How to fix Civilization VI won’t start on Steam

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • The Civ 6 won’t start from Steam issue is often caused by faulty graphics adapter drivers or conflicting programs.
  • When Civ 6 won’t launch in Windows 10, keep in mind that changing some of the game’s compatibility settings might help.
  • Configuring Civilization VI’s launch options can be a resolution for this annoying issue as well.
  • Many users have fixed Civ 6 not launching by changing their user accounts, so you may give a try to this tip too.
Civilization VI won’t start on Steam

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Some players have said on Steam’s support forum that Civilization VI installed with Steam doesn’t launch for them. To be more precise, those players can’t start Civilization VI to play that game.

Assuming that’s your issue as well, chances are to feel frustrated. Keep in mind that some players have been able to fix this issue and we’ve gathered all these resolutions for you.

Take a look below, apply them one by one, and you’ll most likely be able to solve this annoying issue as well.

Why did Civilization VI fail to start?

It appears that there is an odd Civilization VI crash, which causes the game to linger on for as long as it takes to load from the Windows 7, Windows 10, or Mac epic launchers. Yes, that’s true, users even reported that Civ 6 won’t start on Mac.

windows defender civ 6 won't start mac

The reason for this, according to other users, is due to Windows Defender or any other protection system, which, when Civilization VI is included, has a tendency to scan the entire game in real-time when it is installed and hinder the process.

What to do if Civilization 6 isn’t launching from Steam?

1. Update your PC’s graphics adapter drivers

Updating graphics card drivers could fix Civilization VI not starting for some players. You can see if your PC’s graphics card driver needs updating by scanning with driver updater software.

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2. Configure the Civilization VI launch options in Steam

  1. Open the Steam client software.
  2. Click the Library tab in Steam.
  3. Select All Games on the Library tab’s menu.
    The Library tab's menu civ 6 won't start steam
  4. Right-click Civilization VI and select the Properties option.
  5. Press the Set Launch Options button on the General tab.
    The Set Launch Options button civ 6 won't start steam
  6. Then enter this launch configuration in the text box: <full Civilization VI game path> %command%
  7. Click the OK button to save the new launch option.

You’ll need to replace <full Civilization VI game path> in the above launch configuration with the actual installation folder path of your Steam game.

That full directory path must include the drive and the EXE game file like the example shown directly below.

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"C:Program Files (x86)SteamsteamappscommonSid Meier’s Civilization VIBaseBinariesWin64SteamCivilizationVI_DX12.exe" %command%

3. Run Civilization VI as an administrator

  1. Select the Library tab in your Steam client software.
  2. Right-click Civilization VI on the Library tab to select its Properties context menu option.
  3. Next, select the Local files tab.
  4. Click the Browse Local Files button.
  5. Then right-click the Civilization VI EXE (executable) file and select Properties.
  6. Select the Compatibility tab shown in the snapshot directly below.
    Compatibility tab civ 6 won't start steam
  7. Click the Run this program as an administrator checkbox to select that option.
  8. Press the Apply button to save the new settings.
  9. Thereafter, restart your Steam client software; and try playing Civilization 6 again.

4. Set up a new Windows user account with a different name

  1. First, open the search box in Windows 10 by clicking the magnifying glass button on the left side of the taskbar.
  2. Enter the keyword user account within the search text box.
  3. Click Add, edit, or remove other users in the search results to open the window shown below.
    Add someone else to this PC option civ 6 won't start steam
  4. Press the Add someone else to this PC button.
  5. Click the I don’t have this person’s sign-in information option.
  6. Then select the Add a user without a Microsoft account option to open an account setup window.
    Account setup window civ 6 won't start steam
  7. Enter a new user name in the first text box that does not include any @, #, $, %, ^, and & special characters.
  8. Fill out the password fields.
  9. Press the Next button to finish.
  10. Select the new user account you just set up in Settings, and press the Change account type button.
    Change account type window civ 6 won't start steam
  11. Then choose the Administrator option on the drop-down menu.
  12. Click the OK button on the Change account type window.
  13. Thereafter, sign out of Windows 10.
  14. Log in to the new Windows account you set up.
  15. Then sign in to your existing Steam account within your new Windows user account, and try starting Civilization VI from there.

2K Support has confirmed Civ 6 doesn’t start when the characters @, #, $, %, ^, and & are in your Documents path.

So, those characters must not be in your Windows account user name. If your current user account name doesn’t include those characters, this resolution might not fix the issue.

5. Verify Civilization VI’s game cache

  1. Open your game library in the Steam client software.
  2. Right-click the listed Civilization VI game and select Properties.
  3. Next, select the Local Files tab.
    The Verify Integrity of Game Files option civ 6 won't start steam
  4. Press the Verify Integrity of Game Files button there.

6. Try running Civilization VI with a different DirectX version

  1. Press the Windows key and E shortcut at the same time to open the File Explorer window.
  2. Open the folder that includes your Civilization VI game. The default Civilization VI directory path for Steam is: C:Program Files (x86)SteamsteamappscommonSid Meier’s Civilization VIBaseBinariesWin64Steam
    Civilization EXE files civ 6 won't start steam
  3. The Civilization folder includes CivilizationVI.exe (DirectX 11) and CivilizationVI_DX12.exe (DirectX 12) game files. If you were previously trying to start the game with CivilizationVI_DX12.exe, try clicking CivilizationVI.exe for the DirectX 11 version.

7. Reinstall Civilization VI

  1. Open the Library tab within your Steam client software.
  2. Right-click the Civilization VI game to open the context menu for it.
  3. Go to Manage and select the Uninstall context menu option.
    Uninstall option civ 6 won't start steam
  4. Click the Uninstall button to confirm.
  5. Restart Windows 10 after you uninstalled Civilization VI.
  6. Thereafter, open Steam and its Library tab again.
  7. Then select the Install option for Civilization VI via the Library tab.

You can also uninstall Civilization VI and fully eliminate leftover residual files from that game with reliable third-party uninstaller software.

If you don’t know what programs perform better, we advise you to get informed about the best uninstaller software available on the market.

8. Close or disable conflicting software

Make sure there aren’t any conflicting game launchers, such as Epic Games, running in the background before you try to start Civilization VI with Steam.

Check if your system try includes any icons for other game client software. If so, right-click the client software and select the Exit or Close option for it.

Third-party antivirus software can also potentially conflict with Civilization VI. Right-click any third-party antivirus utility icon in your system tray and select a disable option for it.

Then select to disable the antivirus shield for a few hours before you try to start Civilization VI.

The Avast shield control settings civ 6 won't start steam

Those are some of the resolutions players have confirmed can fix Civilization VI not launching from Steam. So, there’s a good chance the potential tips above will kick-start the game for most of you.

Some of the fixes in our Steam games not launching guide might also help fix this issue. After all, quite a few users claim that this happens on many other games too.

For further information and potential solutions to the above error, we recommend that you take a look at our post on how to fix frequent Civilization VI issues.

Alternatively, users reported that Civilization VI issues limit the gaming experience, so if you happen to face the same error, don’t miss out on the guide linked.

If you happen to know any other tricks, don’t keep them to yourself. Share them with us and the other readers in the comments area below.

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