Call of Duty MW3 Won’t Launch: How I Fixed It

There are various ways to deal with the COD MW3 won't launch issue, and you are in the perfect place to discover them, as I will provide you with my game fixing expertise.


I know how frustrating it is when the Call of Duty MW3 doesn’t launch. You’re all set, and then you’re stuck staring at your desktop. I get it, it’s annoying. But don’t worry, I encountered this problem too, and I know how to fix it, so I put together this step-by-step guide because I understand the hassle of troubleshooting, especially when you’d rather be gaming.

Disclaimer: The MW3 Won’t Launch might be fixed after the official release of the game, but I’d advise you to bookmark this page just to make sure that you can fix it anytime.

Table of Contents:

  1. Why is Call of Duty: MW3 not launching?
  2. How to fix Call of Duty MW3 won’t launch?
  3. Conclusion

Why is Call of Duty: MW3 not launching?

The main reason why the Call of Duty MW3 is not launching on your PC is due to outdated drivers, services, and system processes. However, there could be several other reasons Modern Warfare 3 won’t launch on your system, such as:

  • Incompatible System Specs: One of the most common reasons could be that your system doesn’t meet the minimum requirements needed to run the game.
  • Software Conflicts: Sometimes, other software running in the background, like antivirus programs or overlays, can conflict with the game and prevent it from launching.
  • Corrupted Game Files: Missing or corrupted game files can also be a big reason why the game won’t start. Steam usually offers ways to verify and fix the game files.
  • Administrative Privileges: The game may require administrative privileges to access certain files and services it needs to run.
  • Windows Updates: Sometimes, pending Windows updates can interfere with software and games, preventing them from launching until the updates are installed.

How to fix Call of Duty MW3 won’t launch?

To fix the Call of Duty MW3 won’t launch problem, I updated everything on my PC, from drivers to OS services and processes. It fixed the problem for me, but for the sake of experimenting, I tried running some pre-checks and other solutions too, just to make sure that there are other ways in which you could deal with the launch problem if updating everything doesn’t work. Below, you will find the solutions and fixes that were most efficient.


Before diving deep into the problem-solving pool, let’s start with the basics, which might fix the MW3 won’t launch error in no time.

  • System Requirements: Trust me, it’s easy to overlook this one.
  • Verify Game Files: This ensures no corrupted files are messing things up.
  • Firewall and Security: A hidden blocker, perhaps?
    • I opened my firewall and made sure it was allowing the game to run.
    • In addition, I also checked my antivirus to see if it was blocking the game.
  • Administrative Privileges: Some games need a little extra juice to get going.
    • I right-clicked on the game’s shortcut and chose “Run as Administrator.
    • You can additionally make sure that you don’t run into any other problems by ticking the Disable fullscreen optimizations and enabling the compatibility mode.Modern Warfare 3 Compatibility

Software Fixes

If the basics are all good, here are the software tricks I’ve used:

  • Driver Updates: Outdated drivers can be culprits.
    • I visited Nvidia’s website and updated my graphics driver. It’s a simple process.
    • However, you can update them too from the Device Manager, as seen below.MW3 Driver Update

Tip: I recommend you uninstall the graphics driver before installing it again to ensure it works smoothly.

  • Disable Overlays: Trust me, overlays can be intrusive.
    • I went into my Steam, Discord and Nvidia settings and toggled off the in-game overlay. It can make a difference.
  • Turn Off Windows Game Mode: It sounds good but can backfire.
    • I opened Windows settings, clicked on “Gaming,” and then switched off “Game Mode.”MW3 Game Mode
  • Close Background Applications: Every little bit of CPU helps.
  • Clean Boot: This helps you weed out conflict-causing programs.
    • Running a clean boot will allow the PC to start without third party applications which might interfere with MW3
  • Check the Graphics Application Settings: Your GPU needs to be up to the task.
    • I double-checked my GPU settings in the Nvidia Control Panel.MW3 Game Settings Nvidia Control Panel
  • Reinstall: The old “turn it off and on again” but for software.
    • I uninstalled the game, restarted my computer, and then reinstalled it. Sometimes, starting fresh is best.

Hardware Fixes

Alright, don’t overlook your hardware. Here’s what I’ve tried:

  • Monitor Settings: Don’t let a small mistake ruin your game.
    • I ensured my monitor’s refresh rate was compatible with the game’s requirements.
  • RAM: I learned the hard way that faulty RAM can be a real problem.
    • I ran a Windows Memory Diagnostic to eliminate any RAM issues.MW3 Game Settings Windows Memory Diagnostic
  • Disk Space: Don’t laugh, but a full hard drive can be the reason why MW3 won’t launch, especially if it is the one where Windows is located.
    • I checked and cleared enough space for my game and some to spare.
    • I’d recommend you to get rid of temporary files first as they could be the main source of this problem.MW3 Temporary Files
  • Cooling System: Overheating is a game-ender, literally.
    • I inspected my fans and even applied new thermal paste to the CPU.

Related Articles:

Below, you will find some articles that feature some other commonly encountered problems and the fixes I discovered for them.

  1. MW3 stuck on loading screen
  2. MW3 low fps
  3. MW3 crashing


I hope that by now you have managed to fix the Call of Duty MW3 won’t launch error. I’ve been through this mess, and these are the steps that got me back into the game. If you’re still hitting a wall, don’t hesitate to reach out to the gaming community or tech support. Additionally, if you find any other solution for this problem, feel free to leave it in the comments. I will test it on multiple devices and add it to the list if it works.

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