How To Fix Civ VI’s Crashing While Loading Bug

Alice O’Connor, we would have words. In fairness, Civilization VI [official site] did have a smooth launch – it’s only post-launch that things have gone ever so slightly wrong. It may not even be the game’s fault as such. The problem is that good old Windows has decided that Civ VI is a threat to something other than getting to bed at a sensible hour, and for many people this is preventing the game from loading.

There is a fix, fortunately, but I’ll only share it with you if you pay me 184 gold per turn and give me all your Tea and Uranium.

Starting at the weekend, Windows Defender (the current name for Windows anti-malware tools, built into Windows 8 and onward) gets a bit flustered when Civ VI loads. For me, that usually entails getting stuck on the savegame/resume loading screen. Sean Bean does his familiar spiel about my Civ, then I’m just stuck there, staring at the load screen indefinitely, without that big blue Continue button ever appearing.

Sometimes, I couldn’t even make it that far – it’d hang on the copyright messages in the game start-up screens. My plans for just one ten fifty a hundred turns before bed were resolutely scuppered.

As was using my PC for anything else. The only way to escape this was to hard-reset my PC, or try to activate Task Manager blind, as the stuck loading screen remained at the forefront of my monitor no matter how much I Ctrl-Alt-Deleted. I managed to get back to my desktop by pressing S to select Sid Meier’s Civilization VI, then Alt-E to End Task, but still had the problem of a non-working game.

Following this procedure, I noticed in Task Manager that Windows’ malware protection tool was making my CPU work like a roadsweeper on the morning after St Patrick’s Day. It was frantically scanning for some perceived threat, even long after I’d force-quit the game.

Yes, 2K have revealed, there’s some argy-bargy between Civ VI and Windows Defender, which only kicked in a couple of days ago. Windows Defender updates itself regularly and, in Windows 10, has a cloud-based realtime scanning element, hence the change.

No doubt Civ VI will get itself whitelisted soon enough, but in the meantime there’s a relatively easy fix – manually adding an exclusion. Hit Start (or nearest Windows 8 equivalent), type Defender, select first option, then click Settings on the window which appears. In the next window, scroll down until you find Exclusions, then click Add an exclusion. Choose Exclude a folder and browse for your Civ VI install folder – likely to be C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization VI.

I also needlessly added the Civ VI executable, in C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization VI\Base\Binaries\Win64Steam, because I’m paranoid like that.

And that’ll sort it – back to normal loading. Note you don’t need to bother doing this if the game loads fine for you as it is, it won’t make any difference.

All sorted. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go order Alice to write 28 Have You Playeds in penance.


  1. FilipMagnus says:

    Poor Alice…she gave us the carrot, now she’s getting the stick!

    Haven’t suffered from that loading crash yet, I’ll count myself lucky.

  2. SilentDawn says:

    A little tip regarding the task manager. go to options and tick “always on top”.

    • Ghostwise says:

      Oh, good idea that. Ta.

    • bglamb says:

      Ahh, that’s way better than my tip, which was hovering over the preview window in the task-bar forces it to the front, letting you use the keyboard to tab between sections and select things to end.

  3. Kreeth says:

    If you’re using Windows 10, I find it handy to have something open on desktop 2 while I play games that might hang on desktop 1. Even an empty notepad file or something means you can just alt-tab there then run task manager on that desktop and see what you’re doing.

    Haven’t played Civ 6 yet, as the over 1000 hours I have on 5 means it would be suicidal. Still have an itchy clicky finger whenever I open Steam though :(.

  4. groovychainsaw says:

    Thanks Alec, this happened to me last night, twice, in exactly the manner you describe. I’ll get it fixed tonight. It actually meant I got to sleep at a sensible time last night, so every cloud, eh?

  5. Neurotic says:

    I’d give her a raise, just for the wonderful headline on that piece. :D

  6. DieEasySteve says:

    Thanks, this happen me last night just as I thought I would have a quick 30mins before bed.

    Followed up by the win10 anniversary update just to make sure I didn’t get any game time.

  7. StevieW says:

    This got me last night too – thanks for the fix :)

  8. Arexis says:

    Throw in some aluminum, and you have a deal.

  9. TheButler83 says:

    Had this bug at 9:00 last night and unfortunately the fix above works perfectly which left me having one last go far too late in the night!

  10. Blastaz says:

    I got this bug yesterday when trying to start my first proper session, and thought loading was much worse than the toe I dipped in the water on launch day. Good to know there is an acknowledged problem and a fix too.

  11. Sian says:

    I have Windows Defender deactivated and still occasionally run into this bug.

  12. Myfyr says:

    My housemate was having the same issue with Microsoft Security Essentials’ real-time protection on Windows 7 (Defender is a separate program on Windows 7, and turned off by default, but I think they got combined in 8+?). We’ll have to try the exclusions trick – just been turning it off so far, which is not ideal.

    Hopefully whatever fixes the Defender issue also works for MSE.

  13. Einsistnull says:

    Nope, this fix is not working for me. Only disabling Windows Defender entirely fixes the problem

  14. syllopsium says:

    Is it just me, or does Caesar look like Jeremy Paxman in a toga?

  15. sidnitzerglobin says:

    I’ve run into a seemingly different crash issue on the first game I started. I believe it’s somewhere around 1980 playing as TR, the game loads w/o issue and crashes to desktop at the same spot of queued actions/build completes at the beginning of my turn. No mods or weird stuff and I’ve updated to the latest Nvidia drivers to no avail. I’m playing my first few games as a trial and error exercise at normal time scale just to get oriented w/ the new game mechanics so not all that invested in this game but it was surprising to run into the problem since the rest of the experience had been pretty flawless from a technical perspective for the first ~30 hours or so in game.

    Most of my loading has been problem free (although I believe I had one instance of the game crashing “gracefully” loading up the second game I started last night while I wasn’t paying attention).

    I’ll try adding an exception in Defender, hopefully that will take care of both problems?