How to fix black screen startup error on VALORANT

How to fix black screen startup error on VALORANT
Image via XSET

I was hoping to see VALORANT, is he here?

Not being able to log into VALORANT after a tiring day can be one of the worst sensations for a gamer. While there won't be much you can do when the servers are down, other bugs that keep you from playing can turn into a puzzle at times.

There are a handful of error codes that Riot Games has recognized since the launch of VALORANT to provide approved solutions to players, but there are also more than a handful of other errors that players even have a hard time describing. Even though it sounds pretty self-explanatory, the black screen on startup error doesn't have any error codes, which means you won't get any clues on how to fix it.

Although Riot hasn't commented on the bug itself, countless community members shared the troubleshooting methods that worked for them on community hubs like Reddit. If you can't seem to start VALORANT due to a black screen error, the following methods can give you the fighting chance you've been looking for to fix the error.

Update your graphics driver

Updating your graphics driver may seem elementary. However, most black screen errors are the result of software errors that can be caused by your graphics driver or by VALORANT. This means that updating your driver will allow you to whitelist it from the list of possible suspects. Considering those game developers always use the latest software to introduce more features to games, getting stuck on an older controller can cause the game to crash.

NVIDIA users can try the manufacturer's Smart Scan service, which automatically detects your GPU model and forwards you to download the latest available software. Fans of VALORANT with AMD GPUs can check out AMD's software installer, which downloads and configures the latest drivers for their graphics card.

Change your environment variable

There have been problems similar to the black screen error. VALORANT does not start at all or just crashes immediately on startup are two of the most common versions of this error. There was a solution that a Riot staff member recommended and that is to change the environment variable on your PC.

According to Riot, these types of errors are the result of an OpenSSL bug that has affected certain CPUs. To change your environment variable, you will need to do the following:

  • Click the Start button and look for Environment Variables.
  • Click Edit System Environment Variables.
  • Navigate to the Advanced tab and select Environment Variables.
  • Choose New under System Variables at the bottom right of the tab.
  • Type or paste OPENSSL_ia32cap as the Variable Name.
  • Paste or type "~0x200000200000000" without the quotation marks for the Variable Value and click on OK.

It is also recommended to reboot the system before trying to run VALORANT again for the changes to take effect.

Reinstall VALORANT or move to a different drive

If the first two fixes don't seem to work for you, you may be dealing with corrupted game files. Uninstalling and reinstalling VALORANT is the best way to ensure that all your game files are in tip-top shape, but there is also another method that can force the VALORANT launcher to review your files.

As soon as you move your game from a hard drive to an SSD or vice versa, the launcher will automatically check all files to make sure everything is okay. This is a faster way to make sure your game files are fine, but opting for the first method will allow you to rule out the possibility of corrupted game files with greater certainty.

Make sure there are no failed instances of VALORANT running in the background.

Image via Riot Games

In cases where you experience a black screen issue after logging back into VALORANT multiple times in a row, there is likely a failed instance of VALORANT working in the background. This will prevent a new instance of VALORANT from starting, which usually causes players to get stuck with a black screen or their game not to start at all.

To fix this, you'll need to:

  • Open your Task Manager by right-clicking on the toolbar and selecting Task Manager.
    • Alternatively, you can also use the Ctrl + Alt + Delete combination to start the Task Manager.
  • Go to the Details tab and finish all VALORANT related tasks.
  • Once you are sure that nothing related to VALORANT works in the background, try restarting the game.

Tasks related to VALORANT include the game's anti-cheat software, Vanguard, the Riot Games launcher, and the executable for the game itself.

Contact Riot

Although one of the fixes above should work to correct the error in most cases, it is possible that you are experiencing this error due to an unknown reason. When that's the case, you'll want to contact Riot and inform them of the situation along with all the troubleshooting steps.

Riot support staff can review your logs and verify what has been causing the error on your system and provide you with new solution methods to try.

In rare cases, the problem can also resolve itself with follow-up patches. This usually happens if the black screen problem is a widespread problem.

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