Fix: Fallout 3 doesn’t work on Windows

Are you running into an issue where Fallout 3 doesn’t work on Windows 10? If you’re here, you already know how popular and excellent is the Fallout 3 game. Among all the computer games, it still stands out. But, it is an outdated game. It’s been over 12 years since its release.

The game was released for PS3 and Xbox 360 users and later ported to Windows 7. It was the most successful war crime Action-Arcade Role-playing game at the time. But now, we have had two more generations of gaming since Fallout 3.

There was the PS4 and Xbox Series era, now PS5 and Xbox Series X era. We also have Windows 10. Thus, it can raise some issues with Fallout 3 not working with Windows 10.

This is the ultimate guide that will help you fix most issues with Fallout 3. You will not only learn how to run it properly but also fix some problems. If the issues continue, there will be a guide to tell you how to install Fallout 3 for Windows 10. So, let’s begin!

fallout 3 windows 10 fix cover wallpaper

What Are Fallout 3 System Requirements?

What kinda system do you have? Before you move to other solutions, you need to match the system requirements. If you run Windows 10, you most likely already meet these requirements.

After all, Fallout 3 is an older generation game. You probably have a PC at this point that far surpasses the expectations. But, still, just to be sure. Here are the requirements:

The Minimum Requirements

You need at least Intel Pentium 4 or something similar that delivers 2.4 GHz of processing. Around 1 GB of RAM and Windows XP or Vista would be ideal.

You will also need something like Direct X 9.0c and other Graphics Cards with 256 MB of RAM, at least. This is easy to find in NVIDIA 6800 or ATI X850 type of GPUs.

Pixel Shader 3.0, Vertex Shader 3.0, and a sound card are essential. For Disk Space, you need 7 GB of free space.

The Recommended Requirements

Minimum Requirements are to help you play the game with bare performance. Recommended requirements help you play the game in its full glory. For this, you will need:

  • At least Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2 GB RAM with Windows XP or Visa.
  • You will need 512 MB of Video Memory and an equally powerful GPU.
  • Pixel Shader and Vertex Shader 4.0 would bring the best performance.
  • The sound card and 7 GB of RAM are integral.

With these requirements, you will run Fallout 3 smoothly. Though, you might have a better PC at this point. That will work smoothly with Fallout 3.

Fix Fallout 3 Doesn’t Work On Windows 10 Issue

A. How To Run Fallout 3 On Windows 10

  1. Run The Game As Administrator
  2. Use The Compatibility Mode
  3. Use Games For Windows Live
  4. Config File Falloutprefs.ini File Hack

B. How To Fix Fallout 3 Doesn’t Work Issue On Windows 10

  1. Check For The Game Updates
  2. Check For The Graphics Card Driver Updates
  3. Reinstall The Game 

How To Run Fallout 3 On Windows 10?

This section covers the solutions that are about launching the game. If you can’t play the game on Windows 10 and get a couple of errors, you can use these fixes. If you have other errors where Fallout 3 is not working on Windows 10, you can look at the second part.

1. Run The Game As Administrator

run steam fallout 3 as administrator windows 10

Does your Fallout 3 game crash on Windows 10? You can successfully launch and play the game. Yet, the crashes can get annoying. If that is the case, you might want to use the administration permission.

Once you allow admin permission to the game, it will reduce most errors. You will have fewer crashes. If there is any crash, it would be due to some other error and not Windows 10.

The easy way to run Fallout 3 as an Administrator is to right-click the game launcher each time. You will see the ‘Run As Administrator option. Click on it.

Now, this is fine if you are on an Admin account. If your admin account doesn’t have a password, this will work smoothly. But if there is a password, you will have to provide it each time. Thus, it can get annoying.

There is another permanent solution:

  • Find the ‘.exe’ file in the directory. It could be on the Desktop shortcut or in the directory on which you installed it.
  • Upon finding the file, right-click on it and click on the Properties option.
  • There are many tabs at the top of the properties windows. Select the Compatibility Tab.
  • In there, you will find a couple of options. Check on the box that says ‘Run This Program As An Administrator.’ Once you do that, it might ask for a password.
  • If not, click on Apply. Then click on OK.

Now, launch the game without right-clicking and using the Run As Admin. You can directly double-click on the game to launch it as Admin. This should fix any crash errors.

2. Use The Compatibility Mode

Use The Compatibility Mode

One of the main reasons for Fallout 3 not working on Windows 10 is the compatibility issue. The game was launched for Windows 7. Since then, we have received many other Windows. As a result, Windows 10 is a highly secure and restrictive OS. So, you might have to work around it.

Thankfully, there is one of the best features in Windows 10. It is known as Compatibility Mode. This mode allows Windows 10 to use the essential system files and programs that would support older programs. In other words, it is like having backward compatibility on Windows.

