Second Life Viewer Crashes While Starting

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Last Updated: 2010-11-9

Several people are having problems with the SLV2 crashing on start. Not only does the SLV2 do this so do several other viewers. There are a number of reasons for the crashes. Usually a re-install of the viewer fixes the problems, but when it does not fix the problem, what to do?

System Restore

Try a System Restore to a time when things were working. This is often the easiest fix. XP How ToVista/Win7 How To

Basic Fixes

Reboot your modem and any routers. Reboot your computer. Check for new video and sound drivers.

Second Life Viewer 2 Crash Fix

There are a number of JIRA’s about the problem. Several fixes have been built into the server and viewer software recently, as in October 2010. But, we still have problems. These are the fixes I’ve come across.

JIRA VWR-2946 – Opened Nov 2007 – Updated Sept 2010 – Sal Marchant writes removing the folder C:\User\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLifeReleaseCandidate will resolve the Initialize VFS error. You won’t have this folder if you haven’t installed a Release Candidate viewer.

This suggests that if you use Beta viewers, Project viewers, or Development viewers one may need to uninstall them and manually delete the associated folders. Farther along in the article one of the fixes requires all viewers to be uninstalled and the folders deleted. I put the ‘how to’ there.

Another fix in this JIRA is to update your video driver. An old video driver can be the source of numerous problems for those trying to use Second Life. I’ll assume most of us have handled that problem and keep our drivers up to date. If not, visit your video card maker’s site and update your drivers.

Wiki: the crash logger comes up brieflyThe fix there is to clear the viewer settings. The viewer must be closed. Then delete the folder with settings, which is: C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings. You can delete everything in the folder. This fix is usually what a re-install does that fixes the problem. This essentially puts all the settings back to the default values. ButHowever, an install over an existing install does not always remove your previous settings. So, deleting this folder and restarting the viewer should return all settings to the default values.

Another problem that causes the viewer to crash on start is a corrupted cache. So, try clearing your cache. You will find the cache here: C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Local\SecondLife. You can delete everything in the folder.

NOTE: The settings and cache clear is often a workable and better substitute for uninstall/reinstall.

When you clear the settings and cache then log into a deserted region like; Aqua or Pooley. Allow your inventory to fully load, presuming you get logged in.

JIRA VWR-19520 – Pretty much the same as above. The additional information is that other programs on your computer may cause one to be disconnected from PARTS of SL. If you have this crash on start problem, shutdown every program you can. Run only SL.

JIRA VWR-20191Viewer 2.1.0 beta crashes on startup (before login screen). Here they go into a FULL UNINSTALL, which means uninstall then manually delete any SL folders. If you are into saving your chat logs remember to do so. The wiki has instructions for a full uninstall here: How do I fully uninstall and reinstall Second Life? Plus I have the information you need below.

This JIRA also goes into retrieving crash logs. You can search the crash logs for ‘fail’ and ‘error’ and may be get additional clues as to what is wrong. You will also need these files if you file a trouble ticket or ask for help in the Phoenix or Imprudence forums. The crash log can be found in: C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\logs. The files where one can find helpful information are: SecondLife.log, SecondLifeCrash.log and stack_trace.log with the crash and SL logs being the most informitive

Re-Install Fix

This may work for anyone one using multiple viewers or versions of viewers. It comes from the Imprudence forum.

This will destroy your chat and IM logs, so save them if you want them. Uninstall all viewers. Uninstall Second Life last. Next, manually delete all the install, settings, cache, and log folders. You will find the settings and logs in:  C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Roaming\[viewer_name]\. The caches are here: C:\Users\[user_name]\AppData\Local\{viewer_name or whatever you used]. The install folders are here: C:\Program Files\[viewer_name].

Restart the computer after you reset your modem and router, if any. You can power them down to reset them. Once they are back up restart your computer.

I suggest you get the latest versions of the viewers. Reinstall Second Life first. Login and test your install. Login some place like Aqua or Pooley. Let your inventory load and you avatar completely rez before you tp to another region. You may want to tp home and exit SL from there.

