14 Best Fixes For Skyrim Won’t Launch

skyrim won't launch

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, launched in 2011, is a classic game. It still has a large number of players all over the world. However, some players have encountered an error during the game’s launch. There are numerous reports about this situation on players’ forums.

If you’re one of those unfortunate players to encounter the “Skyrim Won’t Launch” error, then you’re at the right place. Here, you get a comprehensive range of fixes that you can try and fix the not launching error on your PC.

14 Solutions To Fix The Skyrim Won’t Launch Issue

The list below provides a comprehensive range of solutions to fix your desktop’s “Skyrim Won’t Launch” error. 

  1. Identify The Conflicting Mods And Remove Them
  2. Install Latest Updates And Restart Your PC
  3. Play The Game In Offline Mode
  4. Run The Game In Compatibility Mode
  5. Disable The Touch Keypad And Handwriting Panel Services
  6. Check The Inbound And Outbound Rules Of Skyrim In Windows Firewall
  7. Run Steam And Skyrim In Administrator Mode
  8. Verify Integrity Of Game Files
  9. Uninstall SKSE
  10. Update Device Drivers(Graphics Card Driver)
  11. Shut Down Idle Background Programs
  12. Download The Latest Version Of DirectX and Visual Studio C++ Redistributable
  13. Use The System File Checker
  14. Reinstall The Game

1. Identify The Conflicting Mods And Remove Them

Game mods(short for modification) are popular among players who want to enhance one or more qualities of a game. If you are an avid gamer, you may have installed many different mods for the Skyrim game. But you should know that these mobs change game files, which creates errors. 

To solve the error(s) caused by conflicting mods, you can refer to the following scenarios.

  1. A particular Mod is responsible for the error.
  • In this case, you need to pinpoint the mods that cause the error.
  • First, disable the installed mods. 
  • Launch the Skyrim game and check whether the game is running successfully. If the game runs successfully, you can ensure that the mod is the culprit.
  • Now enable each mod again, and check if the error pesters again. If it doesn’t, then enable the next mod. Repeat these steps until the not-launching error comes back.
  • From the preceding step, you may have pinpointed the error mod. Now remove his mob, and start the game.
  1. Mods conflict with each other.

There are cases where a single mod doesn’t affect your game. But because of conflict between two different mods, an error occurs when you try to launch the game. 

  • Repeat the steps from “a) A particular Mod is responsible for the error.”
  • Now that you have pinpointed the mod responsible for the not-launching error. Leave it in an enabled state and disable other mods.
  • Re-check if the game is launching successfully. If the answer is negative, this mod is the sole culprit behind the error.
  • If the error doesn’t occur, it is the conflict with other mods responsible for the not-launching error.
  • Enable each mod and start the checking process. Then disable it again. Repeat this process until you find the conflicting mod.

2. Install Latest Updates And Restart Your PC.

Many errors can be solved by just restarting the PC. Users first think of restarting whenever they come across an error. As in this case, you can greatly benefit from this solution, such as a performance boost after the proper restart. So if your Skyrim game doesn’t launch, go ahead and restart your computer.

The error may not be solved with restart alone. So the next course of action you have to take is- Update your PC. Microsoft provides regular updates containing fixes to bugs and security loopholes. In many cases, updating can smooth out many errors and minor glitches.

  • Open the Windows Settings. Press the Windows logo button and select the gear icon.
  • Select Update & Security.
  • Focus your attention on the top leftmost part of the screen. You will see the option Check for updates. Click on it.
Check for updates
  • If any updates are available for download, you will have a corresponding notification and prompt to start downloading. You can start the download right away or schedule it for later.
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3. Play The Game In Offline Mode.

Note that if you cannot launch Elder Scrolls: Skyrim in online mode. Then you may try to launch it in offline mode, which is a kind of temporary fix. But if you are trying to play a quick game and don’t require any multiplayer battle, then this solution is right for you.

Disconnect your PC from the network. Then launch the game as you normally do, Run the Skyrim launcher and click on “Play.”

4. Run The Game In Compatibility Mode.

If you still haven’t fixed the Skyrim not launching error, you may try this solution. Launching a program in compatibility mode will make the PC execute a software mechanism that emulates an older version of the Operating system so that the program remains compatible with the PC. 

