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After (what is currently) the latest Steam patch, Skyrim refuses to start. This problem does not appear to be isolated to me.

Steam just sits there forever with a "preparing to launch" dialog up, and part of the latest patch was removing the ability to launch Skyrim directly so that option is out.

Are there any workarounds for this issue?

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3 Answers

There are two three known workarounds for this (see Precog DragonBorn's answer for general Steam issues; these were particular to Skyrim).

The one most frequently found online is to verify your game files:

  • right click Skyrim in your library
  • click properties
  • go to the local files tab
  • click "verify integrity of game cache"
  • wait a while
  • as JClasspill points out, make sure all patches have completed before giving up

A number of people seem to have had this work.

This however, did not work on my system (Windows 7, x64, GeForce GTS 450).

What did work for me was switching Steam to offline mode:

  • click the Steam menu
  • click "go offline"

Note that this worked even after completely re-installing Steam and Skyrim didn't. I suspect, but cannot be sure, this has something to do with Steam Cloud syncing because after attempting and failing to launch Skyrim I couldn't close Steam due to it.

Sean C reports that deleting ClientRegistry.blob can also fix this issue.

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After verification, there should be a patch that downloads. After the patch, it should work. So, before giving up after the verification completes, be sure to check your 'library' and make sure the patch has finished. –  JClaspill Nov 23 '11 at 15:57
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Whenever Steam shows the "preparing to launch" message you just need to restart Steam, then launch the game again.

If that doesn't work then this is some Steam troubleshooting tips

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While these didn't actually help in my case, +1 anyway; they're good tips to have at hand. –  Kevin Montrose Nov 23 '11 at 5:23
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I had this issue myself. I shut down Steam and deleted a file called ClientRegistry.blob. It's automatically created by Steam and regenerates at next startup. It fixed my issue.

PER: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7241-EYON-2343

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