Civilization 5 is probably the most anticipated strategy game of this year. Judging by comments on various gaming forums, latest installment of this popular franchise is already a hit among the gamer community. Civ 5 features a brand new game engine, challenging multi tiered artificial intelligence (AI) and of course, the same addictive gameplay. Needless to say the game has a lot of depth to it and you can pretty much waste hours and hours going at it. Anyway, this article isn’t another game review. This is our routine troubleshooting article for Civilization 5 – here you will find fixes, workarounds and solutions for the most common problems associated with the PC version of Civ 5. Of course, we can’t guarantee this’ll fix all of your problems, but some of the fixes mentioned might actually work :p

How to manually tweak Civilization 5 settings by editing configuration files

Before we move onto other fixes, I think it’s best to know how to edit Civilization 5 configuration files manually – most of the other fixes involve changing values in these files.

  1. Navigate to the Civilization 5 game settings location. This is usually Documents\My Games\Sid Meier’s Civilization 5\
  2. In this folder you will see various files ending with .ini extension. Open any one of these files with a text editor such as Notepad and you are good to go. Some of the files you may find inside include:
    Usersettings.ini – holds user preferences
    GraphicsSettingsDX9.ini – graphics settings for DirectX 9 mode
    GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini – graphics settings for DirectX 10/11 modes
    Config.ini – general game preferences

It’s always recommended that you backup the original file before making modifications, in case anything goes wrong.

Civilization 5 crashes to desktop (CTD) after or before the intro movie

On certain video hardware configurations and resolutions, the game might crash to desktop just after or before the intro movie is played. You can try disabling the intro movie and see if this fixes the problem.

  1. Open the usersettings.ini file with a text editor.
  2. Look for the string SkipIntroVideo – the current value should be 0.
  3. Change the SkipIntroVideo value to 1. This will disable the intro movie.

The game crashes when trying to run in full screen mode

Civilization 5 might crash upon launch if the game is configured to run in full screen mode – I haven’t found why this happens but I’ve got a hunch it’s related to default resolution. Anyways you can try running the game in windowed mode as a workaround:

  1. Open the GraphicsSettingsDX9.ini file (or GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini file, based on whatever DirectX version of the game you are running) with a text editor.
  2. Look for the string fullscreen. The current value should be 1. Change this to 0.
  3. Navigate to the cache folder. Delete all *.db files inside the folder.
  4. Run the game – it should now start in windowed mode and hopefully the startup crash should be gone.

Civilization 5 black screen upon launch or out of range error

Black screen errors that don’t give any sort of feedback are some of the most annoying issues you can have with a game. If you are having such problems with Civ 5, it could very well be because your monitor or video card is incompatible with the screen resolution autodetected by the game. To see if this really is the case, you can try running the game in a lower, widely supported resolution and try increasing it if the fix works:

  1. Open the corresponding GraphicsSettingsDX9/DX11.ini file with a text editor. Look for the strings WindowResX and WindowResY.
  2. If you want the game to run in 1024x768 resolution, change these values so that they read
    WindowResX = 1024 
    WindowResY = 768

Crashes due to DirectX incompatibilities

Before you try anything, run the following two installers to ensure that your installed DirectX version and Visual C++ runtime libraries are up to date.

  1. Navigate to your Civ 5 installation directory – default is C:\Program files\Steam\Steamapps\Common\sid meier's civilization v\
  2. Run \Steamapps\Common\sid meier's civilization v\VCRedist\vcredist_x86.exe to update VC++ libraries.
  3. Run \Steamapps\Common\sid meier's civilization v\DirectX\DXSetup.exe to update DirectX

You may also download the latest DirectX monthly runtime from here.

Civilization 5 supports multiple DirectX versions including DX9, DX10 and DX11. You can run the game even in DX11 provided that your operating system and video hardware supports this newer DX version. Windows XP supports DX9, Windows Vista supports DX9, DX10 and Windows 7 supports all three. However, just because your current operating system supports DX11 does not mean you can run the game on the this mode – your video hardware needs to be compatible too. For example, you might run into issues if you try to run the game on DX11 and on a non fully DX11 compatible hardware such as Geforce 8800, Geforce 8600 etc. The game might start up but corrupted textures, sudden stuttering, freezes, random lags might be clues to DirectX incompatibilities. If you encounter any crashes or any other odd behavior, be sure to check if the problem exists in a different DirectX mode.

How to enable Anti Aliasing in Civilisation 5 DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 modes

  1. Open GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini with a text editor
  2. Look for the string AllowLeaderAA string.
  3. Change the value to 0.

Unable to save game progress to hard drive

If you are having trouble saving your progress in Civilization 5, it could be due to a improperly set save folder location.

