How to fix Borderlands 3 when it won’t launch on Windows 10 and 11

Borderlands 3 has received rave reviews since 2019. Yet, some players have also reported technical issues with this game. Some Epic Games and Stream users have reported that Borderlands 3 does not launch or crashes on startup when they try to play it.

Borderlands 3 may throw various error messages when it won’t start. Sometimes it may fail to launch without showing any type of error message. Here are some general potential fixes that can realistically fix a variety of Borderlands 3 launch issues in Windows 11/10.

1. Configure Borderlands 3 to run with administrator permissions

Windows games can sometimes fail to start because they do not have access to more restricted system areas. So make sure that Borderlands 3 has full system access.

To do this, you will need to configure Borderlands 3 to always start with administrative rights like this:

  1. To display the Windows folder management application, right-click on your Begin button and select File Explorer.
  2. Open your Borderlands 3 installation folder in Explorer.
  3. Right-click the Borderlands 3.exe file (application) and select a Properties option in the context menu of the game.
  4. Click on Compatibility at the top of the Borderlands 3 properties window.
  5. Make sure you have the Run this program as administrator box checked for Borderlands 3.
  6. Click on Apply to save the newly selected compatibility settings, then select OKAY.

Repeat these steps to configure your Epic Games or Steam game client software to launch Borderlands 3 so that it always runs with administrator rights. If you have a desktop shortcut for your game client software, you can select Properties in the shortcut’s context menu.

2. Update your game launcher software

Some players have reported that updating their game launchers can cause Borderlands 3 not starting. You don’t need to reinstall your game client to update it. Epic Games Launcher and Steam include options you can select to manually update them to their latest versions. Here are the three steps to update Epic Games Launcher:

  1. Run your Epic Games Launcher client software.
  2. Click on your user profile icon in the Epic Games Launcher.
  3. Then select Settings in the user menu.
  4. Select the Restart and update option if a new version is available.

You can also update Steam. To do this, click on the Settings menu button on Steam. Then select Check for Steam Client Updates from the menu.

3. Set the Preferred Graphics API setting to DirectX 11

DirectX 12 may be powerful, but it’s also been widely reported to cause launch issues for Borderlands 3. Players have confirmed that setting Borderlands 3 to launch with DirectX 11 instead of 12 can prevent the game from starting.

If Borderlands 3 does not start, you cannot change any settings through game options. However, you can set the graphics API through a settings file for that game as follows:

  1. Press the File Explorer button on your taskbar (which has a folder library icon).
  2. Click on This PC in Explorer’s navigation sidebar.
  3. Then open the DocumentsMy GamesBorderlands 3SavedConfigWindowsNoEditor folder from there.
  4. Next, right-click the GameUserSettings file and select Open with.
  5. Choose to open the GameUserSettings file with Notepad.
  6. Scroll down the config file to Preferred Graphics API setting.
  7. Erase DX12, then enter DX11 for the Preferred Graphics API setting.
  8. Don’t forget to click Case > to safeguard before closing Notepad.

4. Check the integrity of Borderlands 3 files

Verification is one of the most common troubleshooting steps to fix games that won’t start, whether it’s Borderlands 3 or otherwise. Most game clients include options to verify (or repair) games. When you choose to verify a game, you run a game scan that will repair corrupted or missing files. Here’s how you can check Borderlands 3 in the Epic Games Launcher:

  1. Launch Epic Games.
  2. Select Library in the Epic Games Launcher navigation bar.
  3. Click it ellipsis button that is just below Borderlands 3.
  4. Select Check to start the check.

The Borderlands 3 verification steps in Steam are a bit different. Open your games library in Steam, then right-click on Borderlands 3 from there to select Properties. Then you can select the Verify integrity of game files possibility on the Local files tongue.

5. Scan and repair your system files

Corrupt system files can also cause game launch issues. As such, it’s a good idea to perform a Windows system file check.

