FIX: World of Warcraft was unable to start 3D acceleration

Matthew Adams
by Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
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  • World of Warcraft is one of the best MMO games ever. However, issues do show up from time to time.
  • Check out some quick resolutions below for the World of Warcraft was unable to start up error.
  • This Blizzard section includes a collection of World of Warcraft posts that provide further useful fixes.
  • If you love games in general, we encourage you to take your time and visit our Gaming Hub as well.
Wow 3d acceleration
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Some World of Warcraft players have posted on the Microsoft and Blizzard forums about a World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration issue. Have you also received this error message?

Users can’t start World of Warcraft when that error message pops up. Do you need to fix that error? If so, check out these potential resolutions for it.

How do I fix the World of Warcraft 3D acceleration issue?

1. Update your graphics card driver

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World of Warcraft 3D acceleration issues are often related to outdated drivers. That precisely why our recommendation for you is to rule out this option from the very start.

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You’ll have your computer running like new and you’ll be able to get back to enjoying World of Warcraft.

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2. Turn off full-screen optimization and run the game as administrator

  1. First of all, press the Windows + E hotkey.
  2. Then, open your World of Warcraft game folder in File Explorer.
  3. Right-click the Wow-64.exe or WoW.exe in the World of Warcraft folder to select Properties.
  4. Select the Compatibility tab shown in the shot directly below.
    Compatibility tab World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
  5. Then select the Disable full-screen optimizations check box.
  6. In addition, select the Run this program as administrator option.
  7. Click Apply to save the settings.
  8. Click OK to exit the window.

Numerous players have confirmed that turning off full-screen optimization for World of Warcraft fixes this error.


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3. Reset World of Warcraft to default

reset World of Warcraft to default

  1. At first, open your Blizzard Battle.net software.
  2. Click Blizzard at the top left of the software’s window.
  3. Click Options on the menu.
  4. Then select Game Settings for further options.
  5. Select the Reset In-Game Options for World of Warcraft.
  6. Press the Reset button.
  7. Thereafter, click the Done button.

Resetting World of Warcraft via the Blizzard software to default might resolve incompatible game settings. Complete the above procedure in that regard. 


4. Select the Scan and Repair option

  1. Open the Blizzard Battle.net software.
  2. Select World of Warcraft on the left of the Blizzard window.
  3. Click Options to open that menu.
  4. Click Scan and Repair on the Options menu.
    Scan and Repair option World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
  5. Select the Begin Scan option to confirm.

Blizzard Battle.net’s Scan and Repair option might fix the World of Warcraft was unable to startup error for some users. Make sure to follow the above steps as well.


5. Turn off SLI for NVIDIA GPUs

  1. At first, right-click the desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel.
    NVIDIA Control Panel window World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
  2. Expand the 3D Settings category.
  3. Click Set SLI and PhysX configuration on the left of the window.
  4. Then select the Do not use SLI radio button.

Turning off SLI (Scaleable Link Interface) for NVIDIA GPUs might fix the World of Warcraft was unable to startup error. In order to see if it works for you as well, apply the above steps. 


6. Select the High-performance graphics option for World of Warcraft

  1. Right-click the desktop and select NVIDIA Control Panel on the context menu that opens.
  2. Click 3D Settings > Manage 3D Settings on the NVIDIA Control Panel.
    Manage 3D Settings World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
  3. Select the Program Settings tab.
  4. Click the Add button.
    Add window World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
  5. Click Browse to open an Add folder window. Select the Wow.exe on that window, and click the Open button.
  6. With World of Warcraft the selected program, select High-performance NVIDIA processor on the Select the preferred graphics processor drop-down menu.

Users with dual graphics laptops should make sure that World of Warcraft is assigned to a dedicated NVIDIA GPU. If that’s your case too, refer to the above steps.

Those are some of the more probable fixes for the World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration error.

In addition, make sure that your Windows 10 is fully updated by clicking Check for Windows updates on that platform’s update page.

Have the above fixes proved to be useful? Let us know in the comments area below.

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

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • World of Warcraft is a 3D MMORPG set in a fantasy realm where you battle using weapons and magic.

  • Wolrd of Warcraft is subscription-based, but you can play the original WoW Classic for free.

  • There are several ways you can improve your lag in WoW for better gameplay, and we’ve included them all in this detailed guide.

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