FIX: Skyrim failed to initialize renderer

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an award-winning RPG developed by Bethesda.
  • Given the popularity, we created the troubleshooting guides below that covers any renderer-related issues.
  • For more articles on this amazing game, check out our dedicated Skyrim Hub.
  • If Skyrim isn't the only thing you play, then you might also be interested in our dedicated Gaming page too.
Skyrim failed to initialize renderer

Skyrim, otherwise Elder Scrolls V, is a highly-rated action RPG for Windows. However, some players have posted on Steam’s forum about a Skyrim Failed to initialize render error that arises when they launch the game.

That error message states:

Your display doesn’t support the selected resolution. Please set a different resolution in Skyrim’s Launcher under Display Settings.

How can I fix the Skyrim failed to initialize render error?

1. Configure Skyrim to match your PC’s resolution

The Failed to initialize render error can arise when the game’s resolution doesn’t match your display resolution.

  1. To fix that, open Skyrim’s launcher.
    Skyrim launcher window Skyrim Failed to initialize render
  2. Select Options to open further display settings.
  3. Then select a setting on the Resolution drop-down menu that will match your PC’s current resolution.
  4. Press the Apply button.

2. Play Skyrim in Windowed Mode

Some players have also fixed the Failed to intialize render error by selecting Skyrim’s Windowed Mode option.

  1. To do that, open the display settings for Skyrim as outlined for the resolution above. Select the Windowed Mode check box option there.
    Skyrim Options window Skyrim Failed to initialize render
  2. Then click Apply to save the new setting.
  3. Select Play to launch Skyrim.

3. Delete two Skyrim game files

  1. Try deleting a couple of Skyrim game files to reset the game’s preferences. First, open File Explorer.
  2. Open Steam’s folder.
  3. Right-click the appcache subfolder in the Steam folder to select Delete.
  4. Next, open your Skyrim game folder.
  5. Hold the Ctrl key to select the Skyrim.ini and SkyrimPrefs.ini files.
  6. Click the Delete button to erase the selected files.
    The Delete button Skyrim Failed to initialize render
  7. Click Shut Down on the Start menu.
  8. Then turn on your PC after a few minutes to launch Skyrim.

4. Update your graphics card driver

The Skyrim Failed to initialize renderer error can be due to an antiquated or corrupted graphics display driver. If so, updating the graphics card driver will resolve the issue.

There are a few ways you can update a video card driver. Check out our Update graphics card driver guide for further details about how you can update a graphics card driver in Windows 10.

Driver Booster 7 is a highly-rated utility for updating drivers with. To add that software to Windows, click the Free Download button on its website. Then you can install DB 7 with its setup wizard.

Driver Booster 7 Skyrim Failed to initialize render

Driver Booster will start scanning when you launch the software. If that software detects a graphics card driver update is required, select its Display adapters check box. Then click the Update Now button.

5. Disable Skyrim mod files

To ensure game mods aren’t clashing with Skyrim, disable them.

  1. Open the Skyrim game launcher.
  2. Then click Data Files to open the window shown directly below.
    Skyrim Options window Skyrim Failed to initialize render
  3. Deselect all the selected mod checkboxes there.
  4. Alternatively, select the mod checkboxes; and click the Delete Selected button.
  5. Press the OK button.

Those are resolutions that have fixed the Skyrim Failed to initialize renderer error for players. Adjusting resolution settings for the game, or on your VDU (Visual Display Unit), will usually fix the error.

If that doesn’t do the trick, however, the other fixes might resolve the issue.

FAQ: Learn more about Skyrim

  • How many Skyrims are there?

To date, there are currently 5 titles in The Elder Scrolls series of RPGs, as well as an MMORG.

  • Why is Skyrim so good?

The reason Skyrim is so good even after so many years is the extensive modding community that transforms the game constantly, allowing it to look new and improved every time.

  • How long does it take to beat Skyrim?

The average completion time for Skyrim is of about 96 hours.