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FM 2021 Crash Dump Error Message - How to Fix

Encountered a crash dump error message in Football Manager 2021? Here are the steps to take...
Started on 11 December 2020 by Stam
Latest Reply on 11 December 2020 by Stam
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A crash dump is a generic name for any type of crash you encounter when launching or running Football Manager 2021.
Contained within the crash dump file is information related to what kind of crash you have, which in some circumstances Sports Interactive will ask you to upload to their FTP.

Deleting this file will not solve your crash dump.

There are a few troubleshooting techniques we suggest you undertake in order to get the game running.

Windows users

Please bear in mind the minimum specifications have increased in recent years for Football Manager, so even if you able to previously run a version of the game you may not be able to this version.

Most systems will run the game without issue, but if your system is quite old or you're unsure, please contact Sports Interactive Support Team and attach your DxDiag so they can access and see if you are able to run the game.

The crash dump file can be located at the following default location: C:\Users\[Your Windows Username]\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021\crash dumps

Crash dump on launching FM 2021

If you have a crash with an error message, if it relates to any of the following reasons.


1. Warning: Failed to find a default database to use. Please make sure your installation is not corrupt.

Go to the following location:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Football Manager 2021

Windows 7 or Windows 8.1
  1. When you have the FM.exe right-clicking on the shortcut link and go to 'properties'.
  2. Within that screen select the 'compatibility' tab and select compatibility mode by selecting the checkbox.
  3. Select the system you’re running on (i.e. on Windows 7 select Windows 7).
Windows 10
  1. If you’re on Windows 10, right click on the FM shortcut link and select ‘Troubleshoot compatibility’
  2. If the above doesn't help, please try as follows:
  3. First of all, right-click on your desktop and select 'New' -> 'Folder'
  4. Create a folder and name it something to distinguish it (say SI backup)
  5. Once you've done this go to your Sports Interactive folder found within 'documents' which by default is at the following location:
  6. C:\Users\[YOUR WINDOWS USERNAME]\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021
    This should contain folders like 'games', 'crash dumps' etc. Please cut every folder from here and paste them into the folder you've created on your desktop.
  7. Once you've done this and the Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021 folder is now empty, launch the game. If it works, copy back the files from the desktop folder and hopefully it should now load without any issues.
Try the game again.


2. Unable to find Essential Data

If you experience this message when attempting to start the game, configure the compatibility mode for Steam using these steps:

Windows 7 and 8.1
  1. Close Steam
  2. Right click on Steam shortcut
  3. Click "Properties"
  4. Choose the "Compatibility" tab
  5. Uncheck the box "Run in Compatibility mode for"
  6. Click on "OK" and then start Steam using the same shortcut
Windows 10
  1. Close Steam
  2. Right click on Steam shortcut
  3. Select ‘Troubleshoot compatibility’
  4. Following It attempting to Troubleshoot, select ‘Try recommended settings’
You can now try the game


3. An error has occurred while installing Football Manager 2021 (missing app configuration)

If you’ve encountered a message which states ‘An error has occurred while installing Football Manager 21 (missing app configuration)' when attempting to install Football Manager 2021, please shut down Steam and delete this file located at the following location:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\appcache\appinfo.vdf

Once you’ve completed this, launch Steam and attempt to reinstall and run the game.


4. Game Unavailable Message

This is most likely due to the game encountering an incomplete install or update.

To combat this, please verify the integrity of your Football Manager game files. This can be done as explained below.

Verify integrity of game files

Steam
  1. Launch Steam
  2. From the 'Library' section, right-click on the game and select 'Properties' from the menu.
  3. Select the 'Local Files' tab and click the 'Verify Integrity of Game Files' button.
  4. Steam will verify the game's files - this process may take several minutes. This will always download a number of files even if you've just verified.
  5. Once the process is completed, close the windows then launch the game.
Epic Games
  1. Open the Epic Launcher
  2. Navigate to Football Manager 2021 via your ‘Library’ and click on the three dots to bring up a drop-down menu
  3. Once open, click Verify
  4. Epic will verify the game's files - this process may take several minutes. This will always download a number of files even if you've just verified.
  5. Once the process is completed, close the windows then launch the game.

5. Steam or Football Manager is already running

If you receive an error message stating that ‘Steam is already running’ or the ‘Epic Games Launcher is already running’, open up your Task Manager and check if a process of FM is already open. If there is, click on it and select [End Task] to close it. If there are multiple instances of Football Manager 2021 being open, please close them all. Once this is done, try re-launching the game.

