Unable to Launch AoE III on Windows 10 "nvCPL is unavailable"

#1

AoE III Complete Collection was working fine on my laptop for more than 1 year. Base OS is Windows 10, 16 GB RAM (Dual Video Card Intel HD 530 and NVIDIA GTX 960M). I was running game in compatibility mode Windows Vista and Running as administrator.

From 2-3 weeks ago, game suddenly stopped working. It is launching the initial screen, however, that screen stays for around 10-20 seconds and terminates. I tried locating log files and found that there is a message stating “nvCPL is unavailable”.

Since then I have tried installing/uninstalling the games, install DirectX updates, MSXML updates, try other compatibility settings (Windows XP etc.), Legacy Options (Which was already on). However, none of it seems to make it work.

Any idea what can be the problem and how to fix it?

Not totally related, however, on same settings Age of Mythology is still working.

#2

It’s from nvidia drivers, try reinstalll drivers, but not express install (choose full install).

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#3

Installed latest NVIDIA driver after downloading drivers to laptop, chose full install. However, same result. Splash screen comes for few seconds, then same message “nvCPL is unavailable.” in the log file and eventual termination of game.

#4

Solution might be here (guy with the same error and also 2 gpu’s):

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#5

Tried it before as well (Googled before posting to this forum). But followed it once more. Still the same situation. It seems like as if something is stopping it deliberately but nothing I can find in Anti virus or Windows defender or firewall either.

#6

You could try an extra scan with this program.

In general I would like to advise with the older NVidia GPU’s not to download and install the latest drivers from the NVidia website but only make use the WHQL versions supplied through Microsoft Update.

With newer hardware (and games) it got use to keep drivers updated, but you also can do this through Microsoft Update service. With older hardware stick to the latest MS approved WHQL versions unless really needed or directed by the machine manufacturer.

Also if you disabled and enabled DirectPlay you will need to reinstall AOE III again.

Are you running the CD or Steam version of AOE III Complete Edition?

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#7

I am running the CD version. I have uninstalled and reinstalled the game multiple times. But nothing seems to make it work.

#8

Hi DarnedPlate2018, I have a few questions and suggestions.

  1. Have you tried clean installing the latest GPU drivers, currently v430.64? That removes the previous driver and then installs the latest driver.

  2. What is the make and model of your laptop? Is it possible to force the laptop to use only the Intel HD 530 GPU or NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU when playing the disc version of Age of Empires III?

  3. After uninstalling the game have you tried deleting all traces of the game on your local hard drive? There may be some leftover files after uninstalling that are causing issues when you reinstall.

Unfortunately the disc version of the game is no longer supported so Microsoft is unable to provide support for your issue. If none of the above suggestions helps resolves your issue, I would suggest picking up a copy of the Steam version, which includes all the expansion packs, during the upcoming summer sale when it will likely be 75% off.

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#9
  1. Have you tried clean installing the latest GPU drivers, currently v430.64? That removes the previous driver and then installs the latest driver.
    Done. No change.
  2. What is the make and model of your laptop? Is it possible to force the laptop to use only the Intel HD 530 GPU or NVIDIA GTX 960M GPU when playing the disc version of Age of Empires III?
    Dell . Already tried forcing to specific GPUs but does not matter.
  3. After uninstalling the game have you tried deleting all traces of the game on your local hard drive? There may be some leftover files after uninstalling that are causing issues when you reinstall.
    Already Tried. Uninstalled, deleted traces, Restarted and installed again but no change.
#10

I’m sorry to hear you’re running into these issues!

If it started 2-3 weeks ago, a recent driver update may have caused things to get muddled. Here are a few things to try if you have not already:

  • Make sure to download DirectX 9.0c. It doesn’t hurt to ensure that there isn’t any corruption lingering in your DirectX files: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34429
  • Download all the latest Windows Updates. It sounds strange, but this can cause issues with games (particularly older games) if you haven’t grabbed all the latest files.
  • Try rolling back to an earlier graphics driver version. Specifically, try downloading and doing a fresh install of the last version which seemed to work for your particular device.

Let me know if any of those steps work to get things straightened out!

#11

Windows 10 has DirectX 12 installed and included all previous binaries by default. The only thing not included by default is Direct Play functionality. For previous OS there are no DirectX 12 binaries available to download or install. So in other words, it’s useless to install any DirectX download on Windows 10. Only enabling Direct Play makes sense and resolves that problem. But also if Direct Play wasn’t enabled before installing AOE 2 HD (and maybe AOE DE too). You will have to remove the game first, then enable Direct Play and reboot before trying to reinstall again. At that point most times it does work. You will also always have to launch the Steam client (or any other AOE 2 HD launcher / installer) with elevated permissions in order to install some games successfully for the first time or while updating.

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