FIX: Undertale won’t launch

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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Undertale is one of the best if not the best indie game Steam has to offer. From the moment the game was introduced, it received worldwide recognition that led to multiple awards and millions of sold digital copies.

If there is a super-undemanding-stable game category, Undertale must be at the leading spot.

However, there are issues that may prevent you from enjoying this amazing game. It seems that the game won’t launch for no apparent reason.

But, don’t worry, we prepared a few workarounds to help you overcome this issue.

What can I do if Undertale won’t launch?

  1. Extract Undertale.exe file
  2. Use the Steam tool to repair local files
  3. Start the game from its folder instead of Steam
  4. Delete the Steam_api.dll file
  5. Install DirectX and the latest redistributables
  6. Reinstall the game

1. Extract Undertale.exe file

Winzip

  1. Close the Steam app and kill all its processes in Task Manager.
  2. Find your way to the Undertale installation folder.
  3. Right-click on Undertale.exe and choose Extract here with WinZip.
  4. When asked to replace or rename Undertale.exe, choose rename and change its name to UndertaleOld.exe.
  5. The new Undertale.exe that is extracted is your new game launcher.
  6. Try launching the game.

Note: Some witty users from Steam community forum presented this interesting solution for this issue. Namely, it seems that the game‘s exe file can be extracted with WinZip

In the case of any problems, you can delete the newly appointed launcher and rename UndertaleOld.exe to just Undertale.exe.

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2. Use the Steam tool to repair local files

  1. Open the Steam Client.
  2. In Library, right-click Undertale and open Properties.
  3. Open the Local files tab.
  4. Choose Verify integrity of game files.
  5. Restart Steam and try running the game.

3. Start the game from its folder instead of Steam

  1. Close the Steam client and exit from the notification area.
  2. Open Task Manager and stop the Steam process.
  3. Find your way to the Undertale installation folder.
  4. Double-click Undertale.exe and run the game.

As we all know, with the implementation of the Steam desktop app, all the games run through the client. However, on some occasions, the Steam app can provoke a lot of problems.

Note: Have in mind that the Steam client may start, nonetheless. If that is the case and the game is still faulty, move on to the next solution.


4. Delete the Steam_api.dll file

  1. Close your Steam and kill all its related processes in Task Manager.
  2. Go to the Undertale installation folder.
  3. Find the steam_api.dll file and back it up.
  4. Delete the files from the folder.
  5. Start the game using Undertale.exe.
  6. Additionally, you may try and run it through Steam if Undertale.exe won’t start the game.

Note: This may prove harder to do for many games, but the Undertale should function well. If things take a wrong turn, you can always restore a file from the backup location.

It’s quite hard to play Steam games independently, without Steam DRM. However, there are some games that are DRM-free, and luckily, that is the case with Undertale, too.


5. Install DirectX and the latest redistributables

Also, an important thing, besides your graphics drivers being up to date, is to install the latest version of DirectX and C++ Redistributables.

The absence of those might lead to you experiencing a plethora of issues with Undertale.

The latest version of DirectX can be downloaded from the dedicated Microsoft website.

When it comes to the Visual C++ Redistributables, you can download the latest version from this Microsoft page.


6. Reinstall the game

  1. Go to the Steam client.
  2. Open Library and right-click Undertale.
  3. Choose Uninstall.
  4. Open the Steam client and Library.
  5. Find Undertale and select Install.

We came to the last resort. If you haven’t solved your Undertale issues with the previous workarounds, reinstallation is the only viable option.

After the process is finished, you should be able to play the game seamlessly.

We hope you were able to start the game by using these workarounds. In addition, if you have any questions or suggestions, please be free to tell us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2017 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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