I play AoE3 fine on my laptop, using my 1080p as my primary screen at home (at 1920x1080) however when I try to run it at school (again on my laptop), I get an error stating:

Initialization Failed
Direct3D initialization failed.  Possible causes:
Old or corrupted graphics driver.
Direct3D improperly installed.
Hardware acceleration disabled.
Starting the application with the workstation locked.

Please check the log file for more information.

Anyone have any ideas?

I can run the game at just about max settings just fine with my 1080p screen....

  • Are you using two different screen with the same computer, or do you use a school computer to try to run it? If so, are you sure directX is installed on at school?
    – Jupotter
    May 10, 2012 at 6:16
  • No, im using my laptop at school! Woops, ill edit that now... swear i put laptop in the question.... May 10, 2012 at 6:17
  • Do you have it plugged in at school ? Where you would at home ?
    – Zero
    May 10, 2012 at 8:40
  • Did you buy the game from Steam ?
    – GTX OC
    May 10, 2012 at 9:13
  • @Foxtrot Im always plugged in when running the game, at both school and home May 10, 2012 at 20:36

2 Answers 2


I had the same problem with Portal 2. How did I solve it? Well I had to manually specify my resolution.

Try this:

In C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Users3\NewProfile3.xml file, change

[Setting Name="optiongrfxres"]screen resolution of laptop(for eg:1024x768)[/Setting]

Source(See the 7th post)

  • Thanks, worked fine. I updated my game, and found that this fix was part of it... But now stuck with dumb looking pause menu... May 11, 2012 at 2:00
  • Update your video card driver , disable v-sync , run the game in windowed mode (if possible) . If all else fails , reinstall the game and update it (and hope for the best) . Cheers .
    – GTX OC
    May 11, 2012 at 4:14

In C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\My Documents\My Games\Age of Empires 3\Users3\NewProfile3.xml change the optiongrfxres field to your system resolution. For example, if the laptop/desktop resolution is 1920x1080, then change it as follows.

<Setting Name="optiongrfxres">1920 x 1080</Setting>

Note - While running the game the first time, the default config is read by the game (so your change will not be reflected), and it will be reset back to the original resolution (which is 1024x768) in NewProfile3.xml file.

In this case, you need to change your display resolution to 1024x768, run the game for the first time, create a profile, close the game, change the optiongrfxres field in NewProfile3.xml, and restart the game.

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