While Skyrim’s launch has faired much, much better than other recent high-profile games (Dead Island or RAGE anyone?), some users have reported that their game is crashing to desktop.
Fortunately, this crash has the same solution as Dead Rising 2 for PC, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.
Solid Tip: This isn’t the end-all be-all of fixes, just a specific one that haunts users of aftermarket sound cards. Your game might be crashing for another reason.
If it doesn’t work, be sure to get the latest video card drivers, DirectX version, and verify the Steam cache if you have a Steam copy.
Sound Card Crash
The game should immediately start once you change your sound card quality settings. You can reach the settings for your sound card through the Control Panel in Windows. For this example, I will show you a SoundBlaster X-Fi, which I configure by going to Sound > Playback > Speakers > Advanced. Here, I had my original quality set to 24 bit, 96000 Hz. To get the game to launch, though, I must set the quality to 24 bit, 44100 Hz.
This photo was from my Dead Rising 2 sound car fix. It was actually debated what Hz level your card should be at, so some people might get Skyrim working at 48000 Hz, assuming the sampling rate is the cause of the crash.
My Game Still Crashes!
While I experienced the sound card crash with Dead Rising 2, I was able to startup and run Skyrim at 96000 Hz sampling rate without crashing.
Another problem that I constantly come across when putting new games through their paces is a crash that is caused by having dual monitors (or triple if you are that cool). I always test games with dual monitors running first and see if that causes any crashing. If the game doesn’t start up, I disable the 2nd monitor and try again.
Additionally, you will want to make sure you have the latest video card drivers and DirectX version, as I mention up above.
There are additional resources available to you with a list of very specific crash fixes over at crashfixes.com. I wont go through all of those, so check that out if you still have issues launching the game.