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Thief (2014) - Steam Black Screen & Other Common Issue Fixes

Some users are running into issues starting up this game from Steam. Here are some ways you might be able to fix these problems!

If you are looking for help with any other issues, please feel free to check out the Thief Guide Master List for more!

While Thief has had a much smoother release day run compared to other major titles of the past (e.g. the Batman: Arkham series, SimCity, etc.), there have still been a few issues that people have run into while trying to get their games started. Here are some of the ones that I have found fixes for.

Pleaes note: I have the Steam PC Master Thief Edition. Many of these issues will relate to the Steam version of the game but feel free to leave a comment and I can see if I can help you find a solution.


Black Screen at Launch

First of all, be patient. I have been able to boot up the game just fine, but the black screen that pops up when it launches hangs around a lot longer than you'd expect before the opening videos start to play. Other users have reported this black screen to take up to two minutes or more before the opening videos start to play. For slower computers, this wait might be even longer (one user even reported having to wait 10 minutes!). This can be annoying, but it beats the game not running at all.

Note: you can alt+tab out of the game while this happens!

If this black screen persists and nothing loads or it simply crashes after the black screen, try running Steam as administrator. If the problem continues to persist, try updating your audio drivers. The simplest way to do this is:

  • Go to Device Manager (search it in your Start menu)
  • Select your audio device
  • Double-click and select the Driver tab
  • Click the "Update driver" button

Or you could check your motherboard manufacturer's website and check for updated drivers on there. One Steam user also posted this solution:

"MSI Afterburner's On Screen Display

I figured out that black screen was caused by the RivaTuner statistics server's on screen display. After turning it off I was able to play.I know this is a popular issue and it probably won't solve everyone's problem but it worked for me."

This appears to be an isolated fix, however. 

Game Won't Launch

I have not experienced this problem myself, but I have spoken to several people who have been running into this problem. The first step is always to verify the integrity of your game cache through Steam. (From what I have found however, this is generally not the reason why people have been crashing.)

Note that a client patch has been released for Steam today (February 27) which has addressed some game crashing issues with many users. If that does not work, some of the fixes suggested for this issue are: 

  • Try installing the runtime in the folder  _CommonRedist\vcredist\2010
  • Going into SteamAppls\common\thief\_CommonRedist and manually installing DirectX and vcredist_x64
  • Disabling the Steam overlay (Right-click game properties in Steam Library > uncheck the Steam overlay box)
  • turning Double Buffer off
  • disable amBXFXGen.exe for those users with the amBX software suite

Some Steam users had some more details on how they fixed this issue. LordDavon suggested this:

So, I upgraded my drivers to the newer (Mantle Beta) drivers, which didn't support switchable graphics (they "automatically" switch). I backed them out and went back to my switchable graphics. It still crashed after starting a new game. I went in and set the game to use the High performance (AMD) drivers in the AMD Switchable Graphics app, and reloaded. The menu was much smoother (I really didn't notice the stutter until it was gone), and the game started a new game.

For those of us using a Laptop with AMD, or if you have Intel video on motherboard, you may want to doublecheck and make sure your Intel video is not being used, and that your AMD or Nvidia card is driving the game.

This suggestion from nietzs-[CheRYL] appears to have had a pretty good success rate among several different users:

With 0xc00007b error fixed (I've found it when I try Shipping-ThiefGame.exe in local folder)
here, dl then extract and replace it into system32
>>> http://www.bitdefender.com/files/KnowledgeBase/file/dlls.zip

Please note: I DO NOT personally recommend mucking around your System32 files without any advanced knowledge. I suggest this alternative step which other users have found to work instead. After downloading and extracting the files in the URl above, open it and copy the .dll files inside. Then, go into your Steam\SteamApps\common\thief\Binaries folder and paste them in either the win32 or win64 (depending whether your system is 32- or 64-bit) folder. 


Steam Preload Disk Write Error

This is an issue I experienced myself. Since I preordered the game, I also preloaded the game to try it on on day one release. I run all my games off a large HDD and use a small SSD essentially for Windows and applications.

When you preload, your game is actually saved to the Steam folder on the C: drive in Program Files. On a 90GB SSD, unpacking these files after the game unlocked essentially took up all the space in my C: drive. This is what causes the disk write error... you have no space left for the rest of it to write to.

I had to redownload it all, this time to the correct drive. Since the game had already unlocked, it did not save to the C: drive.


Stuck in Top Option in Menus

This is a problem and solution reported in my Release Day FAQ, where whenever some users have to make a selection from different options (e.g. main menu, in-game weapon purchase screen), the highlight selection indicator gets stuck on the top option and won't move down.

Plugging in a controller didn't appear to help fix this problem, but user sascha.hoogestraat suggested this fix: 

1. Start the game
2. unplug the keyboard
3. wait 5 seconds
4. plug the keyboard in
aaaand it works

my keyboard is not broken ... it´s some kind of bug that keeps pressing the "Page up" button

I hope one of these solutions will help you! Please feel free to comment any other suggestions or questions you might have. 

For walkthroughs, FAQs, bug fixes, and other tips for Thief, please check out the Master List.

Published Feb. 27th 2014
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