Fix: Dota 2 fails to launch

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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dota 2 cant connect to game server

MOBA games are taking over! League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and Dota 2 are worldwide sensations with millions of professional and casual players. When it comes to the Steam service, Dota 2 is untouchable in a number of active participants. With vivid graphics and immersive gameplay, it is an amazing multiplayer experience.

Nevertheless, software without bugs is a non-existent, unicorn-like category. So, yes, Dota 2 has its technical issues. One of the issues that seamlessly showed up is the game launch failure. Most of the time, the crash is followed by the “Failed to Start Game (Missing Executable)” messageSo, we’ve prepared some possible solutions for this annoyance.

What to do if Dota 2 fails to start

  1. Let Steam tool verify game files
  2. Tweak Antivirus
  3. Disable background applications
  4. Reinstall Dota 2

1. Let Steam tool verify game files

Corrupted/incomplete file issue can be quite a challenge for some older titles. Back in the days, you would probably have to reinstall the game in order to make it work. This is not the case with Steam nowadays. With the implemented File integration tool, you can check and fix any game in your library. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Restart PC and open Steam client.
  2. Open Library.
  3. Right-click Dota 2.
  4. Click Properties.
  5. Select the Local Files tab.
  6. Choose Verify integrity of game cache.
  7. The process execution time is proportional to the game size.steam client verify game files
  8. If there is a corrupted file, Steam will highlight it.

2. Tweak Antivirus

Antivirus/antimalware/antispyware programs are known causes for Dota 2 malfunctioning. Last resort would be disabling them while playing the game. However, if you are attached to your security, try out these tweaks:

  1. Make your antivirus exclude the folders where the Steam client is installed (by default it is C:Program FilesSteam)
  2. Start Game Mode if the antivirus supports that feature.
  3. If antivirus reports some Dota 2/Steam related files as malware, mark them safe.

3. Disable background applications

There are reports that some background processes interfere with the client and the game. The ones that are most problematic are connection-dependent. Besides already mentioned antivirus programs, you should look out for firewall software, torrent clients, VPN and proxy software, VoIP apps, and IP masking programs. Be sure to disable them before you start the Steam client.task manager

4. Reinstall Dota 2

The last step you can try to follow through is a complete reinstallation. In addition, make sure that your graphics drivers are up to date and, also, redistributables and DirectX. Reinstalling a Steam game is a rather simple task. Just open the client, choose Library, right-click on Dota 2 and choose Uninstall from the contextual menu.

Of course, re-downloading might be a drag if you have a slow bandwidth. The game should work better afterward.

If none of these solutions actually worked, you should send the Steam Support Ticket here. That way, Steam technicians can address the issue, and provide additional details.

If you know some alternative solutions and are keen to share, please do so in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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