Fix: World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration
“Unable to start up 3D acceleration” is a common crashing error while launching the game World of Warcraft. It could be due to limited hardware resources, outdated drivers/system, damaged game files, or overlay incompatibilities. If you’re experiencing this issue, try following this guide and you will sort it out.
Instant Ways to Fix WOW
- Try another video output port
- Check the system requirements of the game
- Scan and repair corrupt game files
Before we start troubleshooting, please note that you don’t have to do all the tips in this post. You can start with the one you haven’t tried before. And as a reminder, all the screenshots in this troubleshooting guide are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well.
If your World of Warcraft crashes with the error “Unable to start up 3D acceleration”, please make sure that your monitor is plugging into the proper video output. Basically, there are many video output ports located in the back of the computer case. You can try a new port to connect your monitor and see if it helps.
Please make sure you’re using the same video output port before plugging in. Below are the ports that you might see on your case.
Another reason why you see the error “World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration” is that your computer doesn’t have the required hardware components. To check, you can see the system requirements of World of Warcraft as follows:
|MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS||RECOMMENDED SPECIFICATIONS|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Windows® 7 64-bit||Windows® 10 64-bit|
|PROCESSOR||4 Cores, 3.0 GHz processor
4th Generation Intel® Core™ Haswell
AMD Ryzen™ Zen
|6 Cores, 3.5 GHz processor
8th Generation Intel® Core™ Coffee Lake
AMD Ryzen™ Zen 2
|VIDEO||DirectX® 12 capable 3GB GPU
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 900 series
AMD™ GCN 4th gen
Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics
|DirectX® 12 capable 8GB GPU
NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX
AMD RDNA™ 2
Intel® Arc™ 7 Graphics
|MEMORY||8 GB RAM||16 GB RAM|
Solid State Drive (SSD) 128GB available space
Broadband internet connection
|INPUT||Keyboard and mouse required.||Multi-button mouse with scroll wheel|
1280 x 720 minimum display resolution
Although you might be able to launch World of Warcraft on hardware below minimum specifications, you might encounter plenty of issues, including the error “World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration”.
If you don’t see your video card in the list above, here is another list of the supported video cards.
|GeForce® 900 Series (GTX 960 3 GB or above)||Radeon™ RX 400 Series (RX 460 4 GB or above)||Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics|
|GeForce® 10 Series (GTX 1050 3 GB or above)||Radeon™ RX 500 Series (RX 560 4 GB or above)||Intel® Arc™|
|GeForce® 16 Series||Radeon™ RX Vega Series|
|GeForce® 20 Series||Radeon™ VII Series|
|GeForce® 30 Series||Radeon™ RX 5000 Series|
|Radeon™ RX 6000 Series|
If your computer meets the minimum requirements of the game, then move on to the next tip.
If your computer has the supported video card but the “World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration” error is still crashing your game, then you should check if your graphics card driver needs an update, since an up-to-date graphics driver always ensures the best gaming performance and fewer bugs.
To update your display card driver, here’s what you can do (please note that the following screenshots are taken on Windows 11, but the instructions work on Windows 10 as well):
- On your keyboard, press the Windows key and X at the same time, select Device Manager.
- Double-click to expand the category Display adapters. Then right-click your graphic card driver and click Update driver (the name of the device can be different on your computer).
- Then click Search automatically for updated driver software.
- Wait for Windows to find the latest driver available for you.
- When the driver update is done, restart your computer for the change to take effect.
- Then check and see if the problem is fixed.
Sometimes Windows may tell you that “the best drivers for your device are already installed”. However, it’s not always accurate since Microsoft doesn’t have access to all the newly released drivers for your devices.
Therefore, if Device Manager doesn’t find you the latest Graphics driver, we recommend using Driver Techie to scan and repair outdated, corrupt, or missing drivers. It works in most cases where you have a driver-related issue. You can download Driver Techie by Clicking Here or following the guide below.
To use Driver Techie to find you the latest Graphics driver:
- Download and install Driver Techie, then launch it.
- Click Scan Now.
- After the scan, select all the drivers you need to update and click Update All (for Pro subscribers), and all your drivers will be updated automatically. (Please note that you can only update the driver one at a time if you use a free version. To see how to manually update the drivers one by one, please check this post.)
Driver Techie involves the direct human review of the driver database by our engineers, which ensures you always have the safest and latest device drivers. You can rest assured that all your device drivers are in good hands.
Furthermore, if you’ve subscribed to Driver Techie Pro, and need our technical support to help with the “World of Warcraft was unable to start up 3D acceleration” problem, please feel free to contact <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
If your World of Warcraft is still unable to start up 3D acceleration, you have to check if there are any corrupt game files. If so, you won’t be able to run World of Warcraft properly. In this case, it is necessary to verify the integrity of game files. Here are the steps:
- Launch Battle.net and select World of Warcraft.
- Click the gear icon next to the Play button and select Scan and Repair.
- Click Begin Scan to confirm.
- Wait for the process to complete.
Once done, re-launch World of Warcraft and see if the problem persists. If so, move on to the next fix.
With overlays, information from a program can be displayed on top of another program. However, enabling this feature in some programs is one of the known causes of the World of Warcraft crashing issue. In this case, you can try updating the overlay-type program. If it doesn’t help, try disabling the overlay in the program or uninstalling the program.
Below are some of the programs with an overlay known to cause World of Warcraft to crash:
- EVGA Precision™
- NZXT CAM™
- MSI Afterburner™
Let’s take Discord for example. First, check if you’re using the latest version, then try disabling the in-game overlay in Discord. Here are the steps:
- Launch Discord.
- Click the Setting icon at the bottom.
- Select Overlay from the left panel, then toggle off Enable in-game overlay.
- Restart your computer for changes to take effect.
When World of Warcraft crashes with an error “Unable to start up 3D acceleration”, you should check the video output ports and the hardware specifications. More importantly, checking updates for your graphics drivers is strongly recommended. Furthermore, you can scan and repair corrupt game files to fix the error. Last but not least, turning off overlay works in many cases.
We hope you find this troubleshooting guide relevant and useful. If you have any follow-up questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.
- Blue Screen
- CPU usage
- Disk Usage
- Display / Graphics
- Driver Download
- SD card
- System Settings
- Touch Screen