Fallout 3

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Fallout 3
Fallout 3 cover.jpg
Release dates
October 28, 2008
Fallout 3 at WineHQ
Fallout 3 at SteamDB
 Fallout 3 at Wikipedia
Fallout 1997
Fallout 2 1998
Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel 2001
Fallout 3 2008
Fallout: New Vegas 2010
Fallout 4 2015

Key points

Information Runs better on Windows 7 and later with the multiple core CPU fix.
Information Shares many similarities with Fallout: New Vegas in terms of its engine and performance.
Advantage Extensive modding community.

General information

More information Steam Community Discussions (Game of the Year Edition)
More information Steam Community Discussions
More information Steam Users' Forums for game series
More information No Humans Allowed Forums for game
More information Fallout 3 Nexus - the most popular host for almost all Fallout 3 mods.


Source DRM Notes Keys
Retail Disc checkAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Launcher uses SecuRom's disc check, run with Fallout3.exe to bypass[1]
Amazon.com Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
GamersGate Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
GameStop Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition.
Green Man Gaming Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Humble Store Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Steam Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Uplay Availability Table Icons - Steam.svgAvailability Table Icons - GFWL.svg Game of the Year Edition is also available.
Information All versions require Games for Windows - LIVE.
Information GFWL profile, local or otherwise, is not required for play (and by extension, a product key is not required for play). Local GFWL profile can be created and doesn't require a product key. Connecting to a Microsoft account requires a product key, each allowing 10 or so online activations.

Version differences[edit]

Information The Game of the Year Edition includes all DLC, and is the best choice for price and modding capability.
Information The German version only includes the German language and has content differences (e.g. no blood/gore).

Downloadable content (DLC) and expansions

Name Notes
Operation: Anchorage Windows
The Pitt Windows
Broken Steel Windows
Point Lookout Windows
Mothership Zeta Windows

Essential improvements[edit]


Information The v 1.7 patch updates the game to the latest version. The Steam version is already patched. The Retail Game of the Year Edition will apply the patch during the DLC disc installation.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Fix File removal

  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Go into Data/Video/
  3. Rename, delete or move this file:
Fallout INTRO Vsk.bik


Information Nexus Mod Manager - the best mod manager for Fallout 3, making the process of installing mods much easier.

Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch[edit]

Advantage Fixes many of the bugs which official Bethesda patches never solved

Fallout 3 Script Extender (FOSE)[edit]

Information Disables Games for Windows - LIVE (GFWL) when run.
Information Used by many Fallout 3 mods to extend the scripting capabilities of Fallout 3's game engine.
Disadvantage Russian and Polish DVD retail copies, Direct2Drive copies, and the unpatched game ( are all unsupported.

Tale of Two Wastelands[edit]

Information Tale of Two Wastelands combines Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas into a single game. It uses the New Vegas engine. It also requires you to have all of the DLC.

Play without Games for Windows - LIVE[edit]

Information Games for Windows Live can be disabled as an alternative to using a local profile.

Fix Games for Windows - LIVE Disabler

Information Requires Fallout 3 v1.1 or higher.
Advantage Removes login delay, reducing startup time.
  1. Download and run the Games for Windows LIVE Disabler
  2. To retrieve save games, move files from: %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\<user-id>\ to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\
  3. Use the 'Move DLC's' button to get DLC working again. Steam version of Game of the Year Edition owners do not need to move DLC.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\*.ini

Save game data location[edit]

Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves\

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
Steam Cloud No native support
GameSave Manager Native support

Save games missing[edit]

If logged into Games for Windows LIVE, the game will save the save files under the currently logged-in username. If logged out of the service, the game will be unable to locate the saves.

Fix Retrieve Missing Saves

  1. Go to %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\Saves
  2. Search in the folders for your latest saves (if you're were not logged in while saving, the saves will be found in the Saves folder. If you were logged in, the saves will be under your Games for Windows LIVE folder)
  3. Copy the files out to either folder (your username if you plan on logging in each time, or the Saves folder if you do not.)

If you restart the game, your saves should be detected.

Video settings[edit]

Video settings.
Graphics option Option WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution Native support WSGF WS Silver.svg
Multi-monitor Hackable WSGF MM Silver.svg See Multi-monitor.
Ultra-widescreen Native support WSGF UW Silver.svg
Field of view (FOV) Hackable See Field of view (FOV).
Windowed Native support
Borderless fullscreen windowed Hackable Working using Borderless Windowed, ShiftWindow and AutoHotkey.[2]
Anisotropic filtering (AF) Native support Set in launcher. Up to 16 samples.
Anti-aliasing (AA) Native support Set in launcher. Up to 8x MSAA.
Vertical sync (Vsync) Native support Toggle in launcher is broken. Set iPresentInterval=0 in fallout.ini to disable
60 FPS Native support
120+ FPS Hackable Possible using Fallout Stutter Remover mod. Run the game with the mod installed then edit the config file to set the maximum fps to whatever you like (may cause some instability).
Information Most graphics options are accessible on the main launcher screen.


