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How To Fix Civ VI's Crashing While Loading Bug

Windows Defender doesn't like it

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.

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