Compatibility mode enables you to use older applications, tools, and games. So, if you’re getting an error message that is like being incompatible, you can give this step a try.

  • Once again, find the ‘.exe’ file for the Fallout 3 game on your system. You might have to access the directory.
  • Once you get there, right-click on the file and select Properties. Then, you have to go to the Compatibility Tab again.
  • But this time, check on ‘Run this program in compatibility mode.’
  • There will be a drop-down button once you select this option. Now, Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) works the best for Fallout 3. But, you can also choose Windows 7.
  • Now, click Apply and Press OK.
  • Repeat this step for two other files. You will have to do it for Falloutlauncher and Fallout 3 – Guardians Of The Eating Kit.

Relaunch the game, and it will work like it is running on Windows 7. This is the best workaround to play Fallout on Windows 10. You can use this method for other games and apps, as well. But, not all apps and games work.

3. Use Games For Windows Live

fallout 3 games for windows live october 2021

If you’re using older Fallout 3 version for Windows 10, you will have to use this step. As of October 2021, there is a new version of Fallout 3 for Windows 10. The latest version doesn’t need Games For Windows Live to work.

But, if you’re using an older version or still running into an error, this step is worth giving a try. First, you will have to download the Games For Windows Live. 

Remember that it is a retired program. In other words, you won’t find it on official websites. Thus, you will have to use platforms like filehippo or something else to give it a try.

Once you download the file, you will have to install it. After that, connect to the internet, and it will download the essential files. After that, you might have to restart the PC. But after that, you can launch Fallout 3, and it should work fine.

Remember that this will only work on older Windows 10 and older Fallout 3 versions. 

4. Config File Falloutprefs.ini Hack

As a last-ditch effort, you can try a step of editing a specific file. Before you use this step, make sure to back up your files. Once you backup the saved Fallout 3 files, you can move ahead with this step.

  • Go to My Documents or Documents in the ‘This PC’ option. Then find the Games Folder. There you fill find Fallout 3 on the list.
  • In the folder, search for the falloutprefs.ini file. Then, right-click on it and select ‘Open With.’
  • Select the Notepad program. Make sure that it is Microsoft’s supported Notepad.
  • Now, it might be a length file. So, you will have to find a specific section. Press CTRL + F to open the Find option in the Notepad.
  • Type bUseThreadedAI=0. Once you find it, change the value of 0 to 1 in the file (not in the Find option)
  • You will also have to copy this: iNumHWThreads=2 and paste it at the end of the notepad, just to be double sure.
  • Now, save your file and launch the game.

See if this solves the issue.

How To Fix Fallout 3 Doesn’t Work Issue On Windows 10?

Does Fallout 3 work on Windows 10? Yes, it does. Maybe you’re not facing crashes or other issues. Perhaps Fallout 3 isn’t working after everything you’ve tried. There aren’t any crashes or errors. You just can’t seem to launch it or use it, even install it. If that’s the case, try these solutions:

1. Check For The Game Updates

Fallout 3 often comes with yearly game updates. It is a little surprising, but given the popularity, it is expected. With that, the update on October 2021 changed the face of the Fallout 3 series. Not for graphics or gameplay, but other essentials.

Fallout 3 doesn’t need Game For Windows Live anymore to work. This is excellent news because Microsoft stopped supporting the GFWL. So, if you didn’t update it yet, give it a try.

This brings us to another point. If you’ve updated the game, make sure that you uninstall the irrelevant elements. You might also want to check for updates consistently. If you want an older version of Fallout 3 to play, you will learn more about it below in the guide.

2. Check For The Graphics Card Driver Updates

check for display adapters driver updates WIndows 10

Fallout 3 is receiving graphic tweaks with updates as we are moving to the new frontier. But as it is an old game, it can only improve so much. Often, if you’re using Mods from the community, you will need to update your Graphics Card and the driver.

The latest updates, such as the HD pack mod, will change the graphics to the best possible scenario. But, it also means that you will have to update the driver. Thankfully, updating graphics driver is not as challenging as it might seem:

  • First, you will have to open the device manager. For this, you can press Windows Key + R and type devmgmt.msc. Then, hit enter. You can also go to the search bar in the taskbar. Type ‘device manager’ and select it.
  • Once you’re there, find the ‘Display Adapters’ section. Expand it and check the graphics driver you have. If you have a graphics card, it should be there.
  • Next, right-click on the driver and select properties. Upon doing so, you can go to the driver tab and find a collection of commands. These commands are ‘Enable/Disable, Update, Roll Back, Uninstall.’
  • Select Update driver and select the ‘Search For Updates Automatically’ option. Windows will then find the relevant drivers.
  • If it fails to find any, you can once again go to the properties of the driver. This time, look at the details of the manufacturer and the version.
  • Then, go to the official website of the manufacturer. Often, they post the latest drivers on the website.

