Like lots of others I have been searching the net for days trying to figure out why this $60 game won't work. I figure the least I can do is spend 30 minutes writing up what the problem ultimately was and how to get around this hurdle. Hopefully it will help some of you who experience similar technical difficulties with your battlefield 4 game. This whole post in a nutshell will basically tell you that if you are installing battlefield 4 and you already have Comodo firewall (or any other security software) installed on your PC be very vigilant.
The problem - When battlefield 4 is done installing and you want to start playing the game it won't launch. More specifically, the BF4.exe doesn't seem to respond or launch the actual game. You did not encounter any other problems during installation, although arguably I did get a directx setup error which I managed to fix seperately. When you click the BF4 icon on your desktop you will get a cursor circle for a second or so followed by nothing. When you try to launch the game through Origin it will start up the browser with battlelog and then when you click on either campaign, test range or multiplayer it will show a blue loading bar at the bottom with says it's initialising - you can then wait until you grow roots as nothing happens and the blue bar will eventually indeed disappear. There is also no BF4 window waiting in your taskbar that shows it is running but simply not going fullscreen.
Basically, whatever you do the BF4.exe executable won't respond, the game will not start launch, and there is no error message pointing you in a specific direction as to where the problem may lie. However, when you attempt to start the game you will see BF4.exe pop up very briefly under processes in your windows task manager, and in my case the process would only show when I started the game through origin (not the game shortcut or battlelog). I know this is a very elaborate description of something seemingly simple but I just want to make it very clear what problem exactly we are dealing with. Ironically, this is technically not a game-breaking bug as the game would need to start succesfully first for it to break [/sarcasm]. But being the true battlefield afficionados we are we will go that extra mile to make this ass-kicking game work...it only took me 5 days.
Troubleshooting - Firstly, I went from making sure my windows 7 was fully updated with servicepack one and the 1001 security updates it usually requires. My AMD Radeon catalyst drivers were further updated to the latest beta 13.11B8 which I think we are on now, and then back again to the latest stable 13.9 release. Installing battlefield from hard-copy disc or through download repeatedly (3x) gives the same problem. Repairing the install and making sure the game is up to date through origin made no difference. Starting the game as admin or repeatedly re-installing the battlelog plugin (admin or not) made no difference. turning off origin in game (under origin settings) or saving to the cloud made no difference. I didn't try reinstalling google chrome but did turn off its extensions which also made no difference. I did not install firefox and internet explorer was broken from the outset anyway. Fundamentally, I do not consider reinstalling windows or upgrading to 8.1 as a viable troubleshooting option simply because if such desperate measures are required just to make a game work it is too broken to be on retail in the first place.
- My system specs -
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bits
Sandy Bridge 2500K @3.4ghz
500Gig 3.5inch Sata drive
8 Gigabyte Corsair Ram
AMD Radeon HD 6950 1Gb
Programs installed - up to date Avast antivirus and Comodo Firewall (windows firewall is turned off but game exceptions are added anyway)
This is pretty much a 'run of the mill' average system which I built almost 2 years ago, but still runs all games very decently at 1920x1080.
Solution - Foremost several exceptions were added to Avast antivirus (the BF4 folder, origin service, and ActivationUI.exe) as this can prevent the game from working. In Comodo Firewall I added bf4.exe as a trusted application under program policies (which allows it to accept all in- or outgoing internet traffic). In addition I added battlefield 4, origin and ActivationUI to trusted applications in Comodo's defense+. Comodo essentially has two components being both firewall (that stops unauthorised connections coming in or out) with a defense+ component (which amongst others scans all software exe's for dodgy behaviour when they execute). Technically this should allow the game to work with no interference from either Avast or Comodo. It's worthwile adding here that both Battlefield 3 and 4Beta work without a hitch this way.
Essentially, the first thing that BF4.exe does after starting is invoking battlefield4\Core\ActivationUI.exe. This activates the game online and only the first time it does this should you see an origin-like activation panel saying it has succesfully activated. However, this panel never showed up during troubleshooting in my case. Further, BF4 does this everytime you start the game and you can see this trigger under view defense+ events in Comodo everytime this invocation takes place (provided this event is registered in Comodo). The problem is that Comodo prevents BF4.exe from executing ActivationUI.exe and therefore the process will never proceed beyond that point and the game effectively fails to launch. For some reason, both battlefield 3 and 4beta never had this problem and I was never required to muck with my Comodo Defense+ settings for these (or any other) games.