Some users have reported the feasibility of this solution. This may or may not work for your PC, but it is still worth trying since it has worked on other PCs.

  • Launch the Steam app and log in to your Steam account.
  • Go to the Library and select “The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition.”
  • Right-click on the game and select Properties.
  • In the properties screen, you can find four options. Navigate to LOCAL FILES-> BROWSE LOCAL FILES. This will redirect you to the game files installed in the system drive.
Click on Browse to navigate to the game's local file folder
  • Right-click on the SkyrimSELauncher.exe and select the Properties option.
  • Go to the Compatibility tab and tick the checkbox option “Run this program in compatibility mode.”
Go to the Compatibility tab, tick the checkbox option “Run this program in compatibility mode for:”.
  • Select an older version of the Windows Operating System from the list.
  • Click Ok, then Apply.
  • Repeat the same process for the file SkyrimSE.exe.

5. Disable The Touch Keypad And Handwriting Panel Services.

Another possible reason the Skyrim game doesn’t launch- is Touch Keypad and Handwriting Panel Services. Microsoft introduces this service for touch-enabled computers and other such devices. However, the Skyrim game disagrees with the touch input services. Therefore disabling the service may solve the error for good.

  • Open the Windows Run dialog box. Type in “services.msc” and hit the Enter key.

Alternatively, 

  • Open the start menu and type “services” in the search bar.
  • Click Run as administrator from the options list on the right pane of the start menu.
  • Search for the service “Touch keypad and handwriting Panel service.” Right-click on this service and select Properties.
  • In the General tab of the Properties Window, click on the startup type drop-down list.
  • Select Disable option.
  • Then click on Apply, followed by Ok.

6. Check The Inbound And Outbound Rules Of Skyrim In Windows Firewall.

The Skyrim game not launching error can also occur due to blacklisting by the Windows Firewall. Or specifically, the Inbound and Outbound rules for the Skyrim game are blocked in the system settings.

6.1 How To Specify Inbound Rules In Windows Firewall.

  • First of all, open the Control Panel window on your PC.
  • On the top right corner of the Control Panel screen, click the View by” drop-down list and select Small icons. Search and click on the Windows Firewall option. 
Click the View by” drop-down list and select Small icons.
Search and click on the Windows Firewall option.
  • Choose the “Advanced Settings” option from the left pane.
Choose the “Advanced Settings” option from the left pane
  • Click on “Inbound Rules,” located in the upper left column.
  • Now search for the Skyrim game from the list of programs. Check the column “Enabled” beside the name of the game.
Click on “Inbound Rules” located in the upper left column.
  • If the status is set to “No,” click on the Enable Rule from the section located in the right pane of the screen.
  • Follow the previous two steps for the Skyrim SE and Skyrim SE Launcher files.

6.2 How To Specify Outbound Rules In Windows Firewall.

  • First of all, open the Control Panel window on your PC.
  • On the top right corner of the Control Panel screen, click the View by” drop-down list and select Small icons. Search and click on the Windows Firewall option. 
  • Choose the “Advanced Settings” option from the left pane.
  • Click on “Outbound Rules,” located in the upper left column.
  • Now search for the Skyrim game from the list of programs. Check the column “Enabled” beside the name of the game.
  • If the status is set to “No,” click on the Enable Rule from the section located in the right pane of the screen.
  • Follow the previous two steps for the Skyrim SE and Skyrim SE Launcher files.

7. Run Steam And Skyrim In Administrator Mode.

7.1 Run As Administrator Temporarily.

  • Right-click on the Steam icon.
Launch Steam application in Administrator mode.
  • Select the option “Run as administrator.”

7.2 Run As Administrator Permanently.

  • Right-click on the Steam icon. Then select Properties.
  • In the Properties window, go to the Compatibility tab.
  • Find the checkbox option “Run this program as an administrator.” Tick Mark this option.
Permanently set the launch mode in Administrator mode.
  • To save the changes in the preferences, click on Apply, then click on Ok.
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Through this process, the next time you open the Steam application, it will automatically launch in administrator mode.