Install your TPV of choice. Once installed open it but DO NOT login. Go into preferences and change the cache location. Create a folder for the viewer’s cache. In Imprudence and series 1 viewers click Edit -> Preferences -> Network -> Set. In series 2 viewers it is in Me -> Preferences -> Setup. Once you have created a new folder exit out and close the viewer. A restart is needed for the change to take effect. Now log into Aqua or Pooley, again allow inventory to load and avatar to rez.

Phoenix & TPV Fix

The Phoenix viewer is especially sensitive to whether you have certain runtime modules installed on your computer. Other viewers may also be affected by various components in your computer. This problem is signaled by a ‘Failed to initialize…’ error. In the Phoenix Wiki is a link to AppFix.exe, which installs the DLL’s and other components Phoenix depends on. If you are running Linux there are instructions for adding the fix (Phoenix Crash Fix). For Windows users it is a download, click, and run fix.

The AppFix.exe fix is not recommended for other viewers. But, other viewers may have similar issues with their dependencies being the wrong version or missing, which can give you the same error. You need to handle those problems with the viewer’s developer.


On XP click Start -> Run and enter DXDIAG. On Vista/Win7 click Start and type DXDIAG. In the center near the bottom of the panel that opens is your DirectX version. You should have 9 or higher  for XP and 11 for Vista/Win7. If not, upgrade. Warning: Only update DirectX from Microsoft. Too many other sites offer it, but actually supply a Trojan. This problem was at its height in 2009, but it is still around.

QuickTime – Web Kit

One can install the Safari browser and that installs the QuickTime and Web Kit components that one needs for SL. The QuickTime, iTunes, and Safari downloader from Apple tries to install iTunes. If you don’t use iTunes you have to uncheck the option.

You can also use the QuickTime Troubleshooter.


Some viewers are now optimized for newer computers. The viewer depends on abilities in you hardware to run correctly. Older computers (more then 3 years) may not have the hardware features. the Wikipedia has information on SSE enabled CPU‘s. If you suspect a problem, try the ‘other’ version of the viewer.

SSE gives you better performance. If your computer supports it, use it. A mismatch between SSE and your computer can add problems because your computer runs slower or can’t perform some tasks. A mismatch MAY cause the ‘Failed to Initialize…’ error.

MS VC 2008

Viewers are compiled software and depend on various libraries which cannot be distributed with the viewer without special licensing. Windows XP machines tend to have the 2005 run time copy of the Microsoft Visual C Compiler. Viewers compiled with 2008 library will generally pop a ‘Re-Install Error’ when the library is missing, which is not going to help.

The fix is to install the 2008 library or use a viewer compiled for the 2005 version, which is most TPVs. The MS C++ Runtime is here. This change can affect other programs on your computer. Be sure you have a good Restore Point before making the change/upgrade.

Older Computers & Unpredictable Crashes

In this case 3 or more years is older. Make sure the heat sinks on the graphics card are clean. If you are uncomfortable opening the computer case, have someone help you. If you use compressed gas, poke a toothpick into the fan so it won’t spin. You can over rev a fan and then it will soon fail. Be careful, the bearings are delicate and easily damaged. Turn on the computer with the case open and make sure all the fans are spinning.

Obviously there are hazards with the case open and computer on. Keep your hands out. Some cooling systems are dependent on the case being closed for proper cooling. So, you only need the computer on long enough to tell if the fans are working.


If these steps have not fixed the problem, check with others in the SL forum or your viewer developer’s forum.

This crash on start problem can come from any number of causes. The developers make mistakes, so a new version may fail. Server updates can mess up a viewer that previously worked. Transient network problems can corrupt the cache, which contains a database and that leads to additional problems that can screw up any number of things. Installing another viewer can mess up previously installed viewers. Allowing multiple viewers to use the same cache is almost certain to cause problems.

Microsoft and other companies automatically update their software on your computer. Some of those updates can affect your SL viewer. So, a viewer can stop working at anytime.

If you find other solutions, please add them in comments.

Second Life Blogrum

There may be new information showing up here: Secondlife crashes while starting?

Also: My Secondlife Viewer simply crashes

One thought on “Second Life Viewer Crashes While Starting

  1. thank you SO much for this! V2 was crashing for me during the “Initializing VFP” or whatever the hell it is and i was getting SO mad. i uninstalled, rebooted, installed like 3 times and it never fixed it. i went in and deleted the user settings and now it works! that will teach me to play around with the graphic options!

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