Information Adds support for multi-monitor displays.
Advantage Displays HUD on the middle display.

Fix Multi-monitor

  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Find the following lines:
Information Relevant multi-monitor resolutions:
3840x1024 5040x1050
iSafeZoneXWide=610 iSafeZoneXWide=770
iSafeZoneYWide=15 iSafeZoneYWide=15
iSafeZoneX=610 iSafeZoneX=770

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Fix Edit Field of view (FOV)[3]

  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Find the section: [Display]
  3. Add the line to the bottom of the section:
    • fDefaultWorldFOV=75.0000
  4. Change the FOV value based on your aspect ratio.

These values use the 5:4 aspect ratio as a baseline FOV:

Aspect Ratio FOV Value
4:3 79.9000
16:9 105.3000
15:9 99.0000
16:10 95.2000
21:9 80.0000

Input settings[edit]

Input settings.
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping Native support
Mouse acceleration Hackable Enabled by default; see Mouse acceleration.
Mouse input in menus Native support
Mouse Y-axis inversion Native support
Controller support Native support Native XInput controller support.
Full controller support No native support Partial support
Controller remapping Unknown
Controller Y-axis inversion Unknown

Mouse acceleration[edit]

Fix Disable mouse acceleration[4]

  1. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Find the section: [Controls]
  3. Add the lines:
    • fForegroundMouseAccelBase=0
    • fForegroundMouseAccelTop=0
    • fForegroundMouseBase=0
    • fForegroundMouseMult=0

Audio settings[edit]

Audio settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls Native support Music, footsteps, voice, effects and radio.
Surround sound Native support Up to 7.1 output[5]
Subtitles Native support Shows one subtitle at a time.
Closed captions No native support
Mute on focus lost Native support
Information May require DirectSound3D restoration software to restore proper audio functionality on Vista and later.


Information The German version only includes the German language.
Language UI Audio CC Notes
English Native support Native support Native support
French Native support Unknown Unknown
German Native support Native support Native support
Italian Native support Native support Native support
Russian Native support Native support Native support
Spanish Native support Native support Native support

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Native 3D Unknown Unknown icon.svg
Nvidia 3D Vision Native support GG3D silver.svg Use Helix Mod: Fallout 3 for better 3D support.
TriDef 3D Native support GG3D platinum.svg
iZ3D Unknown Unknown icon.svg

Issues fixed[edit]

Information TweakGuides has created a comprehensive guide for fixing issues in this game. It can be found here.

Game crashes randomly[edit]

Information Caused by problems with multi-core CPUs on Windows 7 and later.

Fix Multiple Core CPU Fix[6]

Information This will limit the game to 1 or 2 cores and prevent the engine bug from causing the game to freeze.
Advantage The most common fix required for this game.

Follow this link for an in-depth guide https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYjblafxHYI

  1. Move the .dll file to the installation folder.
  2. Open %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  3. Change bUseThreadedAI=0 to bUseThreadedAI=1
  4. Make a new line after it and add iNumHWThreads=2
  5. If the game still crashes, try this line: iNumHWThreads=1

Fix Disable .Net 3.1

  1. Uninstall Fallout 3.
  2. Disable .NET 3.1 under the "Turn windows features on or off" menu.
  3. Reinstall Fallout 3.

Fix Disable any kind of overlay that may interfere with the game

Certain non-conversation voices, such as museum exhibits and random speech, are too quiet[edit]

Fix Editing the config file[7][citation needed]

  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Change fFilterdBAttenuation=11.5 to 0

Game keeps minimizing[edit]

Information Caused by the cursor being active in the background (and clicking Icons, Links, Buttons etc.)

Fix Disable Visual Themes and Desktop Composition

Information This will disable Steam's overlay and playtime counter.
  1. Right click on Fallout3.exe and select Properties.
  2. Click the 'Compatibility' tab.
  3. Check 'Disable Visual Themes'.
  4. Check 'Disable Desktop Composition'.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click OK and run Fallout3.exe.

Crash when starting new game or loading save[edit]

Fix Reinstall Codecs

Information Test if you have codec issues is by temporarily renaming the Data/Music and Data/Video folders in your program folder to something else (try each one individually) and attempting to start the game. If that works, follow the next steps.
  1. Uninstall all audio/video programs not in active use.
  2. Download and install the K-Lite codec tweak tool.
  3. Run the codec repair tool.
  4. Restart the computer.

