Box art - Valorant

Valorant ‘Couldn’t Start: Returned 5’ error fix

Online FPS Valorant is proving immensely popular in spite of some notable early issues. One of the bigger problems prevents players from launching the game at all, throwing up an error window displaying the “Couldn’t start: returned 5” message. Luckily, there are several potential Valorant “Couldn’t start: returned 5” error fix methods for those affected.

What is the Valorant ‘Couldn’t start: returned 5’ error fix?

Valorant "Couldn't start: returned 5" error fix

This error occurs at the desktop before even launching the game, which makes it seem more catastrophic than it actually is. According to Riot Games, Valorant error codes displaying the number five indicate players are already logged in elsewhere. If you’re running Valorant (or a different Riot title) on another device at the same time, then close the application. Alternatively, you can log out and keep the game running.

ALSO: What is the Valorant ‘Network Problem’ fix?

Players have also found success using a few other methods, so work through the list of fixes below if the above isn’t applicable.

Valorant ‘Couldn’t start: returned 5’ error fix

  • Ensure you aren’t currently logged into Valorant or another Riot Games title on a separate device.
  • If you aren’t, first try restarting your PC and attempting to launch the game again.
  • Should the issue persist, try the following:
    • Press Windows key + R to bring up the “Run” menu.
    • Enter “net start vgc” into the “Open:” field.
    • Click the “OK” button.
  • If the game still doesn’t launch correctly, attempt the following:
    • Open the Control Panel.
    • Under the “Programs” heading, click the “Uninstall a program” option.
    • Locate the “Riot Vanguard” program, double-click it, then click the “Yes” option.
    • Once the uninstallation is complete, attempt to launch Valorant.
    • The game should automatically reinstall Vanguard and solve the issue.

By working through the above fixes, you should be able to find one that allows you to launch and play Valorant without any further “Couldn’t start: returned 5” issues.