  • Launch the Steam program. Log in to your Steam account.
  • Go to the Library tab.
  • Right-click on the game- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition.
  • Click on Properties.
  • In the Properties window, go to the LOCAL FILES tab. Then select BROWSE LOCAL FILES…
  • A new windows explorer will open the location of the game. Right-click on the game launcher icon, then select Properties.
  • In the Properties window, go to the Compatibility tab.
  • Find the checkbox option “Run this program as an administrator.” Tick Mark this option.
  • To save the changes in the preferences, click on Apply, then click on Ok.

8. Verify Integrity Of Game Files.

Your game will not launch if the game files are corrupt or missing. So the integrity of game files is another reason that can affect the game’s launching. The steam application comes with an in-built tool to verify the integrity of the game cache.

  • Launch Steam, then log in to your account.
  • Go to the Library tab. Right-click on “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition” and select Properties.
  • Select the “VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES” option in the Properties window.
In the Properties window, select the “VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES” option.
  • Wait till the Validating process is completed.
Wait till the Validating process is completed.
  • Click on Close when the process is over.
  • Now check whether the game can be launched successfully. If not, then move on to the next solution. 

9. Uninstall SKSE(Skyrim Script Extender).

SKSE(Skyrim Script Extender) is an official program launched by the Skyrim developers. It is used to mod game scripts adding desired changes to the game.

However, the Skyrim script extender has some stability issues with the Windows 10 OS. And normal users who don’t have any prior knowledge of scripting cannot use this tool at all. It is recommended to disable or completely remove the SKSE.

10. Update Graphics Drivers.

Update Graphics Card Driver Automatically-

  • Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R key.
  • Type in the keyword “devmgmt.msc” then click on the Ok button.
Type in the keyword “devmgmt.msc”, then click on the Ok button.
  • Search for the term “Display adapter” and expand it.
Expand the Display Adapter option.
  • Right-click on the listed display adapter model.
  • Select the option “Update Display Software…”.
Click on the first option "Update Driver software..."
  • Click on the first option, “Search automatically for updated driver software.”
Click on the first option "Search automatically for updated driver software"
  • Next, you will get notified if a new and better driver version is available online. Follow the on-screen instruction and install the latest version of the driver.

Update Graphics Card Driver Manually- 

  • The first task before proceeding with manual installation. Gather the details about your current Driver Date and Driver Version.
  • Open the Device Manager of your PC. Type in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box, then click on Ok.
  • Search for the term “Display adapter” and expand it.
  • Right-click on the listed display adapter model.
  • Click on the “Properties” option.
Right-click on the device. Select the Properties option.
  • Navigate to the Driver tab. Here you will find various information related to your graphics driver. Note down the details of Driver Date and Driver Version.
Navigate to Driver tab. Here you will see the details such as Driver version and Driver date.
  • Now that your knowledge about two important driver details. Next, you need to visit the Graphics Card manufacturer’s website.
  • The three most commonly used Graphics card website are as follow:
  • Search for the latest version of the Graphics driver and download it to your drive.
  • Open the Device Manager of your PC. Type in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run dialog box, then click on Ok.
  • Search for the term “Display adapter” and expand it.
  • Right-click on the listed display adapter model.
  • Click on the “Update Driver software…” option.
  • Click on the second option, “Browse my computer for driver software.”
Click on the 2nd option "Browse my computer for driver software"
  • Select the option “Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer.”
Left-click on the option "Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer".
  • Left-click on the option “Have disk…” located in the lower right corner.
Click on the "Have disk..." option from the lower right corner.
  • Choose the drive, then click on the Browse option.
Click on the "Browse" option and select the latest driver software(.inf format)
  • The driver file(s) will be in *.inf format. Click the Open option. Then click on Ok.
  • Next, your PC will start the installation process. During installation, your screen will be blank several times.
  • Restart after the installation is complete.

11. Shut Down Idle Background Programs.

  • Open the Run dialog box by pressing Windows + R key.
  • Type “taskmgr” and hit the enter button.
Type “taskmgr” and hit the enter button.
  • In the Task Manager window, select the Processes tab. Move the cursor to the program you want to shut down and right-click on it.
Move the cursor to the program you want to shut down and right-click on it.
  • From the options menu, select the End Task option.
  • Note- Be careful not to “End Task” a process you are not familiar with. You may end up losing some important processes.
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12. Update DirectX And Download The Latest Version Of Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable.