Sometimes, if you launch the game too quickly after shutting it down, or get impatient after double-clicking the shortcut, you can get this when your system senses the game is running in two instances. If this is the case, do the following:
  1. Right-click on your Windows Taskbar (normally found at the bottom)
  2. Click on 'Task Manager'
  3. Go to the tab 'Processes'
  4. Sort alphabetically by clicking 'Image Name'
  5. Find fm.exe or any app
  6. Click so it's selected, then click the 'End Process' button in the bottom-right hand corner
  7. Do this for any fm.exe instance or any Football Manager 2021 app
  8. Once this is done, close the Taskbar and launch the game normally - be patient when it attempts to load

6. DEP or Data Execution Prevention error

- Go to ‘Start’ > ‘Control Panel’ > ‘System’ > ‘Advanced’ > ‘Performance’ > ‘Data Execution Prevention’.
- Select ‘Turn on DEP for all programs and services except those I select’.
- Select ‘Add’, navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam (or your default Steam directory), and add Steam.exe to the exception list.

Additionally, you will need to add the FM.exe using the same process as above

The FM.exe file can be located here by default - C:\Program Files(x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Football Manager 2021.

7. Unable to Initalise Steam API

If you receive a message from Steam which states 'Unable to initialise Steam API' when trying to launch the game, it is likely there is some kind of conflict.

We would very much suggest configuring your anti-virus program.

Occasionally due to updates or system configuration, anti-virus programs have been known to interfere with Steam and Football Manager.

Add Steam and Football Manager 2021 to the exceptions in your anti-virus. How to do this will depend on your anti-virus; search on the program's website for details on how to do this.

By default Steam and Football Manager 2021 will be installed in the following locations:

Steam – C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam
Football Manager 2021 - C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Football Manager 2021

If you think it’s your anti-virus causing the problem and don’t know how to configure it to work, it may be worth uninstalling the anti-virus program to check.

In that case, make sure Windows Firewall/Windows Defender is turned on. If you are on Windows 7 or earlier, get Microsoft Security Essentials which is solid, free and doesn't conflict with Steam or FM21. On Windows 8.1 or 10 you will already have Windows Defender installed, so avoid installing another anti-virus as this can sometimes cause conflicting issues.

8. Content File Locked or Disk Write Error

In this circumstance, if the user receives a message which states 'An error occurred while updating Football Manager 2021 (content file locked)' or 'Disk Write Error' then we would suggest uninstalling and reinstalling Steam.

Details on how to do this here - https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=9609-OBMP-2526

If you have a large number of other games installed via Steam, we'd suggesting backing up before completing the install. We'd suggest uninstalling Football Manager. Save games are kept safe during the uninstall process and can only ever be removed if they are done so manually via the user.

Details on how to backup Steam files can be found here - https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=8794-yphv-2033

Crash dump whilst processing or clicking something in FM 2021

1. Remove any custom graphics

Remove any custom logos/faces/skins etc from your Graphics folder so they no longer appear in game. If the crash wasn't caused by them, try the following:

2. Delete your Cache Folder

In Football Manager 2021, there are two ways of deleting your cache files.

1. In-Game

FM -> Preferences -> Interface

Under 'Skin' click the 'Clear Cache' button. When prompted select ‘Yes’. You will now need to restart Football Manager 2021 for these changes to take effect.

2. Outside of the game

First make sure the game is closed then do the following:

For Windows Vista and Windows 7:
  1. Click ‘Start’
  2. Select ‘Computer’
  3. From the header, select ‘Organize’ dropdown
  4. Select ‘Folder and Search Options’
  5. Within here, select the ‘View’ tab and make sure ‘Show Hidden Files and Folders’ is selected
  6. Navigate to C:\Users\Your Username\AppData\Local\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021
  7. Delete the ‘Cache’ folder

For Windows 8 and Windows 10:
  1. Click ‘File Explorer’ from within the taskbar (or click ‘Desktop/Start’ then type in ‘File Explorer’)
  2. On the header click ‘View’ and make sure above ‘Show/hide’ that ‘Hidden Items’ is ticked
  3. Navigate to C:\Users\Your Username\AppData\Local\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021
  4. Delete the ‘Cache’ folder

When launching the game for the first time after completing this, you may notice the game takes a little extra time to load up (especially if you’re using custom files). This is where the game is re-caching the files in game and will only take place the first time you click on screens. From that point on, the game will be cached and should run at optimal speed.

3. Delete your Preference Folder

First of all make sure the game is closed before you proceed.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7:
  1. Click ‘Start’
  2. Select ‘Computer’
  3. From the header, select ‘Organize’ dropdown
  4. Select ‘Folder and Search Options’
  5. Within here, select the ‘View’ tab and make sure ‘Show Hidden Files and Folders’ is selected
  6. Navigate to C:\Users\[Your Windows Username]\AppData\Local\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021
  7. Delete the Preferences folder

For Windows 8 and Windows 10:
Click ‘File Explorer’ from within the taskbar (or click ‘Desktop/Start’ then type in ‘File Explorer’)
On the header click ‘View’ and make sure above ‘Show/hide’ that ‘Hidden Items’ is ticked
Navigate to C:\Users\[Your Windows Username]\AppData\Local\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021
Delete the Preferences folder


Please bear in mind, these are not your save games or the same folder which contains these, this folder is completely unrelated. Upon deleting your preferences your in-game preference settings will be restored to default, so the folder will be regenerated when you launch the game. The next time you launch the game remember to change any preferences you wish to have changed (such as auto save regularity, sound level or game display mode).

