you, temporarily disable your antivirus program and check if the Skyrim-not-launching issue recurs. (Consult your antivirus documentation for instructions on disabling it.)

Also, remember to check carefully in the blacklists (or quarantine) of your third-party antivirus and Windows Firewall for any files related to Skyrim. Once you spot them, manually add the files into whitelists.

If the game works properly after you disable the antivirus, contact the vendor of your antivirus software and ask them for advice, or install a different antivirus solution.

Be extra careful about what sites you visit, what emails you open and what files you download when your antivirus is disabled.

If this didn’t help, please try out the next fix.


Fix 6: Download the latest versions of DirectX and Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable

If your PC is not shipped with the latest versions of DirectX and Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable, you should consider downloading and installing them by yourself. Otherwise the game will be very much prone to the risk of not launching.

To set forth details of how to update DirectX, here’s a post for your reference:
https://www.drivereasy.com/knowledge/3-steps-to-update-directx-in-your-windows-10/

When it comes to Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable, you can perform the following procedure:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows Logo key and R at the same time to invoke the Run dialog box. Type in appwiz.cpl and click Yes.

2) In the pop-up window, scroll through your list of installed programs to locate both the x64 and x86 versions of Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable.

3) Right-click on the two programs one by one and select Uninstall to remove them from your PC. It shall take you a few seconds until the uninstallation process is complete.

Note that the removal of your Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable may have side effects, such as causing another game (if you have any other than Skyrim) to stop running.

4) After the Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable is uninstalled, please visit the official website of Microsoft to download the latest version of this program.

5) Once the program file is downloaded, double-click on the executable and follow the onscreen instructions to install it on your computer. Make sure both the x64 and x86 versions are installed properly.

Now check to see whether Skyrim is able to run normally this time. Hopefully it is; if not, please move on to the next fix below.


Fix 7: Use System File Checker (SFC)

System file checker (sfc) is a Windows utility that checks for system file corruption. You may use the command sfc /scannow to scan all protected system files and repair the missing or corrupted ones.

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows Logo Key  and R at the same time to open the Run dialog box. Type cmd and press Ctrl+Shift+Enter to run Command Prompt as administrator.

2) When prompted with permission to make changes to your device, click Yes.

3) In the pop-up window of Command Prompt, type the following command (note that there’s a space between sfc and /):

sfc /scannow

After you finish entering the command, hit Enter on your keyboard. Then the sfc tool will begin to scan all system files and repair the corrupted or missing ones.

4) Wait until the verification process completes.

Reboot your computer and then try to launch Skyrim. If the problem still remains, there’s one last fix you may give a shot.


Fix 8: Reinstall the game

If by any chance the fixes above don’t work for you, you should delete the entire game files and reinstall everything all over again.

Some may want to back up important files of Skyrim such as saves and mods. To do so, you can check out this thread for reference. That said, if all the game files are messed up and it’s hard to tell which have not been corrupted, you’d better delete everything in your game folder and install them from scratch.

Here are the steps:

1) On your keyboard, press the Windows Logo key and R at the same time to invoke the Run dialog box. Type in appwiz.cpl and click Yes.

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2) Right click The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and click Uninstall.

3) Follow the onscreen instructions to uninstall the game.

4) Once the process is complete, open the folder where you’ve downloaded and installed the game before. Delete everything in it and don’t forget to empty your Recycle Bin.

5) Log in Steam and reinstall Skyrim all over again.

Although reinstalling the game may sound somewhat dumb, it does make a difference in certain circumstances especially when your game files are messed up by all varieties of mods or by other reasons.


So far, have you managed to resolve the Skyrim-not-launching issue? If you have further questions or ideas, please feel free to leave a comment below. We’ll be more than happy to help you. Talos guide you!

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