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 may 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.
  • 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.)

Solutions

After restarting your computer, try the following solutions. Note that these solutions were designed for Windows, so if one is running a Mac, please substitute these steps for the equivalent ones.

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 with software T&L

  • 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 " -swtnl" 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 " -swtnl" at the end:
"C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\Launcher.exe" -swtnl
  • Run WoW
  • If there were no crashes while playing the game, you may want to consider replacing the video card if possible.

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 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 -swtnl -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'
  • 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 ([email protected] or [email protected]) 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.