Some GPUs like NVIDIA and AMD come with an entire control panel. You can use it to tweak performance and update the GPU as you like it.

One more point to note. If you already have the latest driver and still face a problem, try to use the Roll Back Driver option. It often works very well for the games and fixes the problem.

3. Reinstall The Game

If none of the above-given options worked for you to fix any error, it’s time to try reinstallation. This step often works as there might be some unknown corrupted files or settings. It is also a good idea to backup your game files before trying any of the above-given solutions.

Either way, you can remove the game by using the respective platform. If you downloaded directly on Windows, go to the Programs option in Control Panel. Find Add or Remove program option and find Fallout 3 on the list. Then uninstall it.

You can also move ahead and delete any extra files and folders that remain from Fallout 3 after uninstallation.

After that, you can go ahead and install the game by downloading the latest version. You will find it on the official website. If you use Steam, that’s even better.

If reinstalling the game on Steam doesn’t work, try some Steam fixes. Of course, you can also reinstall Steam just to be sure.

How To Find Older Version Of Fallout 3 On Windows 10? 

nexus mods for Fallout 3 and other games

The latest update did come without Game For Windows Live, but it also sacrificed one more thing. It doesn’t work with Fallout Scrip Extender anymore. Unfortunately, it means that you can’t use your favorite mods with the Fallout 3 latest update.

The community and the developers are working on the updates and edits. But, it can take some time. As a result, you will be stuck without the mods for a while. But that doesn’t need to be the case. You can still find an older version of Fallout easily. It is available for you to download on websites like Nexus mod.

You can also download the FOSE for the latest update here.

This option will help you find the fixes and use the FOSE again for the Fallout 3 updated version. Like that, you can enjoy the latest mods without any problem at all.

Why Doesn’t Fallout 3 Save Files Work On Windows 10?

There is a particular error that makes it challenging for you to save your achievement progression. You might have achieved many things in the game, but saving it might not work. Thus, you’d have to restart. This is one of the most frustrating errors that anyone in Fallout 3 has to face. But there’s a solution for this.

If you face this error, then Save the game entirely with a New Save each time. It is a bit annoying solution, but if you use this, you can save the entire progress. Like this, you will never lose the save for your Fallout game and enjoy it thoroughly.

Conclusion – Why Does Fallout 3 Not Work On Windows 10

So, go ahead and enjoy the classic games of Fallout New Vegas, Rivet City, and much more. Enjoy your favorite power armor and combat the terror attack. Don’t let anything stop you from using the quest marker.

So, next time you get into the ‘Why does fallout 3 not work on Windows 10’ error, you’ve found your hub for the best guide. If you have other questions like ‘Does fallout 2 work on Windows 10’ or ‘does fallout 1 work on windows 10?’ There is an entire array of FAQs for you below. Give them a look to learn more.

Go ahead and enjoy the all-time classic of Fallout 3 on your Windows 10 today!


Does Fallout 3 Work On Android And iOS Devices?

There isn’t any official update or release available for Android and iOS users. Though, the community has worked on some emulators and other essentials to work. These emulators are similar to the PS2 and PS3 emulators that Windows users would use. But, these are not legal, and you could get into trouble. So, it is up to you if you want to give this option a try. If not, then it is better to stick to the official Windows options. 

Does Fallout 2 Work On Windows 10?

Yes. The community of gamers has always come up with some kinds of solutions for the players. Similarly, you can make Fallout 2 work on Windows 10. Once again, you will have to rely on community mods and updates, but it is possible. You can use the compatibility mode to ensure that you get the best experience. 

What Is Compatibility Mode In Windows 10?

Compatibility mode enables Windows 10 users to launch and use older software, games, and tools. This is done by going to the properties of the ‘.exe’ file of the app. You can change it in the compatibility tab. It allows Windows 10 to provide the essential system files and infrastructure to the given app or program.
As such, the program runs as smoothly as it would’ve run in the older Windows. But, this option might not work for all the programs and apps. Still, it is quite a handy tool to use. So, if you find an error where something is not working due to an unsupported OS, try the compatibility mode solution. 

Is Fallout 3 Worth Playing?

Yes. Fallout 3 has been the ace installment of the series. It sent the gaming franchise to new heights of success. Often, it is compared to the Game Of The Year choices at the time. Fallout 3 comes with a great sense of immersive storyline and exciting gameplay. If you’re a gamer, then you should play Fallout 3 at least once in your lifetime. 

Does Fallout 1 Work On Windows 10?

Similar to Fallout 2, you will need some workarounds. The gameplay and graphics will not be that good, even with the mods. Fallout 3 is the most supported game by the community. Still, with the right game launcher or emulator, you can play Fallout 1. Yet, it is not worth it for you to go through the hustle of playing the Fallout 1 game. You’re better off playing other games.