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How to Run Fallout 3 on Windows 10?

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Fallout 3 is unquestionably one of the greatest role-playing games ever made. Launched in 2008, the game has won numerous awards and accolades. The list includes multiple Game of the Year awards for the year 2008 and some for 2009, Role-Playing Game of the Year, Best RPG, etc. Also, a research conducted in 2015, estimated that nearly 12.5 million copies of the game had been sold!

It is also one of the primary reasons why gamers around the globe love Bethesda Game Studios’ post-apocalyptic Fallout game series. Fallout 3 was followed by the release of Fallout 4 and Fallout 76. Although, more than a decade after its release, Fallout 3 still attracts a lot of gamers and reigns as one of the most loved and played games around the world.

The game was, however, developed to run on the clunky computers of the previous decade and as a result, users trying to run the game on the newer and more powerful PCs operating on the latest and greatest of Windows face some issues. One of which is the game crashing right after the player clicks on the New button to start a new game. But when has a minor inconvenience ever stopped gamers from gaming?

The wide fraternity of gamers has found multiple ways to run Fallout 3 on Windows 10 without any hiccups. We have all the methods listed below in a step-by-step guide manner for you to follow and get gaming!

How to Run Fallout 3 on Windows 10

How to Run Fallout 3 on Windows 10?

To run Fallout 3 smoothly in Windows 10, users simply need to run the game as an administrator or in compatibility mode. These methods won’t work for some users, they can instead try downloading the Games For Windows Live application or modifying the Falloutprefs.ini config file. Both of which are explained below.

But before we move on to the specific methods, make sure you have the most updated graphics card drivers installed on your computer as these alone can solve a plethora of problems.

GPU drivers can be updated using the below method:

1. To open Device Manager, press the Windows key + X (or right-click on the start button), and select Device Manager from the power user menu.

2. Expand Display Adapters by double-clicking on the label.

3. Right-click on your Graphics Card (NVIDIA GeForce 940MX in the below picture) and select Update Driver.

Right-click on your Graphics Card and select Update Driver

4. In the following pop-up, click on Search automatically for updated driver software.

Click on Search automatically for updated driver software| How to Run Fallout 3 on Windows 10

Your computer will automatically search and install the latest drivers for your graphics card. Ensure you have a healthy WiFi/Internet connection. Alternatively, you can update GPU drivers through the companion application (GeForce Experience for NVIDIA and Radeon Software for AMD) of your graphics card.

How do I get Fallout 3 to work on my PC?

We will discuss 4 different methods using which you can easily play Fallout 3 on your Windows 10 PC, so without wasting any time try these methods.

Method 1: Run As Administrator

In many cases, simply running the game as an administrator has been known to solve any and all the problems being experienced. Below is the method on how to always launch Fallout 3 as an administrator.

1. We start by navigating to the Fallout 3 folder on our systems. The folder is found within the Steam application.

2. Launch the Windows File Explorer by either double-clicking on its icon on your desktop or using the keyboard shortcut Windows key + E.

3. Navigate to either of the two paths mentioned below to locate the Fallout 3 folder:

This PC\C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3 goty

This PC\C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 3

4. Alternatively, you can open the application (game) folder by right-clicking on the Fallout 3 application icon on your desktop and selecting Open File Location.

5. Find the Fallout3.exe file and right-click on it.

6. Select Properties from the following options menu.

7. Switch over to the Compatibility tab of the Fallout 3 properties window.

8. Enable ‘Run this program as an administrator’ by ticking/checking the box next to it.

Enable ‘Run this program as an administrator’ by ticking/checking the box next to it

9. Click on Apply followed by OK to save the changes made.

Go ahead and launch Fallout 3 and check if it runs now.

Method 2: Run in Compatibility Mode

Apart from running as an administrator, users have also reported successfully being able to play Fallout 3 after running it in compatibility mode for Windows 7, the operating system for which the game was originally designed and optimized.

1. To run fallout 3 in compatibility mode, we will need to head back to the game folder and launch the properties window. Follow steps 1 to 4 of the previous method to do so.

2. Once in the Compatibility tab, enable ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’ by ticking the box to its left.

3. Click on the drop-down menu below Run this program in compatibility mode for and select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Select Windows XP (Service Pack 3)

4. Click on Apply followed by OK.

5. We will need to repeat the above steps for two more files, namely, FalloutLauncher and Fallout 3 – Guardians of the eating kit.

So, go ahead and enable ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’ for both these files and select Windows XP (Service Pack 3).

Finally, launch Fallout 3 to check if the error has been resolved. I hope you will be able to run Fallout 3 on Windows 10 without any issues. But if running Fallout 3 in compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 3) didn’t work, switch to compatibility mode for Windows XP (Service Pack 2), Windows XP (Service Pack 1) or Windows 7 one after the other until you are successful in running the game.

Method 3: Install Games For Windows Live

Playing Fallout 3 requires the Games For Windows Live application which is not installed by default on Windows 10. Fortunately, installing Games For Windows Live (GFWL) is quite easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

1. Click on the following URL (Download Games For Windows Live) and wait for your browser to complete downloading the installation file.

2. Click on the downloaded .exe file (gfwlivesetup.exe), follow the on-screen prompts/instructions, and install Games For Windows Live on your system.

Install Games For Windows Live on your system | How to Run Fallout 3 on Windows 10

3. Once installed launch Games For Windows Live by double-clicking on its icon.

4. The application will automatically download the files required to run Fallout 3 on your machine. Make sure your internet connection is working properly otherwise GFWL won’t be able to download the files.

5. Once all the necessary files have been downloaded by GFWL, close the application and launch Fallout 3 to verify if the error has been taken care of.

If the above didn’t work then you can crack the GFWL out of the Game. You need to use the Games for Windows Live Disabler from Nexus Mods or FOSE, the Fallout Script Extender modding tool to disable GFWL.

Method 4: Modify Falloutprefs.ini File

If you weren’t able to run Fallout 3 using the above methods, you will need to modify/edit a config file called Falloutprefs.ini that is required to run the game. Modifying the file is not a complicated task and requires you to merely type a single line.

  1. First, launch Windows File Explorer by pressing the shortcut Windows key + E. Under the quick access section, click on Documents.
  2. Inside the Documents folder, open My Games (or Games) sub-folder.
  3. Open the Fallout 3 application folder now.
  4. Locate the falloutprefs.ini file, right-click on it, and select Open With.
  5. From the following list of applications, select Notepad.
  6. Go through the Notepad file and locate the line bUseThreadedAI=0
  7. You can directly search for the above line using Ctrl + F.
  8. Modify bUseThreadedAI=0 to bUseThreadedAI=1
  9. If you can’t find the bUseThreadedAI=0 line inside the file, move your cursor to the end of the document and type bUseThreadedAI=1 carefully.
  10. Add iNumHWThreads=2 in a new line.
  11. Finally, press Ctrl + S or click on File and then Save to save all the changes. Close Notepad and launch Fallout 3.

If the game still doesn’t work as you wish it would, open the falloutprefs.ini in notepad again and change iNumHWThreads=2 to iNumHWThreads=1.

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I hope the above guide was helpful and you were able to run Fallout 3 on Windows 10 with any issues. If you have any queries regarding this tutorial then feel free to ask them in the comment section.

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Elon Decker

Elon is a tech writer at TechCult. He's been writing how-to guides for about 6 years now and has covered many topics. He loves to cover topics related to Windows, Android, and the latest tricks and tips.

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