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

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
  • remon hany
    Hi, when i open that thiefgame.exe it tells me "Thief cannot start when Steam is not running" what can i do now???
  • Skillz_6014
    Same here
  • Tahi Morgan
    so i pre ordered thief about two weeks early and, i played it fine for the first to chapters no crashes no lag, got up to the bit where you pull the lever for the house of blossoms (big red doors) and it closed, no pop up box just closed? any idea how to fix it? Please help
  • donkeykong_4999
    Acer Aspire V3-551G Laptop (APU Quad Core A8/ 4GB/ 500GB/ Win7 HB/ 2.5GB Graph)

    2 GB AMD Radeon HD 7670M Dedicated 512 MB AMD Radeon HD 7640G Grpahics Integrated
    i installed the new graphic driver and updated directx.

    when i run the file "Shipping-ThiefGame" the game menu pop ups and the when i click play ther a black screen and the game stops running.
    pls help
  • mks002
    i have updated audio and graphics driver but nothing changed still get black screen
  • Michael_6662
    What fixed a hanging game for me was pretty simple, if you are having troubles aswell and you are on 64bit, launch the game through steam, go to options and then tick the 32 bit box. I had tried everything to fix it but this just did it, hope the patch it soon to fix the 64 bit issues though...
  • Garretina
    I can't click on the 64bit! What changes do I need to do before it becomes clickable?
  • Garretina
    I purchased Thief and I tried to install it on my pc.. it only goes as far as installing steam and then a new window appears saying "ERROR:no steamconfigservers are online" .. I even tried installing it on 3 different pc's and the same happens. Why is this happening? I paid for this game and I cannot play it.Anyone else having the same problem? Is there a solution?
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    If it's an issue with Steam, I know for a fact that the Steam servers were doing some wonky things for the past few days so it simply might have been that. Everything looks back to normal now so try again?
  • Smg_4447
    Hello, I cannot install Thief on Pc. There would be an error "nosteamconfigservices are online" and the system shut down itself. Anyone has this problem? How could I solve this? Thank yok
  • Garretina
    Did you get a solution to your problem? I am experiencing the same thing!
  • madkiller252
    when i lunch the game it stops at the part u have to pick pocket the guard and wont go pass that part hellllllllllllllllppppppppppp
  • Adam_4307
    I've had the first problem about the black scream but on ps4
  • john_8487
    how can i start thief without steam
  • john_8487
    how can i start Thief without steam?
  • rahul_2190
    there is error just after we jumped from the house where we steal the mask.....after opening the window it says u r directed to the main menu as there was a problem in saving....evry time i try the same error pops up...
  • toni_5691
    hello after the intro of the game there is no menu
    kindly help
    thank you
  • LLoyd_1060
    When I launch the game an error says error saving game .. return to main menu, then nothing... all i see is the guards walking around and music... no menu no nothing
  • William_6119
    Going to the prologe went all well! but loading the first (second) chapter, I get stuck in a loading screen loop where the loading bar doesnt load further than about 7% and the Tip/hints are showing up 1 new tip every second.

    Hope anyone can help me!

  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    Someone else complained about the same thing, I will try and see. :)
  • markel_3429
    Hi, I've had a read through and haven't been able to spot my problem. If it's already posted, sorry.

    I pre-installed Thief a few days ago, but now it says 'update required' in steam. When I open it, the update window says '0 seconds remaining', but never launches. The Steam client says it has downloaded 19.6/19.6GB, but when I checked the SteamApps folder, Thief isn't in there -- it's still in the 'downloading' folder.

    I've tried verifying the local content, does nothing. I guess Steam has gotten stuck during the unpacking process or something?

    I've also tried moving the folder into the steam apps common directory and re-verifying but it did nothing.

    Just seeing if there's any other suggestions from any wizards before I remove and redownload the whole thing, which I'd obviously rather not have to do.

    Thanks! :)
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    I've seen people complaining about this issue too, but I don't remember finding a fix for it. I will look again and see if I can help you!
  • joerockt
    Downloading those dll's and putting them into the win64 directory worked for me. Thanks.
  • Stephanie Tang
    Featured Columnist
    You are very welcome. :)

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