Installing the Latest Version of DirectX:

  • Open the Windows Settings. Press the Windows logo button and select the gear icon.
  • Select Update & Security.
  • Focus your attention on the top leftmost part of the screen. You will see the option Check for updates. Click on it.
  • If any updates are available for download, you will have a corresponding notification and prompt to start downloading. You can start the download right away or schedule it for later.
  • The latest version of the DirectX will also be installed along with the update.

Reinstall Visual Studio C++ 2015 Redistributable:

  • Open the Control Panel. Select the drop-down list ‘View by’ from the top right corner of the screen. Select the Small icons option.
  • Search for the “Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable” x64 and x86 versions.
  • Uninstall both Visual Studio C++ programs(Note that uninstalling the Visual program can terminate all of your game).
  • Next, download the latest version of the Visual Studio C++ 2015 redistributable from the official Microsoft Website.
  • Install the programs by double-clicking the downloaded installer packages. Install both the x64 and x86 versions of Visual C++ programs.
  • Restart your computer. Try to launch the Skyrim game and check if the error has revolved or not.

13. Use The System File Checker.

System File Checker(SFC) is a useful tool to check for corrupt or missing system files. You can initiate the SFC command- “sfc /scannow” Check the integrity of system files, then repair the missing and corrupted ones.

  • Open Command Prompt in Administrator mode. Press the Windows key. Enter the keyword. “cmd” in the search bar. Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and select the “Run as administrator” option.
Right-click on the Command Prompt icon and select the “Run as administrator” option.
  • Alternatively, type in. “cmd” in the Run dialog box, press Ctrl + Shift + Enter key on your keyboard.
  • When a prompt appears asking for permission to make changes to the device, click Yes.
  • Type the following command in the Command Prompt window and press the Enter button.
    • sfc /scannow
In the Command Prompt(Administrator Mode), type "sfc /scannow", then hit the Enter key.
  • The COMMAND will initiate the System File Checking process. Wait till the progress reaches 100%.
  • Upon completion, a log containing successful repairs and unsuccessful ones will be saved in Local Drive C(system drive).
  • Restart your computer, then try to launch the game. Check if the error is still pestering your Skyrim game.

14. Reinstall The Game.

Suppose the situation remains the same. Then it is time to reinstall the game. This is the ultimate solution if any of the above solutions don’t work on your PC.

  • Open the Control Panel. Select the drop-down list ‘View by’ from the top right corner of the screen. Select the Small icons option.

Alternatively,

  • Open the Run dialog box and type. “appwiz.cpl”. Then click on the Ok button.
  • Right-click on The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition program, then select Uninstall.
  • Uninstall the game following the on-screen instructions of the Uninstaller wizard.
  • Delete the folder where the local game files were previously installed. Note- Permanently delete these residual folders and files, and leave the recycle bin empty.
  • Open the Steam app and reinstall the game again.

Conclusion

For any avid gamer, Skyrim will surely have a place in the list of their favorite games. The game is a classic. And with regular updates and different mods to enhance playability, it captures the hearts of players, new and old alike. 

However, the game may be stuck in the opening introduction scene for reasons stated in this article. Or, it will not launch when you click on the Launch Game icon.

Following the above solutions, you can fix the “Skyrim Won’t Launch” error. Try to pinpoint the error or scope and use the corresponding solution to fix the “Skyrim Not Launching” error.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How Do I Fix Skyrim Not Launching?

Following solutions can fix the “Skyrim not launching” error. Resolving mod conflicts; restart your PC; keep the Windows up to date; launch the game in compatibility mode; specify the Inbound and Outbound rules in Windows Firewall; launch the steam and Skyrim game in Administrator mode; verify the integrity of game files(cache); update your device drivers; install the latest version of DirectX and Visual C++; restore system files using SFC, and lastly you may have to reinstall the Skyrim game to fix the error.

How Can I Tell Which Mod Is Crashing Skyrim?

First, disable all the mods you have installed for the Skyrim game. Now enable a single mod, then check the status of the error by launching the game. If the game starts perfectly, disable the mod and enable another mod. Re-check the game for any error by launching it. Repeat this enable->check->disable process until you find the mod(s) that is the crashing Skyrim.