  1. Open Config.ini file with a text editor.
  2. Look for the FileName string in [Game] section.
  3. If this appears blank, set a proper saved games directory – default is C:\Users\USERNAME\Documents\My Games\Sid Meier’s Civilization 5\Saves\
  4. Save and close the file. Run the game.

Update your graphics drivers

This is pretty basic stuff buy many people seem to ignore this – always update your video card drivers to the latest build before running the game. Update your video card’s drivers – if latest drivers do not work, try downloading and installing latest beta drivers (do this at your own risk).

This article is a work in progress. It will be updated as new fixes are discovered – feel free to share your experience in comments. If you liked this article:


  1. Triad_470 // 9/25/2010 06:27:00 PM  

    Awesome dude. The intro fix did the trick for me :)

  2. beans // 9/28/2010 03:28:00 AM  

    Full screen fix worked a treat, although I didn't delete cache files.

  3. allt-mulig-ting // 9/29/2010 10:45:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  4. kk2 // 9/29/2010 10:49:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  5. kk2 // 9/29/2010 10:51:00 PM  

    ARG!!! still the random crash at startup like 1 sec after sartup... none worked i tried this: cange to windowed mode, and did make the game run in 1024x768 resolution, also deleted the cache files and i Updated my directx amd drivers

  6. katie // 10/01/2010 10:01:00 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  7. Glenn // 10/03/2010 03:45:00 PM  

    My game was freezing when I got to the map after creating a new game, so I had to change the tasks CPU priority to "High", and then it workt. But it still freezes when I try to save the game. (quicksave works, but not the other option)

    Since the quicksave works, it should not be the wrong location truble. Any ideas?

  8. Brett // 10/12/2010 02:14:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  9. Brett // 10/12/2010 02:16:00 PM  

    Good list of fixes op. I used a similar page that had a couple different ones... but they are pretty similar.
    Civilization V Crashes, Black Screen, Anti Alias (AA) Fix, Freezes, 0x8000ffff, Wont Save Fixes. How to skip intro video

    That page also tells you how to remove that ANNOYING intro video that takes forever to skip. >_<

    10/12/2010 02:14:00 PM

  10. Glenn // 10/13/2010 03:52:00 PM  

    This one also tells how to disable the intro-movie, check the second hedline.

    I got it to work after forcing new graphic-drivers to be installed. A regular check doesn´t work.
    So that is the first thing to do when having problems.

  11. Hana // 10/26/2010 10:07:00 AM  

    THANK YOU!!!

  12. stevenchong // 10/27/2010 08:14:00 PM  

    civ5: it takes forever to load a saved game and vis versa. anybody out there with a solution pleeeasae...

  13. Jordon // 11/09/2010 09:23:00 PM  

    i having problem saving the game at about 300 turns and above, sometime the game do save but can not be loaded.

    anyone having this problem? any fix for it?

  14. Anonymous // 11/24/2010 11:29:00 PM  

    When I load up, I skipped the intro video, like it said to, then I get two yellow style bars for a menu appearance but see no text and there is an obvious graphic issue. any idea? I tried windowed mode. no dice.

    I tried to alter start up resolution but it appears to be in a diff place on a mac then pc to change the "WindowX"thing

  15. Lukasz // 3/16/2011 07:38:00 AM  

    My game was crashing frequently, in most of the cases on the same turn (huge earth maps in most of the cases). I was trying many tips and sometimes it was working specially going in to the windowed mode. But after 340 turn it nothing helped. So i was trying to change almost every setting in the game and i found it: Tesselation to minimum and it is working perfectly so far.
    My rig:
    i7 4Ghz
    6GB RAM
    4TB HDD raid 0
    2x ATI Crossfire 4890

  16. skalsefterskole28077 // 9/10/2011 05:38:00 PM  

    For those who bought this over Steam, and the only thing that happens when you start up, is a black screen, with nothing happening, use the skip intro function found in this guide

  17. John Tracker // 12/20/2012 06:50:00 AM  
  18. Jacob Smith // 10/22/2013 07:57:00 AM  

    he civilizations that we know for sure made it to Civ 5 are America, Russia, Persia, Rome, Japan, Greece, Egypt, Germany, Arabia, Iroquois, China, France, England, Aztec and India. The Civ website had last reported that there was four possibilities for the final two spots; Inca, Viking, Siam, and Songhai. We won't really know the full list of Civilizations until we can play the game for ourselves.

    Your units have taken a change as well. On top of only being able to have one unit per hex, your unit will not automatically die if a combat is lost. You can also swap your unit out with one next to you if you need to in Civ 5. Unfortunately you may see that you can only have a limited number of units to maintain because there have been some changes to cost. Your units take longer to produce in Civ 5 and because of that there have been some raised costs with keeping them kept. Also, because troop transports have been removed your units actually transform into floating transports themselves. Unit types in Civ 5 are Great people, Galleys, Archers, Warriors, Catapults, Spear-men, Mace men and Jaguars.

    Civilization V