4. Re-Verify FM21 Game Cache

  1. Load Steam app
  2. From the 'Library' section, right-click on FM21 and select 'Properties' from the menu.
  3. Select the 'Local Files' tab and click the 'Verify Integrity of Game Cache' button.
  4. Steam will verify the game's files - this process may take several minutes. This will always download a number of files even if you've just verified the game.
  5. Once the process is completed, the Check Window will automatically exit.
  6. It's recommended to verify your cache twice to make sure all files are fully downloaded.

Mac users

The crash dump file can be located at the following default location: /Users/[Your Mac Username]/Documents/Sports Interactive/Football Manager 2021/crash dumps

Crash dump whilst launching or playing FM 2021 on Mac

1. Remove any custom graphics

Remove any custom logos/faces/skins etc from your Graphics folder so they no longer appear in game. If the crash wasn't caused by them, try the following:

2. Delete your Cache Folder on Mac

Mac OS X (all versions)
  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click the ‘Go’ menu in the menubar.
  3. Press and hold down the ‘Option’ (Alt) key.
  4. Click the ‘Library’ item in the menu.
  5. Go into the folder named ‘Application Support’ then ‘Sports Interactive’
  6. Click into the ‘Football Manager 2021’ folder
  7. Within here, delete the ‘Cache’ folder

Please bear in mind, these are not your save games or the same folder which contains these, this folder is completely unrelated. The folder will be regenerated back to default when you next launch the game.

3. Delete your Preference Folder on Mac

Mac OS X (all versions)
  1. Open Finder.
  2. Click the ‘Go’ menu in the menubar.
  3. Press and hold down the ‘Option’ (Alt) key.
  4. Click the ‘Library’ item in the menu.
  5. Go into the folder named ‘Application Support’ then ‘Sports Interactive’
  6. Click into the ‘Football Manager 2021’ folder
  7. Within here, delete the ‘Preferences’ folder

Please bear in mind, these are not your save games or the same folder which contains these, this folder is completely unrelated. Upon deleting your preferences the in-game preference settings will be restored to default, so the folder will be regenerated when you launch the game.

The next time you launch the game remember to change any preferences you wish to have changed (such as auto save regularity, sound level or game display mode).

4. Re-Verify FM21 Game Cache

This process is universal regardless of operating system.

Once you’ve done all this, re-launch the game and try again.

General Troubleshooting

If this doesn't help, generally a crash dump on game start is related to a system or conflicting error, so we suggest the following steps to be completed in the following stages. We suggest after each stage trying the game to check and see if the troubleshooting guide fixes the issue.

Stage 1

Make sure your Graphics Card drivers and installed and fully up to date.

Stage 2

Check any programs which are known to cause issues with FM and/or Steam.

Stage 3

Make sure your Anti-Virus isn’t interfering with Steam or FM as this can cause problems when installing or launching the game.

Stage 4

There may be a problem with the files and folder location, so to check if this is the case first of all, right-click on your desktop and select 'New' -> 'Folder'

Create a folder and name it something to distinguish it (say SI backup)

Once you've done this go to your Sports Interactive folder found within 'documents' which by default is at the following location:
C:\Users\[YOUR WINDOWS USERNAME]\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021

This should contain folders like 'games', 'crash dumps' etc. Please cut every folder from here and paste them into the folder you've created on your desktop.

Once you've done this and the Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021 folder is now empty, launch the game. If it works, copy back the files from the desktop folder and hopefully it should now load without any issues.

Last resort, report it to Sports Interactive

If you have completed all of the above without being able to resolve your issue, please contact Sports Interactive Support Team.

Please include as many details as possible and list any troubleshooting techniques you’ve tried already so they can help you in the most efficient way.

More specifically:

- The crash dump file (this file can be located at the following default location: C:\Users\[Your Windows Username]\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021\crash dumps)

- The save game file just before the issue occurs (this file can be located at the following default location: C:\Users\[Your Windows Username]\Documents\Sports Interactive\Football Manager 2021\games) uploaded to our SI Cloud Service - remember to let us know the file name once uploaded

- The in-game date when the crash occurred

- Whether you’ve used the in-game or pre-game editor

- Whether you’re using any custom files of any sort with the game (so workshop downloads like databases, graphics, views etc)

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