Presently the only way to allow BF4.exe to do its thing is to lower the Comodo defense+ security level to disabled. This comes with a yellow shield in Comodo saying proactive protection is disabled. This is not exactly ideal because it allows potentially malicious software to tamper with your PC but until this is patched by DICE it seems to be the only way to get the game going. Curiously, exiting the Comodo application from your notification bar (bottom right) still prevents BF4.exe from being started. Even though Comodo should not be active in the first place, the process in fact remains running as you can see in your windows task manager as Cmdagent (which is a process you can not terminate). I saw one forum post elsewhere which said Comodo had to be uninstalled entirely and merely stopping it was not enough, which is I suppose explained by the above.
There are a few things that don't add up here. First Comodo Defense should actually alert the user every time that BF4.exe invokes ActivationUA.exe which it clearly doesn' seem to do right now. Further, adding all BF4 or related files, folders, or executables as trusted applications in Comodo Defense is not enough, and lowering the security level to clean or trainee level is not enough. Although this should technically allow executables on your fixed drives to work (and this includes your OS drive) it clearly does not. I am not sure whether this problem is purely Comodo or battlefield 4 related. Although not everyone will have Comodo installed it does say something significant about Battlefield 4 generically conflicting with other security software on your computer. Most people will have some antivirus or firewall software installed these days and the fact that (at least in my case) it simply does not notify you whatsoever, and that adding exemptions or exiting the security application do not work at face value doesn't make troubleshooting any easier.
My point being that if Comodo trips up like this then other security software might very well too, keeping in mind that simply turning it off in your windows notification bar might not actually suffice =/. Quite the problem as that is usually the first fix I go for (and others I can imagine) to check for any obvious software conflicts. Once I disabled the defense security this problem went away and the campaign started immediately with no problem every time. Turning the security up again to trainee level in real-time resulted in the blue bar 'initialising' forever again. Multiplayer and test range also go beyond intialising now and actually log into the EA services which is why now I keep running into the 'can not log into EA services error'. But hey at least that's an error I am very familiar with =)
For what it's worth, once the game works it's pretty darn amazing what they've done from a visual perspective. Problem was that after five days of mucking around I couldn't be arsed playing the game and got myself a well deserved beer instead. In retrospect, I think the game could have been more compatible or compliant with existing software but Comodo also could not have acted like such a retard! Thus all being said and done, I can't blame DICE entirely for this 'failure to launch' error, but that's easy to say afterwards and I may very well be back here next week =)
Hopefully this fixes at least one of you guys problems.
You solved my problem sir, kudos to you. I didn't realize even after exiting Comodo, that it was blocking ActivationUI. Genius. Thanks again man
November 2013 - last edited November 2013
It didn't work for me, I disabled Avast! but it still terminates the process. You can phsyically open task manager and watch the CPU usage decline as it gets stopped by Avast!. Somehow, avast is still blocking it, even though I added the exclusions and disabled it for an hour.
Same problem on my brothers PC, The strange thing is that we both use commodo and it works fine on my PC but not his. I tried deactivating commodo all together and that didn't work as you have explained why, i wil be able to give it an other try now, thx.
can you help me please? my computer is a windows vista,
intel core 2,
graphics by nvidia 9500 GS
i don't know if you need any information ?
just, i'd love to play with this game... i can't launch it from battlelogh, i also have avast! so if anyone can help? thank you.
I was using just comodo's DNS Servers once I put it back to Obtain DNS server address automatically and manually added punk,eaactivation,bf464/x86 to my firewall it worked. Thank God I reinstalled this game 5 times before reading this thread.
I had the exact same problem. The blue bar on battlelog page will just stay in "joinin server" mode and would not even open origin. I have this problem with zonealarm firewall and as soon as I set up the bar all the way to "off protection" my BF4 has worked without problems. They really need to look into solving this problems with firewalls.