Fix Run as administrator

Information This tweak seems to fix a lot of crashing issues.
  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Right click on Fallout3.exe, and select "Properties"
  3. Select the "Compatibility" tab.
  4. Under "Privilege Level," check the box marked "Run this program as administrator".
  5. Select "OK," and exit out of the Explorer window.
Now, when running the game, a dialog will appear, asking if you will allow the program to make changes to the computer. You must select "Yes" each time you run Fallout 3 in order to actually be able to play the game.

Fix Disable Windows Aero

Information If the game works in windowed mode, but not full-screen, this may help.
  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize from the context menu.
  2. In the Personalization Control Panel applet, scroll down to the Basic and High Contrast Themes.
  3. Choose one of the basic themes and Windows will apply the change immediately.

Fix Place a dll in the install folder

Information Use this when running on Intel integrated graphics.
  1. Download this file.
  2. Place it in the installation folder.

Pip-Boy radio skipping or stuttering[edit]

Information Commonly caused by an issue with current MP3 codec, the format used exclusively by songs played through PipBoy radio.
Information The music may not be stuttering when the game is minimized, with the song played normally.

Fix Fix for Creative X-Fi soundcards

Information Try the Audio Codec fix for game crashes first, if your Pip-Boy radio still skips (test with the enclave channel) owners of a creative soundcard may find that this helps.
  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\fallout.ini
  2. Double the iAudioCacheSize=2048 to 4096.
  3. Install the latest creative drivers and volume control panel for your soundcard, as well as creative alchemy.
  4. Add Fallout 3 to Creative Alchemy: select Use Registry Path and point it to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Bethesda Softworks\Fallout3\Installed Path. Do not install to subfolder. Settings should be: Buffers=10; Duration=5; Maximum Voice Count=128. Leave direct music enabled.
  5. Set Creative Console to game mode! Alchemy will make Fallout 3 crash if you're not in game mode.

Fix Disable MP3 decoding in LAV Splitter Configuration

Information Might work with similar codec packs, for example ffdshow.
  1. Open LAV Splitter Configuration program by finding the shortcut in the Start Menu.
  2. In Input Formats tab, find mp3 codec and uncheck it.
Information More info about the problem can be found here and here.

Game crashes on start-up[edit]

Fix Update Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable

  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.

Fix Disable Other Monitors

Information If the game is crashing on start-up, disabling any other monitors in use could resolve this.
  1. Right-click on the desktop and select Screen Resolution from the context menu.
  2. In the Screen Resolution Control Panel, click on the drop down list labeled "Multiple Displays" and select "Show desktop only on 1" (or the monitor you wish to run the game on).
  3. Click apply then on the pop-up window click "Keep changes".

Fix Change FalloutPrefs.ini to reference your current GPU

Information If fallout3.exe does nothing when trying to open it, your FalloutPrefs.ini may be referencing an old GPU.
  1. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winsat
  2. Open the entry named PrimaryAdapterString and copy the text, it should be something similar to AMD Radeon R9 200 Series for AMD cards
  3. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\falloutprefs.ini and change sD3DDevice to your PrimaryAdapterString
  4. It should look something like this sD3DDevice="AMD Radeon R9 200 Series"

Game hangs on closing[edit]

Fix Disable threaded audio

  1. Edit %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Fallout3\FALLOUT.ini
  2. Change bMultiThreadAudio to bMultiThreadAudio=0

Crash when leaving Rivet City Marketplace[edit]

Information Happens when first entering the Rivet City marketplace to learn the history and then leaving through the door to the stairwell.

Fix The issue is the Unofficial Patch for Broken Steel[8]

  1. Go to the installation folder.
  2. Go into Data
  3. Replace the file Unofficial Fallout 3 Patch - Broken Steel.esp with the one found here: MediaFire
  4. Run Fallout 3

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
64-bit executable No native support


Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio DirectSound
Cutscenes Bink Video

Large Address Aware[edit]

Information This patch may remove GFWL!
Advantage Improves stability on systems with at least 3GB RAM, when using many heavily scripted mods

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS)
XP, Vista
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
System memory (RAM) 1 GB (XP)
2 GB (Vista)
2 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD)
8 GB
Video card (GPU) ATI Radeon X850
Nvidia GeForce 6800
256 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0c compatible
ATI Radeon HD 3800
Nvidia GeForce 8800
512 MB of VRAM


  1. Fallout 3 Tweak Guide - TweakGuides.com
  2. Tested by Andytizer.
  3. TweaksGuides.com Fallout 3 Tweak Guide - TweakGuides.com
  4. Mouse acceleration in new patch makes game unplayable - Bethesda Softworks Forums
  5. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up
  6. Fallout 3 on Windows 7 - Steam Users' Forums
  7. Fallout 3 GOTY Modulated Voices too quiet - Steam Users' Forums
  8. [BUG] Stuck in rivet city! Crash to Desktop on exit! (NOW RESOLVED!) - Steam Users' Forums