How to fix VALORANT black screen on startup error

I was expecting to see VALORANT, is it here?

Image via Riot Games.

Not being able to log into VALORANT after a tiresome day may be one of the worst feelings for a gamer. While there won’t be much you can do when the servers are down, other errors that prevent you from playing the game can turn into a puzzle at times.

There are a handful of error codes Riot Games has acknowledged since VALORANT's release to provide approved solutions to the players, but there are also more than a handful of other errors that players even have a tough time describing. Despite sounding quite self-explanatory, the black screen on startup error doesn't have any error codes, meaning you won't get any clues on how to fix it.

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

Update your graphics driver

Updating your graphics driver may sound elementary. Most black screen errors are the result of software bugs that can be caused either by your graphics driver or VALORANT, however. This means that updating your driver will allow you to whitelist it from the list of potential suspects. Considering game developers always use the latest software to introduce more features to games, being stuck on an older driver may cause your game to glitch.

NVIDIA users can try out the manufacturer's Smart Scan service, which automatically detects your GPU's model and forwards you to download the latest available software. VALORANT fans with AMD GPUs can check out AMD's Software Installer, which downloads and sets up the latest drivers for your graphics card.

Change your environment variable

There have been similar issues to the black screen bug. VALORANT not launching at all or just crashing immediately upon launching are two the most common versions of this error. There has been one fix that a Riot staff member recommended, and that's changing the environment variable on your PC.

According to Riot, these types of errors are the result of an OpenSSL bug that has been affecting specific CPUs. To change your environmental variable, you'll need to do the following:

  • Click on the Start button and search for Environment Variables.
  • Click on Edit the System Environment Variables.
  • Navigate to the Advanced tab and select Environment Variables.
  • Choose New under System Variables toward the bottom right side 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.

Restarting your system before trying to launch VALORANT again is also recommended to let the changes settle in.

Reinstall VALORANT or move it 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 of ensuring that all of your game files are in top shape, but there's also another method that can force VALORANT's launcher to check your files.

Once you move your game from a hard drive to an SSD, or vice versa, the launcher will automatically check all the files to make sure everything is in order. This is a quicker way of making sure that your game files are okay, but going with the first method will allow you to rule out the possibility of corrupted game files with a higher certainty.

Make sure there aren't any bugged instances of VALORANT working in the background

Image via Riot Games

In cases where you experience the black screen issue after re-logging to VALORANT multiple times in a row, the chances are there will be a bugged instance of VALORANT working in the background. This will prevent a new instance of VALORANT from launching, usually causing players to get stuck with a black screen, or your game may not launch at all.

To fix this, you'll need to:

  • Open your Task Manager by right-clicking on your toolbar and selecting Task Manager.
    • Alternatively, you can also use the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination to launch the Task Manager.
  • Navigate to the Details tab and end all the VALORANT related tasks.
  • Once you're sure that nothing related VALORANT is working in the background, try relaunching the game.

VALORANT-related tasks will include the game's anti-cheat software, Vanguard, Riot Games launcher, and the executable file of the game itself.

Contact Riot

Though one of the fixes above should do the trick to fix the error in most cases, you may be experiencing this error due to an unknown reason. When that's the case, you'll want to contact Riot and let them know of the situation alongside all the troubleshooting steps.

Riot's support staff can go through your logs and check what's been causing the error for your system and provide you with new solution methods to try out.

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


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