This post is for those who love Age of Empires games and they want to play the HD release but instead of the map they see black screen. Don’t worry and there is an easy and fast solution for this. It happened to me on Windows 7 so I can’t say if it is Windows 7 specific problem or a general one. Also, it depends if you installed through Steam or normally. I provide both solutions which are basically the same.

Steps to fix the problem through normal installation:

Step 1: Find the game shortcut (AOE2 HD) or create it if it is not already there

Step 2: Right click and select Properties

Step 3: In the end of the target path, after the quotes (“) leave a space and put this option -nostartup. Then press Apply and OK to save the changes. Now the target should be like this “<Game Path>” -nostartup

Steps to fix the problem through Steam

Step 1: Locate AOE2 HD and go into its properties

Step 2: Type -nostartup in the game launch options

Both solutions are the same, the game needs this launch option. There is no problem with your card and you don’t have to update your graphics card. All you need to do is to put the option and then enjoy playing the game.

Age of Empires II HD Black Screen Solution

32 thoughts on “Age of Empires II HD Black Screen Solution

  • May 19, 2014 at 17:15

    where do i write the -nostartup part dont know what you mean

  • May 20, 2014 at 19:37

    If you don’t have the shortcut find the game, right click and select send to > Desktop (create shortcut). Now find the shortcut right click, select properties. A new window will appear, find the target field. It is the path of the game, add quotes if there are not there, at the beginning and the end of the path for example "C:\Games\AoE" and add the -nostartup after the quotes. At the end it should be like this "C:\Games\AoE" -nostartup

  • July 2, 2014 at 19:40

    Thank u bro
    U r awesome

  • September 28, 2014 at 02:04

    Thanks a LOT!

  • December 2, 2014 at 20:08

    Hi, how do I fix the problem on Mac OS X ? I have the same black screen problem, the game starts up, I got the menu, the sound, but a black screen on the game play. Where do I pu «nostartup» on Mac? I can’t open properties…

  • December 3, 2014 at 22:55

    I’ve never used Mac but I can give you some workarounds. If you use Steam you can select “Set launch options” and give -nostartup as parameter. Another option is to use the alternative to command line and give the parameter there. Last one is to use run command and give the path to the executable followed by the -nostartup option (<path_to_game_executable> -nostartup).

  • November 10, 2015 at 08:07

    You Are The Man!!! A day and a half of trying a million possibilities and then this. A million thank you’s are not nearly enough : )

  • January 23, 2016 at 16:34


  • March 5, 2016 at 13:45

    1000% Work,….. awesome thank you very much,.. muach,..muachh,..

  • January 15, 2017 at 06:39

    WOW! Great I got the solution.


  • May 14, 2017 at 11:18

    hey man,
    I can enter the game (aoe2 non steam) but when I trying to play I get black screen. I’m using Wine Windows Program Loader to run games on LINUX.

  • May 14, 2017 at 16:55

    I fix that black screen for linux.
    if anyone got this error, TRY THIS:


    hope this help

  • June 15, 2018 at 10:02

    Thank you a lot! For those using Wine on mac: -nostartup is an “EXE flag”!

  • September 4, 2018 at 09:09

    Gigi, could you explain that more thoroughly please. What is an exe flag? Please explain in simple words because I don’t know a lot about wine. Thanks for everything

  • September 15, 2018 at 14:56

    Thank you Gigi , I added in the wine advanced configuration of the wrapper -nostart in the EXEflag line , works perfectly !

  • September 23, 2018 at 20:32

    Thank you so much non steam install on windows 10 works!

  • November 23, 2018 at 16:20

    Good evening! Unfortunately I have the same problem on my Mac, downloaded using Wine. I don’t know how I can add an exe flag (-nostartup). Can anybody tell me what to do exactly? Do I need another program or can I just use wine and where can I add the flag? Thanks!

  • August 16, 2019 at 09:41


    In case you wonder / still struggling how to use the -nostartup EXEflag :
    It is basically an argument.
    Here is how
    $ wine AoK\ HD.exe -nostartup


  • January 15, 2020 at 13:23

    Thanks my man! +10 karma for you

  • April 1, 2020 at 07:08

    Having trouble with getting this fix to work on mac. I can get it to work when I directly open the exe file with wine but upon starting a new match or campaign the gameplay view is just black. So basically I can’t find where to put in this -nostartup command. The torrent came with Wineskin and here the command is already in the configuration. I can’t seem to get wine and wineskin to work together. how do they relate to one another? This is quite difficult to explain I realise. Any help would be much appreciated.


  • April 2, 2020 at 05:44

    I am sorry to hear that. I am not a Mac user but there are comments from mac users that were able to fix it. From a quick search I found that Wine is a Linux program and Wineskin is a Mac version of that.

  • April 10, 2020 at 21:13

    Hello please help with mac :((

  • April 13, 2020 at 15:24

    i have black screen and i dont have steam, please help 😉

  • May 11, 2020 at 09:33

    Thanx, a million, mate.
    Solution no. 1 work!!!!!

  • August 24, 2020 at 06:00

    Ubuntu 20.04 hatchling here. Mini map and other UI looks and works normal. tired Edi’s May 2017 method in a way i understood it. didnt work. can somebody help me please?

  • September 2, 2020 at 20:56

    THANKS A LOT !!!!!
    Worked for me. You’re a genius 😉
    What does no startup change by the way?

  • November 6, 2022 at 19:52

    Hey, this is great “-nostartup” did work for me!

    I was trying to run Age of Empires 2 HD edition on M1 Mac (Macbook air). Game loaded up fine, but when I start a mission, or random game, I get black map (mini map was fine).

    System: M1 Mac, OS Monterey, using Porting Kit, their official install, then installed a cracked AoE2HD version on top of it.

    How it worked: open porting kit, on the left on AoE2 right click -> Properties, and then just this next to Target: “C:\Program Files\Age of Empires II HD\AoK HD.exe” -nostartup

    And it runs fine. I also saw there were other commands there too, just in case anyone needs it:
    -noreactlogin -allosarches -cef-force-32bit -udpforce

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