To do this, you need to run a System File Checker scan to fix Borderlands 3 not launching. Here’s how to run an SFC scan from the command prompt in Windows 11/10:

  1. Show an elevated Command Prompt window with a method included in our “Open Command Prompt” guide.
  2. To make sure the SFC scan works, it is recommended to enter this command first and press Come back:
    DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth 
  3. Then type this command:
    sfc /scannow
  4. Hurry Come back to run the SFC command.
  5. Now wait for the System File Checker scan to reach 100% and show a result message.

6. Update your PC graphics card driver

When was the last time you updated your PC’s graphics card driver? If the answer is never (or at least a few months ago), your PC’s graphics driver is probably outdated, which could be why your Borderlands 3 game isn’t launching. In this case, updating your graphics card driver could be a potential solution.

There are at least three different ways to update a PC’s graphics card driver. You can update it manually by downloading the latest driver package from NVIDIA, Intel or AMD websites. Third-party driver update tools also include automatic driver update options. Or you can use AMD or NVIDIA software tools, such as GeForce Experience.

See our guide on updating your graphics card drivers for more details.

7. Update Visual C++ runtime components

If you see an error message mentioning Visual C++ runtime components when trying to launch Borderlands 3, updating the runtime components is a likely solution. Even if you don’t, it is recommended that you try to update these components. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Open the Microsoft Visual C++ Redistribute package webpage in your browser.
  2. Click the X64 (64-bit) download link for Visual Studio 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2022 runtime updater.
  3. Open the folder where the VC_redist.x64.exe file was downloaded in Explorer. Then double-click VC_redist.x64.exe to display the Microsoft C++ 2015-2022 window.
  4. Select the I agree checkbox then click Install. If you see a Repair option in the Microsoft Visual C++ window, click this button instead.
  5. Click on To restart whether this tool updates runtime components.

8. Disable third-party startup programs and services

You can disable third-party startup software and services by setting Clean Boot. Setting up a clean boot will both free up system resources for the game and may also disable a few programs or services that conflicted with Borderlands 3. Follow these steps to perform a clean boot:

  1. Open System Configuration (MSConfig) with a method in our guide on ways to open MSConfig.
  2. Uncheck the selection Loads startup components checkbox on system configuration tool General tongue.
  3. Click on Services to access the options on this system configuration tab.
  4. Be sure to select Hide all Microsoft services to filter out the most essential ones.
  5. Then select the Disable all possibility to uncheck the boxes of non-essential services.
  6. Tap MSConfig Utility Apply button to save the reconfigured settings.
  7. Click on OKAY and To restart (on the dialog box prompt that appears).
  8. Try playing Borderlands 3 game again after clean boot.

9. Reinstall Borderlands 3

Finally, reinstall Borderlands 3 if none of the above solutions work for you. Downloading and installing a 75GB game will likely take at least a few hours, making this resolution less preferable than faster alternatives. However, reinstalling Borderlands 3 can repair a corrupt installation. You can reinstall Borderlands 3 in Epic Games Launcher like this:

  1. Run your Epic game client software.
  2. Select the Library to view your Epic game collection.
  3. press the ellipse menu button for Borderlands 3 to show more options.
  4. Click on Uninstall to remove Borderlands 3.
  5. Then reinstall Borderlands 3 by clicking on it in the Library tab and selecting the tab Install option.

Steam users can also uninstall and reinstall Borderlands 3 in this client software. To do this, right click on Borderlands 3 in your Steam library to select Manage > Uninstall. Then you can click on a Install option for the game to reinstall it.

Enjoy the explosive action of Borderlands 3 again

When you can’t launch Borderlands 3, you miss its heart-pounding blasting action. The above potential Windows fixes for Borderlands 3 not launching will likely revive this game for many (but not necessarily all) players. Additionally, we also recommend gamers to try manually disabling firewalls, antivirus, and overlay software and updating to Windows 11.

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Steven L. Nielsen