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Black screen crash

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A black screen crash or error occurs either while playing WoW or during the startup of WoW. There are many possibilities as to the cause of this crash, but there are some solutions and troubleshooting tips. Please note that this could be the result of either a hardware or software issue.

Symptoms

While playing:

  • The screen/monitor goes into a permanent 'sleep' mode, turns black, and cannot be removed from this state. Sometimes the cursor can still be seen and moved.
  • The sound effects, background music, or any other audio in the game comes out of the speakers, but repeats itself in a choppy manner (sometimes.)
  • A reboot is necessary to unfreeze the game, causing the player to most likely be killed if he is in a battle.

While starting WoW:

  • After a few minutes idle at the login screen (or immediately), the monitor goes into a permanent 'sleep' mode, turns black, and cannot be removed from this state.
  • The sound effects and/or background music comes out of the speakers, but repeats itself in a choppy manner (sometimes.)

Causes

Apple Mac

A known cause of this problem on the Macintosh platform is the Multsampling option, which is found in the Game Menu: Options: Graphics: Display: Multisampling. The options available are 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x, or 8x multisampling. If you have this setting turned up too high for your GPU ( graphics processing unit; a.ka. video card) to handle properly this error may occur.

Solutions

Apple Mac

  • Use Time Machine to replace the WTF, WDB, and Interface folders with older versions. These can be found in your World of Warcraft folder (usually found in the Applications folder). This is the best and simplest fix, only taking a matter of seconds.
  • If you are using an older version of the Mac OS or you don't have Time Machine enabled: Delete or copy and move the WTF, WDB, and Interface folders. Note: This method will reset your WoW preferences and your Add-On settings.

Windows

After restarting your computer, try the following solutions.

Deleting/Moving WTF, WDB and Interface Folders

  • Right click the World of Warcraft (Launcher.exe) icon and select "Open file location".
  • Delete or move the WTF, WDB, and Interface folders from the World of Warcraft directory.
    • Moving the folders allows one to move them back into the WoW directory if one wants to.
    • These folders are automatically created when you play WoW. Note that your interface or addons will reset.
  • One the folders may be corrupt and removing them would solve the issue.

Update Drivers and System

  • One must have all the necessary drivers to play WoW crash/error-free.
  • Identify the driver version for these hardware parts:
    • Graphics card
    • Motherboard
    • Sound card
  • One must also have at least version 9.0c of DirectX to play WoW.
    • The latest version of DirectX can be found here: DirectX
  • Driver downloads: nVidia and ATI
  • Update the system with Windows Update (or if running a Mac, update the system in the appropriate manner.)

Run WoW in OpenGL Mode

  • Right click the icon that is used to start WoW and select 'Properties'.
  • In the 'Shortcut' tab, there will be a 'Target' field. At the end of the text, type " -opengl" without the quotations. Be aware of the space before the "-".
    • For example, if ""C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe"" was in the 'Target' field, it would look like this after adding the " -opengl" at the end:

"C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe" -opengl

  • Run WoW
  • If there were no crashes while playing the game, it may be a DirectX issue.
  • Please note that its not recommended to run in OpenGL on a Windows machine permanently as running OpenGL can cause wow to crash to a 132 error.

Run WoW in Windowed Mode

  • Right click the icon that is used to start WoW and select 'Properties'.
  • In the 'Shortcut' tab, there will be a 'Target' field. At the end of the text, type " -windowed" without the quotations. Be aware of the space before the "-".
    • For example, if ""C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe"" was in the 'Target' field, it would look like this after adding the " -windowed" at the end:

"C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe" -windowed

  • Run WoW
  • If there were no crashes while playing the game, one should stay in windowed mode.

Run WoW with No Sound

  • Right click the icon that is used to start WoW and select 'Properties'.
  • In the 'Shortcut' tab, there will be a 'Target' field. At the end of the text, type " -nosound" without the quotations. Be aware of the space before the "-".
    • For example, if ""C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe"" was in the 'Target' field, it would look like this after adding the " -nosound" at the end:

"C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe" -nosound

  • Run WoW
  • If there were no crashes while playing the game, there may be an issue with a sound card or driver.
  • NOTE: It is possible to do all three of these solutions at once. It should look similar this in the 'Target' field, depending on the directory that WoW is in:

"C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe" -opengl -windowed -nosound

    • Note the spaces after each word
    • It may be harder for one to troubleshoot the issue, though.

Run Repair Utility

  • Go to the WoW directory and look for 'Repair.exe'
  • Run 'Repair.exe' (if the file does not exist in your directory, run the WoW Launcher. Before you hit Play, look for 'Repair Tool' under the 'Help' menu.)
  • This may have solved a corrupt file issue
  • Run WoW

Miscellaneous

  • Try closing all non-Windows-critical applications, and then run WoW.
  • The system may be getting too hot. Try carefully removing the side panel or case for troubleshooting and run WoW. This may be caused by insufficient cooling.
    • Clean out all the dust inside of the computer. A can of compressed air is recommended.
  • Make sure there is a sufficient amount of power going to the computer. If not, install a power supply unit (PSU).
  • Try uninstalling and then reinstalling WoW.

Conclusion

If none of these solutions worked, please try contacting WoW's Technical Support department (wowtech@blizzard.com or macsupport@blizzard.com) or try posting on the WoW Technical support forums. There is also a form that one can fill out. It sends an email to a technical support member of Blizzard's staff. They usually reply to the query within 24 hours. It is found here.

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